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  • John Murray Learning

Language Debates: Theory and Reality in Language Learning, Teaching and Research


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Language teaching theory & methods

These Language Debates, based in the lived experience of learning, teaching and researching the work languages do in the world, suggest important ways to transform our relationship with languages and with the world around us.

This book captures an urgent moment for language teaching, learning and research. At its core are a series of debates concerning gender stereotyping, the place of linguistics in modern languages, language activism, multilingualism and modern languages and digital humanities. Taken together, these debates explore the work that languages, and that those who learn and speak them, do in the world as well as the way we think 'through' and 'in' a language and are shaped by it.

Language Debates acknowledges the history of language teaching and the current realities of language teaching and learning. It is bold in suggesting ways forward for reform and for policy, setting languages and language learning at the heart of a consciously transformative set of goals. This book is therefore essential reading for academics, language teachers, policy makers, students, activists and those passionate about progressing language learning and teaching.

The editors and contributors make up a multilingual and multicultural team who work across languages, cultures and borders with a globally-informed approach to their work. Uniquely, the debates in this volume are based on events with participants in the Language Acts and Worldmaking Debates Series and/or workshops within the wider research project and take into account the ensuing discussions there.

Each debate is accompanied by an interview which serves as a model on how to continue the conversation beyond the printed pages of the book. You can also discover ways to join the debate through links on the Language Acts and Worldmaking series website ( which includes recorded debates, additional materials and more information about the series.

Like all the volumes in the Language Acts and Worldmaking series, the overall aim is two-fold: to challenge widely-held views about language learning as a neutral instrument of globalisation and to innovate and transform language research, teaching and learning, together with Modern Languages as an academic discipline, by foregrounding its unique form of cognition and critical engagement. Specific aims are to:
propose new ways of bridging the gaps between those who teach and research languages and those who learn and use them in everyday contexts from the professional to the personal
put research into the hands of wider audiences
share a philosophy, policy and practice of language teaching and learning which turns research into action
provide the research, experience and data to enable informed debates on current issues and attitudes in language learning, teaching and research
share knowledge across and within all levels and exp

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