Applied Linguistics Review 2 2011

Applied Linguistics Review 2 2011

Li Wei

De Gruyter Mouton

ISBN 978-3-11-023932-4 e-ISBN 978-3-11-023933-1 ISSN 1868-6303 ISSN online 1868-6311
Bibliographic information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data are available in the Internet at ” 2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/New York Typesetting: PTP-Berlin Protago TEX-Production GmbH, Berlin Printing: Hubert & Co. GmbH & Co. KG, Göttingen Printed on acid-free paper Printed in Germany

Li Wei Department of Applied Linguistics & Communication University of London, Birkbeck College 26 Russel Square, Bloomsbury London WC1B 5DQ UK E-mail:

Associate Editors
David Block University of London, Institute of Education Bencie Woll University College London Itesh Sachdev University of London, SOAS

International Advisory Board
Keiko Abe Kyoritsu Women’s University, Japan Kingsley Bolton City University of Hong Kong, China Vivian Cook Newcastle University, UK Donna Christian Center for Applied Linguistics, USA Annick De Houwer University of Erfurt, Germany Patricia Duff University of British Columbia, Canada Diana Eades University of New England, Australia Yihong Gao Beijing University, China Ofelia Garcia City University of New York Graduate Center, USA Susan Gass University of Michigan, USA Fred Genesee McGill University, Canada Nancy Hornberger University of Pennsylvania, USA Alex Housen Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium Andy Kirkpatrick Hong Kong Institute of Education, China Claire Kramsch University of California, Berkeley, USA Mayouf Ali Mayouf University of Sebha, Libya Tim McNamara University of Melbourne, Australia Ben Rampton King’s College London, UK Elana Shohamy Tel Aviv University, Israel David Singleton Trinity College Dublin, Ireland Anna Verschik Tallinn Pedagogical University, Estonia Terry Wiley Center for Applied Linguistics, USA Lawrence Zhang National Institute of Education, Singapore

indexicalities and identities: Looking at the multilingual classroom through a post-Fishmanian lens Kingsley Bolton Language policy and planning in Hong Kong: Colonial and post-colonial perspectives Lin Pan English language ideologies (ELI) in Olympic Beijing Andy Kirkpatrick English as a medium of instruction in Asian education (from primary to tertiary): Implications for local languages and local scholarship Siân Preece Universities in the Anglophone centre: Sites of multilingualism Anne Pauwels Risking or boosting masculinity? Men’s language choices in multilingual settings ix 1 29 51 75 99 121 147 .Contents Li Wei Editor’s note Suresh Canagarajah Translanguaging in the classroom: Emerging issues for research and pedagogy Massimiliano Spotti Modernist language ideologies.

viii Contents ´ Larissa Aronin. Muiris O Laoire and David Singleton The multiple faces of multilingualism: Language nominations Raphael Berthele On abduction in receptive multilingualism. Evidence from cognate guessing tasks Annick De Houwer Language input environments and language development in bilingual acquisition Margo DelliCarpini The role of phonemic awareness in early L2 reading for adult English language learners: Pedagogical implications Piia Varis. Alexandra Cope. Xuan Wang and Caixia Du Identity repertoires on the Internet: Opportunities and constraints Crispin Thurlow and Adam Jaworski Tourism discourse: Languages and banal globalization Jeff Bezemer. Gunther Kress and Roger Kneebone “Do you have another Johan?” Negotiating meaning in the operating theatre 169 191 221 241 265 285 313 .

from critical analysis of classroom interaction and language teaching ideologies to tourism discourse and interactions in the operating theatre. It is always a shame not to be able to accept all the submissions. This year we received a lot more articles than we could possible include. Brigid O’Connor acted as the copy editor. especially David Block.Editor’s note LI WEI The inaugural issue of Applied Linguistics Review was published in June 2010. I am also grateful to my co-editors. Some of the articles have not only been cited by other researchers but also made onto the reading lists for students. I thank them all. As ever. along with other invited reviewers and members of the advisory board. for their work in putting this volume together. Several of my immediate colleagues at Birkbeck have reviewed the papers for this volume. Together the articles demonstrate the breadth and strength of applied linguistics as a field of transdisciplinary. But we do want to ensure high quality of the published articles. Without their enthusiasm. This second volume includes another fine selection of articles on a range of topics in applied linguistics. All the evidence suggests that it has been very positively received. I am very grateful to the contributors for the most interesting work they present in their articles. critical enquiry. this publication would not have been possible. the work by the staff at the Mouton office must be acknowledged. London January 2011 .


proficiency for multilinguals is focused on repertoire building – i. but a multicompetence that functions symbiotically for the different languages in one’s repertoire. and. Findings from a classroom ethnography of a writing course are marshaled to develop teaching strategies for the co-construction of meaning and orientations for assessing effective translanguaging practices. developing abilities in the different functions served by different languages – rather than total mastery of each and every language. The literature review highlights the overly cognitive and individualistic focus on translanguaging competence. . Garcia 2009). research and pedagogy to take the orientation forward. A neologism. languages are not discrete and separated. languages are part of a repertoire that is accessed for their communicative purposes. Introduction Advances in our understanding of multilingual communication have solidified academic interest around the term translanguaging (see Canagarajah forthcoming. and the failure to develop teachable strategies of translanguaging. 1. for multilinguals. the need to explore this communicative practice in domains other than conversation. Creese and Blackledge 2010.e. and raises critical questions on theory. but form an integrated system for them. for these reasons. competence doesn’t consist of separate competencies for each language. it has come to stand for assumptions such as the following: that..Translanguaging in the classroom: Emerging issues for research and pedagogy SURESH CANAGARAJAH Abstract This article attempts to synthesize the scholarship on translanguaging conducted in different academic disciplines and social domains. multilingual competence emerges out of local practices where multiple languages are negotiated for communication.

hip hop (Pennycook 2007). The following are some of the terms used for translanguaging in different fields (identified according to the scholars who use them): Composition: codemeshing (Canagarajah 2006. therefore. third spaces (Guttierez 2008). However. Towards a balanced theoretical orientation In the context of a linguistics that theorizes competence and communication in terms of monolingual norms. street signage (Gorter 2006). The theorization of this practice is going on in different disciplines under different labels. translingual writing (Horner et al.2 Suresh Canagarajah As the notion receives increasing attention. metrolingualism (Pennycook 2010). After outlining the issues for further research. I report some findings from a classroom ethnography I conducted to illustrate how we might address the emerging questions in the field. Young 2004). teachers are also interested in the pedagogical implications of this practice. to mention a few. treating multilinguals as non-native and. lacking ownership in some languages. youth performative conversational interactions (Rampton 2008). While the body of scholarship on social manifestations and classroom occurrences of translanguaging is increasing. poly-lingual languaging (Jorgenson 2008). hetero-graphy (Blommaert 2008). children’s interactions (Jorgenson 2008). The contexts of translanguaging range from academic reading and writing (Lu 2009). proactive teaching of translanguaging raises a difficult set of theoretical and practical questions that have not received adequate discussion so far. continua of biliteracy (Hornberger 2003). This is a matter of affirmative action. scholars are documenting translanguaging in diverse social and educational contexts. internet communication (Williams 2009). The purpose of this article is to adopt a critical orientation to the theorization and research of translanguaging in an effort to translate the findings more effectively for classroom purposes. Applied linguistics: plurilingualism (Council of Europe 2000). Sociolinguistics: fluid lects (Auer 1999). Multilinguals users’ linguistic variations are treated as marking their . Many previous constructs arise from pitting one language against another. it is appropriate that translanguaging is now being given a lot of attention in the academy. transcultural literacy (Lu 2009). forthcoming) New literacy studies: multiliteracies (Cope and Kalantzis 2000). pluriliteracy (Garcia 2009). and indigenous literacy (Hornberger 2003). 2.

In many quarters.e. and conditioned by their first language or culture not to accommodate a second language effectively. villages in the southern hemisphere have always featured diversity. We do have evidence that translanguaging has been practiced in pre-colonial communities and in rural contexts. any valorization of a suppressed communicative practice undergoes what feminist scholars Kirsch and Royster (2010: 647) have recently called “the three Rs – rescue. Translanguaging helps us adopt orientations specific to multilinguals and appreciate their competence in their own terms. conditioning. Khubchandani (1997) . All these terms (i. first/second language and culture) are indications of what Vivian Cook (1999) calls a “comparative fallacy. into ‘neo-tribes without socialisation’ where centres of authority are hard to find and where entry is a matter of the consumer’s desire. and (re)inscription”. dynamic and democratic than “monolingual” competence. Such practices are also associated with urban life. a performative practice of translanguaging.. rural life has featured considerable heterogeneity and multilingualism. and hide their vibrancy in other places and times. However. In both cases. recovery. for identification purposes) reflective of life in late modernity when “aestheticized multi-modal texts recruit people into ‘life-style’ communities. the suggestion that translanguaging practices are postmodern and urban can give a misleading impression.” The tendency to adopt binary and hierarchical orientations to language has distorted the integrated nature of multilingual competence and communication. Neighboring villages with different languages and tribal groups adopt translanguaging in contact situations. non-native..e. personal taste. This preoccupation with salvage and affirmative representation leads to an uncritical orientation to marginalized rhetorical traditions. In South Asia. Rampton (1999: 425) considers crossing (i. translanguaging is valorized as an urban and postmodern practice. resulting from “interference” from the other languages in their repertoire. interference. It is not surprising that scholarship on translanguaging makes multilingual communication appear more diverse. in which one adopts the language of a community he/she is not typically associated with. shopping skills and purchasing power” (see also Rampton 2008). we have to examine certain misconceptions engendered by the four R’s. For example. Africa and South America. As we address some critical questions on translanguaging.Translanguaging in the classroom: Emerging issues for research and pedagogy 3 nonstandard or deficient usage. While villages in the West are homogeneous. They can thus lead to a fourth R – romanticization. We have to critique this new binary – multilingual and monolingual – and adopt a critical attitude towards the resources/limitations and prospects/challenges of translanguaging. Pennycook (2010) has recently coined the term metrolinguistics (to capture the fluid and hybrid language practices of youth in the city).

times and communities. Perhaps we can adopt more diversified and localized constructs once the dominant paradigms have been deconstructed.4 Suresh Canagarajah provides a book length treatment of the strategies adopted by villagers in South Asia to communicate to each other. It is based on archival research. it is not clear whether being monolingual is an ontological reality. It appears as if the notion of multilingual competence borders on essentializing diverse communicative practices and attributing them as invariable essences of non-western communities. what they overlook is that translanguaging is a social accomplishment. Scholars of translanguaging have invoked Vivian Cook’s (1999) notion of multicompetence to combat the Chomskyan dominance. when Latin and English were imposed from above. As we get more evidence. They rightly point out that multilingual competence is qualitatively different from the Chomskyan notion of monolingual competence. registers and discourses. The construct is a useful heuristic to demystify the dominant construct of monolingual competence. Khubchandani has to painstakingly recover available evidence from present day life to theorize the translanguaging practices of pre-colonial times. However. articulate the features of alternate competences and demystify the language ideologies that motivate unitary models of language and competence. Translanguaging not only involves a person drawing from all . Another overgeneralization is the broad constructs “multilingual” and “monolingual”. Therefore. The overriding concern of translanguaging scholars has been with rectifying the Chomskyan orientation. which represents language competence as innate. All of us have multilingual competence and adopt multilingual practices in our competence. multilingual competence involves a massive generalization of practices in many regions. Perhaps we can justify this construct as a case of strategic essentialism (see Spivak 1993). pre-colonial and postmodern practices in translanguaging to develop a more focused understanding of this mode of communication. Even this archival documentation is thin as practices that deviated from the ideologies of modernity were suppressed or unrecorded in modern scholarship. The theorization of translanguaging in terms of cognitive competence and individual proficiency (see Franceschini 2010. we need to compare rural and urban. Garcia 2009) has also led to some oversight. and develop a more complex orientation to translanguaging. Furthermore. Pollock (2009) has discussed how Sanskrit as a lingua franca in pre-colonial times cohabitated with local languages and communities. monolingual and arising from a homogeneous environment. Even the so-called “monolinguals” shuttle between codes. and that multilinguals parallel process the diverse languages in their repertoire even when they function in a relatively homogeneous language. The limitation in the scholarship on translanguaging in pre-colonial times is that it is not based on empirical observations.

Studies on translanguaging have also been conducted in a product-oriented manner. 3. and not on the negotiation of difference. people are not entirely free in semiotic work. other communities may have mixed feelings about their codes being appropriated. He gives complexity to their multilingual and multimodal writing. other than the researcher. Issues in current research While there are theoretical exaggerations of the sort reviewed above. . leaving processes out of consideration. It is a creative improvisation according to the needs of the context and local situation. Pennycook (2010) also presents the ways in which his subjects mix codes in hip-hop to demonstrate new subjectivities and performances. Blommaert’s (2008) own Grassroots Literacy illustrates this approach. We have to give greater importance to translanguaging as a form of social practice along the lines Pennycook (2010) has theorized language interactions recently. . For this reason. Blommaert (2005: 205– 206) advises that we should consider the dialogical and. since he studies only the product . we will also note that translanguagers adopt certain calculated strategies to gain uptake. It is an interactive achievement that depends on aligning one’s language resources to the features of the ecology to construct meaning. translanguaging is performative. interpret and respond to these translanguaging displays.” If we keep this caution in mind. Blommaert interprets their writing to understand their choices. In studying the historical/biographical texts of two Congolese subjects. As Khubchandani (1997) demonstrates. However. We don’t know how participants. scholars have focused on the production of difference. in order for an identity to be established. it has to be recognised by others. . In other words. As Jane Hill (1999) observed some time ago. We have to go beyond studying the strategies of translanguaging production to studying strategies of negotiation. For example. I might add. Furthermore. there are also some limitations in the research carried out on translanguaging practices. it also involves shuttling between the languages brought by the other to co-construct meaning.Translanguaging in the classroom: Emerging issues for research and pedagogy 5 the languages in his/her repertoire to communicate. instances of youth adopting the codes of out-group members is represented without considering how out-group members respond to these features or display uptake (see Rampton 2008). labeling it hetero-graphy. In much of the research on crossing and related performative practices. interactional dimension of translanguaging activity: “Meaning – including the attribution of identity categories – is a dialogical practice in which the uptake of one’s semiotic acts may be as consequential as the structure of the semiotic acts themselves. translanguaging is not a case of applying a linguistic predisposition.

Furthermore. Furthermore. In fact. we don’t have enough studies on translanguaging in writing. Similarly. the exclusion of native speakers prevents us from understanding the agency of multilingual speakers. Current research has also limited translanguaging to multilingual interlocutors. in its purest form. while a majority of existing studies on translanguaging are on face to face oral interactions. Multilinguals adopt creative strategies to negotiate meaning with NES and co-construct meaning. failing to gain uptake and being silenced. this restriction leads to an artificial communicative context. he ends up with a deficient view of translanguaging. His analysis suggests that the Congolese subjects adopt translanguaging as they don’t have access to elite literacy. we haven’t studied how translanguaging works in other genres and modalities of communication. We have to ask further questions of process. as in the corpus study of multilingual negotiations in English. In fact. we can compare such interactions with face to face interactions to understand if the translanguaging strategies are different. Indeed.” However. For example. the researchers have decided to leave out native English speaker (NES)1 subjects in order to preserve the validity of their data. such as: What strategies do translanguagers adopt to help readers/listeners interpret their language choices? What choices did they face in codes and conventions in their production? What considerations help them resolve their choices? What composing or cognitive stages characterize the production of translanguaging? These questions will enable us to gain an insider perspective on the processes that accompany translanguaging and help us teach it better to students. In some instances. “ELF [English as a Lingua Franca] researchers specifically exclude mother tongue speakers from their data collection. we have to go beyond merely documenting instances of translanguaging and analyzing their linguistic and textual realizations. there is a strong opinion among some scholars that translanguaging is not permitted in writing.6 Suresh Canagarajah and has no way of interviewing the writers themselves (who are deceased). classroom situations often involve NES or monolingual teachers. However. Contact situations sometimes include native and nonnative. Blommaert also assumes that the authors are not adopting any proactive strategies to communicate to their intended recipients. . To overcome such deficient reading. We have to study translanguaging in contexts where there is a mix of speakers in order to understand the strategies of communication of translanguagers. monolingual and multilingual participants. Even those who accommodate diverse codes in speaking feel that such mixing are not appropriate for writing. They have been discussed as instances of hybridity rather than translanguaging (Lam 2004). youth mesh codes in computer-mediated discussions. ELF is defined as a contact language used only among non-mother tongue speakers. Jenkins (2006: 160) notes.

” He argues that the accommodation of codes that deviate from standard language should be postponed for a time when those codes become the norms in writing. which they consider a more formal activity where students’ performance is assessed. To make matters further complicated. Peter Elbow (2002: 128) argues. writing in educational contexts is a high stakes activity. multilingual authors have to get the help of editors and translators to eliminate the localisms in their English. they assume that such negotiations are not necessary for writing. These assumptions can be easily challenged.). For example. de Souza 2002). Though writing lacks some of the communicative resources in speaking. For him.. texts are static products that contain self-evident meaning that can be extricated through detached reading. Stark 2008. These assumptions lead him to argue that writing has to always adopt the standard language expected for that context. In the same vein. while interlocutors negotiate meanings interactively in face to face conversations. the well known manipralava writing in South Asia combined Tamil and Sanskrit (Viswanathan 1989). Such texts were actively negotiated for meaning by readers and writers. The prohibition of translanguaging in writing also results from the dominance of “autonomous literacy” (Street 1984). This attitude leads to censoring translanguaging. One can use the successive drafts to prepare readers for interpreting translanguaging. writing has a materiality to it. “Literacy as a culture or institution almost always implies just one dialect as the only proper one for writing: the ‘grapholect’.e. teacher/student conversations). we have to be open to the possibil- . Furthermore. argues that since the rich paralinguistic cues of speaking are not available for interpreting writing. for example. and promoting standardized and discrete codes for literacy. group work. Therefore. the notion that writing can take only one code at a time and the assumptions of autonomous literacy are very recent European orientations to writing. Writing also has a visual dimension. We are beginning to see scholarship that shows that even writing in the West favoured dynamic interactions for meaning-making before Enlightenment (see Ratcliffe 1999. Such literacies and textualities are making a comeback in the context of digital communication. the lack of gestures. it has other resources that can favour translanguaging. For example. According to this ideology. Williams 2009). Texts are multilingual and multimodal on the Web. One can use the visual resources to embed additional codes and modalities for meaning-making. For this reason. and readers and writers are negotiating their hybrid codes more actively for meaning (Nicotra 2009. tone and contextual details reduces the possibilities for guessing meaning. Literacy in non-western communities has always been multilingual and multimodal (see Canagarajah 2006. they don’t permit it in writing. While teachers permit translanguaging in face to face interactions for classroom interactions (i.Translanguaging in the classroom: Emerging issues for research and pedagogy 7 Barbour (2002).

acts of translanguaging are not elicited by teachers through conscious pedagogical strategies. 4. In fact. If it occurs naturally in the most unbidden contexts. In a recent study on translanguaging practices in bilingual classrooms. The pedagogical side is underdeveloped in general. Creese and Blakledge (2010: 113) emphasize “the need for further research to explore what ‘teachable’ pedagogic resources are available in flexible. we still have a long way to go in developing teaching strategies out of these broadly conceived models. In a majority of these studies. Pedagogical approaches such as the biliteracy workshop (Garcia 2009) and continua of biliteracy model (Hornberger 2003) theorize how students may shuttle between languages and modalities in their learning. What current classroom studies show is that translanguaging is a naturally occurring phenomenon for multilingual students. Issues in pedagogical practice A further set of questions relate to the possibility of teaching translanguaging in classrooms. other than provide . as in the study by Creese and Blackledge. They are produced unbidden. and the Internet – we haven’t figured out how to develop such proficiency among students in classrooms.8 Suresh Canagarajah ity that translanguaging will be actively practiced in literacy in the future.. Translanguaging cannot be completely restrained by monolingual educational policies. linguistic landscapes. However. While we have studied the practice of translanguaging in social life – i. The studies we do have on school contexts show translanguaging to be a naturally occurring phenomenon. they echo what other scholars like Lin and Martin (2005) have also considered important in order to move multilingual language acquisition forward. in urban youth encounters. It is important for researchers to study translanguaging in writing. translanguaging is so fully developed among multilingual students in their home and community contexts that there is nothing further for the school to add. it might be argued. However. It can occur with minimal pedagogical effort from teachers. concurrent approaches to learning and teaching languages bilingually”. teachers have provided safe spaces for students to adopt their multilingual repertoire for learning purposes. and teachers have themselves collaborated with students in using the repertoire as a resource. translanguaging occurs surreptitiously behind the backs of the teachers in classes which proscribe language mixing (see the studies from diverse communities in Lin and Martin 2005. such studies might give the impression that translanguaging doesn’t have to be taught. In making this call. In the more proactive situations. Heller and Martin-Jones 2001). in many of these cases.e.

