Foundations of applied linguistics

Responsible design in applied linguistics: theory and practice


Offers a unique systematic account of the discipline of applied linguistics.
No mere history of applied linguistics, this volume presents a framework for interpreting the development of applied linguistics as a discipline. The framework of design principles it proposes not only helps to explain the historical development of applied linguistics, but also provides a potential justification for solutions to language problems. It presents us with nothing less than an emerging theory of applied linguistics.

“… the systematic historical account that reveals the different conceptual emphases throughout the history of applied linguistics, and the many biases in our designs make it a useful resource for applied linguistic newcomers and learners. While this is by no means an introductory book to applied linguistics, it provides comprehensive and easy to understand insight into the history of the discipline, while also instilling critical thinking and responsible ideas that will help them as future practitioners of the field.

“… appropriate for both personal and academic use in the syllabus of an applied linguistics course in a higher education institution as part of the reading material.

Universidad de Chile

Link to the full review

Also read: Is a theory of applied linguistics necessary?

Link to Springer book.

Beyond expression: A systematic study of the foundations of linguistics


This is a book about foundational concepts in linguistics – linguistic “primitives” – that underlie all linguistic theorising.

combines_conciseness_and comprehensiveness

The analysis begins by considering the expressive character of language, and the various material lingual spheres in which we use language. Then it systematically surveys various elementary linguistic concepts.

The focus subsequently shifts to linguistic conceptualisation that goes “beyond expression”, to consider how we make sense of language in its social context by using notions such as communication, discourse, text and acceptability.

pdf4  Free download: Beyond expression by Albert Weideman


” I know of nothing to rival its penetrating critique of linguistics … The book is worth reading for its evaluation of Chomsky alone.”
–Colin Yallop (2010) in Per Linguam 26(1): 114-115. Free download at:

“… an integrative view …” –Willfred Greyling, former Head of the Department of English and Classical Languages, University of the Free State.

… unveils a domain of reflection that is relevant to every single academic subject.”
–Danie Strauss (2010), Journal for Christian Scholarship 46(1&2).

“… beautifully written and superbly clear…”
–Kerry Hollingsworth, Reformational Publishing Project.

A framework for the study of linguistics


An invitation to those entering the discipline to become intrigued by things lingual.

The framework allows young scholars entering the field to gain an understanding of why and how the discipline is academically sustainable, a perspective that is likely to be useful beyond the shifts in linguistic paradigms that they will no doubt experience in their academic lifetimes.

pdf4  Request the PowerPoint presentation from Albert Weideman



pdf4  Straddling three disciplines: Foundational questions for a language department

Straddling_three_disciplines_Foundational questions

Language departments sometimes erroneously refer to themselves as ‘disciplines’. Yet even the most rudimentary scrutiny will reveal that they often harbour more than one academic field …


Applied linguistics has, since its inception, been a discipline in
crisis. It has always been torn between technocracy and revolution  How can this stark choice be negotiated?  

The argument here: a foundational perspective serves to identify the source of the dilemma.

pdf4  Request the PowerPoint presentation from the author.

Technical_fantasy_vs_analytical knowledge

My top articles on the foundations of applied linguistics


pdf4  Degrees of adequacy: the disclosure of levels of validity in language assessment. Koers: Bulletin for Christian Scholarship 84(1).: 1-15. DOI: 10.19108/KOERS.84.1.2451.

pdf4  Validation and the further disclosures of language test design. Koers: Bulletin for Christian Scholarship 84(1): 1-10. DOI: 10.19108/KOERS.84.1.2452.


pdf4 Is die toegepaste linguistiek ‘n onderdeel van die linguistiek? Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe 57(1): 137-153. DOI: 10.17159/2224-7912/2017/v57n1a11.
fulltext_open_medium Abstract of 776 words in English: Is applied linguistics part of linguistics? ]


 pdf4 Autoetnography_and_the_presentation_of_belief in scholarly_work.
Journal for Christian Scholarship 51(3): 125-141.

pdf4 Uneasy lies the head: poststructuralism in the midst of paradigm contestation in applied linguistics.
Koers 80 (4): 1-7.


pdf4 Innovation and reciprocity in applied linguistics. Literator 35(1):1-10.


Positivism and postpositivism in applied linguistics. In C.A. Chapelle (ed.). The encyclopedia of applied linguistics Vol. 7, pp. 4479-4485. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
DOI: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal0920.


pdf4 Applied linguistics beyond postmodernism  Acta Academica 45(4): 236-255.
Author’s comments 2016/04/25:

  1. This article contains an update of “Five generations of applied linguistics” published in 1999. We now identify seven generations.
  2. A keynote address with the same title was delivered at the 2011 ABLA Day:  Applied Linguistics: Bridge-builder in a Globalised World, Antwerpen, 10 Dec. 2011.


pdf4 Constitutive and regulative conditions for the assessment of academic literacy. Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 27(3): 235-251. DOI: 10.2989/SALALS.2009.


pdf4 Towards a responsible agenda for applied linguistics: confessions of a philosopher. Per Linguam 23(2): 29-53. DOI:


pdf4 The redefinition of applied linguistics: modernist and postmodernist views. Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 25(4): 589-605.


pdf4 Transparency and accountability in applied linguistics. Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 24(1): 71-86. DOI10.2989/16073610609486407


pdf4 Towards accountability: a point of orientation for post-modern applied linguistics in the third millennium. Literator 24(1): 1-20.


pdf4 * Five generations of applied linguistics: some framework issues. Acta Academica 31(1): 77-98.

[* Author’s comment 2016: See the updated history in the 2013 article, Applied linguistics beyond postmodernism]:

Seven generations of applied linguistics

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