The Folk Linguistics of Language Teaching and Learning

  • Michael D. PasqualeEmail author
  • Dennis R. Preston
Part of the Second Language Learning and Teaching book series (SLLT)


This chapter reports on an ongoing ethnographic study of folk beliefs about language teaching and learning among 108 teachers and learners of nine languages at secondary and university levels in the United States. Folk linguistics (e.g. Niedzielski and Preston 2003) emphasizes, among other things, the need for an understanding of beliefs in all areas of applied linguistics, suggesting that intervention is always improved when language professionals know the often strongly held beliefs of non-linguists and the folk theories that underlie such beliefs. Scholars such as Kalaja (2003) have pointed to the need for such research in language teaching and learning in particular. After these data were acquired, we prepared a topical outline and developed a taxonomy based on it. The details of that taxonomy with sample interpretations of respondent comment are the main focus of this chapter. The major factors discussed by the respondents were categorized as: (1) psycholinguistic, (2) structural linguistic, (3) instructional, and (4) rationales and outcomes. We believe this macrotaxonomy reflects actual concerns and beliefs teachers and students hold and are ones most deserving of more detailed investigation.


Foreign Language Language Teaching Language Teacher Discourse Marker Applied Linguistic 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cornerstone UniversityGrand RapidsUS
  2. 2.Oklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUS

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