In most studies on translanguaging. In the same vein. An important consideration is if there is a place for error or mistake in translanguaging. I demonstrate from a course I taught that making opportunities for critical analysis will help students develop their translanguaging proficiency further. If there is none. The attitudes to translanguaging should also be studied in order to understand the possibilities for pedagogical success. We have to explore if we can move away from a normbased or form-based notion of error and adopt a practiced based orientation to developmental stages in translanguaging. see also Franceschini 2010). pragmatic meanings and implications for cognitive competence. not hindering. The difficulty in identifying errors is that translanguaging doesn’t accommodate the notion of intereference from other languages. They haven’t asked if the translanguaging is appropriate for that context in rhetorical terms. Such an assumption makes one wonder if translanguage needs to be taught at all. we don’t have a concept of developmental translanguaging. we have to consider some serious issues for assessing the effectiveness of this practice. meaning transfer to aesthetic considerations. As we develop teachable strategies of translanguaging. this might mean that translanguaged talk and texts are always perfect. How do students relate to translanguaging? Some minority communities have recently voiced concerns about this . how do students negotiate such constraints for successful communication? We have to also consider the implications of translanguaging proficiency for social and educational success for multilingual students. Would this competence help or hinder them in their educational and professional prospects.Translanguaging in the classroom: Emerging issues for research and pedagogy 9 a context for it to be practiced. This line of thinking leads to the tendency to see translanguaging as an intuitive capacity for which multilinguals are naturally endowed. researchers have focused mostly on the information transfer. Also. Treating translanguaging as a practice (not natural competence). There are also questions related to the ways students negotiate power in the classroom when they translanguage. Such studies are bolstered by cognitive orientations to competence that posit that translanguaging is “natural” to multilinguals (Bhatia & Ritchie 2004: 794. Since classrooms are often dominated by NES or monolingualist assumptions and autonomous literacy. We might go away with the assumption that translanguagers never err. Mutual influences from the languages in one’s repertoire are treated as creative and enabling. we also need to adopt rhetorical considerations in assessing the effectiveness of translanguaging. communication. we have to move from grammar to discourse. we don’t know if there is a concept of normative translanguaging against which errors can be judged. whether inside or outside the classroom. Also. Could better choices have been adopted for more effective communication? To address such questions of rhetoric.

using my findings for the further development of translanguaging for classroom purposes. I conducted a classroom ethnography on the development of teacher identities and literacy awareness.10 Suresh Canagarajah practice and its implications for community empowerment. He states that translanguaging “is hybridity and violates the elders’ rule of mutually assured separatism” (Lyons 2009: 102). a native American scholar. 5. Students observed writing classes of other instructors or their own. To address his charge we have to find out how translanguagers perceive their relationship to the codes they mix in their utterance. to develop more constructive pedagogies and professional identities. This activity of negotiating meaning with the writers helped me in many ways. In posing questions . In selected cases. Japan. In this article. I report on the writing of a single student. etc. He feels that translanguaging would make native American students complacent about language maintenance. The class consisted of roughly half Anglo-American students. UAE and Saudi Arabia). I gave her an early draft of my essay interpreting her translanguaging strategies for her response. I also conducted a stimulated recall procedure (SR) to query students on their rhetorical and linguistic choices. Or. Peers and the instructor critiqued each draft for subsequent revisions. A case study The data in this study came from a graduate-level course on the teaching of second language writing. In her case. treating them as a new code in their own right. D2. Scott Lyons. argues that this form of hybridity is a threat to heritage languages. and critically reflected on their observations in relations to the readings.). as a form of member check procedure (MC). I address these questions in a writing course I recently taught for graduate students at my university. and surveys and interviews on writing development (I). Buthainah from Saudi Arabia. I interpret the translanguaging in this writing in the context of the activities and assignments produced throughout the course. Korea. The data sources are the following: successive drafts of essays (abbreviated as D1. I adopted a dialogical pedagogy in this course. do they treat translanguaging as free of values? – as Peter Auer (1999) suggests in his theorization of fluid lects. and half international students (from China. A major assignment in the course was the writing of a literacy autobiography to critically reflect on students’ own writing development and translate their insights into pedagogical practices. assignments and activities (A). Taiwan. the writing was collaborative. a peer commentary (PC). and dilute the integrity of nativeAmerican languages. a weekly journal of students’ responses on readings and writings (J). Also.

I was often influenced by the dominant expectations on writing in a university course. Furthermore. participant-relevant) sensitivity towards fundamental concepts. The students were also aware of examples of my own critical and translanguaged writing (e. Furthermore.. this dialogical pedagogy helped me address an important methodological challenge in this kind of research. an increased ‘emic’ (i. However. My position as a teacher/researcher helped me resolve this dilemma to some extent. Firth and Wagner (1997: 285) argue that “SLA research requires a significantly enhanced awareness of the contextual and interactional dimensions of language use. my dialogical teaching helped me actively negotiate meanings with the students and adopt an insider orientation to their writing process. those students who want to practice such writing find affordances in their context. Therefore... Thus the classroom is a site of competing ideologies. is my pedagogy biased towards producing such translanguaged texts? However. . Often students challenged the assumptions behind my questions and helped me identify traces of dominant ideologies.Translanguaging in the classroom: Emerging issues for research and pedagogy 11 on their writing choices in my feedback. I helped students develop a critical awareness without having to impose my values on them. Canagarajah 2006). In their seminal article developing a social orientation to language acquisition. I must acknowledge that I did give students samples of translanguaged writing (e. those who are part of the interaction may be considered as not having sufficient detachment to be analytical. In other words. researchers who stand outside the negotiation of meaning in the interaction cannot make valid observations on the communication.e. all teachers have to negotiate the dominant policies and ideologies of language and writing in their pedagogical context. All teaching contexts and teachers bring their own positions on literacy and multilingual communication.” If meaning is co-constructed by multilinguals in contact situations. For students to discern the features that are friendly to their interests and negotiate features that are unfavourable is part of their learning experience. and students and teachers always have to negotiate their footing.g. the course was not totally shaped by a single ideology. Such a direct introduction to translanguaged writing may make critics to wonder if writing samples derived from such a course are shaped by my instructional approach.g. As my questions in SR will reveal. Though I had relative detachment as a teacher to adopting an analytical perspective. Smitherman 2003) and readings that complicate autonomous literacy (Canagarajah 2002) as part of the course syllabus. I don’t think of any pedagogical context as value-free or neutral. Even in courses where there is no explicit policy that favours translanguaging. Students too had to navigate through competing ideologies as they negotiated their footing toward the writing and the course.

my home. the motif she used to divide her sections. I had a different motivation. ma sha Allah. my instructor wanted to challenge the students. however. Other idiosyncrasies such as the missing apostrophe in “my parents request” and the noni- .” The Arabic proverb serves also as the title for the essay. Note also the elongation of “doon’t” in the paragraph quoted earlier to capture the auditory effect. My parent’s face discolored and the sense of disapproval appeared in their tone of speech. – Our first exposure to real English was at that airport. My parents desired to enroll me in a private preschool. – The motif used to divide her sections: – At that time. and freedom of beliefs.e. Buthainah also adopted other types of translanguaging in her esssay: – My experience learning English has interesting twists. To encourage me. by having us write about Riyadh as the Arabian Capital for Culture. – A ket-koot is a small chick in Arabic.” She uses French phrases in certain instances. knowledge became the key for freedom. The man said beaucoup de choes that I could not understand. Due to my fear. to an unknown and unpredictable zone. At that time I had about seven chicks [P. a new wave full of challenges and unexpected turnouts unfolds. I refused. I did not like school. In many different stages of my life. At the end of the road. including moi.S. and other emoticons. I feared the aspect of departing my comfort zone. and I was in sixth grade . They said “Who fears climbing the mountains ∼∼ Lives forever between the holes. Buthainah transliterates Arabic expressions such as “ma sha Allah.” As I grew up.1. She translates this proverb later in the paragraph as “Who fears climbing the mountains ∼∼ Lives forever between the holes. (D6) The Arabic proverb with which she starts was uttered to her by her parents when she hesitated to go to school on the first day. freedom of doing. couple of them died =’(]. In every decision I make relating to my academic world. they recited a poetic line that I did not comprehend as a child but live by it as an adult. my dear reader. There were also visual symbols that she considered part of her expressive repertoire: i. As we see. In addition to such proverbs and verses in Arabic script. I have not learned English in school yet since English was required to seventh graders and beyond.. I feared it.12 Suresh Canagarajah 5. knowledge became my key to freedom. – In sixth grade. Buthainah’s negotiation strategies Buthainah opened her essay as follows: “I doon’t want to!” was my response to my parents request of enrolling me in a nearby preschool. freedom of thought.

so that readers will adopt the orientation of what Buthainah calls above a “negotiated essay”. As she expected. First. she explained: “It is a familiar shape that one may find in Islamic art. [is] ongoing (emphasis added. It is a negotiated essay that seeks a better understanding from educators and future teachers to the multilingual experience. Asked why she chose to include so many Arabic verses. Since I am a Muslim. and Islam influenced me. the idisyncracies in form didn’t cause any problem for comprehension. I am welcoming them to the discussion. Her peers were willing to negotiate the essay for meaning with her. .Translanguaging in the classroom: Emerging issues for research and pedagogy 13 diomatic expression “a new wave full of challenges and unexpected turnouts unfolds” will also be attributed to translanguaging by scholars and not treated as errors. There is evidence that there was uptake of this strategy. as researchers haven’t adequately studied how they behave in contact situations. they are part of me. Even the spelling mistakes and unusual idiomatic and syntactic choices were explained by the fact that she focused more on rhetorical issues rather than form. And this essay is about me. She had ample opportunities to change any idiosyncratic features earlier. Note that this is the sixth draft Buthainah wrote. Why shouldn’t I includ it? (SR)2 On the motif used to divide the sections. Tim. As Buthainah opens with Arabic and doesn’t provide translations. . They understand that meaning is not given to one on a plate. By addressing my readers. it seemed appropriate to include them in an essay on my literacey development. No one complained about these issues. mentioned in a peer review: . using this particular motif was a hint to the reader to my heritage” (MC). In addition. . which. she mentioned: My objectives for using thses poems are many. an Anglo-American student. poetry is part of my Arabian culture because it is highly valued. She assumed that readers will negotiate them for meaning in context: I did not see my essay as a one-way informative essay. in my perspective. Thus. readers are compelled to work for meaning. Thus. I am especially concerned about the responses of NES subjects. The very opening of the essay (quoted earlier) indicates the ethos of the text and indicates a different orientation to reading. I call the first set of strategies Recontextualization Strategies. She retained these features as she considered them important for her voice. I like to focus first on the strategies Buthainah adopts to encourage her readers to negotiate for meaning with her. MC). it also influenced my literacy experience. What Buthainah does is change the dominant orientations to textual reception in western educational institutions.

Perhaps you are challenging them to bridge that gap as readers. the IECP at X Uni- . . shows uptake. In one place she wrote: Couple of years later. but I think she does so with a sense of who she is. She obviously respects her L1 and explicitly shows us. However. “language users who may have [a] few problems with English. but having rhetorical implications: As a student at an American University. She says in an early paragraph in her essay: I may sound and write like-or even better than. ” ESL status is stereotypically considered developmental and deficient. Thus he moves away from the dominant orientation of autonomous literacy to approach this essay. That if they want to gain access to your writing (to a piece of you. but I do not look like one. Tim adopts this strategy to figure out the meaning and engage with Buthainah to construct meaning. Or. Buthainah seemed to confront some of the stereotypes of her readers more directly in order to facilitate a less biased reading. She shapes the context so that they will approach the text as a multilingual encounter. your non-Arabic speaking audience from being able to engage fully with the text. 1997). maybe these poems are a special treat you mean only for those able to read Arabic to experience (PC. perhaps?) they have to meet you halfway somehow. Many people would group all second language learners together not knowing that this grouping may be negative to the learner especially those who are considered functional bilinguals . throughout the text with poems. Chrissie. Buthainah distinguishes herself as a functional bilingual and not an ESL student throughout her essay. not letting form bother their reading. 10/22). Buthainah constructs a more empowering identity for her.14 Suresh Canagarajah By not translating you are excluding a wider audience. but awkward in English (for example) (PC 10/28). Bridging the gap and meeting halfway are the attitudes multilinguals display when they interact with other language groups in contact situations (see Khubchandani. later. an Anglo-American student. she knows that following the “rules” of academic writing will get her far. the reader. She suggests that readers should go beyond issues of form to consider the rhetorical and meaning-making abilities of multilinguals. but were beyond the realm of ESL (D6). . She interprets Buthainah’s deviations from norms as not deficient. and how expressions are beautiful in Arabic. Readers did adopt such an orientation to their interpretation. my father began a new journey by enrolling in a master program in United States of America. He applied and. Buthainah also carefully gives clues about her preferred authorial identity to prevent readers from adopting native speaker norms. In certain places in the text.a native speaker.

When the paper works were complete. still to this day. This strategy of constructing a favourable context for language negotiation is what Kramsch (2009) calls symbolic competence. my family and I traveled from Saudi Arabia to United States by air plane [P. But. but they were all rented!]. a joke was needed here because I may have readers who hold negative associations toward my ethnicity. However. We find from lingua franca English (LFE) research that multilinguals engage in considerable foot work to establish a favourable context for language negotiation. people who think that I. Buthainah is engaged in negotiating the appropriate footing to read her essay. and hopefully. as a Saudi. ride camels to school. (D6) 15 I wasn’t sure if the parenthetical comment was necessary. In this and the other strategies above. Planken (2005) finds that Scandinavian business professionals engage in considerable preparatory work to create a “safe space” to negotiate their differences before they actually talk business. I wrote that sentence because there are. Buthainah responded to the criticism as follows: I knew that I was taking a risk by addressing the reader. it will never occur (SR). One specific strategy is joking about their accent so that both sides can lay aside their inhibitions and biases. they have to consider the stereotypes and whats going on around them that may influence the comprehension or the interpretation of the text. Multilinguals are adept at such strategies for meaning construction. as they are calculated to engage the reader into co-constructing meaning. I label another set of strategies Interactional Strategies. It is a negotiated essay that seeks a better understanding from educators and . I was concerned that such addresses would violate the formality of academic writing.S. I asked Buthainah: “This might be considered a digression by some readers. Therefore.Translanguaging in the classroom: Emerging issues for research and pedagogy versity accepted him. In addition. I did not see my essay as a one-way informative essay. when someone writes about themselves. It is a joke that tries to remove that stereotype. While communicative competence encourages sticking to the conventional codes for a context for successful uptake. How would you respond to that criticism?” Buthainah responded: Yes. so that they can read her essay with an open mind. symbolic competence refers to the possibility of resisting conventions and renegotiating contexts for alternate identities and meanings. I wanted the reader to be included into my discussion. it could be to some readers. I wanted to travel on a camel. It appears as if Buthainah is being proactive in bringing the biases into the open and forcing the readers to deal with them. The direct address to the reader that we see in the last example was repeated in many other places in her essay. And I tried to elevate that tension that the reader may have.

objects and other ecological resources for interpretation. then the readers would simply go through it. she intends to draw them more closely into her writing to negotiate meanings with her. It appears that translanguaging helped him read closely for clues for interpretation. It is a statement to me that there is something Buthainah understands that I do not. The feeling of being valued and encouraged to contribute their own reactions help readers to orientate to the text differently. It is a move that distances me from Buthainah but also leaves me intrigued and interest[ed] in reading more (PC. The English version of the Arabic proverb is not introduced as a translation. Khubchandani (1997) calls this “synergy”. said: To me. Readers have to align this with the other contextual cues to assume that both are connected. But. In this sense. Here. which shows how much she values the readers opinion” (PC. I am encouraging the reader to question the relationship between the poem and the stories being told and promote critical thinking (MC). which. 10/28). translanguaging probably creates a more engaged reading than monolingual writing. they have to align language.16 Suresh Canagarajah future teachers to the multilingual experience. this quote is a beautiful collection of alien writing. It is this imaginative reading that Buthainah had in mind when she translanguages. 2007). As we can see in the opening. They move away from the conventional detachment of autonomous literacy to engage with Buthainah in co-constructing meaning. if I did not translate it or provide an immediate translation. Mark. She said: If I translated everything. fascinating but incomprehensible. Here again there was uptake. then. Since multilinguals can never come ready with all the codes for the very divergent communicative contexts in contact situations. an Anglo-Canadian student. Readers of Buthainah’s article also had to look for alignment to interpret her text. evidence from readers suggests that the intended effect was achieved. a non-Arabic speaker. Buthainah’s strategy of delaying translations for her translanguaged items also encourages readers to engage in interpretive work. 10/28). Chrissie mentioned: “There are also times when she directly communicates to the reader. she not only delays giving clues for interpretation. The alien codes create a curiosity that enables him to read with greater attention. in my perspective. . again. [is] ongoing (MC). I am welcoming them to the discussion. That interlocutors in a multilingual contact situation construct meaning through alignment has been well researched (Atkinson et al. By addressing the readers directly. she also makes them less obvious. By addressing my readers.

