Henry Widdowson

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Henry George Widdowson (born 28 May 1935) is a British linguist and an authority in the field of applied linguistics and language teaching, specifically English language learning and teaching.[1]


He gained a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Edinburgh in 1973.[2]

Widdowson was the first Chair of Applied Linguistics at the Institute of Education, University of London. He is Emeritus Professor of Education, University of London, and has also been Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Essex and Professor of English Linguistics at the University of Vienna, where he holds an Honorary Professorship (Department of English). Since the 1990s, Widdowson lives and works in Vienna, Austria. He is the Applied Linguistics adviser to Oxford University Press and series adviser of Oxford Bookworms Collection. Widdowson is co-editor of Language Teaching: A Scheme for Teacher Education. He is the series editor of Oxford Introductions to Language Study and the author of Linguistics (1996) in the same series. He has also published Defining Issues in English Language Teaching (2002), and Practical Stylistics: An Approach to Poetry (1992).


Widdowson is perhaps best known for his contribution to communicative language teaching. However, he has also published on other related subjects such as discourse analysis and critical discourse analysis, the global spread of English, English for Special Purposes and stylistics.The Routledge Encyclopedia of Language Teaching and Learning calls him "probably the most influential philosopher of the late twentieth century for international ESOL" (674).

He has authored a number of highly influential papers. His 1994 paper in TESOL Quarterly,[3] for instance, has become a key paper in the rationale behind English as a lingua franca and what has become known as the "ownership" of English.

One of his recent books is Text, Context, Pretext. Critical Issues in Discourse Analysis (2005), published by Blackwell's.

Selected publications[edit]

Widdowson, H. (2003). Defining Issues in English Language Teaching (Oxford Applied Linguistics) (1st ed.). Oxford University Press.

Widdowson, H. (2007). Discourse Analysis (Oxford Introduction to Language Study Series). Oxford University Press.

Widdowson, H. G. (1978). Teaching Language as Communication (Oxford Applied Linguistics) (1st ed.). Oxford University Press.

Articles (brief extract)[edit]

  • Widdowson, Henry G. (1992) "ELT and EL Teacher." ELT Journal 46/4. 333-339.
  • Widdowson, Henry G. (1993) "Proper Words in proper Places." ELT Journal 47/4. 317-329.
  • Widdowson, Henry G. (1994) "The Ownership of English". TESOL Quarterly 28/2 377-89.
  • Widdowson, Henry G. (1997) "EIL, ESL, EFL: global Issues and local Interests". World Englishes 16/1. 146-53.
  • Widdowson, Henry G. (1998a) " EIL: squaring the Circles. A Reply." World Englishes 17/3 397-401.
  • Widdowson, Henry G. (1998b) "Communication and Community. The Pragmatics of ESP." English for Specific Purposes 17/1 3-14.
  • Widdowson, Henry G. (1998c) "The Theory and Practice of Critical Discourse Analysis." Applied Linguistics 19/1 136-151.


  1. ^ "Professor Henry Widdowson | Oxford University Press". elt.oup.com. Retrieved 2021-07-09.
  2. ^ H.G., Widdowson (1973). "Applied linguistic approach to discourse analysis". hdl:1842/17734. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ Widdowson Henry G. (1994) "The Ownership of English". TESOL Quarterly 28/2 377-89.

External links[edit]