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Lingua Franca English, Multilingual

Communities, and Language
Acquisition
SURESH CANAGARAJAH
Pennsylvania State University
304C Sparks Building
University Park, PA 16801
Email: asc16@psu.edu

Firth and Wagner (1997) questioned the dichotomies nonnative versus native speaker, learner
versus user , and interlanguage versus target language, which reflect a bias toward innateness,
cognition, and form in language acquisition. Research on lingua franca English (LFE) not
only affirms this questioning, but reveals what multilingual communities have known all along:
Language learning and use succeed through performance strategies, situational resources,
and social negotiations in fluid communicative contexts. Proficiency is therefore practice-
based, adaptive, and emergent. These findings compel us to theorize language acquisition
as multimodal, multisensory, multilateral, and, therefore, multidimensional. The previously
dominant constructs such as form, cognition, and the individual are not ignored; they get
redefined as hybrid, fluid, and situated in a more socially embedded, ecologically sensitive,
and interactionally open model.

The concept of language as a rigid, monolithic struc- mastering its grammar in specially designed ped-
ture is false, even if it has proved to be a useful fiction agogical contexts.
in the development of linguistics. It is the kind of The ensuing debate has made us aware of many
simplification that is necessary at a certain stage of other dichotomies in language acquisition that
a science, but which can now be replaced by more need to be reexamined:
sophisticated models. (Haugen, 1972, p. 325)

Firth and Wagner questioned some key di- 1. Grammar versus pragmatics: Is one more pri-
chotomies operative in second language acquisi- mary in communication than the other, and are they
tion (SLA) research in their 1997 article. Focusing in fact separable? Would pragmatic strategies enable
one to communicate successfully irrespective of the
mainly on the constructs learner versus user , non-
level of grammatical proficiency? (House, 2003).
native versus native speaker (NNS vs. NS), and in-
2. Determinism versus agency: Are learners at the
terlanguage versus target language, they contested mercy of grammar and discourse forms for commu-
the notions of deficiency imputed to the first con- nication, or do they shape language to suit their pur-
struct in each pair. SLA1 has generally worked poses? (Canagarajah, 2006a).
with the assumption that learners are emulat- 3. Individual versus community: Are language
ing the idealized competence of NSs, that they learning and use orchestrated primarily by the indi-
are handicapped in their capacity to communi- vidual even when they occur through interaction? Or
cate with the undeveloped language they possess, do communication and acquisition take place in col-
and that learning a language primarily constitutes laboration with others, through active negotiation, as
an intersubjective practice? (Block, 2003).
4. Purity versus hybridity: Are languages separated
from each other, even at the most abstract level of
The Modern Language Journal, 91, Focus Issue, (2007) grammatical form? And how do they associate with
0026-7902/07/923–939 $1.50/0 other symbol systems and modalities of communica- 

C 2007 The Modern Language Journal
tion? (Khubchandani, 1997; Makoni, 2002).

and alteration in language. especially as social oretical awareness and model building. and can able extent. variation. texts outside the classroom. multilingual contact. I first review studies on the acqui- our field. and the blurring of time–space distinc- ronments? (Cook. modern globalization. However. diaspora communi- Should we treat learning as taking place one language ties. Globaliza- tives constitute “parallel worlds” in SLA studies tion. made us aware of some fundamental processes of Firth and Wagner ended their article with a broad language learning and usage relevant to diverse call “to work towards the evolution of a holistic. However. I consider the . tives that were unavailable at the time of the ini- 2006.924 The Modern Language Journal 91 (2007) 5. with new urgency and addressing language pro- search related to lingua franca English (LFE)2 cesses and practices that have lain hidden all the as radically reconfiguring the new models of lan.4 These recent developments have only size the constructs on a radically different footing. Fixity versus fluidity: What is the place of devi. time. that SLA has to be revised only to accommodate we are now in a position not only to abandon the exceptional issues deriving from globalization the dichotomized orientation but also to synthe. To a consider- ation. and environmental influences complex levels as the global currency of English are richly at play? (Atkinson. com. my argument here is not primarily sought parity between the constructs. ical contexts. we now have new data and perspec- integrate these constructs (see Zuengler & Miller. in the academy. aries. the studies store language norms detached from the situations and environment in which they are embedded? Is by European scholars provide useful data from learning more effective when it takes place separately multilingual contexts. unidirectional. previously ignored or suppressed. cumulative. Monolingual versus multilingual acquisition: ing transnational affiliations. Thus the first of the three requirements communities for centuries. digital communication. 2002. is acquisition tact situations in professional and everyday con- linear. able earlier. petus for continuing this disciplinary rethinking It is in this context that I present recent re. we should consider the critique. 296). & has grown in relation to recent forms of post- Okada. an emic vision. 1999). As still to be realized.3 The new context. we have to deconstruct our ear- argued that the cognitive and social perspec. For example. in the light of new evidence. encouraged stud- Firth and Wagner (1997) ushered in the ques. LFE research was avail- from the contexts where multiple languages. in homogeneous envi. Larsen-Freeman. This emergent body of knowledge en. separately for each. The Therefore. ies on contact situations. age have taken place in non-Western multilingual low). Although Firth and Wagner tial debate. ables us to reappraise the constructs that were Based on these research findings. We need more insider studies Haugen (1972) noted. and LFE. but it has developed to even more municative modalities. Even in the case of the. for a review). and monodimen. and created an urgency tioning of the dichotomies. lier models and perhaps start anew. Nishino. communities. 2006). and LFE provide im- (p. as in many other fields awareness of the contextual and interactional di. epigraph. mensions of language use—stands fulfilled. and we have gradually to understand acquisition outside homogeneous progressed to a position of model building. 2007. Cognition versus context: Do we formulate and tives from non-Western communities. database. and expansion of dominant constructs as perspective and a broadened SLA database—are a desirable process of knowledge construction. meet these requirements. Though we need more emic perspec- 6. broadening the SLA sional? (Kramsch. featur- 7. sition and use of English as a contact language. The local knowledge Firth and Wagner identified in order to redress of these periphery communities has been ignored the imbalance—in other words. oping alternate theoretical paradigms that would Therefore. in the quotation in the from multilingual (especially non-Western) com. we do not conditions themselves change and our inquiry be- have a consensus. communities in different historical and geograph- bio-social SLA” (p. We have hence/now con. fluid social bound- at a time. guage usage and acquisition being constructed in In this article. LFE research presents data from con- a system lack boundedness? Similarly. Zuengler and Miller (2006) comes sharper. Churchill. 35). we are now in a posi- structed a range of specific models that elaborate tion to appreciate how language learning and us- and refine the biosocial paradigm (examples fol. tions has generated more information about atyp- ical communicative contexts. re- other two requirements—in other words. devel. there is a place for enabling fictions munities and data from outside the classroom to at particular stages in scholarly inquiry. an enhanced in linguistic scholarship. Lantolf & Thorne. 2002).

