Original Research

Towards accountability: A point of orientation for post-modern applied linguistics in the third millennium

A. Weideman
Literator | Vol 24, No 1 | a282 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v24i1.282 | © 2003 A. Weideman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 August 2003 | Published: 01 August 2003

About the author(s)

A. Weideman, Unit for Language Skills Development, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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In this article three difficulties in dealing with post-modern applied linguistics are identified, and three reasons are given for taking the trouble to define this emerging tradition of doing applied linguistics. In the context of earlier analyses of the history of applied linguistics, post-modernism is identified as a sixth generation of applied linguistic work. There are overlapping and unique features in each of these traditions. The discontinuity of a post-modern approach from first generation applied linguistics is noted, as are the numerous continuities with second, fourth, fifth and especially third generation work. These continuities go a long way towards characterising post-modern applied linguistics, yet are not sufficient to define it exhaustively. The biggest difficulty with such a characterisation appears to be a divergence within a post-modern approach. What holds this latest tradition together is the seriousness with which it deals with accountability, and in that lies, at present, its defining characteristic. Wherever one locates one’s work, in earlier or in current traditions within applied linguistics, the premiss must always be to do these labours with integrity. Perhaps the latest trend towards an accountable applied linguistics has contributed more than any previous tradition to make us sensitive to this responsibility.


Accountability; Applied Linguistics; History; Post-Modern


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