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Hawai‘i Imin International Conference Center
University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawai‘i

17th International Conference on Pragmatics & Language Learning


Steven Talmy, University of British Columbia


The critical applied linguistics literature is more robust and methodologically diverse than ever, with notable developments in recent years in critical literacies research, critical and feminist pedagogies, critical ethnography, and participatory action research, to name a few. Critically-oriented research on language-in-use is also well-represented, perhaps most notably in the influential literature on critical discourse analysis. Despite these developments, a recurrent criticism of some empirical critical applied linguistics research, including critical discourse analysis, is that analytic claims tend not to be as rigorously or systematically grounded, and thus, as warranted, as they could be. This has led detractors to assert that critical studies at times reveal more about researchers' politics than how the putative objects of study e.g., racism, sexism, hegemony, inequality are locally occasioned.

In part to address this issue, I explore in this paper ways that pragmatics and related fields can be recruited for a critical study of language education. Using discourse analysis of classroom interactional data from high school ESL classes in Hawai'i, I examine linguicism, or language prejudice, in social interactions involving oldtimer "Local ESL" students and their newcomer peers. I situate the linguicism among these students in sociohistorical context, discuss how it reproduced particular (language) ideologies about ESL in North America, and consider ways that it resulted in the recursive production of social orders within the high school ESL program that were evident outside it.


Steven Talmy is an assistant professor in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia. He graduated in 2005 with a Ph.D. in Second Language Acquisition from the Department of Second Language Studies at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. His research interests include critical analyses of discourse, sociolinguistics, K-12 ESL, and qualitative research.


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