this type of native Graddol (1999) prophesied “in [the] future competence (and insider status) in multiple lan- [English] will be a language used mainly in guages is a well-known reality in many communi- multilingual contexts as a second language and ties. ble community. Despite this linguistic–cultural able to monitor each other’s language proficiency heterogeneity and spatial disconnect. 2006. no limit to the development of their proficiency nificance (see Canagarajah. we cannot treat LFE speakers as incompe- new contexts of transnational communication. 57). or other national varieties of language by speakers of other languages in the English. American. House (2003) put it this way: “a lingua franca Speakers of English as an additional language speaker is not per definitionem not fully competent are greater in number than the traditionally un. suggesting the bases of the resources and is unclear what constitutes the threshold level of skills multilinguals bring to language negotia. This facility is acquisition processes have not been addressed in no doubt attributable to the language awareness the dominant SLA models. The speakers are mediate localities. acquired derives from their multilingual life. of speakers for their purposes. They activate a mu. have to distinguish between competence and pro- nant ones such as British or American English and ficiency. borrowing the which confirms the practices informing LFE us. they recog. This assertion does not mean primary language of communication. I consider the reasons why such ther developing their proficiency. and used? Because of the diversity at the heart of this com- LFE belongs to a virtual speech community. 557). that LFE speakers do not develop their proficiency velopments have impressed upon us the need further—just as Anglo-American NSs still have to to understand the character of LFE. Then.6 a language so im. for the state of the art on of LFE speakers is of course distinct. English is used most often as a contact to British. LFE. Typically. and practices developed in other contexts of com- turalist) philosophical and (monolingual) social munication with local languages. ographical boundary. Examining the (struc. on a practice-based model that would better ac. Therefore. tence for cross-language contact and hybrid codes portant for millions of global speakers. 2004. These de. This prediction is arguably already a unlike our treatment of those who are outsiders reality. LFE only makes this phenomenon more vis- for communication between non-native speakers” ible and global. a variety develop their proficiency in English. tions that would ensure intelligibility. in the part of his or her linguistic knowledge un- derstood NSs5 who use English as their sole or der study” (p. and pragmatic conven- tually recognized set of attitudes. A radical implication of this multilingualism is commodate the communicative processes of mul. The competence and Seidlhofer. tent. these communities of imagination. It age. municative medium.Suresh Canagarajah 925 implications for the dichotomized constructs in LFE when they find themselves interacting with SLA. I move on to is at the heart of LFE’s hybrid community identity outline a new integration of the SLA constructs and speaker proficiency. lexical range. This charac- ACQUIRING AND USING LINGUA terization goes against our usual ways of using FRANCA ENGLISH the concept of NS. nize LFE as a shared resource. that all users of LFE have native competence of tilinguals. Both LFE speakers and NSs have compe- the recently nativized forms such as a Indian or tence in their respective varieties. Jenkins. structed in each specific context of interaction. They inhabit and practice The form of this English is negotiated by each set other languages and cultures in their own im. each other. to determine mutually the appropriate grammar. I review the literature on commu. though there is Singaporean English—both in currency and sig. well-known metaphor from Anderson (1984). It . English proficiency required to join this invisi- tion. Though some proficiency in En- ditional complex questions about language use glish is certainly necessary. and con. As I move toward an alter. How is this lingua franca. An important implication is that (p. it is evident that even and acquisition that enable us to further advance those individuals with a rudimentary knowledge our inquiry on SLA. phonology. 2006b. just as they have native competence in cer- tain other languages and cultures. can conduct successful communication while fur- nate paradigm. LFE is intersubjectively con- The speakers of LFE are not located in one ge. through experience and time. one is an NS of only one language. The non-Western scholarship also raises ad. Perhaps we that overshadows national dialects—the domi. This compe- LFE). However. forms. Multilingualism biases in knowledge construction. ventions that ensure successful communication in it is difficult to describe this language a priori. House (2003) appropriately called nicative practices in non-Western communities.

in the LFE p. Indian. They activate complex pragmatic LFE does not exist as a system “out there. In her research on the syntactic character variants. they do not inter- variation is at the heart of this system. less tiated by the participants. LFE raises serious ques. and cultures—to negotiate LFE on equal terms. 129). degree of pidginization. which they overlook idiosyncracies. 2004. the suprasentential level) to accommodate local pant. interlocutors seem to adopt what from diverse languages and English varieties that Firth (1996) termed the let it pass principle. opening comments to create a third space—a As Gramkow Anderson (1993) put it “there is no no-man’s-land between their primary languages consistency in form that goes beyond the partici. oriented. more surprising is the finding that even guage that is still shared and used smoothly for the enabling pragmatic strategies do not have communication. As long as a certain threshold of understand- grammatical patterns. Participants bor. She went gotiability for form. 218). Speakers understand the inter.” ness. open. p. mational units) and regularization (involving the cesses” (p. movement of focused information to the front Sampson and Zhao (2003) made an analogy be. self-deprecating humor. This notion (p. Is it how students of English from different countries . for that reason. or English variety surface. volving utterances that are shortened into clausal opmental patterns and nativised forms”. The language features words. In this sense. what might be inap. in turn using their own variants. not sec. they distance themselves from their own (p. A kind of suspension of expecta- of form goes beyond the traditional understand. is hybrid in nature. of the utterance). each combination of interactants Through reflexive comments on their own com- seems to negotiate and govern their own variety municative practices. norms and activate flexible practices that facilitate To make matters more complicated.7 on to say that “when they do occur. etc. House (2003) demonstrated tions about the concept of language system. regularisation and levelling pro. i. 218).e. ive. and fluid system? Meierkord (2004) said that LFE “emerges out of How does such a fluid system facilitate har- and through interaction” and. by overt negotiation using communica- propriate or unintelligible in one interaction is tion strategies such as rephrasing and repetition” perfectly understandable in another. LFE’s form communication. Part of these row from each other freely and adopt the other’s pragmatic resources are discourse strategies (at language in their interaction with that partici. in addition to other languages.926 The Modern Language Journal 91 (2007) cannot be characterized outside the specific inter. In other words. possible to consider form as constituting an inde- action and speakers in a communicative context. and (c) or phrasal segments that form the basic infor- “simplification. and when forms from a different language of grammar or language norms. to be resolved either by topic change. they tend Because the type of language is actively nego. 218). The form of LFE is variable. that “misunder- communication. therefore. fere negatively.” Let us now unpack the implications of this ne. (b) “transfer phenomena. and the evocation of their shared nonnative- use of code-mixing. LFE.” It is strategies that help them negotiate their variable constantly brought into being in each context of form. according to Seidlhofer (2004. individuals retain the characteristics of their own erogeneous form of English characterized by: (a) English varieties. to be the same. for meaning. Meierkord (2004) found that although of LFE. of lingua franca use in terms of proficiency level. Planken (2005) described how ondary to a more primary common system of this condition is achieved in intercultural busi- uniform norms. She noted that the in- locutor’s variants and proceed effectively with the terlocutors do some preparatory work through communication. They found the exis. The sailors borrowed from If uniformity of form is not a requirement in the usage of each other to develop a hybrid lan. Meierkord (2004) presented it as a het. tions regarding norms seems to be in opera- ing of variation as deriving from a common core tion. they facilitate communication “overwhelming correspondence to the rules of through syntactic strategies like segmentation (in- L1 Englishes”. standings are not frequent in ELF interactions. and thus fairly robust” (Seidlhofer. Thus. and Phillipino En. devel. ness communication. 128). It is amazing. terminate. and discourse conventions ing is obtained. “it monious communication? It is obvious that LFE might well be that ELF never achieves a stable or speakers cannot depend on a preconstituted form even standardized form” (p. based on data impression that LFE talk is “overtly consensus- from multilingual sailors.. or. of their participants. 108). often. These characteristics give the tween LFE and a pidgin language. by speakers bring to the interaction. cooperative and mutually support- tence of Singaporean. glishes. pant level.

