Publication of Multilingual Matters’ First Open Access Book: A Milestone for Pronunciation Assessment

8 December 2016

This month we are publishing our first open access title, Second Language Pronunciation Assessment, edited by Talia Isaacs and Pavel Trofimovich. In this post, Talia tell us about her experiences of researching the once unfashionable topic of pronunciation as well as the importance of open access publishing.

When I started doing dissertation research on pronunciation assessment in 2004 during my Master’s degree, this topic was drastically out of fashion. Pronunciation in language teaching had had its heyday earlier in the 20th century, culminating, from an assessment perspective, with the publication of Lado’s seminal book, Language Testing, in 1961, which is viewed as signifying the birth of the language testing field. There had been little sustained research on the topic in the years since. In my early days as a postgraduate student, when I stated that I was researching pronunciation assessment to members of the language assessment community, I remember thinking that reactions from some, however polite, were similar to how some passersby might respond when looking at an odd relic in a museum through protective glass—that this topic may have had some use or merit once in a misguided way but is now decidedly passé. Pronunciation carried much baggage in assessment circles and within language teaching and applied linguistics more generally as a symbol of the decontextualized drills targeting linguistic forms that had been left behind during the Communicative era.

I could not have foreseen, at the time, that pronunciation would gradually begin to embed itself in some of the discourse and have growing visibility in scholarly fora (e.g. Language Testing Research Colloquium), at least on the periphery. Spurred by trends in researching pronunciation in other areas within applied linguistics, where developments happened earlier (e.g. SLA, sociolinguistics), modern work on pronunciation shifted to a focus on intelligibility and listeners’ evaluative judgments of speech and was at the heart of developments in automated scoring of speaking. Assessing pronunciation was, thus, informally rebranded and was able to establish some contemporary relevance.

Second Language Pronunciation AssessmentFast forward to 2017, with the publication of Second Language Pronunciation Assessment. This book breaks new ground in at least two respects. First, it is the first edited collection ever published on the topic of pronunciation assessment. Although the volume is far from comprehensive, it begins to establish a common understanding of key issues and bridges different disciplinary areas where there has historically been little conversation.

Second, it is Multilingual Matters’ first “gold” open access book. Tommi Grover shared his thoughts on open access in a recent blog post, and it is exciting that our book is at the forefront of what we believe will be a growing trend in monograph publishing in time.

When we first learned that our external research funding could pay for open access costs for a monograph to a maximum amount pre-specified by the funder as part of a post-grant open access scheme, we broached this with Tommi and Laura Longworth. It is a luxury to have a world-renowned applied linguistics publisher practically on my doorstep in Bristol, UK, where I currently reside. Tommi mused about some of the pros and cons and the likely logistical challenges aloud over coffee, and I am sure that the flies on the wall were intrigued. It was clear that pursuing open access entailed a degree of risk for the publisher, as the open access maximum payment from the funder alone would not cover the full production costs and overheads. We were delighted that, ultimately, the Multilingual Matters team decided to treat our book as an experiment and go for the open access option to see how it would work.

Thus, with the publication of our book, a scenario that once seemed hypothetical has now become a reality, and our contributors were also very happy about this development. The push for open access within the academy is to ensure that publically-funded research outputs are also publically available free of charge where possible. From the readers’ and authors’ perspective, it is generally preferable to be able to access the official versions with professional typesetting than to have author-approved unofficial versions with different page numbers floating around. We believe that, through the availability of our publication for free download, it will reach a much wider readership than it would have had the access costs been levelled onto the consumer. The print version has also been sensibly discounted for those who still wish to purchase a softback copy. In this way, it will hopefully reach the interdisciplinary audiences of researchers and educational and assessment stakeholders that we feel would benefit from knowing about this book and inform further research and practice.

My co-author, Pavel Trofimovich, and I could not have envisioned a more positive experience working with the Multilingual Matters team from start to finish. As Pavel wrote in an email, reflecting on the publication process, “I cannot think of any publisher who [is] so professional, hands-on, and also human in their interaction with colleagues.” We are extremely grateful for the tremendous help and advice in navigating all aspects of the publication of our book, including dealing with the unexpected. This process has been enriching and the production tremendously efficient. We would highly recommend that any prospective authors in applied linguistics, new or experienced, consider Multilingual Matters as a venue for publishing their book. If you have internal or external funds available or could budget for open access costs for a monograph into a grant application, it might be worthwhile pre-empting a conversation with Tommi about open access. This is an option that the team is clearly open to and which may, in time, revolutionize the publication of monographs, as it already has with academic journal articles.