I feel that these few lines that I wrote above about this poem do not give it any justice. they go on with the communication. need to work for it. (D6) When I asked Buthainah what she had in mind. please keep them. Rita adopted what resembled Firth’s (1996) “let it pass” principle. 10/22). and I hope they’re Arabic . Students in the club have the opportunity to give a speech in front of all of the attendees at the school . The message of these lines is that who desires the best. That left me wondering what readers would do to negotiate these lines. Mark advised: “I absolutely love the Arabic phrases in the text. We know from Firth’s research that when multilinguals confront a language feature they don’t understand. Rita’s statement also shows that she adopts an extended temporal and social context for meaning negotiation.Translanguaging in the classroom: Emerging issues for research and pedagogy 17 The most daring case of translanguaging – and a pointer to a more radical strategy – was Buthainah’s refusal to provide any clues for interpretation on one occasion: When I was in fourth grade. Eunja. Some other students responded to the lines at an aesthetic level.” (I: 05/09). He/she needs to stay up late working for it just like how divers have to search for the natural pearls. and that her interpretation doesn’t stop with her own reading at one point. I trusted my classmates to explain what was important. she said: Translating this poem would take so much of its value and providing a two sentence explanation will not do any justice for these few lines. Leaving it stand alone is more powerful (SR). they will waste their life getting nothing. I became sincerely interested in enrolling in the Communication Club (CC). . And those who try to get to the top and not work for it. She hopes that she will get more clues for interpretation with others in the class later on. a Korean student. hoping that further occurrences of the item will provide more context to renegotiate it at a later point. exclaimed: “Written Arabic – How elegant language it is! (I’m not quite familiar with spoken oneˆˆ)” (PC. She said: “I decided not to worry about what I couldn’t understand. .

. 10/28). the NES students negotiate translanguaging like the multilingual students in the class. In this sense. She understood that the roles had shifted in this writing. the reader. The idea that one of the essential functions of language is the ‘poetic’ production of forms has not made it into the mainstream. . What Buthainah is doing through these lines is more important than what she is saying. it appeared as if Buthainah was also turning the tables on native speaker students through this strategy. It appeared as if NES students understood this strategy. Buthainah is simulating this experience for her readers. . it appears that this is a performative strategy. NES subjects can step out of native speaker norms to adopt multilingual orientations when the situation warrants it. It is important to realize that autonomous literacy has led to readers extricating meaning from texts and not responding to the visual and aesthetic dimension of the text. She is indirectly showing us.” At another level.18 Suresh Canagarajah otherwise I feel kind of foolish” (PC: 10/22). Perhaps it is up to us to figure out the significance of these words?? (PC.3 To a considerable extent. When I mentioned this interpretation in my earlier draft. Buthainah wrote in her member check commentary that she was indeed “giving a sample or a taste of the experience that language learners go through to those who never experienced it. 10/28). I now feel that they are a key part to her narrative. the assumption that native students should be kept out of studies on contact situations as they bring divergent assumptions should be questioned. From these evidences. Mark said: Something can only be scene [sic] perhaps in the Arabic text. Just as mastering English involved struggle. however. Multilingual students . . not been widely recognized in the study of language. failure. Blommaert (2008: 113) points out: “The essential role of aesthetics in the production of meaning has. Chrissie was prepared to revise her attitude based on this recognition. and form and content are still firmly seen as separate domains of analysis. It was her job to take steps to interpret the difficult lines: Although. last week I wrote that she explain her Arabic poems. humility and great effort for her (which is the theme of her literacy autobiography). which may help them understand these stories and experiences better” (MC). The experience and process of making meaning is as important as grasping the content. . What we find from Buthainah’s writing is that she adopts strategies that persuade NES students to negotiate meanings with her. who she is through these poems . Perhaps Buthainah is willing to help the reader but at some point somethings can only be known to those who are willing to learn and become Arabic English bilinguals (PC.

Multilingual literacy is also performative – what readers do in reading is as important as what they understand. . an appropriative move perhaps bringing in an common quote and transforming it into something more” (PC. Translanguaging works most effectively in this orientation to the text. . The text has an expanded temporal dimension – readers and writers are prepared to treat negotiation as “ongoing” (in Buthainah’s words). In writing that is co-constructed. . it is collaboratively constructed.2. their roles fused.e. with readers writing and writers reading. They take meaning negotiation outside the text to include their interactions and talk around the text in their ongoing social interactions.e. There are other differences in the assumptions Buthainah and other students in this class bring to writing. 10/22). An NES student.. we have to also encourage them to change their orientations to the text.. At times though. In multilingual literacy. observed tongue in cheek: “I think that Buthainah has definitely gone above and beyond in letting her native voice ring through. To prepare students to translanguage in literacy. In these senses. The text has an expanded spatial dimension – i. a non-Arabic speaker. readers have to be ready for variable meanings from situated interpretation. . What we have to realize is that meaning is not preconstructed or unitary in translanguaging. I felt as if I was reading a discourse on the education system in Saudi Arabia. Some students didn’t appreciate the strategies Buthainah adopted or didn’t succeed in constructing meaning. meaning varies according to the participants and contexts. Mark understands this possibility and is open to such outcomes: “Buthainah may be making different meta-statements to different groups. 5. 10/22). this quote is a beautiful collection of alien writing. It is a statement to me that there is something Buthainah understands that I do not . The text has a social dimension – i. . In autonomous literacy. . participants are sensitive to the visual and aesthetic dimensions of the text. readers believe that they can extricate a preconstructed content through objective and disciplined reading. . To Arabic speakers this quote could be an act of solidarity. If they . Orientations to literacy I don’t mean to exaggerate the extent of uptake and meaning construction in this literacy event. .Translanguaging in the classroom: Emerging issues for research and pedagogy 19 are able to anticipate such outcomes and write appropriately to help negotiate meaning. fascinating but incomprehensible. To me. multilingual literacy is multimodal – it accommodates oral and visual modalities that are kept out of autonomous literacy. These realizations confirm that multilingual literacy is different from autonomous literacy. Stacey. we are interested in her version of it more so than a description with her voice appearing every so often” (PC.

it is evident that Buthainah is employing many of the strategies multilinguals adopt in face to face conversation. she compels NES to look at communicative experience through the eyes of the multilinguals. Such examples also suggest that she is preparing her readers gradually for translanguaging. they won’t appreciate multilingual strategies. In some cases. She is aware of power differences and adopts creative strategies to renegotiate footing and status differences with her readers. She feels she is able to represent her values and identities more effectively through translanguaging. she also delayed her translation. font size. and made the connection oblique. we see that Buthainah is very agentive. There are different resources available for writers to adopt these strategies. but used only occasional and brief phrases in French. In terms of the strategies adopted. from Buthainah’s statements above that she considers translanguaging as a means for voice. given the modality of writing. Buthainah is able to exploit the “microecology of the text” (Creese and Blackledge 2010) to give more visual clues to her readers (through punctuation. In her sixth draft. however. these strategies find different realization. We find. I asked her: “Most French words (unlike Arabic) are very simple words. script. not only did she start with the Arabic first. In the context of Internet and digital communication. as in the strategy of simulating the experience of multilinguals in learning English. symbols and emoticons) for alignment and interpretation. aware that not everyone is prepared for this kind of textuality. I must also point out that she is very cautious and sensitive in other places. lengthy and elegant lines in Arabic. 2009. Since Buthainah included very elaborate. as indicated above. getting readers to do more interpretive work. The question of power brings us to the criticism that translanguaging is a threat to heritage languages. Hybridity can enable multilingual students to represent their complex subject positions that defy essentialization or stereotyping. Some . Buthainah’s translanguaging becomes more bold. daring and creative in subsequent drafts. I additionally discovered that even within hybridity. Here she starts with the English translation first and follows up immediately with the Arabic translation. mutilinguals have ways of indicating their desired codes and identities.20 Suresh Canagarajah bring assumptions of autonomous literacy to this kind of writing. However. In terms of the negotiation of power. For instance. Ratcliffe. 1999). texts are indeed getting redefined in these directions by scholars in rhetoric and composition (see Nicotra. Since such examples may give the impression that Buthainah is overly confident. Compare the opening of her sixth draft (quoted earlier) with her second draft: “Oh God! Give me more knowledge” –My education dictum through the years is a verse in the Quran stating: “ ”(D2).

I am not sure what it is– but I feel that this essay is different from everything I have done in the past (in an unpleasant way)” (D3). There is something in this essay that I do not like. when a reader is paying a close attention to my selection of French words and my selection of Arabic word. Toward assessment How effective is Buthainah’s translanguaging? Are there signs that she is developmental? As we saw earlier. At the end of her third draft. or affirming their choices. This finding also goes against the view that translanguaging is a monolith. she added a note to readers: “p. She is also diffident about translanguaging. She transliterates the following . At times she displayed uncertainty about her choices. channeling their linguistic resources in appropriate directions. It appears from Buthainah’s experience that some students may be looking for such guidance. In addition.s. she mentioned that she wanted to disarm readers of their stereotypes. daring and creative in successive drafts. Later. Thus she clarifies her intentions and objectives through the writing process. Such attitudes show that teachers have some work to do in giving students constructive feedback. she mentioned that she wanted to give the readers more personal information through the asides. conveying her greater investment in Arabic. Butainah’s linguistic choices become more effective. Does this make sense? (SR).3. What we find is that Buthainah is able to indicate the different values attached to the different languages in her repertoire. in a stimulated recall interview she mentioned that she wanted to humor the reader. How would you respond? ” Buthainah said: The reason that I did not include French poems or more French phrases is because French can not be compared to my Arabic language. we have signs that Buthainah is not fully in control of her text. She gave different reasons for her parenthetical comments. it would be simply strange. Furthermore. resembling Auer’s (1999) fluid lects which don’t have socio-pragmatic meanings. 5. She is exploring her footing and voice through several attempts. The value of the Arabic language is much greater than that of French simply because it is the language of the Quran and the language of my heritage. First. In a member check response. it would be apparent that what it was stated in the Arabic language contain significant meaning while what was stated in French can be easily replaced by English or Arabic. There are inconsistencies in her usage.Translanguaging in the classroom: Emerging issues for research and pedagogy 21 readers may say they don’t serve any significant rhetorical functions in the essay (unlike the Arabic quotations). To treat French the same way.

Since you have been very careful with your choice of Arabic and other stylistic devices in this essay. I was wondering how you would explain these spelling mistakes. . I could have misspelled it. Thus we can arrive at a practice-based or performative orientation to error. Similarly. There are certainly more complex visual signs that can be used for expressive purposes. different from a norm. Which experiences should I value. I was so engaged in developing the content that I did not notice it (SR). there is a social dimension to error. I pointedly asked her about the choice in one case: You misspell verses as versus. What is interesting here is that Buthainah herself makes a distinction between error and mistake. and which should I ignore. ma sha allah. I provide some tentative definitions here: mistakes appear to be unintentional and unsystematic choices. Masha Allah. Though she considered them part of her expressive repertoire. From this perspective. if I noticed it. Did you think these issues were less important? Did you think the readers will easily understand your meaning and therefore you don’t have to worry too much about editing problems? Buthainah replied: I am quite embarrassed about this error (and another mistake below). and her preferred usage was Ma Sha Allah. They can fail for many reasons. Errors occur when certain translanguaging choices are not effectively negotiated for meaning. indicating that teachers may have to help students identify them. I didn’t make much progress in understanding her definitions of them. However. but did not notice this error.22 Suresh Canagarajah expression in three different ways: ma sha allah. she mentioned that they were mistakes. we can consider them errors. Buthainah’s use of emoticons and smiley faces are of this category. Buthainah writes: As I type each word in this literacy autobiography. I would have corrected it. When I asked her about these differences. As I click the keys on the keyboard. an . I had multiple drafts of this essay. An example that touches on error but also relates to rhetorical effectiveness are cases of mixed metaphors and unidiomatic expressions. They may not also achieve success in encouraging readers to co-construct meaning. They may also be too informal for a university level essay. when choices that are intentional fail to gain uptake. Though I tried to pursue this distinction with Buthainah. They may not have much rhetorical purchase.or form-based definition. such as the realization of Ma Sha Allah. there were spelling errors in other cases. they were not identified by readers as enriching their interpretive experience. . which shall I consider. . and the word document auto-corrected it. storms of thoughts stampede to be considered and mentioned. Of course. In her opening paragraph.

I have published elsewhere the writing style of African American sociolinguist Geneva Smitherman (see Canagarajah 2006). we cannot say that anything goes. Her strategy is a form of translanguaging.reaching changes over time. a failure of uptake. in this paragraph will be considered unidiomatic by native speakers. . I think that it is a stylistic choice” (SR). This would be a strategy of resistance from within. Some multilingual scholars are already adopting such a writing approach. A pragmatic resolution is to take the existing conventions seriously but find ways of bringing in one’s codes and values in a guarded and appropriate manner. . In such cases. Though Buthainah insisted that she considered these choices creative. She introduces African American Vernacular English for limited purposes in the overall framework of SWE. 6. My dialogical teaching approach helps Buthainah develop a reflective and critical awareness of her choices. thus. Though teachers may not always feel confident about correcting students’ choices. It would gradually pluralize the academic text and facilitate more far. How does translanguaging help them? Scholars have pointed out that the promotion of one form of language – standard written English (SWE) – as the register for academic writing could alienate multilingual students and restrict their options for voice (Smitherman 2003). (D6) 23 I asked her: “The phrases I have highlighted . feedback and reviews (in addition to peer review) will help student writers develop their translanguaging proficiency further. my home. some readers have told me that they consider them inappropriate. and proves that academic conventions . There is a difference of opinion here and. I would like to discuss the implications of translanguaging for the academic and writing prospects of multilingual students. and allow students to adopt any registers and conventions they want in academic writing. especially in cases where they don’t have competence in the repertoires of their students. their dialogical engagement with the texts through questions. it is useful that my questions help Buthainah reflect on her choices. This pedagogical approach is transferable to other teaching contexts as well. I do not think that this is an issue of native speakers of English. Did you have any second thoughts about using such phrases?” Buthainah replied: “I do not see why only bulls stampede – this verb can be used figuratively as well.Translanguaging in the classroom: Emerging issues for research and pedagogy illustration of my literacy development shunt me to continue my ongoing learning adventure from my academic communities. At the same time. and my life experiences. Conclusion To conclude.

E. D. Their choices should be rhetorically and contextually well motivated.Grassroots literacy: Writing. 2007. K. Forthcoming. 309– 332. Though the notion of the native speaker has been deconstructed and rejected. Language.. Blommaert. Jan. From codeswitching via language mixing to fused lects: Toward a dynamic typology of bilingual speech. T. UK: Multilingual Matters.). 1999. 2005. C. Though students will often gain uptake and succeed. Barbour. for many multilingual scholars and students. H. . Stephen. Peter. 2.. Bhatia. Nishino. In Paul Gubbins & Mike Holt (eds. Beyond boundaries: Language and identity in contemporary Europe. I show such examples to students to suggest that they too can negotiate academic conventions to bring in their repertoires for voice. such a risk is worth the price for the eventual pluralization of academic literacy and classroom discourse. Modern Language Journal. T. Ritchie. 780–807.). However. Blommaert. Discourse: A critical introduction. Churchill. & Okada. Canagarajah. A. 2002. Bhatia & W. and globalism: Educational consequences of changing patterns of language use. see Canagarajah. Clevedon.24 Suresh Canagarajah are open to negotiation. 3. Codemeshing in Academic Writing: Identifying Teachable Strategies of Translanguaging. identity and voice in Central Africa. Bilingualism in South Asia. Some of the typographical idiosyncrasies in the interview comments are explained by the fact that they were conducted through email. I also tell them that this strategy is risky. Auer. References Atkinson. Alignment and interaction in a sociocognitive approach in second language acquisition. Jan. K. I emphasize that this kind of resistant writing should be undertaken with caution. For a more comprehensive list of Buthainah’s strategies. Oxford: Blackwell.. I use the label here for want of a better term to distinguish students and subjects who speak dominant varieties of English. In T. 2004. forthcoming. London: Routledge. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 11–18. Ritchie (eds. International Journal of Bilingualism 3. nationalism. 169–188. The handbook of bilingualism. Suresh. & W. Notes 1. 2008. Modern Language Journal 91.

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Suresh Canagarajah is the Erle Sparks Professor in the Departments of English and Applied Linguistics at the Pennsylvania State University. 693–715. He taught earlier at the University of . Email: asc16@psu. Sri Lanka. College Composition and Communication 55. World Englishes. Vershawn. and theories of rhetoric and composition.Translanguaging in the classroom: Emerging issues for research and pedagogy 27 Young. Your average Nigga. and the City University of New York. 2004. He teaches ethnographic research methods.


multilingualism. primary education. interpretive ethnography 1. who assert the validity of ’international’ languages as opposed to their home language and who use ‘fake’Arabic to escape the pressure exerted on them by the classroom researcher. This renewed understanding is based on a post-Fishmanian awareness that sees language use and identity construction as polycentric semiotic performances not necessarily bound to groups. The first set features the evaluative discourse of a Dutch medium primary school teacher and it focuses on the ways in which this class teacher indexes pupils’ identities on an axis of (linguistic) disorder versus order on the basis of an attributed monolingual upbringing. The third set features a sabotage move perpetrated by two pupils of Turkish background. Introduction Cultural and linguistic diversity in Dutch mainstream society have been the object of heated public and political debates for decades. their identity belongings are strongly anchored on the axis of purity versus impurity. indexicalities and identities: Looking at the multilingual classroom through a post-Fishmanian lens MASSIMILIANO SPOTTI Abstract This paper focuses on the construction of immigrant minority pupils’identities in a regular multicultural primary school classroom in the Netherlands. Although the Dutch language is a given in their lives. Fishman. It presents three ethnographic data sets. immigrant pupils. The second set features the evaluative discourse of Moroccan girls of both Berber and Arabic-speaking origin.Modernist language ideologies. Key words: Identity. established on the basis of their language skills in the immigrant minority language. the Netherlands. The paper concludes by proposing a revisited understanding of multilingualism that can give justice to the complexity of the pupils’ own sociolinguistic repertoires and identity performances. with increased attention being paid to the need for integration (more recently addressed as ‘participa- .

It presents three ethnographic data sets. rather than being side kicked by immigrant minority languages. That is. It is therefore necessary to outline my understanding of these three concepts at the outset of this paper. The paper concludes by proposing a revisited understanding of multilingualism that can give justice to the complexity of the pupils’ own polylingual sociolinguistic repertoires and identity performances. established on the basis of their language skills in the immigrant minority language. 2. to be the only language of instruction in the curriculum (Bezemer and Kroon 2007). their identity belongings are strongly anchored on the axis of purity versus impurity. nation-states and their institutional ramifications – such as education – in . With the above as backdrop. The second set features the evaluative discourse of Moroccan girls of both Berber and Arabic-speaking origin. and identity. who assert the validity of ‘international’ languages as opposed to their home language and who use ‘fake’ Arabic to escape the pressure exerted on them by the classroom researcher. This situation. indexicality. however.30 Massimiliano Spotti tion’) of immigrant minority group members within mainstream Dutch society. Modernist language ideologies. these three concepts help construct a viable conceptual pathway for the study of identity construction. is in sharp contrast with the findings of ethnographic research that reconstruct a discontinuity between monoglot language policies and the heteroglot language repertoires of immigrant minority pupils (cf. Bezemer 2003. Although the Dutch language is a given in their lives. As a result of immigration. the Dutch educational system has also been confronted with complex new patterns of multilingualism and the identities of immigrants and their offspring. The central concepts here are modernist language ideologies. Together. and primary education is one of the institutionalized environments in which monoglot policing has taken place. Spotti 2006). This integration is marketed and sold as something to be achieved through the means of Dutch alone (Extra and Spotti 2009). The third set features a sabotage move perpetrated by two pupils of Turkish background. The first set features the evaluative discourse of a Dutch medium primary school teacher and it focuses on the ways in which this class teacher indexes pupils’ identities on an axis of (linguistic) disorder versus order on the basis of an attributed monolingual upbringing. and still serve. indexicality and identities Modernist language ideologies are belief systems that have served. it is one of the institutional environments in which government policy has enabled the Dutch language. this paper focuses on the construction of immigrant minority pupils’ identities in a regular multicultural primary school classroom in the Netherlands.

The standard is presented as the norm and. Modernist language ideologies present languages as codified in specific artefactualised linguistic objects: grammars. From this it follows. Finally.g. 1998 work on a culture of monoglot standard). revolve around two tenets: the establishment of a standard or norm for language behaviour that is common to all inhabitants of a nation-state. is sold and marketed as the uncorrupted variety of the official/national language and often associated with the righteous moral values of its users (see Agha 2003: 231–273). As for education. Any bits of language that someone uses carry an ideological load in that. as such. (Blommaert 2008) – that have a name (e. the rejection of hybridity is embedded in the search – whether in writing or in pronunciation – for a ‘standard’ (see Agha 2003 for a comprehensive explanation of the emergence of Received Pronunciation of English [RP] as a product of characterological discourses)... This leads us to the concept of indexicality. and all this is done through institutionally authorised evaluative discourses. their usage can be assessed. or even in the usage of the school variety of a certain language.). i. and whose speakers have clearly definable ethnolinguistic identities. in addition to their referential meaning. see also Silverstein’s 1996. which can be embedded in people’s discourse on language use (e.e. For instance. holds deep implications for identity construction. have ‘indexicality’). That is.Modernist language ideologies. seen as contributing to the maintenance of national order. etc.e. categorising pupils on the basis of how skilful they are in the usage of the standard variety. In other words. any bits of a language that one uses are potentially subject to evaluation against the standard/norm from others who inhabit the same socialisation space. Arabic. indexicalities and identities 31 setting up and perpetrating national order (Baumann and Briggs 2003. Of these two closely related tenets. and that are drawn on grounds of – often implicit – shared complexities of indexicality within a certain centering institution (see Dong 2009: 72–73). the former is the goal towards which the latter is seen to contribute. they also carry either pragmatic or social meaning (i. Turkish. Indexicality is therefore the connective cement that links language use to social meanings. This means that in any act of . an accent can be evaluated as ‘funny’ because it indexes distance from the authorised standard accent which in turn is an index of prestige and constructs the identity of those performing it as an identity of someone who is ‘well schooled’. ‘he speaks like a farmer’ or ‘he surely is from the capital’). given that languages are understood as finite entities bound by syntactical rules and grammars. These ideologies. and the rejection of hybridity and ambivalence in any form of linguistic behaviour. dictionaries etc. ‘I am a speaker of language X and therefore I am a member of group Y’. then. A poignant example of this indexicalisation process is the evaluation of accents. Dutch.g. that there will be language users whose use of language can be evaluated as better than that of others.

Consequently. We can therefore talk of ‘identities’ instead of ‘identity’ and identities are constructs that are built on the basis of semiotic resources at one’s disposal within a certain socialisation space. or unsuccessfully. How do modernist language ideologies. This leads us to the third and final concept of the conceptual framework employed here: that of identity. identities are inhabited as well as ascribed. it consists of a series of performative acts that take place according to the socialisation space one occupies. It is according to the centring institution that someone is either part of. the connections between language varieties and the identities of different groups are not as straightforward as modernist language ideologies would have us to believe. symbolic meanings of social. Space constraints do not allow for a complete review of the concept of identity (see Block 2006. Dong 2010. Joseph 2003. see also Goffman 1981). More simply put.32 Massimiliano Spotti language use. languages. then? Borrowing from Bakhtin (1981: 293). indexicalities.g. ‘the nerd’. For the present purpose. that one’s identity is constructed as that of a ‘good’ (insider) member or a ‘bad’ (outsider) member. in turn. or tries to gain access to.. First. it should suffice to pin down three things. Second. Inhabited identities refer to self-performed identities through which people claim allegiance to a group. is an act of identity performance. it is something that someone constructs in social practice within a space of socialisation. These. Third. Conversely. A case in point would be a pupil . identity is not something that someone possesses. ‘the bad student’. Varieties are indexes of diverse. ‘the good neighbour’. there is always identity work involved and that indexicality points to the grassroots displays of ‘groupness’. Spotti 2007). cultural and ethnic belongings. ‘the college beauty’. every utterance. This is done on the basis of either how successfully. The evaluative discourses that construct identities result from either the respect or trespass of situated language norms. one manages to embrace the complexity of indexicalities present within that specific socialisation space. ascribed identities are attributed to one by others on the basis of evaluative criteria that make one either well-fitted or ill-fitted for a socially circumscribed category (e. often conflicting. identity is not monolithic. even when not explicitly about identity. Instead. in any stratified urban society. and identities work together. revolve around the central values of the centring institution in which bits of language have been deployed. Language(s) and their words therefore carry an ideological load (see Rampton 2005: 75) because they are subject to the values at play at the time and in the space in which they are uttered (Blommaert 2005: 222–223). Rather. the bits of language that someone uses are not only a means for the direct expression of someone’s intentions but they are also objects that index identity belonging both in one’s own eyes (inhabited identity) and in the eyes of others (ascribed identity).

3.Modernist language ideologies. and they were structured around general topics like the educational and professional background of the teacher. is assessed as having ‘sloppy’ orthographic skills. focused group discussions with the pupils and audio recordings of classroom interactions. consequently. ascribed the identity of an ‘illiterate’ pupil (see Blommaert. The groups were formed based on the quantity of contact that pupils . Approximately 55 hours of classroom interactions were observed and audio taped. of their ethno-linguistic. Both case studies aimed at analysing evaluative discourse ethnographically to understand how immigrant minority pupils’ identities are constructed in the discourse authored by policy documents. Cleve and Willaert 2006). The phenomenology of super-diverse migration movements that makes up for a new form of diversity that impinges upon the group oriented diversity that has characterized (Western) Europe from the 1970s onwards. fails to use standard Latin script and. school staff members and pupils. It follows. long open-ended interviews with staff members. shows that mobility of people involves mobility of linguistic and semiotic resources. The data consists of field notes. finally. Interviews followed the plot of the ‘long open-ended interview’ (McCracken 1988). the knowledge that s/he held of the pupils’ sociolinguistic background. engaged in mapping graphemes onto phonemes in a primary school classroom. The study The study was part of a larger interpretive ethnographic inquiry on identity construction in one Dutch and one Flemish multicultural primary school classroom. that a sedimented understanding of language and identity as finite entities. The combination of both holds unexpected sociolinguistic effects and it has outreaching consequences for people’s identity performances. The first interview was conducted with the classroom teacher after a week’s visit in the classroom and another three interviews were conducted either to further elucidate the teacher’s evaluative discourse (indicated below with ‘S02’) or to gain the retrospective view of the teacher on the taped classroom episodes. cultural and religious belongings as well as about events that were observed during the unfolding of the classroom’s daily life. as well as in classroom interactions. The observer never sought to actively participate in the classroom interactions. and an understanding of language use according to sedentary patterns is now complemented by ‘translocal’ forms of language use (see Jacquement 2005). indexicalities and identities 33 learning standard Dutch who. (mis)recognised as having ‘faulty’ literacy skills and. Central to the analysis here are also the focused group discussions carried out with the pupils (below indicated with ‘GD01’).

Their discussions touched upon various topics. with the Dutch text underneath in italics. These were thought to have the potential to be selected as incidents that shed light on how identities of immigrant minority pupils are constructed in interaction and contribute to construct “a description so that others may see what members of a social group need to know. a pool of the recordings was selected and transcribed1 from the synopsis drawn out of the field notes and audiotapes.34 Massimiliano Spotti had with each other. As for classroom interactions. the intervention of the more talkative ones to allow each group member to participate. and produce to participate in appropriate ways” (Green and Bloome 1997: 186). linguistic and religious belongings and from the field notes drawn during the observation period. Starting from the pupils’ knowledge of their parental patterns of migration. intuitive judgments the analyst has already made about salient patterns in the data. The transcriptions of the recordings are presented in English. The discussions were all audio taped and the pupils were made aware that the audiotape recorder was on as the group ‘chat’ started. Its analysis has . interpret. A key event is key in that it brings to awareness latent. These transcriptions were combined together with the field notes gathered during the observation time for a tentative analysis and interpretation along the lines of the ‘key incident approach’ (Erickson 1986. The discussions turned out to be friendly chats where pupils could express their views on topics that emerged from the questionnaires administered to them to gather some initial information on their ethnic.An incident is selected as ‘key’in that it represents tangible instances of the working of the cultural ecology (the normal) of a certain sociocultural space and of its social organization. understand. I showed my curiosity in what they had to say and tried to limit. The reviewing of the pool of incidents initially selected on the basis of the researcher’s intuitive assumptions has given way to a first tentative analysis that was then either discarded or taken further in a more coherent and deeper analysis and interpretation of the incident in hand. my position in all the discussions was limited to giving them prompts and asking them to either expand on or clarify their statements. As Erickson (1986: 108) points out in illustrating the meaning of the term ‘key’: [a] key event is key in that the researcher assumes intuitively that the event chosen has the potential to make explicit a theoretical ‘loading’. mainly in the schools’ staff room and lasted between 30 to 45 minutes for each group. Kroon and Sturm 2000). All discussions took place in the afternoon. As in the interviews with staff members. the discussion moved to the exploration of the pupils’ own understanding of their identity belongings. Once brought to awareness these judgments can be reflected upon critically. when needed.

Among the latter. who has an educational weight of 1.1. Half of Form 8a came from the Moroccan immigrant community and of these pupils only Walid and Khalid were born to parents of Moroccan Arabic-speaking background. they were all registered as pupils in need of additional educational support as a consequence of their parents’ low educational and socio-economic background (the ‘norm’ for educational weight being 1. Table 1 reports the home languages. Out of the remaining five pupils. the classroom and the pupils The data that I present here were collected in the school year 2004–2005 at St. eight boys and ten girls. According to the school register. Joseph’s Catholic Primary since Form 1. Joseph’s Catholic Primary amounted to eighteen pupils in total. Concerning the country of birth of the pupils. .0). thirteen out of the eighteen pupils were born in the Netherlands. gender and names of the pupils as gathered from the home language survey carried out in this class. her network of classroom friendships claims to address her mostly in Moroccan Arabic. On February 15th 2005. all pupils but one had been assigned an educational weight of 1. The exception is Walid. Broeder and Extra 1998). However. The school.0 and whose parents were both born in Morocco and are highly educated. Affifa was the only pupil born to a second-generation Moroccan Arabic-speaking father and a first-generation Moroccan Arabic-speaking mother. indexicalities and identities 35 helped to shed light on how identities are performed in the discourses present in the classroom under investigation (cf.000 inhabitants in the south of the Netherlands. one in BosniaHerzegovina and one in Morocco. Polanyi 1989). The age of the pupils ranged from eleven to thirteen years due to some pupils having repeated one or more school years. Form 8a at St. the school had a high concentration of immigrant minority pupils and an exclusively Dutch-speaking teaching staff.902 i. All names of the pupils are fictive. thirteen of them had attended St. while the rest was born to Berber parents. At that time. a regular multicultural primary school in Duivenberg. a medium-sized city of approximately 200. Guba and Lincoln 1989: 176. 3. In order to gather information on the home languages present in the classrooms under investigation. None of the pupils had been enrolled during the ongoing school year. All pupils reported to speak a language other than or another alongside Dutch at home. three were born in the Dutch Antilles. Hajar – born in the Netherlands to a father of Arabic-speaking background and a mother of Berber background – understands and speaks Berber.e. all pupils have been asked by their class teacher to fill in a home language survey (cf.Modernist language ideologies. All pupils reported to be of immigrant minority background. Joseph’s Catholic Primary.

Lemnja. Lemnja. Further. The gender. only have Dutch as their home language. Khalid and Sofian. It also indicates that Osman. Papiamentu. Arabic . in the class register the home language of these pupils is given under the umbrella term ‘Moroccan’. Affifa Lejla Meryem Micheline Home language(s) Dutch and Arabic Dutch and Berber Dutch and Papiamentu Dutch and Somali Dutch and Turkish Dutch. Gender. names and home languages of the pupils in Form 8a Boys Khalid Sofian Roble Cemal Walid. names and home languages of the pupils as they appeared in the class register are reported in Table 2. names and home language(s) of the pupils following Form 8a register Boys Osman Walid. Table 2. in fact. while the home language survey indicates Berber as one of the home languages for eight pupils of Form 8a. Gender. relied on her own ‘well-educated guess’ about the pupils’ (supposed yet untapped) ethnic affiliation and home languages as well as on the information given in the pupils’ enrollment forms. Papiamentu and English The class register does not report any information on Hajar. and Affifa. English and Spanish The data gathered from Form 8a home language survey are not in agreement with the annotations made in the class register by the Form 8a class teacher. Turkish and Arabic Dutch. In the home language survey. The class register also does not report the use of any language other than Turkish for the pupils coming from the Turkish group. born in the Netherlands to Turkish parents. Siham Rhonda ¨ Ozlem Hajar. born in the Netherlands to a second-generation Moroccan father and a first-generation Moroccan mother. Arabic and Berber Dutch. though. Ozlem Micheline Home language(s) Dutch Dutch and Moroccan Dutch and Bosnian Dutch and Papiamentu Dutch and Somali Dutch and Turkish Dutch. She.36 Massimiliano Spotti Table 1. Zakariya Joshwa Osman Girls Samira. Bosnian and Croatian Dutch. Siham Lejla Rhonda ¨ Meryem. Zakariya Joshwa Roble Cemal Girls Affifa Samira. Papiamentu and English Dutch.

However. Miss Sanne’s statement ‘I have not a single Dutch child in my class’ is used as an explanation for why her pupils perform worse than those pupils at other schools in Duivenberg. 4. they live here too” (S03: 57) and she believes that her way of thinking about foreigners has been strongly influenced by her upbringing as she learned that “we all live here (. We now move further in the analysis of Miss Sanne’s evaluative discourse and we encounter the cases of two pupils. . ) toen ie acht was heeft ie dus een tweede taal moeten leren Max: (hmm) Sanne: and the Somali language has a different sentence structure (.e.1. who had been in the Netherlands since he was eight years old. The lack of parental qualifications and these parents being non-native Dutch are the basis for Miss Sanne’s own reasoning in explaining St. . . In Sanne’s view “there is simply nothing special about foreign people. “was fluent in the Somali language” (S02: 314). Mohammed Miss Sanne starts with Mohammed. the class teacher of Form 8a. . Mohammed. Joseph’s extra investment in the Dutch language with a particular focus on vocabulary. . . she holds Dutch nationality and she has lived in Duivenberg all her life. ]” (S03: 59). whose language attributions marked the opposite ends of the ascriptive category ‘immigrant minority pupil’. ) we live in the Netherlands and we have to do it all together with each other [. She was born in Duivenberg to Dutch native parents. they are just. Multilingualism through a modernist lens: the class teacher Miss Sanne. in Sanne’s discourse. indexicalities and identities 37 is also mentioned by half of the pupils with a Turkish background who attend Qu’ran classes at the weekends. . ) when he was eight so he had to learn a second language Dus die heeft (. ) . . proficiency in the Somali language turned out to be detrimental to Mohammed’s Dutch language development because: Sanne: So he had (. . Sanne was brought up in a multicultural neighborhood. . 4. ) en Somalische taal heeft een andere zinsopbouw (.Modernist language ideologies. but not so many as at St. In recalling her primary school experience that started in 1986. a thirteen-year-old Somali child who was in Miss Sanne’s class during the previous school year. is 23 years old. Joseph’s. you know. . she states that there were indeed a few children from immigrant minority groups in her class. i. . At that time. Mohammed and Lejla. and that they were all just able to get on with each other.

the Somali language has a different sentence structure to Dutch. . As Miss Sanne reports in the coordinate phrase that follows (318). both Mohammed’s parents are responsible for the syntactical interference between the two finite linguistic entities that in the dichotomy presented by the teacher are part of Mohammed’s repertoire. abnormal sentences compared to standard Dutch or. Somali and Dutch. The father. in fact. i. he also spoke hardly any Dutch. . ) yes he used let’s say the Dutch language with the structure Dus hij kon het ook niet van thuis uit goed aanhoren dus hij (. Also.. en die vader ook die sprak ook nauwelijks Nederlands Max: (hmm) Sanne: so he could not hear it properly from home either so he (. a language that uses SOV-order in its main clause in comparison with the Dutch SVO-order (cf. dan de Nederlandse taal dus hij sprak altijd in kromme zinnen Max: (hmm) (S02: 316–321) At the age of eight. at least. Miss Sanne adds: Sanne: And if you get it also at home. natuurlijk.e..38 Massimiliano Spotti Max: (hmm) Sanne: than the Dutch language so he always spoke in twisted sentences. want die moeder. daar ook mee aan het stoeien Max: (hmm) Sanne: and that father too. Saeed 1999). of course. This has led Mohammed to use Somali syntax in Dutch and to always speak ‘in twisted sentences’. i. Mohammed was already fluent in Somali – his mother tongue – and he had to learn Dutch as a second language. was also having problems with that [Dutch language: MS] herself En als je dat ook van thuis uit. because that mother. Mohammed’s difficulties in speaking Dutch ‘properly’ are explained with the syntactical interference hypothesis where the second language learner inappropriately transfers structures of his first language to the second.e. she. ) ja hij gebruikte zeg maar de Nederlandse taal met de opbouw Max: (hmm) Sanne: from the Somali language. die was. as introduced by the causative conjunction ‘so’. the local variety of Dutch spoken in the city where the school is located. (S02: 323–329) Mohammed not only uses ‘twisted sentences’ in Dutch because his language use is based on the structure of Somali. . vanuit de Somalische taal. spoke no Dutch and the mother also ‘suffered’ from Somali sentence structure in her use of Dutch. The . .