language. we have to question that enable negotiation are meaningless as knowl. More im- House described. Also. and they for measuring ELF speakers’ performance should monitor their own form and convention to nego. context. they are construct- tered in actual use.” but still communicate with each other. of Anglo-American speakers as LFE has no rele- countered in real situations.8 The treatment of a putative NS gic fit with the participants and purpose of a of English as the norm is another manifestation context. guage learning. If there is no language use without These realizations call into question the idea learning. stops in LFE. while the local cultural ways portantly. and contexts.and participant-specific specific topic regardless of where and how the manner. Each participant brings his fected much of what we have done so far in lan- or her own language resources to find a strate. and with LFE. This as one decides which receptive and productive is a tongue-in-cheek statement. a lot of American English. It is meaningless to measure global communication are unpredictable. Moreover. The English of multi- For communication to work across such radical lingual LFE speakers is not used in deference to differences. a linear progression. they have to be constantly acti. For example. Not tive fallacy. ble about LFE contexts or purposes of interaction. then. . Multilingual speakers are not moving the variable language system has to be encoun. that there is nothing stable about the multilingual the lessons learnt in one encounter will help to speaker. therefore rather be an ‘expert in ELF use’. The contexts of intercultural ing their own norms. and an vated for their development. that the English of multilingual users is an inter- side of use. We negotiation can be developed only through and have seen that each LFE interaction is a unique in practice. Such a scenario of LFE communication com- culture-specific strategies that complement in. it is important that acquisition and the norms of prestige varieties such as British or use go hand in hand. the strategies vance to their variety. without imposing the munication with outsiders.Suresh Canagarajah 927 bring pragmatic strategies valued in their own Implications for Theorizing Acquisition communities to facilitate communication with outsiders. As speakers use LFE. ture communication of similar or different partic. LFE’s (p. Furthermore. Besides. House idates the questions raised by Firth and Wag- found that “Asian participants employ topic man. diffuse. House (2003) reminded us “the yardstick meanings to their form and conventions. and the the distance of LFE speakers from the language mix of participants and purposes have to be en. as we have seen resources to adopt for a context. This discourse of parallel monologues form and conventions vary for different speakers actually helps nonproficient English speakers be. A language based on endpoint to be achieved in language learning. of the comparative fallacy. one always has to learn a lot—and rapidly— comparable goals for interaction” (p. own strategies to negotiate these culture-specific A related point here is that we have to rid our- conventions. a sta- tiate communication. in- cause it enables them to focus on each move as telligibility. Meeting different speakers ble multilingual speaker under comparable socio- from the vast. 573). “do their own selves of what Cook (1999) called the compara- thing. and virtual community of cultural and historical conditions of use. significance of the English used from the par- they still serve to ensure intelligibility and com. but alignment is more important for mance using limited and unfair norms has af- such communication. Because LFE is intersubjectively con- agement strategies in a striking way. ner (1997). recycling a structed in a situation. they learn to ascribe erence. LFE speakers do not treat the learning takes place: They monitor the form and speakers of these varieties as their frame of ref- conventions the other brings. and communicative success in terms if it were a fresh topic. In the three strategies of each context and its participants. there are gradations. 567). there is also no language learning out. toward someone else’s target. the assumption in the interlanguage concept that edge or theory. it is difficult to elicit a baseline data discourse had developed at any particular point” to assess the proficiency of LFE speakers. Participants. as each LFE interaction ushers in its own unique ipants and contexts. plicates the dominant constructs of SLA and val- tercultural communication. In this sense. We have to judge proficiency. there is little that is compara- constantly reconstruct the schema to monitor fu. Because there is no a priori grammar. This communication researcher’s standards or criteria invoked from is possible because the other also brings his or her elsewhere. we have to interpret the meaning and of interacting are alive in the English of Asians. These strategies are. The haste to judge language perfor- uniformity. paradoxically. raising its own challenges for negotiation. learning never dynamics. ticipants’ own perspective.

Atkin- broadly and with greater complexity. lan- agency. an individual’s level of proficiency. The domi. co- ticipants in an interaction. however. and awareness linguistic identity are used as cues and effects of that enable multilingual speakers to negotiate successful alignment to facilitate English language grammar. and tion. tiation strategies of multilinguals. sometimes. teractions in English to develop that ability. The rules. alignment takes place cient usage. Based LFE is not a product located in the mind of the on her findings of the creative and complex nego. based on the strategies they bring to the int- The orientation to acquisition as a cognitive ac. The LFE speaker comes rather than reaching a target level of compe- with the competence—in many respects. There is a considerable an interaction. enabled. ing interaction of a Japanese child and her tutor. As we saw. In this respect. form What is more pertinent to this article (an issue receives reduced significance. In this sense. abilities. Because the con. or. (2007) defined alignment advanced than that of the child because of the as “the means by which human actors dynamically years of multilingual practice enjoyed in their lo. the dis- guage awareness and competence that can help tinction between competence and performance handle diverse communicative situations. adapt to—that is. This development does not body-world environments posited by sociocogni- have to be marked by miscommunication or defi. purpose. Atkinson et al. flexibly depend on.928 The Modern Language Journal 91 (2007) It may not be the case that one communicative act contribution from environmental and social do- contributes to the other and so on. such a cognition is shaped. and If at all. We have to consider the collaborative tivity also needs clarification.) tation. it is not social information. leading to a mains. In other words. How. it is a form of social action. The variable and hybrid gram- possible to say that a target can be reached for mar of LFE cannot be acquired outside the con- perfect or competent LFE proficiency. More important are constructed words and meanings of ambiguous a range of other skills. more tence. and affective dimensions operative in a proficiency has to be granted relatively greater context (see Kramsch. schema. tain generativist models. tence. situ- (p. eraction. both Japanese and English and. their development of LFE ational. and pragmatic compe. integrate cal communities—which is then honed through with. It is clear that the individual’s pro- conventions of their multilingual interlocutors. with this competence and do not wait for their in. son and his collaborators went on to illustrate nant orientation is to treat solely or mainly form as alignment through the English language learn- defining competence. If language has a cognitive habi- NSs of English. at least analogous to the agency attributed guage learning involves an alignment of one’s to the development in one’s first language in cer. In other words. and should not be treated as such. rather. and construct—the ever-changing mind- actual interactions. something achieved by two or more peo- situation. In LFE. speaker. But there are other implications for assessing relationships effectively. language resources to the needs of a situation. but also between We realize. tion in assessing the meaning and significance of standing LFE proficiency. 171. House (2003) In theorizing this complex social action. This notion of alignment makes us question an- guage awareness that enables speakers to make other bias in SLA—language acquisition as an in- instantaneous inferences about the norms and dividual activity.9 ple. It can be argued that in the case ever. there is no meaning for form. some argued “all these strategies seem to show that ELF scholars have begun to explore how success- users are competent enough to be able to monitor ful communication depends on aligning the lin- each others’ moves at a high level of awareness” guistic resources one brings to the social. 559). grammar. learning. not just between human beings. We cannot focus on nature of communication and linguistic negotia- the activity and the content of the mind in under. human beings and their social and physical en- tence of an LFE speaker has to be defined more vironments” (p. oped by LFE users come loaded with significant texts are so variable and unpredictable. with communicative com. has to be revised. . ficiency is shaped by collective and contextual fac- strategic competence to negotiate interpersonal tors. we have to give equal importance to: lan. realized in social practice. it is possible that multilinguals already come of LFE. and conventions devel- cumulative line of progression. that the linguistic compe. tive theory. In addition to grammatical compe. we can speak of achieving a type of lan. 2002). or language ability outside the realm of practice. original emphasis). form the authors do not choose to develop) is the way gets shaped according to the contexts and par. (We may texts and social milieu that help select them and not be able to say that even for Anglo-American give meaning. LFE tence to adopt communicative conventions that makes sense only as an intersubjective construc- are appropriate for the interlocutor. petence given a secondary role.