Talia Isaacs, UCL Institute of Education, University College London, UK
Pavel Trofimovich, Department of Education, Concordia University, Canada

For further information about the book, please see our website. For more information about open access please read Tommi’s blog post or contact him directly at tommi@multilingual-matters.com.

To download the open access ebook please go to the following link: https://zenodo.org/record/165465.


Why publish with us?

15 December 2015

With academic publishing becoming more competitive, we need to fight to keep our place among the larger publishers. We are proud of our independent status and of the values that we represent. This post gives a bit more detail about why authors should choose Multilingual Matters/Channel View Publications as their publisher.

The MM/CV team

The MM/CV team

We are a small, independent company wholly owned by our Managing Director, Tommi Grover, his brother Sami and the staff who work for Multilingual Matters/Channel View Publications. This means our publishing decisions are made by and for people with a knowledge of, and passion for, languages, multilingualism and tourism studies. We are free to publish books we believe in and to treat our authors, customers and staff with integrity, as ultimately we answer to people who care about the areas we publish in, rather than to people who are uninvolved in the day-to-day running of the company and are more concerned with profits.

Publishing with us is a positive choice to support an independent, ethical company, and a responsive, compassionate way of doing business. Publishing with us doesn’t mean you can expect ‘less’ than from a bigger publisher – in fact we’d suggest you should expect more from us:

  • Because our staff feel valued and cared for, they stay for a long time. So it’s highly likely you will deal with the same person from proposal to publication and beyond. All 7 of us are involved in the decision to publish every book, and so whoever you speak to will know about you, your book, and why it’s important.
  • We travel a lot (and we were off-setting our carbon footprint before it was fashionable). This means your books will be seen by people all over the world, and that our staff are at specialist conferences where they meet new authors and customers. In the past year our team of 7 has been to: New Zealand, Japan, the US (lots of times), Canada, France, Poland, Australia, Sweden, Lapland, Germany, Italy and several UK conferences (and this has been a quiet year on the conference front!).
  • We offer open access publishing; everything we publish is available as consumer ebooks; and we continue to publish as much as we can as affordable paperbacks.
  • We are proud of the help and support we offer authors publishing their first book: we have been doing this for years, and we do it because we believe in developing new talent and new ideas, not because we need manuscripts to pad out our publication program. Our first-time authors receive the same care and attention as their more experienced colleagues.
  • We are constantly looking out for new topics and ideas and we are pleased to be often the first publisher to take a risk in a new and emerging subject area.

We hope that you find this useful. If you would like further information about sending us a proposal please see the proposal guidelines on our website.

If you are still working on your PhD but think that you would like to rework it for a book then please see our notes on turning your PhD thesis into a book.


Our new catalogues are now available

4 November 2015

In order to save precious resources – both the planet’s and our own! – we haven’t mailed out our catalogue so widely this year. Instead, our latest catalogues are now available to view online or you can download the PDF. Just click on the covers to download the PDF or follow the links below for the online versions.

MM Catalogue front pageCV Catalogue front page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can view the catalogues online here:

Multilingual Matters

Channel View Publications

Alternatively, if you would like to receive your own hard copy please email us at info@channelviewpublications.com with your mailing address and we will be happy to send you one.

Don’t forget you can also sign up to our email newsletters to keep up-to-date with the latest on our new books and special offers.

We have made the decision not to mail out our catalogue as widely this year due to a number of reasons. Rising mailing costs as well as high numbers of returned catalogues have meant that a mass mailing has become unsustainable. We are aware that many hundreds of catalogues get thrown away as they are sent out to people who have moved or no longer want the catalogue and we hate the idea of this waste. Keeping a large mailing list up-to-date just adds to the difficulties of keeping costs down at a time when our budgets are already constrained.

However, we would be very happy to send out a copy of the catalogue to anyone who prefers a print copy to the electronic version so please just request a copy from info@channelviewpublications.com if you’d like one.


A-Z of Publishing: I is for…

13 July 2015

I is for ImprintI is for Imprint. Depending on which topics of our publications are of interest to you, you may know us as one of our two imprints: Channel View Publications or Multilingual Matters. These are our two separate areas of publishing – books published under Channel View Publications are on the subject of tourism research while those published under the Multilingual Matters imprint are related to applied linguistics. Whichever imprint you know, the same people work on the books – for example, Sarah is the production manager and Elinor is the marketing manager whatever the imprint of the book! We’re also an entirely independent company – there is no bigger power controlling either of our two imprints or company.