(S02: 443–445) In the utterances above. . she uses the imperative ‘look’ to substantiate the evidence of her claim. . ja. Miss Sanne tries to obtain objectiveness for her claim. .Herzegovina to Bosnian parents who came to the Netherlands when she was three years old. ) even kijken die woont hier al sinds dat ze drie is of zo dus ook nog heel erg jong dat ze al een nieuwe taal (. ?? a new language (. Further. . .) another language really easily that is simply. The use of this adverb may indicate that the practice of . . ) kijk en kleine kinderen kunnen heel makkelijk een andere taal oppikken dat is gewoon. indexicalities and identities 39 parental lack of Dutch proficiency has consequences for Mohammed’s identity. . Not only is the age at which Lejla came into contact with Dutch relevant. Miss Sanne explains: Sanne: Lejla is also (. . Lejla is in an advantaged position in picking up a second language because she came to the Netherlands at a very young age. 4. Lejla Miss Sanne’s discourse dealt also with Lejla. yeah. .) look and small children can pick up a (. En zij is ook inderdaad beter in het Nederlands dan andere kinderen en dat komt ook omdat haar ouders ook gewoon vanaf het begin af aan hier gewoon ook thuis Nederlands praten. . an eleven-year-old girl born in Bosnia.) let’s see she has lived here ever since she was three or so. Further. . scientifically proven. In the utterance ‘look and small children can pick up a (. wetenschappelijk bewezen Max: (hmm) Sanne: And indeed she is also better at Dutch than other children and that is also because her parents have also just spoken Dutch at home from the beginning. . her parents’ language behaviour is also now regarded as a key element in Lejla’s ‘good’ language development. as the lack of Dutch in the home is indexical of a pupil with a language disadvantage.2. . she calls upon the critical age hypothesis. Lejla die is ook (.) another language really easily’. . implying that a putative language learning function is much more developed in younger children who approach the learning of a second language more easily than those who approach a second language at an older age (see Singleton 1994. . . therefore also still really very young when she already . It is noteworthy that Lejla’s parental language behaviour is accompanied by the adverb ‘simply’. 1–29 for a comprehensive discussion of the age factor in second language acquisition). .Modernist language ideologies.

the latter being the language Lejla denotes as her language. English. at home. Is that so girls? Is dat zo meisjes? Max: [The other girls agree loudly] . Miss Sanne therefore looks at Lejla’s multilingual repertoire through a monolingual lens that sees one language in the home. and in which she claims to have both passive and active literacy skills that she reports to use for verbal exchanges with her younger siblings and with her parents. for instance. Dutch and Bosnian. as can be expected. being key to Lejla’s being ‘good’ at Dutch. of course also had their own space.e. However. as pupils who are almost twice as ‘heavy’ to teach compared to a pupil with Dutch-native parents. Hun wonen toch ook in Nederland en zijn ook honderd procent Marokkaans. one could indeed find a more prominent rate of home language use than in the classroom. During a gym lesson. 5. or the lack thereof.90.40 Massimiliano Spotti speaking Dutch at home is regarded by Miss Sanne as nothing more than what parents should do by default with their children at a young age. language use and ethnic affiliation. Arabic and Berber. Arabic and Berber were popular in derogatory exclamations and imperatives such as ‘pass me the ball’. This is in contrast to Mohammed whose parents’ Dutch. i. Lejla and her parents have a language repertoire that includes Croatian. the immigrant minority pupils’language use in Form 8a showed a marked preference for Dutch in daily language exchanges both within and outside the classroom. caused him to use a ‘twisted’ sentence structure and therefore deviate from the ‘standard’form of expression. when the girls were playing handball. although mostly outside formal instruction time.e. and. i. Multlingualism through a modernist lens: the Moroccan girls In spite of Miss Sanne’s general view about the poor results of her pupils in Dutch. However. the sociolinguistic difference between the repertoires of these pupils is erased as they are both categorised as 1. The discussion I had with them unfolded as follows: Lejla: Them live in the Netherlands also and are a hundred percent Moroccan too. The marked preference for Dutch was quite different when the girls were engaged in a focused group discussion concerning the diacritics of identity belonging. being the most popular home languages in the classroom. in terms of their institutional identities. that is Dutch.

hoe bedoel je? Simply. Lemnja and Hajar eagerly explained the difference between these two languages and how they came to be the languages of Morocco. My whole life. indexicalities and identities Max: Lemnja: Yeah right. these girls are also ‘a hundred per cent Moroccan’. behave properly. Gewoon. oh nee. When the girls. a thousand right? Wat honderd wat honderd. what do you mean a hundred. M’n heel leven. Yes one little percent then. admits that Dutch is the language she speaks the most and this leads her to attribute ‘one comma zero zero percent’ to Dutch.. what do you mean? Duizend procent Marokkaans. a point also raised by Lemnja who states ‘one little percent then’. één procent is voor Nederland want ik spree ik praat dat wel het meeste. ‘all my life’. e 41 Max: Hajar: Lemnja: Hajar: Lemnja: Max: Hajar: Lemnja: Hajar: (GD01: 05–017) Lejla compares her own ‘being Bosnian’ with her fellow classmates. ‘uncountable’. the discussion continued as follows: Max: Yes and then the Arabs came there. in fact. E´ n komma nul nul procent. So you speak Berber? Ja en dan de Arabieren zijn daar gekomen. Ja één procentje dan. Dus jullie spreken Berbers? . Uncountable.e. more than a hundred per cent. A million. duizend of niet? A thousand percent Moroccan. one percent is for Dutch as I speak I do talk that mostly. Oh nee. oh no. Ja hallo. After that. When dealing with the role of Berber and Arabic in Form 8a. One comma zero zero percent. doe normaal. This unquantifiable affiliation to being Moroccan is tempered by the role that Dutch has in these girls’ everyday lives. who are all of Berber origin. [At the same time as Hajar] Ontelbaar. Hajar. What do you mean a hundred. react to Lejla’s statement they all voice an outspoken. i.Modernist language ideologies. Uncountable Moroccan? Ontelbaar Marokkaans? Oh no. a thousand right?’. Miljoen. affiliation to the umbrella term Moroccan: ‘what do you mean a hundred. stating that even though they were born in the Netherlands.

Samira. Contrary to what one could expect for immigrant minority group members. hey. hey. hey. The macro language politics at play in the Maghreb world are thus being (re)proposed within the verbal micro-interactions of this super-diverse group of pupils giving way to processes of identity misrecognition. Puu[:]r Berbers. . ik ( . . She explains the cause of her language use and disentangles a limited proficiency in Berber. as ‘half Arabic’. .) [Looking at Samira and Lemnja] Zij. In response to Siham’s identity ascription. I speak them [Berber and Arabic MS] both. Max: Hey. Nee. I. Being ‘pure’ Berber is therefore coupled with being a user of the Berber language alone. Ik. compensated with the use of Arabic. Hajar: Pu[:]re Berber. . can I say something myself? Hey. Hence the category ‘they are half Arabic’. At the opposite end. hey. I am. but not that of Hajar. Ja. Siham: They. ik. ik spreek ze allebei. . sanctioning and contestation. I. they are half Arabic they are (. Hajar: I am one hundred percent Berber but I simply speak Arabic because I cannot speak Berber that well. ) Hajar: I. ) Samira: Half Berber. Lemnja: Pu[:]re Berber. Hajar – who in the beginning also claimed to be ‘pure Berber’ – has to defend her Berber affiliation. . zij zijn half Arabisch zij zijn ( .) Ik. I (. Pu[:]re Berbers. we see that the discourses proposed by these girls are constructed within a modernist ideology of language use and national/ethnic belonging. . Ik ben honderd procent Berber maar ik spreek gewoon Arabisch want ik kan niet zo goed Berbers. from being ‘less Berber’. Siham ascribed the identities of Lemnja and Samira. who was ascribed by Siham as ‘halfArabic’. [Shouting out] Halve Berbers. hey. objects to being constructed . Hajar: I. hey. ik ben. mag ik zelf iets zeggen? Lemnja: No. as in Hajar’s case. For instance. while the speaking of Arabic and/or a limited knowledge of Berber. . (GD01: 183–193) In the discussion above. is seen as not ‘pure’. Samira counteracts with ‘half Berber’.42 Massimiliano Spotti Siham: Yes. ik.

The use of Berber and the link between monolingualism and being ‘pure Berber’ is an act of identity performance that is assessed. do you do that often. at school? En doe je. Turkish.Modernist language ideologies. Berber is no match for Arabic in the existing religious and pan-Arabic political frameworks. Ja. both of Turkish immigrant minority background. Escaping from the modernist lens of authority We now come to the third data set which features a conversation between myself and two boys. Osman and Cemal. Saidi and Spotti 2009) and within the local immigrant minority community in Duivenberg. However. and the fact that Arabic is usually spoken in cities as opposed to the rural areas – where most of the parents of these pupils originate from – can be a reason for the low appreciation that Arabic has and for the identity ascription as ’half-Arab’ of those girls who either do not know or have a limited proficiency in Berber. though. In this case. The conversation focused on these pupils’use of Turkish across different institutional environments and it unfolded as follows: Max: And do you. op school? Osman: Yes. 6. stresses with her upset remark that she has been ascribed as not Berber. to which these two girls belong. doe je dat vaak. instead. Max: Yes? [Turning to Cemal] So do you also speak Turkish with everyone because it makes you look very tough? Ja? Dus spreek je ook met iedereen het Turks want het maakt je heel stoer? . the link between Arabic and Berber was strongly emphasised by the girls in question. Osman: At break. as one of the girls points out in the discussion. weighed and measured socially. In contrast to other research on the language use of Moroccan youngsters (Jaspers 2005: 287). indexicalities and identities 43 at the periphery of the Berber group and reiterates her ‘Berber Arabic’ affiliation where the use of Berber first and Arabic second may be done with the purpose of contesting Siham’s initial ascription of her as ‘half Arabic’. The status of Arabic and Berber and the need to express competence in Berber might be a reaction product to the symbolic hierarchy that exists between these two codes in the Maghreb world (De Ruiter. Hajar. In de pauze. the social measurement does not happen on the basis of language hierarchies along a majority versus minority divide. Max: Oh. Turks.

44 Massimiliano Spotti Cemal: It is not tough. Nee. it is a famous language. en Turks is niet zo beroemd dus (uh) (. all the pupils who do not have a knowledge of Turkish. in Cemal’s case Turkish is addressed as ‘simply it is a normal language’ because it is not so ‘famous’ or ’well-known’ as English or French. and Turkish is not so well-known so (uh) (. and leaves Turkish in the neutral position as he addresses it as a ‘normal language’. Voor mij niet. . . . Cemal: Or French. Max: It is simply a normal language. . . Simply it [Turkish: MS] is a normal language. This (implicit) denial of the we-code character of Turkish.) (GD01:349–362) Community languages are often referred to as a we-code that (in this case) places the pupils who speak these languages in an advantaged position compared to those with a they-code (cf. In Cemal’s discourse. Cemal: Shouf shouf habibi.) ja (. in this case. though. Cemal and myself before the beginning of a physical education lesson. Gewoon is normale taal.. shouf shouf habibi. Oh zo. Het is gewoon een normale taal. both ’international’ languages. Het is niet stoer.) yes (.e. Cemal is presenting a hierarchical ranking of the languages that he thinks do count there. [Giggles] Shouf shouf habibi. Als het Engels was een beetje stoer misschien. nee een echt Turks man spreekt alleen maar Turks. [They both tie their shoelaces and run off to the gym hall laughing: MS] . het is een beroemde taal. Gumperz 1968). . Max: Oh that is what you mean. i.politics of language are encapsulated in a micro-discursive practice of language ranking and of construction of order (Foucault 2007). . surprises the researcher and is in conflict with what happens in the following episode between Osman. [Giggles] Ja. The conversation proceeded as follows: Max: So then do you speak a bit of Moroccan? Zo dan spreek jullie een beetje Marokkaans? Osman: No. However. the macro. In other words. Cemal: If it was English it would have been a bit tough perhaps. shouf shouf habibi.) Of Frans. Osman: Yes. . Max: No? Nee? Cemal: Not for me. no a real Turkish man speaks only just Turkish.

. although there is no explicit policy regulating them. Cemal and Osman’s linguistic practice therefore can be interpreted as nonauthentic (Jaspers 2005: 116) because it is incongruent with what. Pujolar 2001: 137). i.. apart from being (‘incorrect’) Arabic. indexicalities and identities 45 The sentence ‘No. multilingualism and the preservation of ethno-linguistic identities is a positive thing. following Osman. have an emblematic function in that they call upon something like Arabic – they are in fact the title of an. Discussion and conclusions Multilingualism has been the flagship of sociolinguistics for decades.e.e. popular Dutch TV comedy on the lives of three young men of Moroccan ancestry in a city in the Netherlands who run into all kinds of adventurous situations that are mainly connected to their immigrant condition in a Dutch environment. or signs) which language (or language varieties). the gullible researcher who is exploring their linguistic practices. where and possibly to which end (see Fish- . Further. with language(s) being understood either as distinct denotational codes or linguistic systems and their users studied on the basis of the question who speaks (or writes. sociolinguistics has addressed human beings as users of either one or more languages or language varieties. an emblematic ‘Arabic’utterance that belongs to the youngsters’ knowledge of a specific piece of Dutch popular culture. At the same time the episode shows that. This has entailed advancing the claim that.Modernist language ideologies. at the time. when. As such. 7. Furthermore. in general and in principle. in agreement with Cemal. i. i. speak Turkish only.e. These words. ‘shouf shouf habibi’ could be qualified as an authentic expression of late modern mixed language repertoires in which languages are no longer artefactualised matters and where languages are not exclusively bound to specific immigrant groups (see Rampton 2006) but can be and are actually used ad libitum. The use of a semiotic artefact. Cemal utters the Arabic words ‘shouf shouf habibi’.. However. may instead be interpreted as an example of language sabotage employed to take off the pressure exerted on the boys by the authority. a real Turkish man speaks only just Turkish’may indicate a patrimonium-loaded connotation that. contrary to the language practice just claimed by Osman for ‘a real Turkish man’. to whom. corroborated the fact that Osman only spoke Turkish with his father (cf. immigrant minority languages and hybrid forms of semiotic expression(s) that go beyond straightforward ethnic affiliations do play a role in the institutionalized everyday life of these pupils. after which they run off to the gym hall laughing. as reported in the home language survey. Osman utters the same ‘Arabic’ sentence. a ‘real Turkish man’ would do languagewise. no.

This kind of sociolinguistics seems to have failed to address the grassroots realities of multilingualism and identity construction in three ways. it has missed noticing that institutional ideologies of homogeneity are also part and parcel of the discourses of immigrant minority group members themselves when dealing with their identity diacritics.g. language loyalty. Svonni 2008). The sociolinguistics of this era has produced an understanding of multilingualism and its identity byproducts as an agglomeration of fairly neat monolingualisms that can be linked to certain groups. Moreover. In other words. preferably in its school variety. This approach was valid in that it has given way to powerful notions such as language maintenance. i. 1968. Second. Cemal and myself illustrated. Fishman 1972. and official languages as hindering the language rights and the display of ethnolinguistic identities of minorities (Das Gupta 1970. is ascribed the identity of a ‘half-Arab’).g.e. What I hope to have illustrated here is that modernist language ideologies are not only top-down phenomena (i. 1989). Rather. and with an eye to the maintenance of the national order. First. Certain varieties have also been seen as endangering the existence of other less powerful languages (i. language (repertoire) change. it has overlooked the fact that crossing. micro-crystallisations of these ideologies can be found both in discourses of the majority (e. As the conversation between Osman. certain pupils’ Dutch is poor because at home their parents do not use Dutch only). one is not a ‘pure’ Berber because one does not have a ‘good’ knowledge of Berber and. indigenous minority languages). Furthermore. language shift. it has paved the way towards the study of language use and of identity construction as a matter of the internal organization of particular speech networks. Third. Building on these notions. this branch of sociolinguistics has tackled multilingualism as a problem that it should address for the benefit of (immigrant) minorities and their identity maintenance.e. Huss 1999. it has not managed to solve the tension between immigrant minorities’ own linguistically heterogeneous repertoires and the general tendency in education to see immigrants contributing positively to mainstream society by learning the language of the majority. etc. linguistic . as well as minorities (e. consequently. it has addressed monolingualism as a majority thing and multilingualism as a minority thing. language use and ethnic belongings.e. appropriated only by the majority to attribute certain identities to minorities). advocating their use to be evidence for the ethnolinguistic vitality of groups (Extra and Yaˇ mur 2004).. hybridity and ambivalence in language use and identity construction are an endemic condition of pupils inhabiting (urban) globalised educational environments. language death. or on the role that a language or one of its varieties plays g in a given nation. some sociolinguistic research has focused on the use of immigrant minority languages in the homes of immigrant minority pupils.46 Massimiliano Spotti man et al.

13–29. Blommaert. often conflicting. 2008. the Dutch educational system used to assign to each pupil an educational weight.00. Austin: University of Texas Press. Voices of modernity. . . The transcription uses (. orders of indexicalities are at play. this pupil is almost twice as heavy a burden on the educational system as a pupil of Dutch origin. Jan. Mikhail. Dealing with multilingualism in education. References Agha. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ) for a pause. The social life of cultural value. . Artefactual ideologies and the textual production of African languages. A pupil born to Dutch parents and raised in the Netherlands was assigned an educational weight of 1. more generally. Richard & Charles Briggs. 2005. Jeff. addressing the two as polycentric semiotic performances confronted with the demands of specific language and identity markets set in specific times and spaces where different. A pupil with at least one of his parents having been born abroad and where the household breadwinner would be a manual labourer. Language & Communication 23.Asif. Some – accordingly to the institutional space – are unwanted. The dialogic imagination. (-) for an abrupt stop. Blommaert. Bauman. Jan. Notes 1. Bezemer. they suggest that not all forms of multilingualism are productive and empowering. 291–307. Discourse. Language & Communication 28(02). We should therefore look at language use and identities through the lens of a post-Fishmanian awareness. disqualified. In 2005.90. 1981. indexicalities and identities 47 diversity is not to be seen as directly related to group membership alone and that an (ethnic) group and an (ethnic) identity now seem to be a great deal less clear and less relevant than what they have been in the past two and a half decades of sociolinguistic research (see also Rampton 2006: 17). and actively endangering to people. L1 – Educational Studies in Language and Literature 6(1). Bakhtin. These findings therefore not only question the assumptions of institutional key figures about the identities of their immigrant minority pupils. 2006. [xx] for inaudible fragment. was assigned a 1. Bezemer. Amsterdam: Aksant. Jeff & Sjaak Kroon.Modernist language ideologies. [:] for emphasis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. That is. 2003. 2003. and [text MS] for a comment. 231– 273. Immigrant minority language teaching in policies and practice in the Netherlands. “You don’t need to know the Turkish word”. 2003.

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He also covers the post . The American story: A cultural and structural analysis. M. London: MacMillan. In Donald Brennels & Ronald Macaulay (eds. 279–297. John. Joan. Pujolar. International encyclopedia of the social sciences. 121–135. 401–426. Jaspers. Marco 2005. indexicalities and identities 49 Gumperz. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Leena. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Multilingual Europe: Facts and policies. Language and Identity: National. Linguistic revitalization in Northern Scandinavia and Finland. Reversing language shift in the far north. In David Singleton & Zsolt Lengyel (eds. Language & Communication 25. Svonni. 559–576. 381–386. 2001. heteroglossia and power. Crossing: Language and ethnicity among adolescents. Kroon. Jacquement. Ben. 2003. Bristol: Multilingual Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Linguistic sabotage in a context of monolingualism and standardization. The speech community. 2006. Studia Uralia Upsaliensia 31. A sociolinguistic study of youth culture. John.Modernist language ideologies. Polanyi. 2008. Amsterdam: Aksant. Constructing the other: Immigrant minority pupils’ identity construction in the discourse of a native Dutch teacher at a Dutch Islamic primary school. Silverstein. Massimiliano Spotti. Journal of Multicultural Discourses 1(2). Massimiliano. Zeitschrift f¨ r Erziehungswisu senschaft 3(4). Monoglot ‘standard’ in America: Standardization and metaphors of linguistic hegemony. 2005. Sjaak & Jan Sturm. Developing identities. 1996. Rampton. Manchester: St. Singleton. Religious. has defended his doctoral thesis on the construction of immigrant minority pupils’ identities in multicultural primary school classrooms in the Netherlands and Flanders in 2007. Huss. 2005. Jerome. Spotti. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 1989. 1968. 257–277. 2000. Boulder: Westview. Joseph. Gender.). Norwood: Ablex Publications. 2007. Silverstein. Ethnic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Uppsala. 233–249. 1994. The Age Factor in Second Language Acquisition. Rampton. MD: Donwoody Press. Sámi in the Nordic Countries and Russia. Language in late modernity: Interaction in an urban school. 1–29.). Language & Communication 25. At present. Jürgen.. Introduction: A Critical Look at the Critical Period Hypothesis in Second Language Acquisition Research. Annual Review of Anthropology 27. Michael. 284–306. Contemporary transformations of local linguistic communities.). Spotti. Michael. Livia. he is a researcher at Babylon. Massimiliano. 1999. John Ibrahim. Somali reference grammar. The matrix of language. 2006. Centre for Studies of the Multicultural Society at Tilburg University. Comparative case study research in education: Methodological issues in an empirical-interpretive perspective.Spotti@uvt. 1998. Transidiomatic practices: Language and power in the age of globalization. Saeed. 1999. Mikael. In Durk Gorter & Guus Extra (eds. Wheaton. Ben. David.

