Richard Young's abiding research passion has been to understand the relationship between the use of language and the social contexts that language reflects and creates. He has always seen that relationship as dynamic and reflexive, and his research has focused on change—how newcomers learn to participate in the practices of a new community. His fascination with the relationship between language and context has led him to do work that crosses conventional boundaries between academic fields. His work on discourse variation in oral proficiency interviews combined discourse analysis and language assessment and resulted in some of the earliest empirical discourse analyses of interactions designed to assess spoken English proficiency. In his most recent work Prof. Young has been using insights from linguistic anthropology and conversation analysis to understand the architecture of face-to-face interaction and to develop the theory of discursive practice.
Listen to Prof. Young speak about his research and teaching interests: