Language in development: Questions of theory, questions of practice

Numa Markee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This article reviews three main themes that come into focus in this special-topic issue on the emerging subfield of language-in-development studies: (a) basic definitional issues, (b) issues of the locus and scope of language in development, and (c) the role of English and other languages in language in development. The article proposes a working definition of language in development as the resolution of practical language-related problems in the context of individual and societal development, where language is defined in terms of communicative competence, and development, as a reduction in participants' vulnerability to things they do not control. It then recounts the genesis of this definition in terms of the author's research and professional field experience in language aid and curricular innovation work in rich and poor countries. A critical summary of the second and third issues identified above then shows how each contributor's paper extends or critiques these preliminary insights.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-274
Number of pages10
JournalTESOL Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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