AAAL 2023: Pre-conference Workshops

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Doing Applied Linguistics through Southern Epistemologies: Affordances and Challenges

Researching L2 Pragmatics Across Contexts


Doing Applied Linguistics through Southern Epistemologies: Affordances and Challenges

Workshop Abstract

In this workshop, using material drawn from the Virtual Global Forum, participants will engage with the following content:

  1. Philosophical accounts of Southern epistemologies by several philosophers, including Molefi Asante (2007), Boaventura de Sousa Santos and Meneses (2020), and Jean Comaroff and Jane Gordon (2022), who write from outside Applied Linguistics. Participants will become cognizant of the current on-going interdisciplinary discussions within the intellectual approach of Southern Epistemologies.
  2. Southernizing approaches to language, including the work of Pennycook and Makoni (2020); Deumert and Makoni (Under review); and Makoni, Kaiper-Marquez, and Mokwena (2022). Participants will discuss ways to (un)do Applied Linguistics by “applying” the lens of Southernizing Applied Linguistics.
  3. Methodological (un)doing of “collecting data” versus “creating artifacts.” By analyzing the work of Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Kathryn Mara, Katrina Daly Thompson, as well as the research conducted by the facilitators of this workshop, the politics of scholarship and the ethics of autoethnography will be tackled. Participants will share contextualized examples regarding the IRB protocols, their views on anonymity in research, and the politics of publishing.  Additionally, the role of collaborative brokerage of knowledge in research will be discussed (Heugh et al, 2021).
  4. Potentially negative effects of teaching linguistics to undergraduate students: an evaluation of Nick Riemer’s (2020) arguments. Participants will debate what to teach when Southernizing applied linguistics so that students adopt a potential epistemological and ontological approach to problems.Before participating in the workshop each participant will watch at least one full length Virtual Global Forum video on the Forum website and read at least one chapter from the edited volumes 1 or 4 on Decolonial Voices.

To read the full Workshop Abstract, please click here.

Workshop Presenters


Sinfree Makoni, Pennsylvania State University and Alissa Hartig, Portland State University

Sinfree Makoni was born in Zimbabwe. He holds a BA in English (Hons) with a specialty in Linguistics from the University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, and a PhD in Applied Linguistics from Edinburgh University, Scotland. He taught at several universities in southern Africa, notably the University of the Western Cape, Bellville, and University of Cape Town. He was a postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Afro-American Studies at the University of Michigan. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Applied Linguistics and the African Studies Program at Pennsylvania State University, Extraordinary Professor at University of the Western Cape and North-West University, and a Visiting Professor at Nelson Mandela University. He was a Carnegie Diaspora Fellow at Laikipia University, Kenya. He has published extensively in the areas of Language and Aging, Language and Security, Language Policy and Planning, Southern Epistemologies, and Decoloniality. He has published 120 articles and book chapters and is Director of African Studies, at Pennsylvania State University. He has edited/authored over 15 books. His most recent publications include Innovations and Challenges to Applied Linguistics from the Global South (co-authored with A. Pennycook; London and New York: Routledge Press, 2020); Integrational Linguistics and Philosophy of Language in the Global South (S. Makoni, D. Verity, & A. Kaiper-Marquez, eds.; London and New York: Routledge Press, 2021); The Languaging of Higher Education in the Global South: De-Colonizing the Language of Scholarship and Pedagogy (S. Makoni, C. Severo, A. Abdelhay & A. Kaiper-Marquez, eds.; London and New York: Routledge Press, 2022); Language in the Global Souths S. Makoni, A., Kaiper-Marquez, & L. Mokwena, eds., London and New York: Routledge Press, 2022); and Decolonial Voices, Language and Race (S. Makoni, M. Madany-Saa, B. Antia, & R. Gomez, eds., Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters, 2022). Antia, B, & S. Makoni (eds) Southernizing Sociolinguistics; London & New York: Routledge Press, 2022. He is the architect of the African Studies Global Forum, which seeks to engage scholars in both the Global and and Global South, and the co-editor of the new Multilingual Matters book series Global Forum on Southern Epistemologies. He currently serves as co-editor of the Journal of Applied Linguistics.

Alissa Hartig, Portland State University

Alissa Hartig is an Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics at Portland State University (USA). Alissa is a scholar from the Global North who is interested in the implications of Southernizing applied linguistics for Northern scholars, both as researchers and as mentors of future applied linguists.

Chanel van der Merwe, Nelson Mandela University

Chanel van der Merwe is a Lecturer in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics at Nelson Mandela University, and a PhD candidate at University of Cape Town. She is a recipient of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, and has also received funding from the National Research Foundation (South Africa), and National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (South Africa) for her postgraduate studies. Her research interests include the African university, language policy, multilingualism, feminist and southern epistemologies.