Spotti & Van Avermaet 2009) and Institutional Responses to Superdiversity.50 Massimiliano Spotti of researcher within the FiDiPro (Finland Distinguished Professor) scheme. Language Testing Regimes (Extra. at the Department of Languages. . University of Jyv¨ skyl¨ . His current research activities include a a Dangerous Multilingualism.

Putonghua became a compulsory school subject for the first time. and various measures have also been taken to promote the use of Chinese as a medium of instruction in schools. One major conclusion that emerges from this discussion is that. This . Immediately after the change in sovereignty.Language policy and planning in Hong Kong: Colonial and post-colonial perspectives KINGSLEY BOLTON Abstract Hong Kong ceased to be a colony of Britain on June 30th . the relationship between Chinese and English in the Hong Kong context is potentially far less contentious than that between Cantonese and Putonghua. 1997. but also through a consideration of current policies and practices across a range of domains. including government. law and education. these issues continue to engage both academic commentators and the wider population. 1. thus entering a new stage of its development and evolution as a uniquely-constituted city state and urban metropolis. This paper will examine the issue of language planning and policies partly from an historical perspective. which. from a language policy perspective. between the 1960s and 1990s. Perhaps one major reason for this has been the speed of economic. saw Hong Kong transform from a colonial backwater to a post-colonial global city. Introduction Although questions of language policy and planning have received much attention in Hong Kong over the last two decades or so. Putonghua and English) society. the stated policy of government has been to promote a “biliterate” (Chinese and English) and “trilingual” (Cantonese. where the Chinese language had had no de jure status until 1974. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China (HKSAR) inherited a linguistic ecology that owed much to its previous existence as a British colony. political and social change in modern Hong Kong society. From 1995.

More explanation is offered by Spolsky and Lambert (2006) who attempt to disambiguate these two expressions. 2000: 384). which are frequently used in overlapping fashion. An obvious problem here. 2000: 384). or regulations. Deumert and Leap (2000). and might be broadly defined as “all conscious efforts that aim at changing the linguistic behaviour of a speech community” (Mesthrie et al. the chapter starts with a brief survey of language planning from the perspective of sociolinguistics. ] consists of the commonly agreed set of choices of language items – whether sounds or words or grammar – or language varieties – whether codes or dialects or named languages – and the beliefs or ideologies associated with those choices. Language planning theories and their relevance to Hong Kong According to Mesthrie. ] Language management itself has three components: the development of explicit language plans and policies. The same author also explains the term “language policies”. planning. For them. “language planning” (or “language management”) may be defined as follows: Language management. such as parents. and the evaluation of results and effects. constitutions. (Spolsky & Lambert 2006: 561) There seems to be agreement that the term “language policy” seems to have a broader application in referring to the more general beliefs. and then focuses on contemporary language policies in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of China. political and social goals underlying the actual language planning process” (Mesthrie et al. language policy may be explained thus: The language policy of a speech community [. First. . their implementation (by rules or laws or resource allocation). 2. . teachers.52 Kingsley Bolton chapter attempts to review current issues in language planning from a number of perspectives. cultivation and treatment are actions taken by formal authorities such as governments or other agencies or people who believe that they have authority. considerations . (Spolsky & Lambert 2006: 561) In contrast. however. . . the term “language planning” was originally coined by the Norwegian-American sociolinguist Einar Haugen (1959). proceeds to a discussion of the history of language planning and policies in colonial Hong Kong. engineering. as referring to “the more general linguistic. is the similarity of the two terms. “language planning” and “language policies”. or academies. It can be found in language practices and beliefs or in formal policy decisions such as laws. to modify the language choices made by those they claim to have under their control [. Swann.

objective. new approaches to language planning were clearly visible. while also accepting Cooper’s (1989) addition of a third-level of “acquisition planning”. status planning referred to the choice of official and national languages. ] as detrimental to the development of equitable language policies in complex multilingual settings. etc. followed Fishman in attempting to build rational models of language planning suitable for implementation in the developing world and other multilingual settings. Language policy/planning (LPP) studies. while corpus planning concerned itself with the establishment and regulation of particular aspects of language. Cooper’s (1989) notion of “acquisition planning” was crucially concerned with “the determination of which languages should be taught to those who do not speak them and how” (Spolsky & Lambert 2006: 563). is the underlying assumption that functional models can adequately account for. for such scholars: Linguistic theories adopted by language planners. including Cooper (1989). they also highlight the distinction between “status planning” versus “corpus planning”. began to achieve prominence in the 1960s.Language policy and planning in Hong Kong 53 and ideologies relating to the orientation of such decision-making bodies as governments and educational authorities. From the 1990s onwards. Other sociolinguists. In broad terms. were viewed [. For Kloss. such as dictionaries. in terms of principles. governmentally backed activities at the national or regional level aimed at controlling language knowledge and use within a country or region” (Spolsky & Lambert 2006: 562–563). and were often associated with language surveys in developing nations. scientific tools. characterised by a strong interest in issues related to language and inequality and influenced by critical and postcolonial theory. in those societies under discussion. grammar and writing systems. Neustupn´ (1970). Following Kloss (1969). however. Ferguson & Gupta 1968). and of the degree to which scholars of language were perpetuating assumptions that had the effect of rationalizing the support of colonial languages. and Kaplan y and Baldauf (1997). This realization led to a rather broad calling into question of received ideas about the nature of language itself. as an area of sociolinguistic research and practice. Thus. among others. rather than being neutral. the kinds of choices made by governments in language planning. .. Spolsky and Lambert further note that most analyses of language policies and planning have been concerned with examining “formal. . Perhaps what is most typical of the kind of approach adopted by Spolsky and Lambert. The term “language planning” is thus more specifically applied to the actions of such decision makers. particularly those in the early stages of post-colonial independence (Fishman. procedures and processes. and usefully illuminate. however. these were often written as almost apolitical structural-functional explanations of the dynamics of decision-making. .

e. until the celebrated 1997 “Handover”. which together constituted the territorial entity of colonial Hong Kong throughout most of the twentieth century. “locals”. boat dwellers. and the British trading and missionary community that had previously taken residence in the Portuguese enclave of Macao soon transferred to the island. although the reunification of Hong Kong with China has added a number of new complexities to such issues. . in January 1841. From 1842 to 1845 the population of the island grew remarkably from around 5. the Tanka. (Ricento 2006) In this context. In 1860. from eastern Guangdong province (Munn 2001: 71). English was not directly challenged as the language of government and law in Hong Kong society until the era of late colonialism from around 1970 until 1997.000 by 1853. the relationship between Hong Kong language planning and policies and those of mainland China. The following year. which finally returned sovereignty over Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China. Language planning in Hong Kong: the historical context For much of its recorded history. by the early twentieth century. i. scholars such as Tollefson (1991). Such debates and interventions have continued to the present.000 by the early 1860s. Phillipson (1992). and the Hoklo. at the expense of indigenous languages and local economic development.54 Kingsley Bolton and concomitant economic interests. language planning in Hong Kong was a byproduct of the British colonial system. the Hakka. the British annexed the Kowloon Peninsula and. reaching 40. During most of that period. 3. During the First Opium War. and Pennycook (1998) have done much to promote critical perspectives on language. the island of Hong Kong was ceded by the Chinese government to the British. and were typically classified as belonging to four distinct groups: the Punti.000 to more than 20. including. so that. and topping 120. added an additional swathe of its hinterland known as the “New Territories”. not least. this was ratified by the Treaty of Nanking. power and the politics of language. when issues of language planning and policies were brought into sharp focus through a number of debates on language issues. greatly extending earlier sociolinguistic approaches by promoting an explicit awareness of issues relating to inequality. The vast majority of such immigration into Hong Kong came from neighbouring Guangdong province. “Cantonese”. which governed Hong Kong between 1842 until 1997. in 1898. as well as through government legislation and interventions.000. British Hong Kong had come to include all three territories.

after the government’s Central School (which later became “Queen’s College”) was founded. In its bluntest form. where local elites often campaigned or negotiated for access to English-medium education. including the work of Sweeting and Vickers (2005. following Brutt-Griffler’s (2002) reconceptualisation of British colonial language policy as an historically “contested terrain”. aided English. For example. A rather different picture has emerged from recent research by others. The critical perspectives of both Phillipson and Pennycook have influenced discussions of the history of language policies put forward by a number of local scholars in recent years. aided Chinese. 2008b). and that educationalists and government spokesmen . Asia and elsewhere (Phillipson 1992. both Chinese and English were used as instructional languages for a number of years. pointing to the British predilection in many colonial territories for reserving English-medium education for an elite. moreover. 1994). through the establishment of systems of parallel languages in such societies. either explicitly and overtly through the imposition of English. or. In the post-colonial imaginary. noting that for a number of decades “there was no top-down imposition of a clear. including Tsui (2004) and Hopkins (2006). what emerges from Evans’ careful (2008a) discussion of language policy in Hong Kong between 1855 and 1900 is the picture of a complex patchwork of government Chinese. who have attempted to provide a much more detailed picture of the development of the colonial educational system. 2007) and Evans (2008a. through the “deep and indissoluble links between the practices. Later. Within this system. and aided Anglo-Chinese schools. more subtly. by far the largest enrolments were in the aided Chinese schools. more nuanced. Other. Sweeting and Vickers also report that vernacular education expanded substantially in the first decades of the twentieth century. and propagating “vernacular” education for the masses (Pennycook 1998). the Phillipson/Pennycook perspective on colonial language policy has seen the spread of English as a tool of colonial control and subjugation. British colonial language policy worldwide has been linked to a blatant linguistic imperialism which sought to impose the language of the imperial power on colonised communities in Africa.Language policy and planning in Hong Kong 55 British colonial language policy has been explained by a range of historical commentaries of varying accuracy and perspectives. accounts have explained British colonial language policy in terms of strategies of divide and rule. Sweeting and Vickers (2005) also emphasise the complexity of the nineteenth century school system in the colony. consistent language policy”. government Anglo-Chinese. For their part. theories and contexts of ELT [English Language Teaching] and the history of colonialism” (Pennycook 1998: 19). A related argument is that – in many former colonies – the legacy of such policies has extended to the present. which also mirrored the situation in many missionary schools in the territory.

an era that could broadly be described as “late British colonialism”. During the 1970s. Until the 1970s. after the negotiations between Beijing and London determined the arrangements for the 1997 “Handover”. very little detailed work (to my knowledge) has been carried out on the influence of missionary and religious schools in Hong Kong. which have deployed both Chinese and English in various types of schools in the territory. Carroll has emphasised the collaborative nature of colonialism. Cantonese and Putonghua” (Lau 1995: 19). the government began to give greater recognition to the Chinese language. around the same time. In 1995. the Hong Kong Government announced that its new language policy would be “to develop a civil service which is ‘biliterate’ in English and Chinese and ‘trilingual’in English. a detailed historical narrative of language education in Hong Kong remains to be written. Despite the lack of a clear historical narrative of high colonial history in Hong Kong. only part of this project has been completed. not only to the discussion of the history of language issues in Hong Kong. A decade or so later. So far. and the role played by local Chinese elites in policy-formation in many key areas of society (Carroll 2007). the colonial authorities also established a system of free. the official language of law and. a greater clarity arguably exists for the period from the 1960s until the 1990s. while. Chinese was recognised as a co-official language in the territory. as well as extensive systems of public housing and public health. an official . The Official Languages Ordinance of 1974 established that Chinese and English would thenceforth “enjoy equality of use” and. English may also be used as an official language by the executive authorities. measures were taken by the government to promote this policy. In 1974. subsequently. the more prestigious medium of secondary and university education. legislative and judicial organs of the Hong Kong Administrative Region” (Chinese Government 1992: 7). after the disturbances of the Cultural Revolution in China and social unrest and riots in Hong Kong in 1966 and 1967.1 Indeed. de facto. The work of Evans and Sweeting in retrieving the historical record is crucial in providing some kind of balance. the English language had been the sole official language of government. For example. compulsory primary and secondary education. although recent work by local historians such as John M. Article 9 of which stated that: “In addition to the Chinese language.56 Kingsley Bolton repeatedly acknowledged the importance of both languages in the education system. the position of Chinese was further strengthened by the publication of The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. whereas their work has now done much to illuminate the complexity of government policies on language education in the nineteenth century. but also as a key to the present.

Since the early 1990s the government has been trying to establish training courses in Putonghua for Hong Kong civil servants but. there was widespread concern that the post-colonial period would see the immediate downgrading of English and the rise of Putonghua in key official domains. is still the dominant variety. an abrupt change in language policy and management has not occurred in Hong Kong. .Language policy and planning in Hong Kong 57 policy statement which is still in force. the colonial Hong Kong government formulated a new policy on the “medium of instruction” for secondary schools. and since then the Legislative Council has almost exclusively used Cantonese to conduct its affairs. 2000). On March 22nd .. when. it has been amended to provide more opportunities for the use of English. it was announced that approximately only 100 secondary schools (some 22 per cent of the total of 460) would be allowed to use English as a teaching medium and that punitive measures (e. including the European Union in recent years. a maximum fine of $25. not least in order to prepare secondary school students for what is a predominantly English-medium university system. the adoption of a new “firm” policy in promoting Chinese was the most visible change in language policy at the end of the colonial period. very recently. 1997. the first criminal case was conducted in Cantonese in the High Court (Cheung 1997. Cantonese. from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s. rather than Putonghua. This policy has been largely maintained since 1997. at least in most domains of society. one major change in policy that did occur immediately before July 1997 concerned education.g. Similar changes have taken place in the legal system in Hong Kong and. amendments to the Official Languages Ordinance have promoted “legal bilingualism” in the law courts. set down and disseminated through public documents. Current language planning and policies in Hong Kong Problems of investigation and interpretation of language policies in Hong Kong are not only confined to the historical past but also extend to the present. However. an increasing proportion of Cantonese was used in Legislative Council speeches.000 and two years in jail). In December 1995. although. in August 1997. shortly before the transition. Notwithstanding such recent changes. In the run-up to 1997. In certain settings. although it might also be argued that the adoption of Putonghua as a compulsory school subject – which occurred around the same time – is likely to have even more lasting consequences. 4. As is discussed in the next section. might be used against school principals who did not follow the instructions of the government (Kwok 1997). the first civil High Court case was heard in Putonghua and. Immediately before the 1997 change of sovereignty. at present. language policies are explicitly articulated.

the examination system. in the immediate period before the transition from British to Chinese rule. 4. the allocation of funds. Instead. In Hong Kong. legislature and judiciary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. including policies regarding the educational system and its administration. which provided a “mini-constitution” for the territory before the change of government.58 Kingsley Bolton reports and regulations. this has rarely been the case and. there are few (if any) documents that set out an official language policy for all the major domains of society in a cohesive and principled fashion. the language of instruction. official language policies now regulate which languages are used in government offices in the HKSAR. although these policies changed significantly during the decades before 1997. in an immediate pragmatic fashion. (Chinese Government 1992) Article 136 On the basis of the previous educational system. on its own. however. formulate policies on the development and improvement of education. the system of academic awards and the recognition of educational qualifications. at times leading the government to respond. in the contemporary HKSAR. Language planning in the Hong Kong government In Hong Kong. and decisions about official language policies in Hong Kong are determined in part by the Basic Law governing Hong Kong. there are a number of diverse laws and policy statements that have been issued by government (and continue to be issued) in the colonial and post-colonial period that have combined to shape language planning practices since 1997. The definition of what the official languages are. the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall. Articles 9 and 136: Article 9 In addition to the Chinese language. The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China has two articles that deal specifically with language policies and planning. English may also be used as an official language by the executive authorities. to the political pressures of the day. (Chinese Government 1992) The Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on the English Text of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China is also relevant (Adopted on 28 June 1990): The 14th sitting of the Standing Committee of the Seventh National People’s Congress hereby decides that the English translation of the Basic Law of the Hong .1. Such practices have evidently been moved by circumstances or by public opinion.

. promoting the effective use of the official languages. including setting guidelines. throughout the last thirteen years. The promotion of the policy of “trilingualism and biliteracy” involves the government in accepting the use of all three languages at the spoken level. In case of discrepancy between the two texts in the implication of any word used. monitoring the use of the official languages and the implementation of the language policy in bureaux and departments” (HKSAR Government 2010). it is independent of government and . and providing language advisory services to bureaux and departments. Interestingly. whose website states its responsibilities as providing translation. the formula of “trilingualism and biliteracy” has received support in numerous government and educational pronouncements. so that an official report of the Education Committee in 2002 states that “[t]he language policy of the HKSAR Government is to enable students and the working population to be biliterate (in Chinese and English) and trilingual (in Cantonese. as well as a great deal of translation of documents and official papers. reviewing Civil Service language practices. by 2002. 59 In addition to the legal provisions made for the use of Chinese and English in the Basic Law. in theory. no fully detailed report or fully comprehensive rationale of this policy has been officially published. Indeed. this policy began in the 1990s. Putonghua and English)” (HKSAR Government 2002).Language policy and planning in Hong Kong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China which has been finalized upon examination under the auspices of the Law Committee of the National People’s Congress shall be the official English text and shall be used in parallel with the Chinese text. which refers to the promotion of trilingualism in Cantonese. the body that is responsible for discussing and approving the laws of Hong Kong. this had been extended to the general population. but. English and Putonghua. This work is carried out by the Official Languages Division of the Civil Service Bureau of the HKSAR government. with particular reference to the use of languages in the civil service in the 1990s. . ]. the Chinese text shall prevail (cited in Ghai 1999: 570). in particular Chinese and Putonghua. although. although. one of the most important institutions is the Legislative Council (Legco). and biliteracy in written Chinese and English. in the Civil Service [. summarized its policy as that of trilingualism and biliteracy. The Legislative Council occupies a place at the heart of the political process. interpretation and editing services to Government bureaux and departments as well as: developing the institutional arrangements for the use of official languages in the Civil Service. the government has also. to my knowledge. in a number of statements. Within the Government.

