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What does translanguaging-for-equity really involve? An interactional analysis of a 9th grade English class

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Abstract

While much research on translanguaging is in bilingual and heritage language classrooms, it is under-researched in K-12 English-medium education. To better understand translanguaging in this context, this study applied interactional sociolinguistics, including analytical categories adapted from Conversation-for-Learning (Kasper and Kim, 2015; Kim, 2019), to a ninth grade English class in Honolulu with students from diverse linguistic backgrounds. The study examined interactional sequences as students did literary analysis of novels and poetry over 13 weeks. These sequences involved appropriation of others’ lexical phrases, collaborative word searches, miscommunication repair, and knowledge checks. Translanguaging, when it occurred, indicated joint meaning-making across linguistic asymmetries, and was not only a means of thinking aloud using an integrated language repertoire, but a form of helping peers as students signaled to each other to adopt language, teach them something, or work through a problem together, creating opportunities to learn. These findings suggest that equity hinges not only on allowing students to learn using their whole linguistic repertoires but on social and ethical dispositions made apparent through interactional analyses.

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In response to increased mobility and the consequent multiplication of cultural and linguistic diversity, a new paradigm is emerging in language education and its conceptualization that stresses interconnection, interdependence, and a synergic vision. The notion of plurilingualism is a cornerstone of such a paradigm. In this paper, plurilingualism is presented and analyzed by highlighting its tenets, implications, and possible applications in education. The paper aims to investigate the paradigm shift represented by plurilingualism by explaining the historical roots of the plurilingual vision and by considering the value and potential of such a vision through different conceptual lenses. It explains how this notion has the potential to provide the foundation for a conceptual framework in language education and beyond. The paper operates on two levels. The first part, on vision and conceptualization, moves from the roots of the idea of coexistence and the synergic interaction of linguistic and cultural diversity to highlighting the conceptual and theoretical development that prepared the ground for thinking in terms of linguistic plurality. The second section addresses the potential of plurilingualism for language education and discusses some of the emerging practices and their implications in reshaping the nature of classroom realities.
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This article seeks to develop Translanguaging as a theory of language and discuss the theoretical motivations behind and the added values of the concept. I contextualize Translanguaging in the linguistic realities of the 21st century, especially the fluid and dynamic practices that transcend the boundaries between named languages, language varieties, and language and other semiotic systems. I highlight the contributions Translanguaging as a theoretical concept can make to the debates over the Language and Thought and the Modularity of Mind hypotheses. One particular aspect of multilingual language users’ social interaction that I want to emphasize is its multimodal and multisensory nature. I elaborate on two related concepts: Translanguaging Space and Translanguaging Instinct, to underscore the necessity to bridge the artificial and ideological divides between the so-called sociocultural and the cognitive approaches to Translanguaging practices. In doing so, I respond to some of the criticisms and confusions about the notion of Translanguaging.
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The traditional dichotomy, ‘native’ versus ‘non-native speaker’ has to be rejected because of the inherent ideological assumptions about the superiority of the former and the inferiority of the latter. Cook’s (2002) substitution of ‘non-native speaker’ by ‘L2 user’ represented a big step forward in creating a more balanced dichotomy, but it kept the first part, namely the term ‘native speaker’—though not necessarily a monolingual one. The present contribution argues that the final step should be the substitution of ‘native speaker’ by ‘L1 user’. The dichotomy ‘L1 user’ versus ‘LX user’ – referring to any foreign language acquired after the age at which the first language(s) was acquired, that is after the age of 3 years, to any level of proficiency- is value-neutral. They are equal and can be complementary. It also suggests that variation can exist within both L1(s) and LX(s) and that all individuals can be multicompetent users of multiple languages.
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The volume explores how new millennium globalization mediates language learning and identity construction. It seeks to theorize how global flows are creating new identity options for language learners, and to consider the implications for language learning, teaching and use. To frame the chapters theoretically, the volume asserts that new identities are developing because of the increasingly interconnected set of global scapes which impact language learners' lives. Part 1 focuses on language learners in (trans)national contexts, exploring their identity formation when they shuttle between cultures and when they create new communities of fellow transnationals. Part 2 examines how learners come to develop intercultural selves as a consequence of experiencing global contact zones when they sojourn to new contexts for study and work. Part 3 investigates how learners construct new identities in the mediascapes of popular culture and cyberspace, where they not only consume, but also produce new, globalized identities. Through case studies, narrative analysis, and ethnography, the volume examines identity construction among learners of English, French, Japanese, and Swahili in Canada, England, France, Hong Kong, Tanzania, and the United States. © 2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston. All rights reserved.