Magdalena Madany, Pennsylvania State University

Magdalena holds a BA degree in Spanish Philology from Warsaw University, Poland; MA degree in Latin American Studies from Universidad Andina Simon Bolivar, Ecuador; and currently is a PhD candidate at the Pennsylvania State University, US.
Magdalena has been an English teacher educator for over 25 years. She worked in Ecuador between 2004 and 2016 for a transnational educational company, Pearson, training in-service English teachers and managing several educational projects for the Ministry of Education and Senescyt. Nowadays she is based in State College, Pennsylvania. Apart from the PhD research, Magdalena works as a TESL instructor in the College of Education at the Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests are language policy, translanguaging and decolonial pedagogy. Magdalena is a Polish citizen, and a resident in both Ecuador and the US. She translanguages between Polish, Spanish, and English. 


Researching L2 Pragmatics Across Contexts

Workshop Abstract

If we subscribe to Michael Tomasello’s assertion that “Without pragmatics and communicative intentions, it’s all just noise” (2000, p. 411), then research on teaching, learning, and assessing L2 pragmatics deserves a fair amount of attention. Pragmatics is a constellation of various phenomena, such as routine formulae, implicatures, discourse markers, address forms, speech acts, and humor, which need to be understood and applied appropriately in various communicative contexts vis-a-vis different interlocutors (Cohen, 2018; Taguchi & Ishihara, 2018). Pragmatic norms (i.e., what is and is not appropriate in given communicative contexts) differ greatly across languages and cultures (Kecskes 2017; Blum-Kulka & Olshtain, 1984). However, in the increasingly globalized and technicized world what is “pragmatically appropriate” becomes even more variable and ephemeral, and, importantly, locally negotiated and constructed. 

In the first portion of this one-day workshop, we will collaboratively define important terms and constructs within pragmatics, such as pragmatic competence, interactional competence, discursive pragmatics, and pragmatics of lingua franca interactions.  We will examine these terms and constructs from both theoretical and language teaching perspectives. The second portion of the workshop will focus on considering multiple ways to collect and analyze pragmatics data (e.g., written and oral discourse completion tasks, role-plays, as well as emails, simulations, and other technology-enhanced tasks). In a jigsaw format, participants in small groups will record data, transcribe, and analyze it for the purpose of either researching or teaching pragmatics. The groups will then compare their data and analyses, and discuss the various advantages and disadvantages relative to specific purposes (e.g., teaching, research, and assessment) and contexts (academic, workplace, and lingua franca interactions). As research on pragmatics with young learners has become more prominent in recent years, we will also discuss potential differences between pragmatics data collected from adults and data from young language learners.

The main takeaway for workshop participants will be a profound understanding of the possibilities and opportunities for collecting and analyzing pragmatics data.

Workshop Presenters

Veronika Timpe-Laughlin, Educational Testing Service

Veronika Timpe-Laughlin is a research scientist in the Center for Language Education and Assessment Research at Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton, NJ. She holds a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics/TESOL, an M.A. Ed. in teaching English and German from TU Dortmund University (Germany), as well as an M.A. degree in Language Testing from Lancaster University (UK). Veronika began her career as an English and German teacher in Germany and Mexico before joining the teacher education faculty at TU Dortmund University in 2009. After training teachers for four years, Veronika accepted the job at ETS in 2013 where she has mainly worked in L2 pragmatics, technology-mediated language learning, young language learners, and task-based language teaching and assessment. She has developed technology-mediated learning environments for L2 pragmatics teaching and published widely on the learning and assessment of L2 pragmatics. Most recently, her work was published in Intercultural Pragmatics, Computer Assisted Language Learning, Journal of Pragmatics, and System.

Judit Dombi, University of Pécs, Hungary

Judit Dombi (Ph.D., dr. habil., University of Pécs, Hungary) is an Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Pécs, Hungary, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in linguistics, and is also involved in language teacher training. Her fields of interest include theoretical and applied aspects of pragmatics in intercultural and lingua franca (ELF) contexts. Her research has focused on uses of English as a lingua franca, the communicative functions of directness and indirectness in interaction, communication asymmetries, and most recently, interactional characteristics of human-to-machine talk. Her recent work is published in Intercultural Pragmatics, Applied Pragmatics, Computer Assisted Language Learning and Journal of Pragmatics.

Tetyana Sydorenko, Portland State University

Tetyana Sydorenko is an Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics at Portland State University. She received her Ph.D. in Second Language Studies from Michigan State University and her M.A. in Linguistics from Eastern Michigan University. Within the broad area of Second Language Acquisition, she specializes in pragmatics and technology-assisted language learning. Tetyana’s recent work includes research on spoken dialog systems and simulations, augmented reality, and multimodal input, and it appeared in The Modern Language Journal, TESOL Quarterly, Language Learning & Technology, Computer Assisted Language Learning, and Journal of Pragmatics. Tetyana is passionate about building connections between researchers, language practitioners, and technology experts to ensure that technological innovations are informed by SLA theories and curricular and learner goals.


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