“both Chinese and English therefore have a part to play in the language of the law” (HKSAR Government 2010b).2. The body that has the responsibility of carrying out these translations is the Translation and Interpretation Division of the Legislative Council Secretariat. In compliance with the official language policy of the Hong Kong government. personal communication. and in 1998. in light of Article 9 of the Basic Law. it is stated that. 4. According to an interview with one of the Chief Translators of the Secretariat. and then translated into Chinese. as all debates and subsequent reports of debates (the Hansard or “proceedings”) are recorded in two versions. Today. Prior to the 1980s. both in Hong Kong and in other common law jurisdictions around the world. and on almost all occasions Cantonese is the sole language of spoken communication (Government translator. are routinely translated from Cantonese into English by simultaneous interpreters so that members of Legco and members of the public listening to the debates have access to translation. personal communication. all proceedings in Legco are translated into a variety of languages. Now the government is officially committed to a bilingual legal system. minutes and other Council papers (Legislative Council 2010). but written communication.60 Kingsley Bolton the civil service. a Committee on Bilingual Legal System was set up to advise the Government on bilingualism in the legal domain and how the goal of a bilingual legal system could be achieved. papers. a Chinese version and an English version. The languages of the legal system The government’s language policy also regulates the languages used in written statutes and in the law courts. motions. English was the sole and dominant language of the legal system in Hong Kong. only very occasionally is English or Putonghua heard in the Legco chamber. at the spoken level. which is responsible for the production of the Hong Kong Hansard. around 80% of the documents written for the Legislative Council are currently drafted in English.At present. and is also responsible for translating questions. . The vast majority of linguistic work that takes place in Legco involves not spoken communication. Statute Law and the law courts as follows: The common law The principles of the common law are to be found in the judgments of the courts. On the Department of Justice website. Specific policies are stipulated for the Common Law. May 18 2010). the vast majority of debates and discussions in committees take place in Cantonese but. May 18 2010). so that English very much remains the default written language of government (Government translator.

such asAustralia. However. and Hong Kong’s statute book is now entirely bilingual [. authentic Chinese texts have been completed of all pre-existing legislation which had been enacted in the English language only. and to empower the Chief Justice to make rules and issue practice directions to regulate the use of Chinese language in the courts. A Practice Direction on the use of Chinese in the Court of First Instance has been prepared by the Judiciary. The court will arrange interpretation facilities. English will continue to be the only medium in which the majority of judgments from overseas is reported. The first concerns the role of English in the “common law” system. . . we can see that three main concerns are articulated. The third concern relates to the language of the courts and the expressed desire to improve the use of Chinese in the higher courts. everyone has a right to use the language of his choice to give evidence. ]. Thanks to the bilingual legislation programme begun in 1989. and it would obviously be impractical to attempt to translate these into Chinese. The courts In July 1995. Training for bilingual judges has also been introduced. Statute law In keeping with the Basic Law’s provisions on bilingualism. New Zealand. Cantonese is the dominant language of the lower courts. where it is stated that “all legislation in Hong Kong is enacted in both Chinese and English. The second concern is with the written laws (“statute law”) of the HKSAR. There are hundreds of thousands of reported cases which form the basis of the common law. While in future there is likely to be an increasing number of judgments in Hong Kong delivered in Chinese. and both versions are accorded equal status”. (HKSAR Government 2010b) 61 From the above. . or such other language as the court may permit. the Official Languages Ordinance (Cap 5) was amended to enable any court to use either or both of the official languages in any proceedings before it as it thinks fit. is final. all legislation in Hong Kong is enacted in both Chinese and English. No matter whether English or Chinese is used in the proceedings. at present. Efforts are being made on various fronts to improve the use of Chinese in the higher courts. while English still remains the major language of the higher courts. to provide that the decision of a court to use one of the official languages in any proceedings before it.Language policy and planning in Hong Kong The language in which those judgments have been delivered over the years is almost exclusively English. and other English common law systems. and both versions are accorded equal status. to enable a party or his legal representatives or a witness in proceedings in a court to use either or both the official languages. including the provision of courses on Chinese judgment writing skills. etc. which is the norm in the UK. despite the aim of providing legal proceedings in “either or both of the official languages”.

and finally to the Courts of Final Appeal (Criminal and Civil). the history of the “medium of instruction issue” in the modern era dates back most immediately to the early 1970s. but in practice. and it is totally absent in the Court of Final Appeal. Cantonese is used when witnesses are examined. Ng’s analysis indicates a clear asymmetry in legal bilingualism in the Hong Kong law courts: Cantonese is used with decreasing frequency as one moves up the court hierarchy.3. as are most legal reference books and case law records. Chinese enjoys equal status with English.62 Kingsley Bolton A recent study by Ng (2009) has examined the use of Cantonese and English in Hong Kong courts in great detail. there is a clear hierarchy in Hong Kong courts. This hierarchy goes from the lowest courts (the Magistracies). even today. to the Courts of First Instance (Criminal and Civil). 4. a remarkable process involving the translation of more than 19. a massive project to translate the statutes of Hong Kong has taken place. Since the early 1990s. In 1973. when the British colonial administration attempted to introduce a policy of using Chinese as the medium of instruction. Pupils coming from primary schools where they have been taught in the medium of Cantonese have a grievous burden put on them when . the government published a “Green Paper”. The languages of education As has been the case in many other multilingual societies. which asserted that: The medium of instruction bears significantly upon the quality of education offered at post-primary level. through the District Courts (Criminal and Civil). there is a growing practice of mixed-language trials in the Court of First Instance and the District Court. in theory. At the spoken level. English is used less frequently in the lower courts but retains its strong presence in the higher courts. and that it was not until 1989 that the first Bilingual Ordinance was enacted. In a parallel manner. Despite this. In Hong Kong.000 pages of legislation (Ng 2009: 72). the presence of English exhibits an inverted pyramidal distribution. Ng notes that it was only in 1987 that the Official Languages Ordinance was amended to state that “all ordinances shall be enacted and published in both official languages” (cited in Ng 2009: 71). as it is here that ordinary citizens are most likely to perceive their lives directly affected by language policy. but English remains the language of choice when law is debated (Ng 2009: 253). the vast majority of court documents and judgements are written in English. or policy proposal. to the Courts of Appeal (Criminal and Civil). on language education. issues related to the choice of languages to be used in schools have been controversial and sensitive. Horizontally.

As reported above. Essentially. it is claimed. . despite frequent challenges by parents and schools who felt disadvantaged. and that “MOI arrangements in schools will become more diversified” (HKSAR Government 2009: 5). This policy was consistently promoted by the Education Bureau of the HKSAR government for around ten years after 1997. In reality this meant that school textbooks in most schools were overwhelmingly written in English. and that English should be studied as the second language (cited in Gibbons 1982: 117).Language policy and planning in Hong Kong required to absorb new subjects through the medium of English. the new policy then established a system where around 75% of secondary schools were required to teach through Chinese (CMI schools). the government met strong opposition from parents and schools about such plans to introduce Chinese Medium Instruction (CMI). CMI/EMI in different subjects and total EMI immersion”. and issued a 1974 White Paper which decided on a laissez-faire approach to the medium of instruction issue. According to the recommendations of the report. . and was even re-affirmed by a government report of December 2005. the government backed down from pressing ahead with Chinese-medium instruction. while at the spoken level the amount of English used varied greatly according to the type of school and the abilities of staff and students. . The school system that then evolved from the 1970s until the early 1990s was one with around 90 per cent of primary schools teaching through Cantonese. ] teaching modes will become more diversified. and a similar percentage of secondary schools claiming to be “English medium” (or “Anglo-Chinese”). if they could demonstrate the feasibility of so doing. Thus. it is expected that “the choice and number of subjects taught in EMI would likely vary between classes within individual schools as well as among schools”. to provide for greater flexibility about how language management will take place in individual schools. a significant shift in government policy began. which resulted in a new report on Fine-tuning the Medium of Instruction for Secondary Schools (HKSAR Government 2009). We recommend that Chinese become the usual language of instruction in the lower forms of secondary schools. “allows schools more flexibility in using EMI for one or more subjects for different classes”. Following these protests. “schools will no longer be classified into CMI [Chinese medium instruction] schools and EMI [English medium instruction] schools” and “[t]heir [. This. In 2008 and 2009. This so-called laissez-faire approach generally continued until March 1997. when the government introduced a policy of “firm guidance” to schools. including all CMI. the report moves away from the “firm guidance” policy of 1997. 63 After the publication of the 1973 Green Paper. however. and some 25% were permitted to teach through English (EMI schools).

entitled The Law of the National Commonly Used Language and Script of the People’s Republic of China. the removal of illiteracy. 2006: 350). and the promotion of the official romanization system of pinyin (Bolton & Lam. Given the wide use of the language in education. but Hong Kong is the Cantonese-speaking capital of the world. “the status of Cantonese is much higher than is normally thought and cannot be simply brushed aside as the ‘vernacular”’ (Sin & Roebuck 1996: 252). the pragmatic need to prepare students for a university education (in a society where most of Hong Kong’s universities are officially English-medium). religion. which stipulated that: “Schools and other educational organizations .to English-medium instruction (Yau 2009a). Cantonese may be a mere “regional dialect” in the PRC. the national government published a new law. the propagation of simplified characters. the PRC’s official language policy since 1956 has included the “unification of the Chinese language”. and this change of direction has already attracted criticism from a number of leading educators (Yau 2009b). In stark contrast. given the complicated dynamics of education in the HKSAR.64 Kingsley Bolton This “fine tuning policy” goes into effect in autumn 2010. indeed. including the desire of the business community to maintain Hong Kong’s competitiveness as a centre for international commerce and finance. In many senses. This loosening of government policy seems to have been motivated by a number of factors. and the media have already reported that a number of schools are planning to switch from Chinese. Cantonese is the essential community language. together with simplified Chinese characters instead of the “full characters” used in Hong Kong and Taiwan. the promotion of Putonghua. in high domains as well as low.2 as well as a groundswell of public opinion from many local parents. whatever policy is implemented is likely to encounter resistance from some quarter. The widespread use of Cantonese in Hong Kong society. which has been described as “the greatest Cantonese city that the world has ever seen” (Harrison & So 1997: 12). The status and functions of the Cantonese language are unique to Hong Kong. Many local linguists have been less concerned about the tension between English and Chinese than a potential conflict between Cantonese and Putonghua. Despite this. In October 2000. 4. is obviously at odds with the official policy in China. That is the relationship between Cantonese and Putonghua.4. Cantonese and Putonghua One key aspect of language planning in Hong Kong has a direct bearing on the educational debates discussed above and is. which promotes Putonghua. the print and broadcast media and government. at the heart of many sociolinguistic issues in Hong Kong society.

in many regions. the question may be not whether Putonghua will be introduced as an official teaching medium. but when. and has only a limited acceptance of regional dialects and minority languages in educational and other official domains. Debates on the desirability of increasing the use of Putonghua have already surfaced among local educationalists. and. thus adding to a process of language shift away from Cantonese in the community (Lai 2009). where an estimated 5–6 million people out of a population of 12 million have in-migrated from other parts of China. in 1998. attempts to extend Putonghua to teach Chinese within the public school system have . simply does not exist in many regions of China. However. or Shanghainese.Language policy and planning in Hong Kong 65 will take Putonghua and standard Chinese characters as the basic language and characters to be used in teaching and study” (Rohsenow 2004: 41. Putonghua became a compulsory subject in all Hong Kong schools. conceding that “further studies on the conditions required to ensure a successful switch and prevent negative outcomes” (SCOLAR 2003). many of the Hong Kong government’s pronouncements in support of Chinese-medium instruction in the period immediately after 1997 emphasized the benefits of “mother tongue” education along the same lines as the renowned 1953 UNESCO report that valorized mother tongue education in schools. Ironically. Fukienese. and encouraging schools to try using Putonghua to teach Chinese Language (SCOLAR 2003). the domain of education is particularly sensitive. Zhang &Yang 2004: 154). and such discussions are regularly reported in the press. including Guangzhou. the action plan stopped short of urging a “firm policy” to promote the language. where it stated that its policy on the teaching of Chinese in schools included endorsing the Curriculum Development Council’s long-term goal of teaching Chinese Language in Putonghua. which is often very different from Putonghua. Even more important is the fact that. Such laws have taken effect in most other Chinese cities. the government-backed Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCOLAR) published the Action Plan to Raise Language Standards in Hong Kong. Cantonese. for example. At present. For many of China’s students. However. Putonghua is a “second language”. in this context. Whether that means that eventually Putonghua will displace Cantonese in the more formal domains of language use is a question of a good deal of speculation and. But national language policy is quite clear. In 2003. In the context of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). children learn a “home dialect” before going to school. and today more and more children than ever before are now learning Putonghua as a second (or third) language. one issue regularly occluded in language debates is that “mother tongue education” (in its vernacular European sense). whose systems of government and administration are expected to “converge” with those of mainland China in another 40 years.

(He 2010) On Sunday. . it is evident that the majority of Hong Kong people have a strong attachment to Cantonese. The same report also noted that: With 110 million people. Such a street demonstration. and Putonghua still has only a limited range of functions in present-day Hong Kong (Zhang & Yang 2004). . . The extent to which the status and functions of Cantonese in Hong Kong may become highly contentious in the coming years became clear in the summer of 2010 when language debates surfaced in both Hong Kong and across the border in Guangzhou. Guangzhou Television (GZTV). and the fact that few if any similar demonstrations in support of regional dialects in China have ever taken place previously. in spite of some initiatives to promote Putonghua in schools and discussions concerning the use of the national language in other domains. [. but there is always the possibility that – in an altered political climate – the government may attempt to implement this policy more strenuously. The spokesman. [. ] Guangzhou. But rivals such as Shanghai and Beijing have caught up and even surpassed it. once spearheaded the mainland’s economic reform. . was dramatic in the sense that any unauthorized gathering of people in China is typically viewed as a cause for alarm. to replace the use of Cantonese by Putonghua on its main channels (He 2010). . a Mr Ouyang. the provincial capital. According to reports. and the government policy of a ‘common language for a unified country and harmonious society’ on the other. At present. however amiable and good-natured. and now half its residents do not speak Cantonese. most of those who participated were young people under the age of thirty (Zhai andYu 2010). reports began to surface in the South China Morning Post of a push by the authorities in Guangzhou to switch the language of a number of prime-time TV programmes in Guangzhou from Cantonese to Putonghua before the Asian Games were hosted there in November 2010. In early July. The dialect seems strange to outsiders.66 Kingsley Bolton achieved only limited success. however. Guangdong has rapidly become the most populous province. a representative of the Guangzhou city government responded by asserting that “it had no plan to marginalise the use of Cantonese or replace it with Putonghua”. ] There is a two-pronged attack on Cantonese – internal migration on the one hand. July 25. But most of the recent increase has been migrant job-seekers. 2010 matters came to a dramatic head in Guangzhou when several hundred Guangzhou residents took part in a (reportedly amiable and lowkey) street demonstration at the exit of Guangzhou metro’s Jiangnanxi station against the proposed language switch. Immediately following the Sunday demonstration. It was at that time that the Guangzhou’s People’s Political Consultative Conference submitted a proposal to the local government on Monday to order the city’s most popular television station.

like the born-again patriots who run Hong Kong. On the same day.Language policy and planning in Hong Kong 67 then went on to claim that the campaign in support of Cantonese had been orchestrated by “people with ulterior motives” (Zhai. ] Authoritarian governments have great difficulty with diversity. 2010). [. involving hundreds of people. Following this. they see it as undermining their authority and sowing the seeds of discontent. however. He goes on to argue that: Cantonese enhances a sense of identity. the language battle is accelerating’ (Vines 2010). Even quite innocent manifestations of local pride and regional identification are frowned upon unless officially instigated and approved. a small demonstration involving some two hundred people took place in Hong Kong in order to express solidarity with pro-Cantonese activists across the border. the Asian Games took place without further linguistic controversy throughout November 2010. this remains an issue that is likely to re-surface. in the event. officials across the border are already accusing the defenders of Cantonese of having ‘ulterior motives’. official attitudes to linguistic diversity reflect attitudes to a much wider range of social and political issues. it appears that the Guangzhou authorities backed away from their plans to restrict broadcasting in Cantonese and. the Hong Kong journalist. [. for many Hong Kong people. Following this apparent climbdown. ] Officials. suggesting that there had been a misunderstanding which had been exploited by “people who have ulterior motives” (Yu 2010). Indeed. and arrested at least 20 people for “legal questioning” and simultaneously took measures against Internet blogs and discussion groups (Lau. a second demonstration took place in support of Cantonese at People’s Park in Guangzhou and a nearby shopping area on August 1. Stephen Vines. the situation was defused and at least temporarily resolved when the Head of the Communist Party in Guangzhou announced an apparent climb-down from the proposed restrictions on Cantonese television on August 4. home of Cantonese. 2010). . This time the authorities deemed the gathering “illegal”. the South China Morning Post announced that: “Communist Party Chief Wang Yang told a meeting on Wednesday to mark the 100-day countdown to the Asian Games that there was no question of Cantonese being banned”. One week later. And there has been a constant battle against the development of local languages in . strive to demonstrate their proficiency in the national language. not only in Guangzhou but also in Hong Kong. . . However. Referring to a report from the officially-sanctioned China News Service. and that ‘[i]n Guangdong. Commenting on these events. arguing that “China has demonstrated [the government’s] determination to curb or even destroy the linguistic diversity that exists in the nation”. wearing it as a badge of loyalty. . It is this that scares the rulers in Beijing. relates the recent controversy about Cantonese to the authoritarianism of the Beijing government and issues of Chinese identity.


Kingsley Bolton literature and the mass media. [. . . ] Anyone challenging this process is quickly labelled a ‘splittist’ in the wonderful language of Maoism. This is a serious charge and is thrown about indiscriminately at both those who genuinely desire to split from Beijing, such as Tibetans, and at others who are happy to be in the Chinese state but seek a stronger sense of local identity [. . . ] there is a sullen suspicion of anyone showing the smallest sign of asserting anything other than officially approved forms of identification with the state. This makes the nation infinitely poorer, not more united. (Vines 2010)

5. Conclusion In many other contexts for language policy, the crucial questions have concerned the choice and cultivation of national and official languages in the post-colonial context. As is evident from the preceding discussion, the situation in Hong Kong is rather different. Modern Hong Kong was essentially founded by refugees fleeing from the control of a Communist regime and the horrors of the Cultural Revolution, and the identification of Hong Kong people with the national language of the PRC is tempered by the experience of the last six decades. For orthodox language planning, Hong Kong may appear to be an exceptional case, as Tsui notes:
With China’s resumption of sovereignty over Hong Kong, the Chinese language, being the national language, should enjoy a much higher status. The people of Hong Kong should have a stronger awareness of Chinese identity. The adoption of Chinese as the medium of instruction in the majority of the schools should enhance the status of the Chinese language, as well as strengthen the national identity of Hong Kong people and their patriotic sentiments. Consequently, the community should be less resistant to this policy [. . . ] this has not proved to be the case. Whereas most former colonies have been eager to establish their national identity upon decolonization [. . . ] this does not seem to have happened in Hong Kong. (Tsui 2004: 108–109)

The essential reason for this, as Tsui concedes, is that language policy in the HKSAR has been decided by the political agenda set for Hong Kong in the transition to its “reunification” with mainland China. In this context, neither traditional language policy theorizations nor the standard critical responses appear to offer easy solutions. Some thirteen years into the post-colonial experience, little on the surface of Hong Kong society seems to have changed. English still enjoys high prestige as a co-official language of government and law, and as the dominant language of higher education and the business community. Cantonese enjoys an unequalled

Language policy and planning in Hong Kong


status in many domains of high and not-so-high use, including the Legislative Council, the mass media, popular culture, and much else. Putonghua has yet to be heavy-handedly imposed as the language of national and official power on China’s most dynamic and prosperous southern city, which is still enjoying the benefits of the “one country, two systems” policy, devised by Deng Xiaoping. In this context, however, for many Hong Kong people the notion of “mother tongue” education may evoke fear of the imposition of the “big brother tongue”, as there is widespread suspicion that Cantonese-medium education may segue into Putonghua-medium education at some point in the not-too-distant future. Post-colonialism in the Hong Kong context has its own specific characteristics, and as Carroll has commented, “[a]lthough Hong Kong has returned to China, it has not been de-colonized”. Instead, he argues, “it has been re-colonized with the metropole simply shifting from London to Beijing” (2007: 192). That may be true, but as yet the full weight of metropolitan and national policies, including language policy, has not been felt in Hong Kong. Viewed from this perspective, the vitality of Cantonese as a community language (layered with a measure of English) is a touchstone for continued lifestyle of a city-state whose identity combines a unique blend of colonial modernity, global capitalism and diverse contacts with Asia, Europe, North America and the world. The Draft Agreement on the future of Hong Kong signed by the Chinese government in the 1980s promised the territory “a high degree of autonomy”, according to a policy of “one country, two systems”. It remains to be seen how long this autonomy will survive in many spheres of society, including key societal settings, such as government, law, education, and media, which are so crucially linked to the cultural and linguistic identity of the Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong people.