Those individuals who assess proficiency agogical meanings and identities are communi- have to take into account such joint activity of cated. ing. Would they be imposing member with their teachers. tion whether researchers can study language ac. as NSs would fail interactions that are not framed as pedagogical to negotiate. meaning does The intersubjective nature of communication not precede (and is not detachable from) the makes us question the separation of the learner language in which it is communicated. We or they may be negotiated by the participants have to interpret their performance in terms of and given new meanings. 2000). Therefore. language data. quisition by standing outside the interaction in I show how students shuttle between identi- question or. we have to ques. “in ELF use.e. especially in cases where assumption of learning as a conscious. In tra- (2003) noted. Often even narrowly defined peda- from the LFE virtual community. learner is to leave out many other features of sible only in rare cases of refusal to negotiate communication that provide significance to the meanings—which is itself a form of communica. how can researchers who do not participate switching (Canagarajah. tion as it conveys the participant’s desire to cut off This recognition does not mean that other so- the conversation. nonnative talk is easy to explain. all the time con- norms and meanings that do not matter to their veying contextually relevant meanings. such cases rarely Therefore. However. off-task. and changing (see Norton. LFE users be socially functional. subvert lessons that treat them as passive and Ironically. 1999). patronizing. we cannot blame an indi. learning contexts.Suresh Canagarajah 929 From this perspective.. if there is a case of cial identities may not subsume the learner iden- failed communication. as we discussed also socially constructed. they negotiate to modify and reconstruct someone fails to ascribe meaning to a linguistic new identities more amenable to the interaction. treating their norms as universally (i. To further complicate theorization. . 2003). They can create a new are always conscious of the social roles they play meaning originally unintended by the speaker. Routine pedagogical in the interactions of multilingual speakers with exercises can be reframed to generate humour those individuals for whom English is native or and play. They also find in a specific communicative event claim to be privy spaces for expressing resistant identities. serving to prove tion House (2003) observed in her research were themselves complex agents. The researcher’s acts of othering. 559). speakers must continu. event. Would researchers be prone to sim. and judging further reduce the matical usage or inappropriate word choice can learner’s social complexity. By the same token. gogical exercises can be turned into richly pur- sic communicative expectations. Breakdown in LFE communication is pos. in addition to being outsiders to the meaning as information transfer (which informs interaction? SLA) has to be questioned. LFE erything. in their contexts of contact communication. tancing themselves from messages of the hidden gest that in cases where speakers do not come curriculum. In LFE. mechanical through sarcasm. or vice versa. We now know that in all language vidual for lack of proficiency. controlled. A radical implication of this assertion users do not remain with the rich and diverse for assessing language proficiency is that error is identities they bring to the event. These communicative acts and identities sole language. Therefore. identities are participants in communication before rushing to multiple. rule something a mistake. In my ethnography of classroom discourse. conflictual. even worse. This miscommunication in native– can imply complex proficiency. ac- nication might be a divergence strategy (Giles. their interaction posive communication by students. tities not prescribed in the lessons. to reduce the analysis to speaker-as- occur. off-site activities) can be utilized for applicable. including academic venues. House role from other social roles and identities. Learners can fails (House. ditional SLA research. deviating to the norms and meanings operative for those in. tity. In LFE. the conduit model of they are NSs. friend. and in-group community communities they study. even as participants? Given the intersubjective nature of they gain communicative competence in code- LFE. coming from outside the ties of learner. objectify- meanings” (p. Students convey other meanings and iden- In relation to all these issues. Even in classroom contexts. sharing the ba. from the institutionally mandated roles and dis- volved? There is research documentation to sug. a learner’s language is not ously work out a joint basis for their interactions. Participants negotiate the purposes and roles that matter in that speech the language effectively to ascribe meaning to ev. even an ungram. quisition is a social process where subtle nonped- 1984). These realizations make us question the ilar misunderstanding. form used by another. This failed commu. learning. the only cases of miscommunica. presumed to be functional (unless proven other- locally construing and intersubjectively ratifying wise). An error occurs when earlier.

2002). move toward conceiving of learning as often non. 84). In tices from Africa (Makoni. Khubchandani (1997) used an indige- and nonfunctional play as equally contributing to nous metaphor. in other ways. 2002). South America this sometimes asynchronous proficiency devel. We collective. we have to explore one’s If multilingual speakers display such stupen- language development in relation to that of a dous competence in acquiring and using a hybrid whole community of speakers. These features are the need to (a) Khubchandani (1997). between language groups. We skills and attitudes open to negotiation. communication that follows on my own region ological constructs that were a cause of concern of early socialization in South Asia. I base the description of multilingual We can now appreciate how certain method. To Though we do not have adequate scholarly de- make matters more complicated. NSs ates another language and develops proficiency had difficulties in such tasks as they did not bring in endonormative terms (Brutt-Griffler. This pro. here different dimensions interflow symbiot- formance. new Englishes than Anglo-American students. nial times. Not agency to renegotiate and overcome errors. he or she mon to multilingual communities from precolo- has to deviate from and resist the norms of the col. or treating it as an called the unity that develops out of this diversity interlanguage. we also have to realize that the language are beginning to see descriptions of such prac- development of both is mobile and changing. We cannot choose to either adopt or ig. LANGUAGE ACQUISITION AND USE IN As we consider acquisition as transcending the MULTILINGUAL COMMUNITIES control of the individual and the scope of inter- personal relationships. 2002). found in her group experiment that multilingual sess the language of the individual in relation to students were more successful in decoding the NS norms? The term macro-acquisition has been meaning of lexical and grammatical items from used to understand how a community appropri. developing unique grammars oped in their local communities. the findings in LFE communicative practices help individual has to align his or her learning to that us appreciate language acquisition and use com- of the community’s norms. then. cal and global language groups as the situation modate both purposive everyday communication demands. tify one’s mother tongue or native language. and (i) interpret the communication of ically into one another. Linguistic diversity is at the heart of multilin- tive. LFE is meaningless outside these conditions. The prac- have to develop ways to map the microacquisition tices we observe in LFE users are common in other of individuals with the macroacquisition of the contexts of multilingual communication involv- communities of which they are a part. (h) community. Higgins (2003) and conventions in the process. When a language is language like LFE. it emerges through the perceptive discussion of tures of LFE. there is evidence that it comes being appropriated by a community to suit its own from language socialization and awareness devel- interests and values. for different modes and cases of ically multilingual that it is difficult to iden- analysis. to capture this sense of acquisition. especially as for Firth and Wagner (1997) are constitutive fea. bow. (de Souza. and predictable activity. .930 The Modern Language Journal 91 (2007) predesigned. (g) relate to language as practice.10 consider meaning as negotiated and intersubjec. 2004). (e) provide for non. these practices the levels of alignment of the individual and the are not completely lost in these communities. Khubchandani norms or a target proficiency. Kshetra. in- ity. (d) only do people have multiple memberships. constructs is not optional. nonscripted. should we still as. while mapping scriptions of them in our field. but integrate learning and use. intentional. responsive to differences novices in context without comparing it with NS of density as in an osmosis” (p. (f) accom. Kshetras “can be visualized as a rain- treat cognition as situated and competence as per. and the Polynesian Islands (Do- opment in an unstable grammatical system. and raise further questions that need the requirements of the context. as Firth and Wagner Such individuals and communities are so rad- seemed to allow. There is constant interaction their own purposes in each communicative activ. they also hold in tension their affiliation with lo- learner social identities in acquisition. lective for the sake of voice and individuality. and nonlinear to under- stand LFE acquisition in everyday contexts. They are striking in needs creative strategies to make the appropriate their differences from the dominant constructs in alignment between one’s language resources and linguistics. and they overlap. exploration. and mesh in fascinating ways. (c) affirm learners as capable of exerting their terpenetrate. We have to nore them in the study of LFE acquisition and use. Paradoxically. among others. The use of these methodological and continuity of affiliations a superconsensus. recent cess is not always isomorphic. (b) treat form as shaped by participants for gual communities. ing local languages. one rian. In some ways.

alignment in discordant and un- situation is the norm. “individuals in such societies acquire is applied in a shifting and inconsistent manner. In these of words. and develop positive attitudes to variations languages serve as contact languages. and discourses. mixing of languages and literacies in each and conventions. 1997. did not elaborate. produce meaning and accomplish their commu- “identification through a particular language la. hybridity of grammar and variability of form. more synergy (i. For South Asians. Therefore. If social spaces fea. As Kubhchandani (1997) pointed out. 80). cally other-centered. and de. [They] exhibit many This description sounds similar to Firth’s phonological. . and com. and tightness that tion to the forms and conventions employed by would preclude openness to other languages? the other. The participants in an interaction comes first. to unexpectedness. and Konkani captures the creative agency participants must ex- and Marathi can be explained only through a ert in order to work jointly with the other par- pluralistic view of language” (p.e. “interpretation [is] . it takes a lot of work to get to this point. meaning and intelligibility are in- gualism. the pluralistic view of language Serendipity involves an attitudinal transformation. He went on to ferences in language and conventions. it is produced in practice. codes to a neutral ground” (Khubchandani. original emphasis). 94. in the is. Meaning does not to the communities and languages one considers reside in the language.. nicative objectives in relation to their purposes bel is very much a matter of individual social and interests. in speech (to the extent of even appropriating de- velop features suitable for such purposes—that viations as the norm in the lingua franca). It monolingual communities. Khubchandani (1997) argued that the ability systems of communication? to communicate is not helped by explicit for- It is clear that this linguistic pluralism has to be mulas such as formal grammars and dictionaries negotiated actively to construct meaning. the label As a result. being open to unexpected- ing their purity and separateness. original emphasis). Khubchan. 96. 91). or her own terms. diversity. This predictable situations? Clearly. Though he ticipant to accomplish intersubjective meaning. Many local ness). Of course. would raise many enigmas for traditional linguis. .Suresh Canagarajah 931 People develop simultaneous childhood multilin. mesh. one must dis- tics: How do we classify and label languages when play positive attitudes to variation and be open there is such mixing? How do we describe lan. do people need to communicate in such contexts Multilingual communication works because where different languages mix.. (1996) let it pass principle and Planken’s (2005) no- ties and are greatly susceptible to borrowing from man’s-land where participants accommodate dif- the languages of contact” (p. making it difficult to say which language tersubjective. Synergy Urdu and Hindi. but rather. not the exception. Language identity is relative constructed. Participants have to be radi- guages without treating them as self-contained sys. guages belonging to different families show paral. closure. Dogri and Punjabi. say that differences “between Punjabi and Hindi. lel trends of development. It is clear that communication in multi- Such communities are so multilingual that in a lingual communities involves a different mind-set specific speech situation one might see the mixing and practices from the mind-set and practices in of diverse languages. literacies. communities. They have to be imaginative tems? How do we define the system of a language and alert to make on-the-spot decisions in rela- without the autonomy. How do local people develop proficiency in ally based upon the complementary use of more a form of communication that involves multi- than one language and more than one writing ple communities and languages in contexts that system for the same language in one ‘space’” can generate an unpredictable mix of forms and (p. not preexisting. might be difficult to categorize the interaction as belonging to a single language.e. encompasses interaction strate- meaning out of this seeming chaos of multiple gies. salient in different contexts. 173). competence does not constitute a form of knowl- plement each other? How do people produce edge. los. conventions? How is harmony achieved out of ture complementary—not exclusive—use of lan. synchrony out of differences in form guages. languages and serendipity (i. process of ‘coming out’ from their own language- Khubchandani (1997) said “many Indian lan. In this sense. Implications for Theorizing Acquisition dani (1997) explained “the edifice of linguistic plurality in the Indian subcontinent is tradition. putting forth one’s own efforts) Because of such intense contact. To accept deviations as the norm. accepting the other on his themselves are influenced by each other. meaning is socially awareness” (p. grammatical and lexical similari. communication in communicative reality raises many questions for contact situations is marked by enigmatic para- language acquisition: What kind of competence doxes. p.

with learners armed with sions as well. and mar. its full significance can be expli- (p. In other words. In a sense. Indian grammarians talk about the guna (power. ipants observing an interaction in a detached It appears as if all that speakers can do is to manner to come up with a rationalist account find a fit—an alignment—between the linguistic for the success of communication. strategies for speech events that need to be ad- sponsively orchestrate the contextual cues for dressed for their own sake.932 The Modern Language Journal 91 (2007) dependent on the focus of communication resources they bring and the context of commu- ‘field’ and the degrees of individual’s ‘sensitivity’ nication. Khubchandani (1997) said that the speech (b) the mutuality of focus (that is. Mutuality and reciprocity indicate communicative tasks” (p. multilin. Local people realize that “the tent in isolation (as indexed in the dictionary) but ‘tradition inspired’ standardized nuances of an. If we need a gram- Furthermore. styles. communication is multimodal. Kubhchandani (1997) evoked Hindu a stock of forms and strategies that can make spiritual concepts to capture this idea: “ancient them competent for successful communication). “it is often diffi. potency) of language when deliberating on the less integral activity. Meaning does not gies in relation to their language resources. visuals. It is difficult for nonpartic- situation. and variable one. What Khubchandani highlighted are skills cated only from the imperatives of context and and strategies. communication. 52). the ways participants align their moves and strate. multilinguals cannot rely on gram- ergic relationship between the twin criteria: (a) mar or form. when partic. is the norm. speak of diverse languages. A message ‘event’ with the support of ad hoc ‘expression’ can convey meaning not merely through its in- strategies” (p. Syn. but an ability to come up with diverse must engage with the social context. As we have already seen. The meaning . reduced significance. learning is nonlinear. 93) cannot help verbal protocol in a formal setting) or through them communicate successfully in the mix of its effect on the participants (as manipulated by languages and dialects they encounter in each observers)” (p. color. 40). (icons.). tional systems) and modalities of communication petence is thus a mode of practice. ment in each situation of communication. not strategies that can create meaning out of shifting mastery and control. Multilingual com. In this tonomous language to find the rules of linguistic sense. 40). meaning hoc strategies reminds us that competence is not in language is not a product that can be pre. Thus. discourse centres around the dhvani doctrine in Indian aesthetics. dialects. Communication is intersub. Linguistic meaning is ergy is the outcome of this alignment. or other representa- laboratively build coherence. or feelings of the participants)” linguistic devices. 49). and body). multilingual competence is open mar or rules for this mode of communication. participants process. As Khubchan. 93). cation of forms and conventions to establish align- jective. modalities of dani (1997) explained further. it to unpredictability. not resident (writing. it communication poses a new and unpredictable will contain rules that account for how language mix of languages and conventions. moods. and re. acquisition is not a cumulative towards it” (p. communicating in symphony with other non- attitudes. “commu. In contexts where deviation nications in everyday life are based on the syn. sharing the rele. In other words. each context of will be a grammar of multimodality—that is. commonly attributed to the vice. It is for this rea. even if it can be described a pri- tors (spread over a speech spectrum comprising ori. and ecological resources to cre- cult to determine whether a particular discourse ate meaning. meaning making. To reduce further the importance of gram- one or more languages. This orientation would set us on a belongs to language A or B” (p. reside in language alone. in the Indian community speech is “an effort. not to solely in cognition. gesture.11 contexts. 40). touch. it is difficult to transfer the forms and ist tradition that proceeds further inwards into au- conventions of one context to the next. There. Rather than knowledge of form. process is “regarded as a non-autonomous de- vance of the setting. meshes with diverse symbol systems. sound. etc. space. The linguistics system is a hybrid the reciprocity of language skills among communica. son that when SLA is able to theorize language This kind of expanded competence involves not use and acquisition as based on directed effort just the rational faculty but other sensory dimen- (something predictable. created in relation to diverse symbol systems ipants jointly invoke language resources and col. gual competence features an array of interactional acquisition aims towards versatility and agility. Thus. also in the context of identity (as when observing other language or culture” (p. The mention of ad alignment. predictability but alertness and impromptu fabri- scribed objectively. In multilingual competence. grammar receives As Khubchandani (1997) explained. different path of description from the structural- fore.

40–41). multilingual communities. and emergent. 94). hybridization. each tion and one cannot predict the mix of languages interaction. but also involves other dimensions of hu. not separable mastery of knowledge. there is no development. tribute to his or her repertoire—a learning that ferent contexts. we have to think of intersubjective. learning is terests. Because participants have to adopt limit to the diversity. and phe- sive whole. petence is situational. each of them. asynchronous). However. complexity theory (Larsen-Freeman. resources with situational demands and shaping coming and. petence cannot rely solely on schools for its verse contact situations.. Furthermore. with its own set of participants. randomness facilitate rational processing and namics governing that specific interaction. As a result. words. will construct patterns of rules and formulae for com- not be available to outsiders. A crucial difference here is that This description of multilingual competence SLA accounts for multilingual competence one and acquisition sounds similar in many respects to language at a time. biological. hybridity. we also see some of variable forms. learn strategies of negotiation and adaptation for tions are so infinitely diverse and unpredictable). psychological. and perceptual dimensions in meaning. turies outside formal schooling in these commu- In this form of acquisition. and out group identities” (Khubchandani. when in reality. but aligning one’s Such a competence is always in a state of be. It is not surprising that. hierarchies. and dynamics features new requirements more meaningful in actual contexts of language of form and convention. . Considerable personal appro- We cannot speak of a target to be achieved when priation of forms and conventions takes place as the speaker would be perfectly competent for the speaker develops skills and awareness that con- communication at various levels of ability in dif. meaning-making. one’s competence is based on the reper. multimodal. say a person has mastered all the modalities and It is for these reasons that multilingual com- dimensions that shape communication in the di. acquisition is emergent. interlanguage because competence involves mul. sures based on close group. ferent modalities. Khubchandani (1997) explained that the takes place most effectively in everyday contexts: “total verbal repertoire is malleable.. multilingual use and practice. coalescing into a persua. multilateral). 2002). we have to accommodate the par. matic. almost in spite of disparate elements” nomenology (Kramsch. this type of LFE competence and acquisition. it does not nities. 2002).Suresh Canagarajah 933 created by the participants. and participants in each context. rather than a cognitive mastery of cesses. in situ. ing mental rules to situations. In other gional. It is intriguing how multilingual toire that grows as the contexts of interaction in. therefore. they (p. Khubchandani (1997) warned that “a theorizing such a possibility through chaos– seemingly incoherent manifestation in these so. ity theory (Lantolf & Thorne. In these orientations. and prag- and constitutes a qualitatively different whole. ing equilibrium. cognition. The multilingual speaker engages with the make sense to compare proficiency with baseline shifting and fluid situations in everyday life to data (which would be hard to find as the interac. In both. First of all. cognition man subjectivity. In general. a child contextual expediencies resulting in uninhibited acquires language from everyday life situations convergences between speech varieties with the where speech behavior is guided by implicit pres- contact pressures of pidginization. activ- cieties can make sense. language acquisition ative. Because meaning is munication? At the least. the environment to match the language resources There is no end point to learning. Applied linguists have started making. com- competence is more than the sum of the parts. acquisition is adaptive. in. suprare- code-switching and so on” (pp. 2006). requiring a multiscalar mapping works in context. 2002). In both. and variability that communicative strategies relevant to each situa- can characterize a language. in competence is treated as always evolving and cre. intersubjective. competence as finding equilibrium between dif- ticipants’ physiological. 1997.e. It is also meaningless to speak of is ongoing. p. or tiple languages with multilateral movement across form. acquisition is social practice. regional. and dimensions of affective. acquisition has taken place successfully for cen- crease. rational control. in relation to the dy. therefore. where one can one brings. practice- How does language competence develop out based. 171). responsive to “In heterogeneous plural environments. conventions. Competence is not apply- of acquisition (see Kramsch.e. A competence for such communication treat competence as an adaptive response of find- is therefore not only dependent on rational pro. is order created out of randomness? Can noncumulative (i. communication. and modalities features of acquisition that emerge more dis- of communication? How is competence formed tinctly from non-Western scholarship: Multilin- through shifting and unpredictable events? How gual acquisition is nonlinear (i. In sum.