Article
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This study explores language policies in “almost-bilingual” classrooms, in which most but not all students share a home language. Teachers who are bilingual face a dilemma in these settings. Should they draw on shared linguistic expertise to benefit the majority while excluding a few, or should they forego significant benefits for most in the interest of equity? This qualitative study examines the classroom language policies and practices of one English-as-a second-language (ESL) teacher at a majority-Latino high school. Drawing on field notes, interviews, and systematic teacher reflection, the authors identify a collection of multilingual practices across ESL and sheltered content courses: translated texts, “translanguaging from the students up,” and concurrent translation. They discuss the benefits and drawbacks of these policies for Spanish speakers and “singletons”—students with no same-language peers—to offer pedagogical and policy insights for meeting the diverse and sometimes-conflicting needs of students in multilingual classrooms.
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This article seeks to develop Translanguaging as a theory of language and discuss the theoretical motivations behind and the added values of the concept. I contextualize Translanguaging in the linguistic realities of the 21st century, especially the fluid and dynamic practices that transcend the boundaries between named languages, language varieties, and language and other semiotic systems. I highlight the contributions Translanguaging as a theoretical concept can make to the debates over the Language and Thought and the Modularity of Mind hypotheses. One particular aspect of multilingual language users' social interaction that I want to emphasize is its multimodal and multisensory nature. I elaborate on two related concepts: Translanguaging Space and Translanguaging Instinct, to underscore the necessity to bridge the artificial and ideological divides between the so-called sociocultural and the cognitive approaches to Translanguaging practices. In doing so, I respond to some of the criticisms and confusions about the notion of Translanguaging.
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This book analyses the language practices of young adults in Mongolia and Bangladesh in online and offline environments. Focusing on the diverse linguistic and cultural resources these young people draw on in their interactions, the authors draw attention to the creative and innovative nature of their transglossic practices. Situated on the Asian periphery, these young adults roam widely in their use of popular culture, media voices and linguistic resources. This innovative and topical book will appeal to students and scholars of sociolinguistics, applied linguistics, cultural studies and linguistic anthropology.
Chapter
Linguistic and cultural diversity is inherent in many societies around the world and, despite its importance, this diversity is typically neglected in many educational settings. In the field of language education, the historical prevalence of the monolingual theoretical framework has corroborated with the notion that learners should attain language proficiency based on the native speaker model, which has been mistakenly used as reference for language development. Due to the limitations of this framework, students’ knowledge of languages and cultures have often been underused and devalued. To address issues of diversity in language education, including heritage language programs, plurilingualism is an alternative framework that can be used to teach languages while respecting and encouraging this diversity. The aim of this chapter is to link the theory of plurilingualism to its practice by exploring empirical studies that have followed a plurilingual framework, with focus on the extent to which the theory is represented in practical terms. This chapter also raises fundamental issues – such as the prevalence of monolingual and neoliberal ideologies – that need further exploration in research so that knowledge about plurilingual education in different geographical locations and educational contexts can be advanced.
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The implementation of translanguaging at school is often seen to have transformative capacities: it will release bilingual subjectivities, and change unequal social structures. In this paper I argue that translanguaging is likely to be less transformative and socially critical than is suggested, because translanguaging research has more in common with the monolingual authorities it criticizes than it may seem, because it trades on causality effects that cannot be taken for granted, and because translanguaging, in some of its representations, is becoming a dominating rather than a liberating force. This does not detract from the value of translanguaging research, nor from the importance of reconciling schools with linguistic diversity. But it may imply arguing this transformation from a different tack.