This post is part of our ‘A-Z of Publishing’ series which we will be posting every Monday throughout the rest of 2015. You can search the blog for the rest of the series or subscribe to the blog to receive an email as soon as the next post is published by using the links on the right of the page.


Happy Independence Day: The Value of Independent Publishing

4 July 2015

Channel View Publications/Multilingual Matters is proud to be an independent publisher. But what exactly is independent publishing and why is it so important?

There are many different definitions of an independent publisher, and starting with the definition offered by the Independent Publishers Guild in the UK, members range from the author who publishes his or her own work, through to companies as sizeable as Bloomsbury or Sage, or indeed Cambridge University Press. The corporate and ownership structures of these entities could not be more different. Some have charitable status, others are floated on the stock exchange, and others are owned entirely by the proprietor.

Tommi at work

Tommi at work

When we publish a book, we put our name to it, and we commit a not insignificant investment of time and money into a book. So whoever controls the purse strings, and the physical resources of the publishing company has a good deal of say over what does and does not get published. It is my belief that a truly independent publisher is a publisher where the people actively involved in making the publishing decisions also have control over the physical resources of the company, and so if they decide to publish a book, there is no outside committee or owner, or shareholder body that can stop the publication.

Why is this so important?

Independent publishing has tended to be at the vanguard of both academic and literary publishing. We publish books for reasons that are not necessarily profit driven, and most independent publishers will have stories of the reckless endeavours they have embarked upon with nothing but a sincere belief that the publication should see the light of day. Often these books go on to be bestsellers, but equally there are those that were valiant failures in a commercial sense, but might have made a significant change in the field. Where independents first tread, the corporates often follow.

In fiction publishing you only need to look at the Stieg Larsson books that were published in translation by an independent British publisher and publicised by leaving copies in taxis and buses around London to see the impact that an independent publisher with a belief in their list can have. This was followed by a boom of interest in Nordic Crime fiction in translation, and the corporate publishers were quick to follow suit. In the academic world it is often the independent publishers who will publish in new and untested fields, and only once the ground is proven do the corporate and large university presses move into these areas. We are able to publish in these areas precisely because we are independent, and if we believe in something then there is nobody to tell us not to do it. None of this is to deny the importance of larger, less flexible publishers, they are able to commit resources into projects of scale like handbooks and encyclopaedias that we certainly would be hard pressed to take on, but without the independent publisher to break the ground in the first place with a risky but interesting monograph, or an edited volume of global scope with chapters by all the people who are pushing the envelope on a certain issue, it is unlikely that those other projects would ever take off. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

The Channel View team

The Channel View team

Similarly, the independent publisher who publishes out of a sense of belief in an area will most likely still be around long after the corporate publishers have moved on to whatever the latest fashion is, and when politically and economically the tide turns against certain fields of study, we will often stick by them because we believe in them.

A major advantage of working with a smaller independent publisher, whether you are coming into contact with us as a customer or as an author, is the stability and transparency of any contact you have with us. It is highly likely that you will have dealt with the same people last time you contacted us, and we will have a detailed knowledge of your past projects, or if there were any special handling requirements for your orders, we will probably know them already.

We do not change staff every 6 months, and we don’t have a revolving door internship policy. When we take on interns, it is always with the hope that they might stay with us long term.

Finally, with most small independents, you are never more than a phone call away from the senior management. Problems do occur in all businesses, and whilst we do our very best to make sure that they are as few and far between as possible, anytime you do need to talk to us,  all you need do is pick up the phone and ask to be put through. You will always find someone with the authority to make a decision, and we will almost always be very happy to talk to you, so long as you don’t call on the day that we are all rushing around getting ready to leave for the Frankfurt Book Fair!

Tommi


A-Z of Publishing: G is for…

29 June 2015

G is for GroverG is for Grover. The Grover family founded the company in the late 1970s. When raising their two sons, Tommi and Sami, in English and Finnish, Mike and Marjukka Grover realised the lack of publications supporting bilingual parents and with that the idea for the company was born. The company has since grown and expanded to include not only Multilingual Matters, which publishes books on bilingualism and bilingual education, language education, sociolinguistics, language acquisition and translation, but also Channel View Publications, which publishes books on tourism studies.