to the way in which various language forms and Enabled by such historical processes as coloniza- varieties are embedded in diverse environments. Scholars have traced this development to formity in language and speech community as Saussurean linguistics and the structuralist move. competence. informed by the mod. Mainstream knowledge in SLA is not informed by the con. now usually considered the unmarked condition the field treats language as a thing in itself. that serve partisan interests. neglecting other processes special sanction to it” (p. the 17th-century enlightenment. tion and modernity. 2001) recounted the belated Critical scholars have discussed the motivations recognition during her field work in Senegal that in promoting values based on homogeneity. at which point they become force us to develop more democratic and egalitar- full-fledged forms. These values are informed labeling languages distorted the hybrid reality of by the social conditions and ideologies gaining South African languages. Mainstream linguistics prioritizes the homo- constructs in SLA are founded on monolingual geneity of community. 2006). and perceptual factors that are so pervasive among millions of people in the mold the intersubjective processes of commu- world. Yet. 438). There is also RECONSTRUCTING DISCIPLINARY a resulting lack of appreciation of the complex- PARADIGMS ity of human communication. If the established shaping and being shaped by them. Constructs based low from this assumption. 2001). suited to communities that desire purity. 2001). culture in which they developed. both tions of use and acquisition. treating language as a prevalent before the rise of the nation-state gave tightly knit structure. uni- a local collaborator. psychological. This failing is partly due to the pri- behind knowledge construction in our field. signifying the construction of linguistic utopias ment (Lantolf & Thorne. 2004. linguistics has reproduced its . ernist philosophical movement and intellectual As Dorian (2004) reminded us. To begin with. Even when diversity is these constructs are misleading and distorting addressed. May. and the sumptions of linguistics. which motivates linguists to ity. The field also modern nation-states. was in fact a proficient in. and embedded in specific environments. was in all likelihood less gives importance to form. 2004. and. 1984). Makoni (2002) de. multimodality. it is important to examine the rationale nication. “monolingualism.934 The Modern Language Journal 91 (2007) multisensory. exclusiv- poral life of language. Khubchandani (1997) on monolingualism and homogeneity are well pointed out the inordinate emphasis on the tem. treating multilingualism as informant as having native proficiency in more a problem (Ruiz. multidimensional. Acknowledging the hetero- chart the linear stages by which imperfect forms geneity of language and communication would develop to a stasis. identifiable product. Inadequate attention is paid ian models of community and communication. Kubchandani (1997) called for a tics as they continue their research. preted the imposition of homogeneity and uni- cation. We have to understand how to different geographical locations and historical language is meshed with other symbolic systems periods—can come up with such similar descrip. and language norms and practices. whom she discounted as an formity. tions at hand. They informant of a language because he was associated have pointed out how there has been an ideo- with another language. and domination. McLaughlin a common form or shared norms. treating it as the basic requirement that see a realization among mainstream scholars that facilitates communication. Other biases fol. which is marked by indeterminacy. Her unitary communities and identities around a single lan- assumption of the NS did not let her accept her guage (Singh. and heterogene- It is now well recognized that the dominant ity. 1998). and autonomy in linguistic sciences. spatial orientation. Therefore. therefore. for a discussion). Similarly. and establishing nation- than one language. it is treated as a variation deriving from (see Dorian. states around the language of a dominant com- scribed how colonial practices of classifying and munity (May. Pratt (1987) inter- and practices that always accompany communi. linguistics also fails to give importance to attitu- ditions that characterize language practices that dinal. as by members of the dominant linguistic group in an objective. it is fas. perfectly adequate in their own way for the func- LFE scholars have to consider how their partic. ipants might be influenced by such characteris. logical bias in European history toward unifying sider with authoritative knowledge. macy of cognition and reason in communication within the mainstream paradigm. French Revolution (Dorian. Such an approach would also cinating how two research traditions that are not rectify the lack of attention to the ecological fac- in conversation with each other—and that relate tors of language. state. dominance in Europe since the rise of the nation- These limitations derive from the dominant as. We are also beginning to structure. (McLaughlin & Sall.

gender have to be negotiated at other levels of creasingly multilingual with the transnational flow communication.14 of people. Wenger. Furthermore. symbiosis.12 though there are certain egalitarian practices at However. backgrounds meet (Pratt. There are other difficulties in working from un. Phe. rules. based model would accommodate the realizations cation. discourse. and of that community (not accumulating knowledge has interpreted it negatively. 1990). 1998) and contact zones tural theory (Lantolf & Thorne.Suresh Canagarajah 935 underlying enlightenment values elsewhere and into more recalcitrant positions. family. 1991). Khubchandani (1997) resorted to Indian ties to accomplish their goals. 2. gual reality that lacks a suitable language in main. My effort in this article is not to pit the views ning to question the dominant constructs in the of non-Western scholars against emerging models field. theorized local knowledge. al- tices and knowledge. one level. Though these less known pub. 6. or cognitive schemata). entation is informed by the practices of everyday nomenology (Kramsch. This view would redefine communities as synergy. chaos–complexity theory munities. As we saw in the previous viduals to move in and out of multiple communi- section. hybridity. Though language and discourse enable been forcing the local to retreat ever further communication. contact zones where people from diverse stream linguistics. field. the workings of each community is also practice— ernism in order to interpret this knowledge. lacking boundedness and a center. their own interests and purposes. engaging actively in purposive activities Modernism has denigrated local knowledge. without considering spirituality and philosophy to represent what he prior traits that are innate or that are exclusively perceives as indigenous language practices. What enables them to develop expertise in dominant hermeneutic molds offered by mod. 4. various tasks (not common language. and mul. in a desperate hindered the development of local language prac.. 3. The and expertise rather than those ascribed by birth. rather. Also. espe. Though this ori- conceptualize these emerging realizations. 1991. 2006) are such (Pratt. inequalities in terms of caste. as domi. uses metaphors like rainbow. of modern linguistics are influenced by the mod. He shared with others. and Vygotskyan sociocul. local can contain chauvinistic tendencies.15 attempts. orientation as accommodating the insights of the timodality as the norm? Because the constructs other model building activities referred to earlier. non-Western communities should inform the cur- idity at the heart of language and identity. 2007). lo. These mutual interests would permit indi- fer from modernity. or blood (Rampton. I see this human agency. 2002). sociocognitive theory by models such as communities of practice (Lave (Atkinson et al. ment). or values). and things. and alization. At any rate. race. attempt to maintain its independence. What enables them to work together on their they still lack elaborate theorization to produce interests are negotiation practices they bring to sophisticated alternative models. One has to break the 5. lications of periphery scholars are full of insight. influenced by a worldview and culture that dif. their communities. indeterminacy. that is. in the context of postmodern glob. I provide an outline here of how a practice- structs that would capture multilingual communi. although going radically beyond the cognition– ernist philosophical assumptions. How do we practice a linguistics that treats of LFE and multilingual competence. ecological mod. 2002). What brings people together in communi- from the evidence they still find about them in ties is not what they share—language. diversity. as all communities are becoming in. 1991). discourse.13 Even Western communities are beginning in the West. dichotomy to inte- are exploring alternate philosophical traditions to grate them at the level of practice. scholars are begin. and serendipity to describe a multilin. The rent efforts for alternate theory building in our struggle now is to find new metaphors and con. some scholars society. This practice-based model is characterized by Scholars from postcolonial and non-Western the following beliefs and assumptions: communities are also beginning to represent their communicative practices in scholarly literature 1. or form–pragmatics. it is also being theorized in the academy (Larsen-Freeman. language use and acquisition in non-Western com- els (Hornberger. Identities would then be based on affiliation we must not glorify non-Western traditions. they are. they are shaped by the practice . and flu. osmosis. This articulation is of course or values—but interests to be accomplished. My proposal is that the insights from to acknowledge the diversity. 2003). clan. ideas. and acquiring a repertoire of strategies nant knowledge systems have appropriated it for (not information. & Wenger. cially because the onslaught of modernity has 7. and information theoretically without involve- cal knowledge is not pure or whole.

