This month we’re publishing Authenticity, Language and Interaction in Second Language Contexts edited by Rémi A. van Compernolle and Janice McGregor. Their book is the first in this area and brings together research from different contexts. In this blog post, the editors tell us a bit more about the book.
Authenticity has been a central concept in applied linguistics in general and in second language learning in particular for several decades. And yet, there has been no consensus on what authenticity actually means in research and practice. Most people typically think about whether, and to what extent, language (e.g. as used by a learner, as represented in pedagogical materials) corresponds to native speaker conventions, while some have argued that learner language should be considered authentic in its own right because it is authentically the learner’s way of communicating. To date, little work has attempted to unify the two perspectives in a more holistic way.
This book is the first of its kind. Motivated by our own interest in what authentic language is, who can be counted as an authentic speaker, and how authenticity can be achieved, we invited diverse scholars working on a variety of languages, in formal and informal learning contexts, and from different theoretical and methodological frameworks to contribute chapters. We asked our authors to explicitly address the relationship between appropriating community-wide or native-speaker norms on the one hand, and the genesis of authenticity in the learner on the other.
The chapters explore such topics as pragmatic and sociolinguistic variation, interactional and grammatical competencies, language socialization and the negotiation of expertise and epistemic statuses. The end result of the book is a multifaceted understanding of authenticity and authentication in second language contexts that compels us to consider issues as diverse as online processing constraints, identity construction, social relationship maintenance and sociocultural linguistic norms. And, as Alan Firth wrote in his endorsement of the book, the collection “addresses the pressing issue of how we should do Applied Linguistics in the 21st century.”
We hope readers will find the book to be a useful resource for understanding the nature of authenticity in second language contexts, for researching the various ways in which authenticity is achieved between people, and for designing pedagogical materials and tasks.
For more information about this book please see our website.
Other recent titles include: Reconceptualising Authenticity for English as a Global Language by Richard S. Pinner and Developing Interactional Competence in a Japanese Study Abroad Context by Naoko Taguchi.