This post is part of our ‘A-Z of Publishing’ series which we will be posting every Monday throughout the rest of 2015. You can search the blog for the rest of the series or subscribe to the blog to receive an email as soon as the next post is published by using the links on the right of the page.


Getting to know the Channel View team: Anna

8 May 2015

In this blog post we get to know Anna, our Editorial Director, a bit better. Anna has recently returned to the office following the birth of her second daughter and subsequent maternity leave. We’re very happy to have Anna back in the office, not least because she often brings us delicious goods which she and her two girls have baked together!

Anna with her duaghters Elin and Alys

Anna with her daughters Elin and Alys

Anna has an extensive range of cookery books and likes food from around the world, so we wonder what’s the most ambitious or exotic thing you’ve ever cooked yourself?

Ha ha yes, my extensive cookery book collection, which has now grown too big for my house and is finding a second home as the Multilingual Matters cookery library! My partner and I went to Japan for 3 weeks for his 30th birthday, and after we came home I went through a stage of trying to recreate the beautiful meals we had eaten in the ryokan we stayed in – lots of beautiful, elegantly-presented one-or-two-mouthfuls of fish, tempura, vegetables… Something I’m sure no Japanese home cook would be mad enough to attempt on a regular basis, especially if you have to make everything yourself (pickles, dashi etc.) as you can’t buy them here. I don’t have a huge amount of time for adventurous cooking at the moment, as my two small daughters would happily live on spaghetti bolognese and fish fingers given the chance. Alys (3) is a very enthusiastic baking assistant though, and I do have a sourdough starter that I manage to produce a couple of loaves a week from.

I’m looking forward to borrowing a few of your cookery books from the MM library! Your Japan trip sounds pretty epic, would it be too much to ask for a single highlight from a 3 week trip? 

Funnily enough what we talk about the most is not the temples, or the bullet train, or even the food, but a little bar we stumbled across in Tokyo where the owner was an enthusiastic collector of whiskey and jazz vinyl, and we sat for hours discussing music and being allowed to try all the drinks. My favourite bar in the world, and I’d probably never be able to find it again. So either that, or the musical Christmas tree in Kyoto station!

Anna with Alys and Elin

Anna with Alys and Elin

I like the sound of the Christmas tree and agree – it’s so often the way that you can never find a place again in foreign cities! Would you like to return to Japan one day, or are there other countries which are higher up your ‘must visit’ list?

We are planning a return trip to Japan in 2020 for the Olympics. There are so many places I’d love to visit, but my dream trip would be to go all the way from London to Vladivostok via the Trans-Siberian Railway. I’ve never been to Russia and I’ve always been fascinated by it. Possibly because I watched Dr Zhivago too many times at an impressionable age!

I’ve never seen that film but it must be good if you’ve seen it several times! I’m guessing you don’t go to the cinema much now that you have children, but are there any other films that have left an impression on you, either recently or when you were younger?

One film I can remember really unsettling me when I was younger is ‘The Red Shoes’, although thinking about it I now own lots of pairs of red shoes…. I can really clearly remember my first ever trip to the cinema, to see ‘Return to Oz’ (I must have been about 4), we lived a long way from a cinema, so it was a big event. Upsettingly the last two films I saw at the cinema were ‘Penguins of Madagascar’ and ‘Postman  Pat: The Movie’, neither of which have left a lasting impression!

Ah yes, the perils of taking younger viewers to the cinema! Now for your last question of the interview, if you could choose an actress to play you in a film, who would you choose and why?

How to answer this without sounding deluded? I’d like to think it would be Cate Blanchett or Tilda Swinton, with Jane Russell doing the song and dance numbers!

And finally, some quick-fire questions!

High heels or trainers? High heels.
Ketchup or mustard? Mustard. Ketchup is like putting jam on your bacon sandwich.
Crosswords or sudokus? Crosswords.
Stripes or spots? Spots.
Bath or shower? Bath.
Scrambled eggs or fried eggs? Poached eggs all the way.
Printed book or ebook? Printed book.

Thanks Anna! We’re looking forward to hearing more from the rest of the team soon!