Article
Conversation-for-learning (Kasper & Kim 2015) is a pedagogical arrangement set up with a view to maximizing the potential benefit of interaction for language learning. As participants for conversation-for-learning are recruited for their relative expertise in the target languages, the talk is often characterized by asymmetries in knowledge and language expertise. Based on sequential analysis of how the knowledge asymmetries are brought to the fore of interaction and how they are subsequently dealt with, the current study illustrates how learning opportunities are generated in conversation-for-learning, i.e., by collaborative achievement of definition sequences (Markee 1994). Interaction provides an observable space where interactional practices deployed by the participants to achieve and maintain intersubjectivity can be observed and appropriated. The study contributes to our understanding of language learning as a social practice as it shows that the methods and devices that underlie and enable human sociality constitute the cornerstones of what makes language learning happen in interaction.
Book
Human language has changed in the age of globalization: no longer tied to stable and resident communities, it moves across the globe, and it changes in the process. The world has become a complex 'web' of villages, towns, neighbourhoods and settlements connected by material and symbolic ties in often unpredictable ways. This phenomenon requires us to revise our understanding of linguistic communication. In The Sociolinguistics of Globalization Jan Blommaert constructs a theory of changing language in a changing society, reconsidering locality, repertoires, competence, history and sociolinguistic inequality. • There is great interest in the issue of globalization and this book will appeal to scholars and students in linguistics, sociolinguistics, applied linguistics and anthropology • Richly illustrated with examples from around the globe • Presents a profound revision of sociolinguistic work in the area of linguistic communication
Chapter
Linguistic and cultural diversity is inherent in many societies around the world and, despite its importance, this diversity is typically neglected in many educational settings. In the field of language education, the historical prevalence of the monolingual theoretical framework has corroborated with the notion that learners should attain language proficiency based on the native speaker model, which has been mistakenly used as reference for language development. Due to the limitations of this framework, students’ knowledge of languages and cultures have often been underused and devalued. To address issues of diversity in language education, including heritage language programs, plurilingualism is an alternative framework that can be used to teach languages while respecting and encouraging this diversity. The aim of this chapter is to link the theory of plurilingualism to its practice by exploring empirical studies that have followed a plurilingual framework, with focus on the extent to which the theory is represented in practical terms. This chapter also raises fundamental issues – such as the prevalence of monolingual and neoliberal ideologies – that need further exploration in research so that knowledge about plurilingual education in different geographical locations and educational contexts can be advanced. Full chapter can be found at http://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007/978-3-319-38893-9_13-1
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Recent developments in sociolinguistics and applied linguistics have put emphasis on the contrast between ideologies of distinct ‘languages’ and the multifaceted reality of linguistic practices. This article argues that recent usage-based reconceptualisations of the notions of competence and repertoire can help paint a more complex picture of the relationship between monolingual ‘ideologies’ and diverse linguistic ‘realities’. Drawing on data from interviews with highly proficient adult speakers of Finnish as a second language, I explore some aspects of how speakers’ competence can be understood as shaped by language use, and what role linguistic ideologies, social expectations and speakers’ environments play in this process. I conclude that, in a languagised world, the ability to keep ‘languages’ apart and to successfully display monolingual competence can be seen as part of multilingual speakers’ competence. In this way, a usage-based perspective on competence enables us to treat ‘languages’ as ideological constructs, while at the same time acknowledging their ‘real’ effects on speakers’ competence and language use.
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The idea that there exist separate, enumerable languages has in the last decades been widely criticised, and it has led scholars to propose various new terms and concepts such as ‘polylingualism’, ‘metrolingualism’, and ‘translanguaging’, among others. As these terms are attracting considerable acclaim within the academy, this paper argues it is time to reflect on their occurrence, provenance and pertinence for future research and theorisation. We devote particular attention to the risk of confusion if newly proposed terms interchangeably serve descriptive, ontological, pedagogical and political purposes; to the continuing relevance of language separation outside as well as inside the academy; and to the purported transformative and critical potential of fluid language practices in education and beyond. We suggest a close consideration of each of these concerns is central to a sociolinguistics of rather than for particular linguistic practices.
