Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Languages for Specific Purposes: One Look at the Role of Community Service Learning in LSP

by Ann Abbott

I was very happy to receive my copy of Specialised Languages in the Global Village: A Multi-Perspective Approach (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011) in the mail today. The book focuses on languages for specific purposes (LSP) and was edited by Carmen Pérez-Llantada and Maida Watson.

My contribution was Chapter Two "Social Entrepreneurship and Community Service Learning: Building Sustainable Non-profits and Language Programs" (p. 27-45). 

You can see in the table of contents that the chapters cover a wide range of issues. I would especially recommend the chapter by Stefanie Stadler for anyone who is working on intercultural competence (and aren't we all). There are also very insightful pieces by several of my CIBER colleagues who have become my friends: Christine Uber Grosse, Maida Watson and Mary Risner.

The book is described in this way: "The status of LSP (Languages for Specialised Purposes) in the contemporary socio-cultural context is an ongoing central issue of scholarly debate. Specialised languages in the global village examines the impact of globalisation on intercultural communication within specialised communities of practice. The contributions of the volume provide linguistically and pedagogically-informed discussion on modes of communication practice in professional and institutional domains, frames of social action and the construction of professional identities. The contributors also address issues of languages and social entrepreneurship, and the acquisition and development of linguistic/cultural competence in foreign languages for specialised purposes. The edition is a valuable reading for researchers in LSP, specialists in the fields of discourse analysis, sociolinguistics and scholars in the area of rhetoric and composition. It is also of interest for professional translators, language editors and language advisors in the fields of specialised academic/professional communication. LSP instructors and foreign language teachers will also find informed guidelines and useful pedagogical proposals for classroom implementation."

I first met Maida (Florida International University) when I went on the study trip she leads in Spain for instructors of business Spanish. Soon after that professional development trip, Maida and I co-authored an article about experiential learning and professional development programs: A Business Language Faculty Development Program with Experiential Learning,” in Global Business Languages 11 (2006): 3-21. Since then we continue to meet at each year's CIBER Business Languages Conference (this year it will be at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill), and I went to Miami last winter to speak at the conference they organize for K-12 teachers of business languages.

In short, languages for specific purposes is an up and coming field within linguistics and has a place, I would argue, in cultural studies. The Modern Language Journal will soon come out with a special LSP issue. (My colleague, Darcy Lear, will have an article in it about the intersections between LSP and CSL.) It is the subject of many conference presentations, not just at CIBER's business languages conference. And the field is perhaps most developed already in Europe. I am happy, then, to have a chapter in this book that gathers many helpful studies and provides solid bibliographies for further research.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ann, thanks for this review of the book. Many significant topics have been explored about social entrepreneurship, intercultural competence/work, impact of globalization on LSP design of instruction, etc. I'm looking for a copy right now!