Celebrating 100 books in the Bilingual Education and Bilingualism series

17 February 2015

Latino Immigrant Youth and Interrupted SchoolingThe publication this month of Marguerite Lukes’ book Latino Immigrant Youth and Interrupted Schooling is the 100th book in the Bilingual Education and Bilingualism series. Here, the series editors Nancy H. Hornberger, Colin Baker and Wayne E. Wright tell the story of the beginning, development and future of the series which has also reached its 21st anniversary.

To begin at the very beginning…
The series started with a phone call from Mike Grover (of Multilingual Matters) to Colin Baker just before Christmas in 1993. He simply asked Colin to consider being the editor of a series of books on bilingualism and particularly bilingual education. It was a lovely Christmas present. On 4 January 1994, Colin gratefully replied with an acceptance letter on the condition that the series “encompasses the variety of aspects of bilingual education.”

Mike Grover

Mike Grover

Colin’s letter finished with a ‘cricket’ analogy. The final sentence was a question. “Here’s to a good innings. You open the batting. I’ll face the fast balls and googlies. A century to come?” Twenty-one years later, an answer has been reached. By March 2015, a century of books has been published. An enormous amount of credit goes to the recently departed and much-loved Mike Grover for having the original vision for such a series. He would be delighted that his risk-taking and dream led to a century of books. Requiescat in pace.

VermaBack to the beginning. The first book in the series was published on 16 June 1995 entitled Working with Bilingual Children and edited by Verma, Corrigan and Firth. Other books were being written and processed in 1994 and 1995, and several became bestsellers such as Carrasquillo & Rodriguez’s Language Minority Students in the Mainstream Classroom that ran to a second edition in 2002.

Carrasquillo 2nd edThe beginning was soon over. In the first six months of 1995, a surprising avalanche of new proposals was received for publication in this series. Many came from the United States. Mike and Colin realised that a US co-editor of the series would be beneficial, if not essential, for many reasons.

A letter from Colin dated 28 June 1995 to Nancy Hornberger at the University of Pennsylvania explains it all. Here are some extracts: “As you know, Multilingual Matters has established itself as a major, if not the major publisher of books on bilingualism, multilingualism, bilingual education and many associated topics… The Bilingual Education and Bilingualism book series has already attracted a wide variety of proposals, and has a number of published, almost published and ‘in the pipeline’ manuscripts. Mike Grover is very optimistic about the future of this series, with ‘considerable growth’ expected.

Since Mike and I were in the US last March, I have been increasingly convinced that the Bilingual Education and Bilingualism book series should work by a partnership of two series editors… It would also be invaluable for someone in the US to parallel my European, quantitative, education and psychology background. Mike and I have discussed the idea of two series editors, and agree who is our number one choice. You!”

The partnership began, and the series went from strength to strength. The partnership became a close friendship, a joyful shared commitment to serve in a highly supportive manner new authors and young academics, as well as to encourage seasoned authors to publish with Multilingual Matters.

Nancy, Wayne and Colin

Nancy, Wayne and Colin

Nancy and Colin defined the aims and mission of the series as follows and this remains today:

Bilingual Education and Bilingualism is an international, multidisciplinary series publishing research on the philosophy, politics, policy, provision and practice of language planning, global English, indigenous and minority language education, multilingualism, multiculturalism, biliteracy, bilingualism and bilingual education. The series aims to mirror current debates and discussions. New proposals for single-authored, multiple-authored, or edited books in the series are warmly welcomed, in any of the following categories or others authors may propose: overview or introductory texts; course readers or general reference texts; focus books on particular multilingual education program types; school-based case studies; national case studies; collected cases with a clear programmatic or conceptual theme; and professional education manuals. 

The books from 1995 to the present have been spread across:

  • many countries and areas of the world (e.g. US, Australia, South America, UK, Israel, South Africa, Canada, the Basque Country, China, Japan, Israel);
  • many topics (e.g. language policy, language planning, language and power, sociopolitics, language and identity, language revitalization, language rights, languages in higher education, biliteracy, multilingualism and creativity, language disabilities, the bilingual mental lexicon, World Englishes, third language acquisition, language and aging, language and youth culture, trilingualism);
  • many authors (currently 125) and including the ‘greats’ as well as new emerging scholars.

For the future, there is another beginning… After a century of books, Colin is retiring as series editor, and is in the process of handing over the reins to Wayne E. Wright, at Purdue University, as new series co-editor. Wayne enthusiastically responded to the invitation from Tommi Grover, “I am honored to be invited to work with both Nancy and Colin, and happily accept!” The editors look forward to starting to shape the next 100 books.

