Languages for Specific Purposes in the United States in a Global Context: Commentary on Grosse and Voght (1991) Revisited

Barbara Lafford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


This introduction will provide a thematic overview of the major issues raised by Grosse and Voght (1991), "The Evolution of Languages for Specific Purposes in the United States," and the contributions in this Focus Issue that address those issues from a 2011 perspective. It will also explore contemporary (largely praxis-oriented) languages for specific purposes (LSP) in the United States within a global LSP context that has historically evidenced strong connections between theory and practice. Points of comparison between LSP practiced in the United States and abroad include the rationale for LSP, curricula/programs innovations, professional infrastructure, researchers/practitioners, theoretical bases for research, and research topics and outlets for publication. Then follows a discussion of the challenges to LSP research (e.g., establishing norms of various workplace interactions, data collection, creation of assessment tools, lack of LSP practitioners and researchers with second language acquisiton [SLA] training), and future directions for the growth of LSP as an interdiscipline in the United States and for SLA and foreign language pedagogical research that would utilize data from LSP classroom and experiential settings in both domestic and international contexts. The introduction concludes with a discussion of LSP and community service learning as preparation for the workforce and for lifelong language learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalModern Language Journal
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Jan 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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