Richard F. Young

Position title: Professor


7163 Helen C. White Hall

Applied linguistics, second language acquisition, sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, oral language assessment, discursive practice, classroom discourse
Richard F. Young

Degrees and Institutions

  • B.A., Oxford University 1973
  • M.A., Oxford University, 1975
  • M.A., University of Reading, 1977
  • Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 1989

Selected Publications

Personal Statement

I try to understand the features of communication in face-to-face interactions and relate them to the social and political context of interaction.

Recent Books

  • Young, Richard F. Discursive Practice in Language Learning and Teaching. Blackwell, 2009. Print.

    Discursive Practice is a theory of the linguistic and socio-cultural characteristics of recurring episodes of face-to-face interaction; episodes that have social and cultural significance to a community of speakers. This book examines the discursive practice approach to language-in-interaction, explicating the consequences of grounding language use and language learning in a view of social realities as discursively constructed, of meanings as negotiated through interaction, of the context-bound nature of discourse, and of discourse as social action. The book also addresses how participants’ abilities in a specific discursive practice may be learned, taught, and assessed.

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  • Young, Richard F. Language and Interaction: An Advanced Resource Book. Routledge, 2008. Print.

    Language and Interaction brings together essential readings in anthropology, discourse studies and sociology in order to introduce key concepts in language and social interaction and to describe how individuals develop skills in social interaction andcreate identities through their use of language.

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  • (Co-editor), Agnes Weiyun He, Eds., and Richard F. Young (Co-editor). Talking and Testing: Discourse Approaches to the Assessment of Oral Proficiency. John Benjamins, 1998. Print.

    This book brings together a collection of current research on the assessment of oral proficiency in a second language. Fourteen chapters focus on the use of the language proficiency interview or LPI to assess oral proficiency. The volume addresses the central issue of validity in proficiency assessment: the ways in which the language proficiency interview is accomplished through discourse. Contributors draw on a variety of discourse perspectives, including the ethnography of speaking, conversation analysis, language socialization theory, sociolinguistic variation theory, human interaction research, and systemic functional linguistics. And for the first time, LPIs conducted in German, Korean, and Spanish are examined as well as interviews in English. This book sheds light on such important issues as how speaking ability can be defined independently of an LPI that is designed to assess it and the extent to which an LPI is an authentic representation of ordinary conversation in the target language. It will be of considerable interest to language testers, discourse analysts, second language acquisition researchers, foreign language specialists, and anyone concerned with proficiency issues in language teaching and testing.

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  • Young, Richard F. Variation in Interlanguage Morphology. Peter Lang, 1991. Print.

    “Young’s study is an important contribution to our understanding of the nature of learner speech and the role of variation in SLA.” (Robert Bayley, University of Texas, San Antonio) –Studies in Second Language Acquisition, September 1993

    “Young is successful in highlighting some of the major issues in L2 research and in presenting the problems inherent in interlanguage variation research.” (Susan Braidi, Arizona State University) –Language Learning, December 1992

    “As one who is interested in linguistic variation and second-language acquisition, I found that this book explores important issues, and invites further research and discussion.” (James Walker, University of Toronto) –Language, March 1993

    “The volume is of great benefit for linguists and people interested or involved in second language teaching.” (Yousef Bader, Yarmouk University) –IRAL: International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, August 1993

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