All those interested in writing a book and becoming part of the next century of publications in the series, please contact Kim Eggleton and visit: http://www.multilingual-matters.com/info_for_authors.asp. We would love you to be part of the next 100 books.


Multilingualism in education is on the agenda

19 September 2014

Jean Conteh and Gabriela Meier’s book The Multilingual Turn in Languages Education is out this month. They have written this post about how the book came together and the importance of multilingual education. 

The Multilingual Turn in Languages EducationThe origins of this book emerged about 3 years ago in discussions about the different ways in which multilingualism was being talked about, not just in research, but in the lived experiences of people around the world. As editors, we both noticed that there was increasing interest in multilingualism in education – we refer to this new trend as the multilingual turn in languages education. We use languages in the plural to show that we are thinking about individuals’ whole language repertoires as resources for teaching and learning, not just the ‘target language’ of teaching.

A new era has started – Multilingual Matters setting the agenda

Our new book offers an invitation, including some guidelines and ideas, for teachers, researchers and policymakers to consider multilingualism in a new light as a key item on their agenda. The ideas underpinning the book began to be discussed around 20-30 years ago, when some authors started to recognise that monolingual language practices in schools can disadvantage many learners. During that period, Multilingual Matters was founded in 1976 and has since played an important role in influencing and shaping what people in their different spheres, including ourselves, talk about and what they deem important, i.e. what goes on the agenda.

The multilingual turn: ideology, theory, pedagogy

While the multilingual turn offers many opportunities, there are, of course, still many challenges before ideas can be put into practice in classrooms. As we and the authors in this book suggest, there are many positive ways in which this can happen. The opportunities and challenges are explored in the three parts of our book by taking into account the multiple layers of society, policy and classroom practice – all embedded in and informed by research.

First, in part one, we consider prevailing ideologies and language hierarchies, for instance about which languages have status and are therefore seen as useful, which languages are ignored and why and what the implications may be for individuals and groups. Then, through the chapters in part two, we argue the need for a theoretical basis for multilingual approaches to education. Finally, in part three, we show, through presenting different examples of innovative classroom practice, how educators in every situation need to find their own ways of taking account of their local circumstances and their learners’ resources.

Thanks to everyone

Gabriela visiting the office

Gabriela visiting the office

We are very grateful to Multilingual Matters, and Viv Edwards (see her recent blog post here) for supporting our book project. It was a pleasure working with you all! Furthermore, we were very lucky to find authors working across the world (Australia, Greek-Cyprus, Mauritius, China, France, Germany, USA, Switzerland, UK and Europe more generally) who embraced the idea of the multilingual turn. Their contributions present research from very varied teaching contexts and cover TESOL, EAL, SLA, MFL and two-way bilingual immersion. Thanks to you all, we were even able keep to our initial timetable!

Many thanks again to all at Multilingual Matters, all our authors and everyone who contributed to this book. We hope that through this book some ideas may make it from the agenda into practice.

For further information about this book please see our website.


Celebrating 40 volumes in the New Perspectives on Language and Education series

28 August 2014

The Multilingual Turn in Languages EducationThe publication of The Multilingual Turn in Languages Education edited by Jean Conteh and Gabriela Meier this month marks the 40th volume of our New Perspectives on Language and Education series. Here, the series editor Viv Edwards writes about how the series has evolved over the years.

The titles that form part of the New Perspectives on Language and Education series tend to cluster around three main themes – English as an international language, modern language teaching and multilingual education, with a host of other issues hovering around the edges that refuse to be pigeonholed in this way.

Identifying and disseminating new perspectives on ‘big’ topics like these requires Janus-like qualities. On the one hand, you need to recognize proposals which, while resonating with issues that you know are trending, hold the promise of taking things a few steps forward, not simply being more of the same. On the other hand, you need to be prepared to take risks: is this something new and original with the potential to make people rethink long-held assumptions? As Multilingual Matters prepares to publish the 40th title in the series, this seems a good time to offer my own particular take as editor.

