METM17 presentation

Learning from one another: a dialogue between applied linguists and researcher practitioners

Moderator: Sally Burgess, Tenerife, Spain

The critical stance many applied linguists now adopt calls into question the values and practices of the globalized publishing industry and examines the implications for users of English as an additional language. Authors’ editors and translators may be reluctant to take an explicitly critical stance themselves, regarding their work as a valuable service performed in good faith for clients who accept the dominance of English as a language of research communication and the authoritative position of first-language users of English. In our panel discussion, we will look at recent research that takes this critical stance and ask how far and how much of this research is relevant to language professionals, how to read this material critically, and how a different perspective on these issues might be offered by practitioners.

Topics for discussion will include
  • differences between the texts written by users of English as a first language and users of English as an additional language and the influence of these differences on publishing success
  • how and why access to publishing and to publishing support is limited
  • the status of English in relation to other languages and how this affects the status of publications
  • how research evaluation policies condition research and research writing
  • understanding what editors and peer reviewers might mean when they say a manuscript should be edited by a native speaker
Through our discussion we aim to show how this body of critical applied linguistics research might inform practice and what aspects of authors’ editors’ and translators’ practice could and should inform applied linguistics research.
Sally Burgess is a lecturer in English at the University of La Laguna. Her main research interests are in cross-cultural rhetoric, the contribution of language professionals to the preparation of research publications, the teaching of writing in the university context and, most recently, the effects of research evaluation policies on Spanish scholars’ publishing practices. With Margaret Cargill she organized the first PRISEAL (Publishing Research Internationally: Issues for Speakers of English as an Additional Language) conference in early 2007. Apart from her interest in academic discourse studies and English for research publication purposes, Sally has also published several literary translations in collaboration with the University of La Laguna’s Literary Translation Workshop.

Laurie Anderson is professor of English at the University of Siena (Italy). Her research engages critically with issues related to the use of English as a lingua franca (ELF), with particular reference to the multilingual practices of international scholars and their implications for mobility and career advancement within the European context.  She collaborates with the Max Weber Post-doctoral Programme at the European University Institute (Florence) and is a founding member of the FIESOLE Group, a network of applied linguists from various European institutions dedicated to developing reflexive, transnational approaches to training for academic practice.

David Giannoni began his career as an English language assistant, manuscript editor and freelance translator. He subsequently studied linguistics (TESOL) at the University of Surrey and applied linguistics at the University of Reading, UK. At present he teaches a range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules as associate professor of English (language and linguistics) at the University of Bergamo, Italy. Most of his publications investigate the interpersonal or intercultural features of English academic discourse, viewed synchronically and contrastively. The latest of these is an article on “Value claims in academic and corporate ‘about us’ texts”, published in Applied Linguistics.

Mary Ellen Kerans, authors’ editor and translator mainly in clinical medicine, is in the twilight of a career that started with specialized English language teaching for immigrants and has included curriculum and materials development in English for specific purposes (ESP) – for factory and other workers, university undergraduate and graduate students, publishing researchers and creative writers. Occasional contributions to the literature in teaching, applied linguistics or a field sometimes called "editology" have always started with a practitioner’s question and been driven by a desire to help close gaps between practice, theory and research.

Oliver Shaw is a translator, editor, interpreter and language instructor at the Hospital Universitario Fundación Jiménez Díaz and the healthcare-management firm Quirónsalud. In addition to his work as a practitioner, Oliver’s research explores the phenomenon of international English-medium academic publishing by native-Spanish-speaking researchers in the field of biomedicine. He is based in Madrid, Spain.