BAAL Colloquium: From Practice to Theory

Applied linguistics has made a major contribution to the development and refinement of theory in both linguistics and other language-related disciplines. Applied linguistics is also by definition a practice-related discipline. Yet over many years the tendency has been to develop theory or utilise existing theories first, and then to explore applications that test or apply the theories. Recently, however, changes in research cultures have led to greater concerns with impact, knowledge transfer and exchange and with a more precisely calibrated evaluation of research outcomes, with the result that more attention is being devoted to practice and to the lines that can be drawn or redrawn from practice to theory.  Without endorsing the audit culture which dominates contemporary university policies, this colloquium will explore how applied linguistics can respond to the growing emphasis on results.  

Utilising selected examples from the fields of intercultural communication, e-communication and health communication, this colloquium explores and interrogates these developments looking at examples of real-world problems involving language and at how applied linguistic intervention in these problems can relate to theoretical foundations. The main aim of the colloquium is to discuss the implications of a ‘practice to theory’ approach and what such an orientation can entail for future research. 

The colloquium is designed to be interactive and to create opportunities for full discussion. All contributors will allow sufficient time for questions and further discussion. 


Introduction: Ron Carter and Guy Cook: Practice, theory and impact  20 minutes

Paper 1: Zhu Hua: At  the cross-road of theory and practice in the field of intercultural communication 30 minutes

Paper 2: Nelya Koteyko and Kevin Harvey: Computer-mediated health communication: analysing online interaction and networking 30 minutes

Open Discussion 30 minutes

Paper 3: Caroline Tagg: Being offended and trying not to offend on Facebook: implications for ‘context design’ as a theory for understanding online interactions 30 minutes

Concluding remarks: Ron Carter and Guy Cook 20 minutes

Total: 3 hours