NPLE coversHot topics

Looking first at the new and original, NPLE has a proud record. In terms of ‘hot topics’, Testing the Untestable in Language Education, edited by Amos Paran and Lies Sercu, and Joel Bloch’s book on Plagiarism, Intellectual Property and the Teaching of L2 Writing have made important contributions to debates in two fiercely contested areas, while Andrey Rosowsky’s Heavenly Readings focuses on literacy practices associated with Islam, an issue which has received remarkably little attention to date. The quality of the contribution made by any individual title lies, in my opinion, in its power to challenge readers to revisit and even reconsider deeply held beliefs. An excellent example is Jean-Jacques Weber’s Flexible Multilingual Education, which controversially places the needs and interests of children above the more customary approach which focuses on individual languages.

NPLE covers 2

In the case of topics such as English as an international language, it is possible to argue that the impact of NPLE titles is cumulative. Let’s take some recent additions to the list that specifically set out to bridge the gap between theoretical discussion and practical concerns: Aya Matsuda’s edited collection Principles and Practices of Teaching English as an International Language and Julia Hüttner and colleagues’ Theory and Practice in EFL Teacher Education. In the case of Julia Menard Warwick’s English Language Teachers on the Discursive Faultlines the focus is on different constituencies and stakeholders as she compares controversies around English as a global language with similar tensions surrounding programmes for immigrants.

 

NPLE covers 3

Another interesting cluster of titles concerns innovations in pedagogy and the management of multilingual classrooms. Take, for instance, Managing Diversity in Education, edited by David Little and colleagues; Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Classrooms where Jennifer Miller and colleagues explore new dilemmas for teachers; and Kathy Mills’ The Multiliteracies Classroom. The 40th and most recent addition to the NPLE list, Jean Conteh and Gabriela Meier’s The Multilingual Turn in Languages Education is a welcome addition to a strand of scholarship helping to develop a clearer understanding of classroom challenges.

Politics

Books such as these are underpinned by important political questions. In other examples, however, the political theme is even more clearly foregrounded. Particular personal favourites include The Politics of Language Education, edited by Charles Alderson which, with the value of hindsight, looks at the institutional manoeuvres that shape projects charged with innovation and change; Maryam Borjian’s English in Post-Revolutionary Iran, which chronicles the changing attitudes to English teaching and qualifies as the only academic book I have ever read which could be described as a page turner; and Desiring TESOL and International Education by Raqib Chowdhury and Phan Le Ha, which raises uncomfortable issues of market abuse and exploitation.

NPLE covers 4

Innovative methods

Innovations covered by NPLE authors go beyond pedagogy and policy to include new approaches to data analysis. Roger Barnard and colleagues have been responsible for a trilogy of highly original edited collections: Creating Classroom Communities of Learning, Codeswitching in University English-Medium Classes and Researching Language Teacher Cognition and Practice. Each of these edited collections aims to promote dialogue around a particular theme by inviting a second researcher to interpret the same data, or to comment on the approach of the first author.

NPLE covers 5

Updating classics

Occasionally we have the opportunity of updating important works by major international authors. A case in point is the second edition of Gordon Wells’ ground breaking The Meaning Makers which sets the findings of the original study of language and literacy development at home and school in the context of recent research in the sociocultural tradition, also drawing on new examples of effective teaching from the author’s collaborative research with teachers. Another good example is Sociolinguistics and Language Education, edited by Nancy Hornberger and Sandra Lee McKay, a state-of-the-art overview of changes in the global situation and the continuing evolution of the field.NPLE covers 7

Think globally, act locally

While decisions about what to take forward have to be commercially sound, Multilingual Matters values coverage not only of global interest but also takes pride in showcasing more local issues. Obvious examples of this include Lynda Pritchard Newcombe’s case study of Social Context and Fluency in L2 Learners in Wales; Anne Pitkänen-Huhta and Lars Holm’s edited volume on Literacy Practices in Transition, which showcases perspectives from the Nordic counties; and Minority Populations in Canadian Second Language Education edited by Katy Arnett and Callie Mady.

NPLE covers 8

A personal coda

As someone who has worked for longer than I care to remember with both large international publishing houses and Multilingual Matters, one of the last of a vanishing breed of small independents, it seems fitting to end on a personal note. Many readers of this blog will be aware that it is now just over a year since the death of Mike Grover, who together with his wife Marjukka, founded Multilingual Matters over three decades ago. Their finest legacy, embodied in their son Tommi and his current team, is the company’s continued openness to the new, the innovative and even, very occasionally, the quirky. Those of us privileged to work as editors and authors with Multilingual Matters appreciate the opportunity to develop a personal relationship with knowledgeable and committed individuals rather than anonymous, corporate players. Long may this last!


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