1997. petence and develop instruments that are more sensitive to performance and pragmatics. and ecologically situated man- strategies. ner. situational. it satility with which we can do things with language is true that we work with simple and convenient that defines proficiency. As historical conditions change. we gual and contact situations. values. To this are treated in a more socially embedded. be sensitive to the relativity of norms. Rather than fo. ing of acquisition. not just constitutive. That is. of communication and acquisition seen outside The previously ignored or suppressed constructs the classroom (see Canagarajah. inter- end. we are now moving toward can be refashioned to accommodate the modes more radical options of reframing the constructs.936 The Modern Language Journal 91 (2007) of diverse situations and participants. participants. situated performance. tion or synthesis. in the manner of emergent grammar (Hopper. brought to the complex communicative needs of multilin. they will consider find that our definitions of language. light partly by the critique of existing models. ination of SLA. not to re- (to cope with the multiple languages and emer. teachers have to develop in students language. 2005a. gent grammars of contact situations). multilingual communication. Form is re. In other methodological implications behind the reexam- words. In a context of plural forms the questions raised by Firth and Wagner further and conventions. rather than on forms of communica. for a more are now becoming the basis for a new integra- elaborate pedagogical discussion). they get redefined was the objective of traditional pedagogy. Kasper. variable. cognition. sual characteristics they did not have before. However. changes to evaluate one’s ability to negotiate and when we encounter new realities. and creativity. we have to move away from a reliance on egalitarian context of transnational relations and discrete-item tests on formal grammatical com. It is time to revise. To this end. Students would develop language awareness dichotomies on the basis of practice. (see Gass. There are both ideological and sent their interests. and language awareness. and the abling students to join a new speech community individual are not eradicated. and identities. they are informed by spe- instructional strategies. The aim of this article is to integrate the tion. must develop new instruments with imagination the article argues that the acquisition I have in mind . 1997). NOTES tion. rather than recent research on LFE communication and non- focusing only on mastering the grammar rules Western language practices enables us to move of a single variety. They nities by negotiating the relevant codes. purposive uses of the of learning. As we realize that must construct new paradigms informed by our norms are heterogeneous. therefore. Pedagogy that characterize SLA. we have to focus more on communicative actionally open. 2006c). Therefore. communi- shaping meaning in actual interactions and even cation. Pedagogical movements models of language and acquisition at early stages such as learner strategy training and language of knowledge formation. verse the status of competing constructs. communicative reper- toire. Much against the position of some in the orig- students have to understand communication as inal debate that issues of acquisition are separate performative. CONCLUSION Although Firth and Wagner (1997) argued for The focus on practice does not mean that there rectifying the imbalance between the dichotomies is not a place for classroom learning. and communities shape our understand- reconstructing the rules and conventions to repre. variable. going from broader issues of language communication beyond the notion of just constructing prefabri. we now to adopt hybrid. models are awareness go some way toward facilitating such also interested. it is important for students to along to another level. Assess- ment would focus on one’s strategies of negotia. and reflect the ends desired by dominant that assessment too must go through significant communities. and proces- have to train students to shuttle between commu. and interpersonal negotiations in fluid a readiness to engage with a repertoire of codes communicative contexts. reformulate. new knowledge. it is not what we know as much as the ver. we 1 Though I relate this discussion to the field of SLA. interactively established in each and refine our models of acquisition for the more context. nant constructs such as form. 1998. as I have illustrated it elsewhere constructed ceaselessly to suit the interests of the (Canagarajah. and. Language acquisition is based cusing on a single language or dialect as the target on performance strategies. changing. we cated meanings through words. Long. To return to Haugen (1972). 1987). Although en. cific social conditions and their dominant ideolo- These changing pedagogical priorities suggest gies. The previously domi- in transnational contact situations. Thus. That is.

in our profession. Alignment and interaction in a sociocog- a speaker of American English in the United States. interacting with (2007). one’s language group multilingual speakers. London: language speakers of English with speakers of a tradi. However. ethnic and linguistic sectarianism. In hindsight. Washington. rion for sharply distinguishing oneself from others. 2004)—see note 7. Some scholars are on the quest lar identities. D.. tion have not existed in contexts of language contact in 3 Perhaps Rampton (1997). and Canagarajah (2005b). 1992). and initiated con- to define LFE according to an identifiable grammati. but. The social turn in second language ac- judge the effectiveness of speech. & Okada.. helps us discover the multilingual practices in the West. and political control for the implications of LFE for language acquisition may (Mohan. ical form in LFE (see Jenkins. 14 For a detailed discussion of the difficulties in redis- 7 There is an attempt by some LFE scholars to iden- covering local knowledge of non-Western communities tify the common aspects of phonological and grammat. World English: A study of its de- outsider’s variety).. From this perspective. 8 We have to distinguish the use of English in contact Anderson. would step out of their Indian English to negotiate the Brutt-Griffler. acquired political salience” (p. I am aware that many multilingual was not generally considered as a very important crite- speakers will claim NS status in English. rules of LFE that might constitute a system or whether they are simply a list of typical and exemplary features. T. House. multi. This article is informed by 13 For a distinction between the social processes of the alternate school that focuses on the pragmatic fea.e. DC: Georgetown University linguals will tend to negotiate more equally (i. They point out that constructs like lin- 4 Note that there are lingua franca languages other guistic identity and speech community were put to use in than English. p. see Canagarajah reveals processes that are similar for languages learnt (2006c). It is simply that mainstream scholars have not anticipated this development best as he outlined how adequately focused on them. 2006. 2003. is possible that the host community will use its norms to Block. Seidlhofer. earlier or later. E. 2006. 169–188. quisition. as alien language communities. language consciousness has fledged language. nitive approach in second language acquisition. Ironically. these constructs apply to those lingua franca languages as well. 92). people tional range” (p. have begun to shape social reality there with damag- 5 Though the construct of NS has been contested. Note also that there are different have started perceiving themselves according to singu- orientations to LFE... it is debated as to communities of practice would do justice to the realiza- whether these items constitute the finite and invariable tions of LFE communication. See McGroarty (2006) for a state of the art lands like India to categorize people for purposes of tax- on diverse languages.. and loyalties based on language-identity have special purposes: “ELF is neither a language for spe. because it is not a restricted how exclusive categories of identification can lead to code. Nishino. 2004) ship from non-Western scholars and communities does use the acronym ELF (English as a lingua franca). among all the discussants.g. 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