Chapter
As the first chapter in Part II, this chapter turns its attention to education. Focusing on the growing multilingualism in schools, the chapter reviews traditional definitions and types of bilingual education. It frames foreign/second language education, as well as bilingual education, as ways of enacting parallel monolingualisms, and then reviews ways in which this is resisted in classrooms all over the world. It also presents ways in which educators are promoting flexible languaging in teaching, transgressing the strict structures of dual language bilingual classrooms, as well as going beyond the traditional view of separate languages literacies.
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In an age of transnational mobility, there has been a growing recognition of the need for both English and French mainstream classroom teachers to be trained to teach increasingly plurilingual student populations. In this article, I begin by describing the context for an exploratory comparative and collaborative ethnographic action research study in four English and French schools in Toronto, Canada and one school in Montpellier, France that engaged children as co-researchers of their lived plurilingualism. I analyse in particular the process of creating plurilingual multimodal books with students and teachers across the five different school cases. This paper focuses on the iterative ‘identity text’ creation process across all five schools by examining one plurilingual identity text from each case, along with students’ research conversations about their creative productions, and interviews with their classroom teachers and parents. Finally, I summarize five features of inclusive plurilingual pedagogy that emerged across the five cases and call for further collaborative research across English and French schools and scholarly communities investigating creative plurilingual language and literacy production in the twenty-first century.
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This book is about language and the city. Pennycook and Otsuji introduce the notion of 'metrolingualism', showing how language and the city are deeply involved in a perpetual exchange between people, history, migration, architecture, urban landscapes and linguistic resources. Cities and languages are in constant change, as new speakers with new repertoires come into contact as a result of globalization and the increased mobility of people and languages. Metrolingualism sheds light on the ordinariness of linguistic diversity as people go about their daily lives, getting things done, eating and drinking, buying and selling, talking and joking, drawing on whatever linguistic resources are available. Engaging with current debates about multilingualism, and developing a new way of thinking about language, the authors explore language within a number of contemporary urban situations, including cafés, restaurants, shops, streets, construction sites and other places of work, in two diverse cities, Sydney and Tokyo. This is an invaluable look at how people of different backgrounds get by linguistically. Metrolingualism: Language in the city will be of special interest to advanced undergraduate/postgraduate students and researchers of sociolinguistics and applied linguistics.
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The concept of translanguaging is clarified, establishing it as a particular conception of the mental grammars and linguistic practices of bilinguals. Translanguaging is different from code switching. Under translanguaging, the mental grammars of bilinguals are structured but unitary collections of features, and the practices of bilinguals are acts of feature selection, not of grammar switch. A proper understanding of translanguaging requires a return to the well known but often forgotten idea that named languages are social, not linguistic, objects. Whereas the idiolect of a particular individual is a linguistic object defined in terms of lexical and structural features, the named language of a nation or social group is not; its boundaries and membership cannot be established on the basis of lexical and structural features. The two named languages of the bilingual exist only in the outsider's view. From the insider's perspective of the speaker, there is only his or her full idiolect or repertoire, which belongs only to the speaker, not to any named language. Translanguaging is the deployment of a speaker's full linguistic repertoire without regard for watchful adherence to the socially and politically defined boundaries of named (and usually national and state) languages. In schools, the translanguaging of bilinguals tends to be severely restricted. In addition, schools confuse the assessment of general linguistic proficiency, which is best manifested in bilinguals while translanguaging, with the testing of proficiency in a named language, which insists on inhibiting translanguaging. The concept of translanguaging is of special relevance to schools interested in the linguistic and intellectual growth of bilingual students as well as to minoritized communities involved in language maintenance and revitalization efforts.
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The general aim of this article is to discuss the application of Usage-Based Linguistics (UBL) to an investigation of developmental issues in second language acquisition (SLA). Particularly, the aim is to discuss the relevance for SLA of the UBL suggestion that language learning is item-based, going from formulas via low-scope patterns to fully abstract constructions. This paper examines how well this suggested path of acquisition serves ‘as a default in guiding the investigation of the ways in which exemplars and their type and token frequencies determine the second language acquisition of structure’ (N. Ellis 2002: 170). As such, it builds on and further discusses the findings in Bardovi-Harlig (2002) and Eskildsen and Cadierno (2007). The empirical point of departure is longitudinal oral second language classroom interaction and the focal point is the use of can by one student in the class in question. The data reveal the formulas, here operationalized as recurring multiword expressions, to be situated in recurring usage events, suggesting the need for a fine-tuning of the UBL theory for the purposes of SLA research towards a more locally contextualized theory of language acquisition and use. The data also suggest that semi-fixed linguistic patterns, here operationalized as utterance schemas, deserve a prominent place in L2 developmental research.
