Applied Linguistics

applied linguistics

All humans use language, in one form or another. As the scientific study of human language, linguistics is almost universally relevant.

The Applied Linguistics Minor prepares students for a wide variety of fields and gives them excellent critical insight into and fluency with the world’s foremost currency. Students benefit from the minor in several ways: foreign language majors will have a better foundation for and grasp of what it means to learn another tongue; Study Abroad students will have practice conversing and working with international students as tutors and/or conversation partners; those interested in teaching can hone their skills with second language learners in the English Language Programs; and students interested in any career with an international communication component will develop strong cross-cultural sensitivities and instincts.

As an Applied Linguistics minor, you'll come to understand what human languages have in common, their relationships with and influences on societies and cultures, and a deep understanding of grammar and its meaning.

Applied Linguistics minors will cover subjects such as phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics, first and second language acquisition, and representation in the mind. Courses include:

  • Introduction to Language and Lingustics
  • Structure of the English Language
  • Intercultural Communication
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Languages of the World
  • Seminar in TESL/TEFL Methodology

Mahmoud Arani, PhD

Chair of Applied Linguistics/TESOL Department
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Ph.D. State University of New York at Buffalo
B.A. Teachers' Training University, Tehran, Iran

I am the chair of the Applied Linguistics Department (ALD) and a professor of Applied Linguistics/TESOL. My areas of research interest are in second language acquisition, reading and writing in a second language, the application of discourse/error analysis in teaching reading/writing and developing communicative instructional materials for ESL/EFL students and teacher trainers. Over the years, I have taught a variety of both graduate and undergraduate courses, including second language acquisition, grammar, discourse/error analysis, teaching reading/writing in a second language, and theory and method in teaching a second language.

I am also interested in peace and justice issues, teach a first-year seminar on peace and justice every year, and coordinate the Peace and Justice Minor Program at Saint Michael's College.

Christine Bauer-Ramazani

Instructor of TESOL
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B.A. University of Trier, Germany
M.A. University of Mainz, Germany
M.B.A. University of Vermont
M.Ed., University of Missouri

Areas of Expertise

Online learning and teaching; teacher training; teaching English as a second language; English for special purposes (business and academic); content-based and sheltered instruction

Umit Boz, PhD

Instructor of Applied Linguistics/TESOL
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Ph.D. State University of New York at Albany
M.S. State University of New York at Albany
B.S. Anadolu University, Turkey

Areas of Expertise

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Computational Discourse Analysis, Pragmatics, Collaborative Learning

Courses Taught

  • Discourse and Error Analysis
  • Advanced College Writing
  • English for Academic Purposes
  • Intercultural Communication
  • Sociolinguistics

Sally Cummings, EdD

Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics/TESOL
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Ed.D. University of Vermont
M.A. Saint Michael’s College
B.S. University of Vermont

Carolyn Duffy, PhD

Professor of Applied Linguistics/TESOL
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Ph.D. Georgetown University
M.A. American University
B.A. Pennsylvania State University

Favorite Courses I Teach:

One is in the MATESL program, Testing and Assessment in TESL/TEFL. I enjoy this because I love the subject, and my students are so motivated and interesting. The other is with international students in the Academic English Program. This course is rewarding because the students are preparing to study in a U.S. college or university. They are extremely motivated, work hard, and we can clearly see the progress they make.

Dan Evans, PhD

Director, English Language Programs; Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics/TESOL
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Ph.D., M.A. University of Texas at Austin
B.J. University of Missouri


Richard Gamache, M.Ed

Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics/TESOL
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B.A., M.Ed. Saint Michael’s College

My Saint Michael's:

I hope my St. Edmund's Hall office, which I've been in for 15 years, is a welcoming space for students, faculty and staff, many of whom stop in for a cup of coffee (I brew a 50-cup coffee urn every day) regularly. In addition to the coffee pot, there's a blackboard (yes blackboard, not whiteboard) on one of my walls which students have signed in on, almost ceremoniously, for years at some point during their stay. Of late, I have lots of gardening tools in my office that we are all using to help plant and maintain the International Garden. One corner of the office is beginning to look like a garden shed!

Elizabeth O'Dowd, PhD

Professor of Applied Linguistics/TESOL
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M.A., Ph.D. University of Colorado at Boulder
M.A. New Mexico State University
B.A. University of Lancaster, England

Areas of Expertise:

Teaching English to speakers of other languages; English grammar and discourse structure; World English

Courses I Teach:

  • Bilingualism and Multicultural Education
  • English Grammar
  • Introduction to Language and Linguistics

My Saint Michael's:

Saint Michael's is a small enough community that you know most people you see when you cross campus. But it's large enough that we have a great variety of research interests and expertise, as well as the opportunity to hook up for cross-disciplinary work. The faith-based tradition allows faculty and students to explore moral issues and clarify their values more holistically than you would find at a public academic institution.

My students seem the most inspired when they are learning how different languages work - for example, how the same "word" said with different tones in Chinese or Vietnamese might mean five completely different things; or learning about "mystery" languages like Basque, which has no known relatives and is nothing like its neighboring languages, French and Spanish.

What I like most about Saint Michael’s students is their commitment to service - at least 70 percent of them do some kind of outreach either through their coursework or voluntarily - and their close solidarity with each other.

Since the Applied Linguistics Department deals with teaching English as a second or international language, it is the best place to make friends with international students, whether graduate, undergraduate, or short-stay intensive English students. Because we're also a receiving center for Fulbright scholarships, some of our students come from countries that rarely send visitors to the U.S. - for example, Niger, Afghanistan, Mozambique, Iraq, Rwanda, Palestine, and Turkmenistan, to name a few.

Our Applied Linguistics minor enhances the academic experience of any student, especially those studying modern languages, English, education, and journalism, or those who are thinking about a career in teaching or writing.

If you want to pursue an advanced degree in the language or linguistics field, Saint Michael’s offers a Master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. You can choose from six programs taught here: Master of Arts in TESOL, Peace Corps Master’s International Program, Master of Arts in TESOL with ESL Licensure, Master of Arts in TESOL with ESL Endorsement, Additional ESL Endorsement, or Graduate Certificate in TESOL.

Applied Lingustics majors will necessarily achieve a deep understanding and facility with language. That understanding is invaluable in almost any career and directly applicable to important skill sets like communication and critical thinking.

Graduates go on to succeed in careers like teaching, writing, journalism, theatre, or Law, among others.

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