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Issues in Applied Linguistics

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Defining Our Field: Unity in Diversity


Six months ago, in our inaugural issue, Issues in Applied Linguistics called for responses from our readers to two questions: What is applied linguistics? What should applied linguistics be? We were motivated to pose these fundamental questions as founders of a new journal in an emerging field, whose own graduate program in applied linguistics was in the process of becoming an independent department. This transition has raised important issues concerning our academic identity and research agendafor the future, not only for ourselves but for the larger academic community with whom we interact and exchange expertise. Fourteen replies were received in response to our questions from graduate students and researchers in the U.S. and from as far away as Brasil, Finland, Romania, and Israel. In addition to geographical diversity, the respondents represent various departmental affiliations, including sociology, Germanic languages, English, health services, linguistics, psycholinguistics brainresearch,and applied linguistics. Moreover,the views expressed in the contributions not only reflect different ways of approaclUng the questions, they embody many of the current emphases encompassed by our interdisciplinary field. Roundtable possible. lAL would like to thank all the contributors for helping make this

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