Translanguaging instinct: What does doodling have to do with language learning? (by Dr Sunny Man Chu Lau)

Recently I invited Dr. Marsha Liaw, Educational Director of a Chinese-English bilingual program in Massachusetts, to give a talk to my graduate class on pluriliteracies and trans-semiotization. We both share an understanding of language and literacy from a heteroglossic perspective (Blackledge & Creese, 2014) which highlights not only the interconnections between languages but also their interdependence with other semiotic systems, underscoring the inherent multimodal nature of any human communication. All semiotic modes, be they written-linguistic or visual, graphic, audio or spatial, are intricately connected as sense-making devices and resources (Cope & Kalantzis, 2013). This expanded view of language and literacy is core to translanguaging (Li, 2017) and/or pluriliteracies practices, allowing us to understand the complex indexicalities of varied semiolinguistic resources that complement and/or juxtapose each other to give rise to new, enriched meanings (Kress et al. 2005). The paradigmatic shift also helps disrupt the traditional deficit-oriented view of second language (L2) or plurilingual individuals, repositioning them as agentive actors in their constant, active mixing and meshing of semiolinguistic resources to transfer, construct, recontextualize and re-semiotize different ways of knowing, being and acting (García, Bartlett, & Kleifgen, 2009) for different social purposes.

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Translanguaging for communication and identity (re)building: The story of a 74-year old Brazilian woman in Montreal (by Dr Angelica Galante)

Angelica was born in São Paulo, Brazil, and has both Italian and Spanish heritage. Growing up, she would flexibly use Italian, Spanish and Portuguese in conversations and mixing languages has always been something natural for her. She attended Universidade de São Paulo, Brock University, and completed a PhD in language education at OISE/University of Toronto. Angelica moved to Montreal in 2018, when she accepted a position as assistant professor in Applied Linguistics at Concordia University and became a BILD member . For more about Angelica see our Active Members page.

After decades of research, the field of applied linguistics has finally recognized that languages in fact constantly and actively interact with one another, making it difficult to completely switch off one language while keeping another turned on. Continue reading

Language portraits: Drawing one’s identities (by Emmanouela Tisizi)

When BILD joined the CCERBAL conference, which was held in the University of Ottawa back in May of this year, we were all very excited. We (BILD members) had organized a workshop on activities that teachers can use to celebrate linguistic pluralism in the classroom and make all students feel that their linguistic repertoires are equally important and relevant. In the workshop, we prompted the audience members to try out the tools we introduced; we felt that the best way to advocate for an educational tool is none other than to offer people the time and place to use it and see for themselves whether it would be a good addition to their toolkit.

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Starting the 2018-2019 academic year with some planning for Language Policy and Planning (by James Meanwell)

Welcome to BILD’s fifth year of active blogging! We start off this September with a PRE-regular post about last week’s Language Policy and Planning conference at the University  of Toronto’s OISE  (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education). McGill MA student James Meanwell attended and wrote it up for us; we wanted to get the news out while LPP2018 still is news. There is a strong probability that from 2020 on, LPP will move to Montreal under BILD’s auspices, so where this conference is concerned we are looking ahead as well as back. Watch this space—our regular posts will start next Sunday, September 9th.

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Acquisition, Learning, and Translanguaging (by Melissa Enns)

I’ve recently been giving a lot of thought to ‘acquisition’ versus ‘learning’ of a second (or subsequent) language. In brief, the difference is related to communicative competence versus “explicit rule-based grammar teaching” (Lightbown & Spada, 2013, p. 193). (For more on the distinction, click here). In my mind, acquisition is perhaps the longer-lasting state or the point at which conscious rule-based practice becomes automatic communication, as in Skill Acquisition Theory.

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