Reflect, revisit, reimagine: Conversations on 40 years of ARAL


The purpose of the Annual Review of Applied Linguistics (ARAL) is to focus annually on one critical topic in applied linguistics. Since its inception in 1980, ARAL has published research on new and enduring topics in the field and provided both depth and breadth on the issues as they emerge.

This colloquium examines five major topics in ARAL over the past 40 years – assessment, language policy, language research methods, the multilingual turn, and translanguaging - that represent both ongoing areas of focus and new critical approaches to applied linguistics research. Taking a simultaneously reflective and re-imaginative stance, participants, each of whom has published in ARAL in this area, examine how these topics have flourished and broadened perspectives across the field. Each talk reflects briefly on the history of the topic within both ARAL and the field at large; revisits controversies and areas of growth over the past 40 years; and finally reimagines and predicts where the topic might be headed in the next decade and beyond. The symposium will include a discussant and time for audience input and reflection.

Assessment and ARAL: An historical perspective
Carol Chapelle, Iowa State University

The articles in ARAL provide a window on language testing and assessment as well as its integral connection to other areas of applied linguistics.  Threads from the past, for instance, defining language constructs, new approaches for test tasks, reliability and validity investigation, test use and policy implications, will persist and expand in the future.

Language policy and planning
Nancy Hornberger, University of Pennsylvania

Tracing the field of language policy and planning (LPP) from origins in the 1960s to the current boom in ethnographic LPP research, I highlight how the perennial policy-practice gap is given nuance through exploration of the dynamics of top-down/bottom-up activities, monoglossic/heteroglossic ideologies, potential/actual (in)equalities, and critical/ transformative research paradigms in LPP.

Longitudinal research in language learning: Looking back, moving ahead
Lourdes Ortega, Georgetown University

Language learning is a complex process that happens through and over time. I survey longitudinal research published since Ortega and Iberri-Shea (2008), inspecting quantitative as well as qualitative longitudinal research questions and designs. I highlight changes in longitudinal practices since then and challenges and opportunities for the future.

What happens after the Multilingual Turn?
Li Wei, University College, London

This presentation explores what the ‘Multilingual Turn’ has done to applied linguistics worldwide, looking at theoretical, methodological and empirical work, and asks the question if we are entering a ‘post-multilingualism’ era and how applied linguistics research and policy work should respond to the new challenges in late modernity.

Translanguaging into raciolinguistic ideologies
Nelson Flores, University of Pennsylvania

In this presentation, I describe how translanguaging has offered me a point of entry for analyzing my experiences as a US Latino and equipped me with tools for speaking back to deficit perspectives of language-minoritized communities. I then trace the ways that translanguaging led me to developing a raciolinguistic perspective.