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Language in the Academy Cultural Reflexivity and Intercultural Dynamics Author: Joan Turner

Paperback - 232 pages
01 Dec 2010
Multilingual Matters
210 x 148 (A5)


This book takes a critical look at why issues of language in higher education are routinely marginalised, despite the growing internationalisation of universities. It locates the construction of rhetorical norms and values for academic writing within wider cultural practices and power relations, and observes the transformative dynamic of intercultural communication in the contemporary western academy.


This is a stimulating and timely book which puts language as 'cultural object' at the heart of debates about the nature and purpose of higher education in the twenty first century. Drawing on extensive scholarship and many years of teaching in UK higher education, Joan Turner turns our gaze towards the taken-for-granted assumptions about language in the academy, not least in the contemporary context of ‘intercultural communication’, and calls for greater reflexivity about the practices in which we- as scholars, teachers and students- engage. This book will promote much needed discussion about assumptions and ideologies surrounding language use in the academy.
Theresa Lillis, The Open University, UK

This transformative treatment of the complex factors affecting language in higher education is an essential contribution to the growing field of intercultural and transnational communication. Resisting deficit discourses about students’ language and entrenched “language vs. content” dichotomies, it provokes critical reflection on the role of longstanding invisible occidental assumptions and worldviews about language that permeate our assessments, pedagogy, and teaching. Drawing brilliantly from both classic and contemporary theory, Turner reinscribes language into the complex process of knowledge-making in the daily intercultural exchanges that are the mainstream of today’s shifting university language interactions.
Christiane Donahue, Dartmouth College, USA

Given the rapid growth in numbers of South-East Asian students in universities in New Zealand, the examination of assumptions about
university language which Turner’s book offers is very valuable. It is likely to be of interest to writing teachers and EAP practitioners as well
as tertiary teachers of international students more generally. The book provides a fascinating discussion of the nature of modern
academic language.
Christine Biebricher, The University of Auckland in New Zealand Studies in Applied Linguistics, Volume 18 (1) 2012

Author Biography:

Joan Turner is a Senior Lecturer and Director of the Centre for Language and Academic Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London. She has worked extensively with international students as they familiarise themselves with the demands of UK academic culture, as well as with home students getting to grips with academic writing. Her research interrogates the context of operation for this work. She has published in the fields of Academic Literacies, Conceptual Metaphor, Cross-cultural pragmatics, English for Academic Purposes, Higher Education, Intercultural Communication, and Writing Research.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate Research / Professional

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