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There are thousands of ethnic Chinese students from different backgrounds in British universities today, a fact that has not been fully appreciated or studied from an applied linguistics perspective. For example, there are third- or fourth-generation British-born Chinese; there are students from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore who have received whole or part of their primary and secondary education in Britain; and there are Chinese students who completed their schooling in their home countries. To add to the diversity of the Chinese student population, several distinctive varieties of Chinese are spoken as well as different varieties of English and other languages. In terms of their choice of language and social networks, the Chinese students have several options, including, for example, staying with their own language variety group (e.g. Cantonese, Mandarin); staying with their own region-of-origin group (e.g. British-born, Mainland Chinese, Taiwanese, Hong Kong); and creating new transnational and multilingual groupings. This article focuses on a group of Chinese university students who have chosen to create transnational and multilingual networks. Through analysis of narrative data and ethnographic observations, we explore issues such as their socio-cultural identification processes, the interactions between their linguistic and political ideologies; their multilingual practices and what they have learned from being part of this new social space.
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This ethnographic investigation of a multiethnic, multilingual classroom examines the ways in which immigrant students’ goals for community and belonging were mediated by their vibrant cultural and linguistic practices. Findings demonstrate how youth formed a community of practice through brokering acts, resource pooling, and linguistic play across national, cultural, and linguistic differences. As such, immigrant students were agentive transcultural navigators whose practices broach new understandings of social life and learning, and present a pedagogy of possibility. It is argued that immigrant classrooms in contact zones must be reenvisioned – from reductive spaces where educational goals are to acculturate the immigrant into a fading US homogeneous mainstream – to cutting edge spaces of twenty-first-century learning.
Article
This article argues that language teaching would benefit by paying attention to the L2 user rather than concentrating primarily on the native speaker. It suggests ways in which language teaching can apply an L2 user model and exploit the students' L1. Because L2 users differ from monolingual native speakers in their knowledge of their L2s and L1s and in some of their cognitive processes, they should be considered as speakers in their own right, not as approximations to monolingual native speakers. In the classroom, teachers can recognise this status by incorporating goals based on L2 users in the outside world, bringing L2 user situations and roles into the classroom, deliberately using the students' L1 in teaching activities, and looking to descriptions of L2 users or L2 learners rather than descriptions of native speakers as a source of information. The main benefits of recognising that L2 users are speakers in the own right, however, will come from students' and teachers' having a positive image of L2 users rather than seeing them as failed native speakers.
Article
Following from Lewis, Jones, and Baker (this issue), this article analyses the relationship between the new concept of “translanguaging” particularly in the classroom context and more historic terms such as code-switching and translation, indicating differences in (socio)linguistic and ideological understandings as well as in classroom processes. The article considers the pedagogic nature of translanguaging in terms of language proficiency of children, developmental use in emergent bilinguals, variations in input and output, relationship to the subject/discipline curriculum, deepening learning through language development, cognitive development, and content understanding, and the role of children, including Deaf children, and in the use of translanguaging in educational activity. The conceptualisation of translanguaging is also shown to be ideological.
Article
The article traces the Welsh origins of “translanguaging” from the 1980s to the recent global use, analysing the development and extension of the term. It suggests that the growing popularity of the term relates to a change in the way bilingualism and multilingualism have ideologically developed not only among academics but also amid changing politics and public understandings about bilingualism. The original pedagogic advantages of a planned use of translanguaging in pedagogy and dual literacy are joined by an extended conceptualisation that perceives translanguaging as a spontaneous, everyday way of making meaning, shaping experiences, and communication by bilinguals. A new conceptualisation of translanguaging is in brain activity where learning is through 2 languages. A tripartite distinction is suggested between classroom translanguaging, universal translanguaging, and neurolinguistic translanguaging. The article concludes with a summary of recent research into translanguaging with suggestions for future research.
