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Richard F Young's website

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bulletSelected Publications
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bulletUnpublished Research


Work Information

Professor in English Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition

Department of English, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Selected Publications


Book cover of Discursive Practice

R. F. Young. (2009). Discursive practice in language learning and teaching. Malden MA, & Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

“This volume offers an extremely useful state-of-the-art survey of essential research in applied linguistics and discourse studies with which every language teacher should become familiar.” — Claire Kramsch, University of California, Berkeley

Read more here.

Book cover of Language and Interaction

R. F. Young. (2008). Language and interaction: An advanced resource book. London & New York: Routledge.

“This book provides an excellent, comprehensive resource for teaching degree programmes in the fields of language, social interaction and human communication. The discussion is always extremely clear and there is a very broad coverage of relevant issues, approaches and methodologies. The discussion is complemented by a range of readings, data, exercises and tasks, making the book also very suitable for self-study.” — Paul Seedhouse, Newcastle University, UK 

Read more here.

Book cover of Talking and Testing

R. Young & A. W. He (Eds.). (1998). Talking and testing: Discourse approaches to the assessment of oral proficiency. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins.

“A significant contribution of the book is that it provides a description of the language of L[anguage] P[roficiency] I[nterviews] that goes beyond the articulated objectives of the tests. This description leads to a better understanding of LPIs as tests and texts.” — Kathleen Bardovi-Harlig, Indiana University

Read more here.

Book cover of Variation in Interlanguage Morphology

R. Young. (1991). Variation in interlanguage morphology. New York: Peter Lang.

This major contribution to SLA theory examines the question of the systematicity of learners’ language. Young proposes a new descriptive model for handling what other investigators had claimed to be random variation in performance and he tests the model on plural inflections in the spoken English interlanguage of Chinese learners.

Read more here.

Selected Articles and Chapters

Hulstijn, J. H., Young, R. F., Ortega, L., Bigelow, M., DeKeyser, R., Ellis, N. C., et al. (2014). Bridging the gap: Cognitive and social approaches to research in second language learning and teaching. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 36(3), 361-421. doi: 10.1017/S0272263114000035

R. F. Young & A. C. Astarita. (2013). Practice theory in language learning. Language Learning, 63(Supplement 1), 171-189. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9922.2012.00743.x.

R. F. Young. (2012). Social dimensions of language testing. In G. Fulcher & F. Davidson (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of language testing (pp. 178-193). Abingdon, UK & New York: Routledge.

R. F. Young. (2011). Interactional competence in language learning, teaching, and testing. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Handbook of research in second language teaching and learning (Vol. 2, pp. 426-443). London & New York: Routledge.

P. Garrett & R. F. Young. (2009). Theorizing affect in foreign language learning: An analysis of one learner's responses to a communicative-based Portuguese course. The Modern Language Journal, 93(2), 209–226.

R. F. Young. (2008). English and identity in Asia Asiatic, 2(2), 1–13.

R. F. Young. (2008). Second language acquisition as changing participation. In G. Bernini, L. Spreafico & A. Valentini (Eds.), Competenze lessicali e discorsive nell’acquisizione di lingue seconde: Atti del convegno-seminario Bergamo, 8–10 giugno 2006 (pp. 407–435). Perugia: Guerra Edizioni.

R. F. Young. (2007). Language learning and teaching as discursive practice. In Z. Hua, P. Seedhouse, W. Li, & V. Cook (Eds.), Language learning and teaching as social inter-action (pp. 251–271). Basingstoke, UK & New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

R. F. Young & E. R. Miller. (2004). Learning as changing participation: Discourse roles in ESL writing conferences. The Modern Language Journal, 88(4), 519–535.

R. F. Young & J. Lee. (2004). Identifying units in interaction: Reactive tokens in Korean and English conversations. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 8(3), 380–407.

R. F. Young & H. T. Nguyen. (2002). Modes of meaning in high school science. Applied Linguistics, 23(3), 348–372.

R. F. Young. (2002). Discourse approaches to oral language assessment. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 22, 243–262.

R. Young. (1999). Sociolinguistic approaches to SLA. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 19, 105–132.

A. W. He & R. Young. (1998). Language proficiency interviews: A discourse approach.  In R. Young & A. W. He (Eds.), Talking and testing: Discourse approaches to the assessment of oral proficiency (pp. 1–24). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins.

R. Young & G. B. Halleck. (1998). “Let them eat cake!” or how to avoid losing your head in cross-cultural conversations.  In R. Young & A. W. He (Eds.), Talking and testing: Discourse approaches to the assessment of oral proficiency (pp. 355–382). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins.

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Contact Information

University of Wisconsin-Madison
Department of English
600 North Park Street
Madison, WI 53706

Email: rfyoung at wisc dot edu

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Unpublished Research

SLA: What's language got to do with it?

bullet This is a multimedia version of a plenary I gave at the 2010 Second Language Acquisition Graduate Student Symposium co-hosted by the University of Iowa and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I make the case that the study of SLA has been needlessly limited by linguistics. Instead, studying nonlinguistic semiotic systems gives us unexpected insights into bilingual cognition and learner language. These systems include the positioning of bodies in space, gaze and facial expressions and, in particular, gestural movement of the hands and arms.

Discursive Practice in Language Learning and Teaching

bullet In this multimedia version of a plenary I gave at the 2010 AAAL conference in Atlanta, I distinguish between practice and records of practice. I argue that the technology of recording has blinded researchers to the multimodal semiotics of practice and that practice is inseparable from context. I conclude with an example of concept-based instruction as a means of teaching and learning discursive practice.

The Entextualization of Talk

bullet I presented this paper in 2001 at a joint AAAL/LTRC symposium on “Defining and Assessing Speaking Ability” in St Louis, Missouri, I show how, in the discursive practice of assessment, speaking ability becomes a cultural object that can be evaluated, criticized, and reproduced.

Interactional Competence: Challenges for Validity

bullet I presented this paper in 2000 at a joint AAAL/LTRC symposium on “Interdisciplinary Interfaces with Language Testing” in Vancouver, British Columbia, I discuss the implications of the theory of interactional competence for the design and interpretation of language tests.
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Read my biography published in the The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics here.

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My classes in Fall 2017

Read all about it bullet

English 416: English in Society

bullet English 420: Topics in Pragmatics

Other classes I have taught

bullet English 110: Intensive ESL Grammar
bullet English 324: The Structure of English
bullet English 333: Second Language Acquisition
bullet English 334: Introduction to TESOL Methods
bullet English 336: English in Society
bullet English 420: Pragmatics
bullet English 711: Research Methods in Applied Linguistics
bullet English 713: Topics in Applied Linguistics
bullet English 715: Advanced Second Language Acquisition
bullet English 905: Seminar in Pragmatics
bullet English 905: Seminar in Interactional Competence
bullet Hauptseminar: Contrastive Rhetoric
bullet Hauptseminar: Cross-Cultural Pragmatics
bullet Hauptseminar: Introduction to Second Language Acquisition
bullet Linguistics 596 (B): Interactional Competence
bullet MAE 800: Research Methodology in Applied Linguistics
bullet MAE 824: Topics in Pragmatics
bullet Proseminar: English in Society
bullet Proseminar: World Englishes
bullet Vorlesung: Languages in Contact
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This page was last updated on Monday, January 11, 2016.