The Applied Linguistics Interest Section of TESOL Turned 40 in 2014

We were pleased to be able to support Professor Bob Kaplan in attending the Applied Linguistics Interest Section (ALIS) at TESOL this year in Portland. Here, Eli Hinkel, Chair of ALIS 2013-2014, tells us a bit about the background to ALIS.

Bob and ALIS editors (Jana Moore and Benjamin White)

Bob and ALIS editors (Jana Moore and Benjamin White)

ALIS turned 40 this year, and it is the oldest interest section (IS) in TESOL. This was a major benchmark that was celebrated during the TESOL Convention in Portland, Oregon, USA. In its current form and as an Interest Section of TESOL, ALIS dates back to 1974, and its original early members included Robert B. Kaplan and Bernard Spolsky. At the time, ALIS served as the only applied linguistics venue for pedagogical and research activities in the United States. During the ALIS Open Meeting in Portland, around 50 IS members and guests took part in a bit of a reception to mark this important event and partake in cookies and soft drinks, provided by TESOL. We clanked our plastic drink containers and celebrated in earnest.

Bob's talk

Bob’s talk

To mark the occasion, Robert B. Kaplan graciously accepted our invitation to join us. Professor Kaplan received a commemorative plaque to celebrate his four decade-long service to the profession and the association. Marianne Celce-Murcia’s well-crafted and carefully presented remarks to highlight Professor Kaplan’s numerous professional achievements and contributions were warmly received.

Bob and Marianne Celce-Murcia

Bob and Marianne Celce-Murcia

Later, Professor Kaplan made a presentation titled “What Teachers Need to Know: ‘I’ve Never Metaphor I Didn’t Like’.” The point of the talk was to emphasize that when teaching a language to students from another culture, it is essential for instructors to be aware of the ways in which the target language has been shaped by its speakers. Furthermore, speakers of some other languages, equally, have been shaped by their first languages. In this light, if the learners are unfamiliar with the shape of metaphors in the target language and if the teachers are unaware of the gap thus created, teaching becomes an unnecessarily difficult undertaking. Success in language teaching, however, is more likely when metaphors and other linguistic devices are addressed in teacher-preparation courses, which can be revised to include the work with metaphors that are needed for both teaching and learning.

Our thanks also goes to Tommi Grover and Multilingual Matters for helping us organize our reunion with Robert B. Kaplan on this momentous occasion. Thank you.

We look forward to ALIS’s next 40 years in the business.

Eli Hinkel, Chair 2013-2014, ALIS

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