Article
As US classrooms approach a decade of response to No Child Left Behind, many questions and concerns remain around the education of those labeled as ‘English language learners,’ in both English as a Second Language and bilingual education classrooms. A national policy context where standardized tests dominate curriculum and instruction and first language literacy is discouraged and undervalued poses unusual challenges for learners whose communicative repertoires encompass translanguaging practices. Drawing on the critical sociolinguistics of globalization and on ethnographic data from US and international educational contexts, we argue via a continua of biliteracy lens that the welcoming of translanguaging and transnational literacies in classrooms is not only necessary but desirable educational practice. We suggest that Obama's current policies on the one hand and our schools’ glaring needs on the other offer new spaces to be exploited for innovative programs, curricula, and practices that recognize, value, and build on the multiple, mobile communicative repertoires and translanguaging/transnational literacy practices of students and their families.
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The uniquely human capacity of using arbitrary signs to transfer concept and experience over great distances in time and place is what we call language. We use language with a purpose, and we use whatever features are at our disposal to achieve our ends, regardless of the fact that some speakers think that certain features should be held together and not used in combination with certain other features. The phenomenon of language is not necessarily a construction, and while all individual languages are constructed, it is not possible to clearly delimit them from each other. The crucial phenomenon is language, not any specific language. While some Some speakers think languages should be kept apart, others combine three, four, or more different sets of features (i.e. so-called ‘languages’) in their linguistic production. This is characteristic of polylingualism (where multilingualism is characterised by the knowledge of several separate languages). These speakers do not choose their features randomly. Particularly in late-modern urban youth groups the simultaneous use of features from many different sources is frequent.
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This article seeks to assess the communicative mutations resulting from the intersection between mobile people and mobile texts. Sophisticated technologies for rapid human mobility and global communication are transforming the communicative environment of late modernity. Until recently the majority of linguistic studies which concerned themselves with global phenomena tended to depict the worst possible scenarios: linguistic imperialism, endangered languages, language death. In this paper, I argue that the experience of cultural globalization, and the sociolinguistic disorder it entails, cannot be understood solely through a dystopic vision of linguistic catastrophe, but demand that we also take into account the recombinant qualities of language mixing, hybridization, and creolization. Using communicative data from the Adriatic region, this paper calls for a reconceptualization of what we consider the communicative environment, which must be no longer restricted to its default parameters (focused, monolingual, and face-to-face), but should also account for communicative practices based on multilingual talk (most of the times exercised by de/reterritorialized speakers) channeled through both local and electronic media.
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Two views of bilingualism are presented--the monolingual or fractional view which holds that the bilingual is (or should be) two monolinguals in one person, and the bilingual or wholistic view which states that the coexistence of two languages in the bilingual has produced a unique and specific speaker-hearer. These views affect how we compare monolinguals and bilinguals, study language learning and language forgetting, and examine the speech modes--monolingual and bilingual--that characterize the bilingual's everyday interactions. The implications of the wholistic view on the neurolinguistics of bilingualism, and in particular bilingual aphasia, are discussed.
Multilingualism and multimodality: Current challenges for educational studies
  • Blommaert
Blommaert, Jan & Ad Backus. 2013. Superdiverse repertoires and the individual. In Ingrid de Saint-Georges & Jean-JacquesWeber (eds.), Multilingualism and multimodality: Current challenges for educational studies, 11-32. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
Joinfostering: Teaching and learning in multilingual classrooms
  • Christian Faltis
Faltis, Christian. 2001. Joinfostering: Teaching and learning in multilingual classrooms. Upper Saddle River: Merrill Prentice Hall.
Bilingual education in the 21stcentury: A global perspective
  • Ofelia García
García, Ofelia. 2009. Bilingual education in the 21 st century: A global perspective. Malden and Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
The multilingual turn: Implications for SLA, TESOL, and bilingual education
  • Lourdes Ortega
Ortega, Lourdes. 2014. Ways forward for a bi/multilingual turn in SLA. In Stephen May (ed.), The multilingual turn: Implications for SLA, TESOL, and bilingual education, 32-53. Abingdon & New York: Routledge.
Languaging, agency and collaboration in advanced second language proficiency
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