1. The role of religious schools in Hong Kong continues to be important to the present day, and a number of Catholic, Protestant, and other religious organizations still run significant numbers of primary and secondary schools in the society. This is a state of affairs greatly in contrast with neighbouring Guangdong and other parts of China, where missionary schools operated in large numbers throughout the Republican period, but closed their doors or were re-organised after the Communist Party came to power in 1949. 2. Hong Kong has seven government-funded universities: City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Lingnan University, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, The University of Hong Kong. In addition, there is a tertiary-


Kingsley Bolton level educational institute, The Hong Kong Institute of Education. The Chinese University of Hong Kong is officially a bilingual institution, while the language policy of The Hong Kong Institute of Education stipulates the promotion of trilingualism and biliteracy. All other institutions are officially “English-medium”.

Bolton, Kingsley & Agnes S. L. Lam. 2006. Applied linguistics in China. In Keith Brown (ed.), Encyclopedia of language and linguistics [2nd edition, Vol. 1], 350–356. Oxford: Elsevier. Brutt-Griffler, Janina. 2002. World English: A study of its development. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Carroll, John M. 2007. Edge of empires: Chinese elites and British colonials in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Cheung, Anne. 1997. Language rights and the Hong Kong courts. Hong Kong Journal of Applied Linguistics 2. 49–75. Chinese Government. 1992. The basic law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. Hong Kong: One Country, Two Systems Economic Research Institute. Cooper, Robert L. 1989. Language planning and social change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Evans, Stephen. 2008a. Disputes and deliberations over language policy: the case of early colonial Hong Kong. Language Policy 7. 47–65. —. 2008b. The introduction of English-language education in early colonial Hong Kong. History of Education 37(3). 383–408. Fishman, Joshua A., Charles A. Ferguson & Jyotirindra Das Gupta. 1968. Language problems of developing nations. New York: Wiley. Ghai, Yash P. 1999. Hong Kong’s new constitutional order: The resumption of Chinese sovereignty [2nd edition]. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Gibbons, John. 1982. The issue of the medium of instruction in the lower forms of Hong Kong secondary schools. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 3. 117–28. Government translator. 2010. Interview with translator, the Legislative Council, Hong Kong. Interview. May 18, 2010. Harrison, Godfrey & Lydia K. H. So. 1997. The background to language change in Hong Kong. In Sue Wright & Helen Kelly-Holmes (eds.), One country, two systems, three languages: A survey of changing language use in Hong Kong, 8–17. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters Ltd. Haugen, Einar. 1959. Planning for a standard language in Norway. Anthropological Linguistics 1. 8–21. He, Huifeng. 2010. Cantonese faces fresh threat in its birthplace. South China Morning Post. July 7, 2010: 1.

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HKSAR Government. 2002. Progress Report on the Education Reform (1): Learning for Life, Learning Through Life. < html.html> (15 May 2010). —. 2009. Education Bureau Circular No. 6/2009: Fine-tuning the Medium of Instruction for Secondary Schools. < 7372 edbc09006e.pdf> (15 May 2010). —. 2010a. Official Languages Division website. < only/eng lish/aboutus/org/scsd/1470.html> (15 May 2010). —. 2010b. Department of Justice website. < index.htm #6> (15 May 2010). Hopkins, Mark. 2006. Policies without planning? The medium of instruction issue in Hong Kong. Language and Education 20(4). 270–286. Kaplan, Robert B. & Richard B. Baldauf. 1997. Language planning from practice to theory. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Kloss, Heinz. 1969. Research possibilities on group bilingualism: A report. Quebec: International Center for Research on Bilingualism. Kwok, Shirley. 1997. New rule will halve schools using English. South China Morning Post. March 22, 1997: 7. Lai, Chloe. 2009. Linguistic heritage in peril. South China Morning Post. October 11, 2009: 12. Lau, Chi-kuen. 1995. Language of the future. South China Morning Post. September 18, 1995: 19. Lau, Mimi. 2010. ‘Legal questioning’ of journalists defended. South China Morning Post. August 4, 2010: 4. Law, Sau Wah 2002. Language planning in Hong Kong. Unpublished BA dissertation, The University of Hong Kong. Legislative Council. 2010. <> (15 May 2010). Mesthrie, Rajend, Joan Swann, Andrea Deumert & William L. Leap. 2000. Introducing sociolinguistics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Munn, Christopher. 2001. Anglo-China: Chinese people and British rule in Hong Kong, 1841–1880. Surrey: Curzon Press. Neustupn´ , Jir´ V. 1970. Basic types of treatment of language problems. Linguistic Comy ı munications 1. 77–98. Ng, Kwai Hang. 2009. The common law in two voices: Language, law, and the postcolonial dilemma in Hong Kong. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Pennycook, Alastair. 1998. English and the discourses of colonialism. London: Routledge. Phillipson, Robert. 1992. Linguistic imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Ricento, Thomas. 2006. Language policy: Theory and practice: An introduction. In Thomas Ricento (ed.), An introduction to language policy: Theory and method, 10– 23. Oxford: Blackwell.


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Rohsenow, John S. 2004. Fifty years of script and written language reform in the P. R. C. In Minglang Zhou (ed.), Language policy in the People’s Republic of China: Theory and practice Since 1949, 21–43. Boston: Kluwer Academic. SCOLAR. 2003. Action Plan to Raise Language Standards in Hong Kong. <http://www. ActionPlan-Final Report(E).pdf> (15 May 2010). Sin, King-Kui & Derek Roebuck. 1996. Language engineering for legal transplantation: Conceptual problems in creating common law Chinese. Language and Communication 16. 235–254. Spolsky, Bernard & Richard D. Lambert. 2006. Language planning and policy: models. In Keith Brown (ed.), Encyclopedia of language and linguistics [2nd edition, Vol. 6], 561–575. Oxford: Elsevier. Sweeting,Anthony & EdwardVickers. 2005. On colonizing “colonialism”: the discourses of the history of English in Hong. World Englishes 24(2). 113–130. —. 2007. Language and the history of colonial education: The case of Hong Kong. Modern Asian Studies 41(1). 1–40. Tollefson, James W. 1991. Planning Language, Planning Inequality. New York: Longman. Tsui, Amy B. M. 2004. Medium of Instruction in Hong Kong: one country, two systems, whose language? In James W. Tollefson & Amy B. M. Tsui (eds.), Medium of instruction policies: Which agenda? Whose agenda?, 97–106. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum. Vines, Stephen. 2010 Why Cantonese threatens Beijing’s language of power. South China Morning Post. July 31, 2010. [Accessed from South China Morning Post,]. Yau, Elaine. 2009a. Parents flock to schools that will switch to English. South China Morning Post. January 5, 2009: 1. —. 2009b. Rethink policy on MOI, says expert. South China Morning Post. 28 March 2009. Yu, Verna. 2010. Guangdong chief speaks up for Cantonese. South China Morning Post. August 6, 2010: 4. Zhai, Ivan. 2010. Guangzhou blames people with ulterior motives for pro-Cantonese campaign. South China Morning Post. July 29, 2010: 6. Zhai, Ivan & VernaYu. 2010. Pro-Cantonese rally to hop the border into HK. South China Morning Post. July 27, 2010: 1. Zhang, Bennan & Robin R. Yang. 2004. Putonghua education and language policy in postcolonial Hong Kong. In Minglang Zhou (ed.), Language policy in the People’s Republic of China: Theory and practice since 1949, 143–162. Boston: Kluwer Academic. Kingsley Bolton,, is Chair Professor of English in the Department of English at City University of Hong Kong and Professor English Linguistics at Stockholm University, Sweden. He has delivered plenary papers and invited lectures

Language policy and planning in Hong Kong


at conferences in Asia, Europe and the US, and has published widely on language and society, English across Asia, and language and globalization. His publications include a monograph on the history of English in China, Chinese Englishes: A Sociolinguistic History (Cambridge University Press, 2003), and World Englishes: Critical Concepts in Linguistics (six volumes, co-edited with Braj B. Kachru, Routledge, 2006). From 2003– 04, he served as Elected President of the International Association for World Englishes (IAWE), and, from January 2011, he will be co-editor of the Wiley-Blackwell journal, World Englishes.


I will explore the possible social. In this paper.English language ideologies (ELI) in Olympic Beijing LIN PAN Abstract Academic positions vary greatly as regards attitudes towards and expectations of global English around the world. they express a strong confidence that English will not be a threat to the Chinese language and culture and they claim that English is useful to the development of China both now and in the long run. In particular. Hence. economic or political perspective or several perspectives combined and I relate their positions on the global spread of English in China to issues of language ideologies. I focus on the English language learning context in China and use data collected during the period when Beijing was preparing for and hosting the 2008 Olympic Games (2006–2008) to examine how English and the study of English are perceived and accessed by learners engaged in teaching and learning English outside formal educational institutions. My research findings show that my informants associate English (learning) with multiple benefits to life and career. In this paper. . the reasons underlying learners’ voluntary choice of English learning. their perceptions of the status of English relative to Chinese in a globalizing context. I will explore. I posit that my informants’ opinions reflect a view of the social world from a particular historical. cultural and political factors which caused the ideologies of language to emerge and the implications borne out by these ideologies in the context of China’s ongoing globalization. besides presenting and interpreting the prevailing English language ideologies as captured in the discourse of my research respondents. and the significance of English to Chinese society. Olympic community English classes and English corners. the potential influence English imposes on Chinese language and culture. social-historical and socio-political factors exert a crucial role in the emergence of dominant ideologies. I believe that the nonlinguistic socio-economic. via interviews and group discussions. in the last part of the paper. namely.

there are informed assertions that the global spread of English is natural. Orton and Yihong. The research respondents include working professionals as well as retired senior citizens. This issue of the spread of English is particularly relevant in the context of China. 2001. Phillipson and Skutnabb-Kangas. Crystal. I anchor my research in this ‘moment’ because I view this period (2006–2008) in China. Introduction Academic positions manifest profound divergence as regards attitudes towards and expectations of global English.76 Lin Pan Key words: English language ideologies. As a society that has been aiming to open up and modernize itself since the end of the 1970s. Skutnabb-Kangas. and language rights (Bamgbose. To get a . my research concentrates on the period when China was preparing for and hosting the 2008 Beijing Olympics. especially in Beijing. Graddol. exclusion and problems associated with education. 2005. literacy. 2000. civilian discourse. the influence which English has brought about and will bring to Chinese language and culture and the significance of English to Chinese society in general. I use data collected during this period to examine the ways in which English and the study of English are perceived and accessed by those engaged in teaching and learning English outside formal educational institutions. On the one hand. China has witnessed a meteoric rise in the popularity of English in recent decades. namely. China 1. Lo Bianco. 2000. Skutnabb-Kangas and Phillipson. as one that experienced accelerated social change and my hypothesis is that social change transforms and generates new discourses and ideologies. My research questions centre upon such themes as the meaning of English and English learning for Chinese people. globalization.3 Though they come from distinct backgrounds. they all voluntarily chose to learn English in their spare time. 1997. 2009. Olympic community English classes1 and English corners2 which are independent of official educational regulations. While the sociolinguistics of language identity and English language ideology in China has attracted the attention of some researchers in recent years (Du. neutral and beneficial (Brutt-Griffler. and the learning of English outside compulsory educational settings has flourished to the point where it has become a phenomenon worthy of scholarly attention. On the other hand there are claims that global English is detrimental in that it brings about social stratification. in this paper. 1996. Du. 1992. 2006). 2005). Jin and Cortazzi. 2008 Beijing Olympics. 2003. Hence. Xu. Phillipson. 2001. 1995). Brock-Utne. 2002. This paper features group discussions and interviews.

it is divided into stanzas and each stanza is named according to its theme. or slight break in tempo after each line in speech (Gee. I followed Gee’s (1999) principles of dissecting discourses data and arranged all extracts into stanzas and lines (see extract 1 to 4 in section 3 for example). sometimes manifested as discourse. different from the individualistic nature of attitudes towards the . 1999). According to several scholars (Gee. concepts. symbolic power. I grouped a set of lines into a stanza. In analyzing each interview extract. as the information embraced within a single line of speech is very often too small and limited to capture all that a speaker wants to say. Therefore. 1981). English Language Ideologies Gramsci. I spent three months (July to September 2008) at English corners and Olympic English classes when Beijing was preparing for and hosting the Olympic Games and talked to the English learners there. I see English language ideologies as sets of ideas. event. Scollon and Scollon. 1996. each specific theme which arises in the interview is foregrounded to facilitate thematic and content analysis. that either support or critically question the spread of English as a global language. p. perspective or theme. 1971. Burr. whenever there are more than two topics or issues addressed in one extract. 23) which routinely manipulates social life. Each line is supposed to carry a piece of new and salient information and is numbered separately. To choose interview extracts. then categorized them according to their recurring themes. 1986. and Bourdieu used concepts such as hegemony (Gramsci. and shifting meanings arising from the interviews and group discussions. The letters ‘a’ and ‘b’ after some line numbers indicate that they contain the same information and belong to the same line. a stanza is a set of lines devoted to a single topic. Hymes. image.English language ideologies (ELI) in Olympic Beijing 77 view on the above questions. economic or political perspective and demonstrate a critical and political awareness of the effects of the global spread of English. recognizing ideology as common sense or a form of ‘invisible’ power (Bourdieu. 1988). In this way. However. In other words. 2006. I then conducted in-depth group discussions and interviews with four learners who were interested in sharing their stories and opinions and helping me with my research. 1995). misrecognition (Bourdieu. 2004) to elaborate upon certain ideologies and especially language ideologies. 1971. There is often a pause. The sets of ideas usually present views of the social world from a particular historical. I then selected extracts from different categories based on my research questions and adopted thematic and content analysis (Braun and Clarke. slight hesitation. 1991. Althusser. 2. 1991. 1991) and ideological state apparatus (Althusser. I identified thematic patterns.

there are ideologies critical of the global spread of English. p. On the other hand. They define linguicide as “the extermination of languages. English language ideologies represent perspectives which have become accepted modes of knowledge and thought by a particular group to such an extent that they have lost much of their ideological appearance by having become naturalized. where people regard English as a window to the world and a tool that empowers them. 16) and “ideologies. p. arguing that it is a language of imperialism and of particular class interests. 1998) to express her view towards the inequitable allocation of language rights. 2002). p. MacNeil and Cran. She argues that it represents a sort of “linguistic racism” (1988. 1998. One of the earliest discussions of this is by Cooke (1988) who has described English as a ‘Trojan horse’. or simply common sense. This type of ideology is categorized as colonial-celebration. neutral and beneficial. an analogous concept to (physical) genocide” (1995. It claims that we should neither engage in ideological nor political discussions of language and that we should make freedom of choice our central mode of understanding. such as educational qualifications and higher education. three subcategories of ideas are fur- . 83) and “linguicism” is used by Skutnabb-Kangas (1988. 83). These views usually trumpet the benefits of English over other languages. This view is quite often voiced from what Kachru defines (2006) the Outer and Expanding Circles. as long as it can coexist in a complementary relationship with other languages. 1977) that is easily convertible to other forms of capital.78 Lin Pan global spread of English. Laissez-faire liberalism suggests that everyone should be free to do what they like with English. suggesting that English has both intrinsic (the nature of the language) and extrinsic (the functions of the language) qualities superior to other languages (McCrum. English is viewed as a linguistic capital (Bourdieu and Passeron. Based on this major concern. With regard to English language ideologies. Phillipson and Skutnabb-Kangas have further developed this idea by introducing two concepts: linguicide and linguicism. Pennycook (2000) uses the term “laissez-faire liberalism” to summarize this general stance. 13. effectuate and reproduce an unequal division of power and resources (both material and immaterial) between groups on the basis of the language they speak” (1995. As the world’s foremost auxiliary language by now. after having been previously oppressed by western imperialism and hegemony. p. Another set of ideas which is believed to form the dominant framework in TESOL is that the spread of English is natural. to use English in beneficial ways and to use other languages for other purposes. Second is instrumentalism that regards English language as a gatekeeper to the modernization of a state and the acquisition of social and economic prestige for individuals. structures and practices are used to legitimate. first there are views which see the spread of English as inherently good for the whole world.

2008. attainment of mutual understanding and career development. Tsuda (1994) and Phillipson and Skutnabb-Kangas (1996) insist that a linguistic human rights perspective should form the cornerstone of an ecology of a language paradigm whereby it is proposed that the “right to identify with. The Data As part of my research. self-fulfilment. as it supports a global system of world trade which advantages the centre (rich and powerful) countries and disadvantages the peripheries (poorer countries). facilitation of communication. I was first interested in finding out why both retired citizens and professionals still working devote their spare time to learning English voluntarily and what English means to them. From the language ecology point of view.English language ideologies (ELI) in Olympic Beijing 79 ther illustrated: language ecology. My research findings showed that my respondents endowed English and the learning of English with multiple values and benefits. language. In this spirit. p. to maintain and to fully develop one’s mother tongue(s)” should be acknowledged as “a self-evident. Although they all hold water from their own particular angles. The paper also posits that quite often different layers of ideologies are intertwined simultaneously and the ideologies may evolve and become transformed through time in different localities. In addition. culture and their environment. 3. relating English and English learning to the improvement of the quality of their lives. 1998. in the following sections I will investigate the language ideologies and implications present when China was preparing for and hosting the Olympic Games. the problem with the spread of English is a complex disruption of the ecology of languages. The above review examines the varied views of the spread of English exhibited in different societies around the world and puts them into different ideological categories. . fundamental individual linguistic human right” (Skutnabb-Kangas. The extracts from interviews and group discussions reproduced below are what I was told when I engaged my informants in conversations about their perception of the multiple values embedded in learning English. neither is sufficient to elucidate the complexity of ideological ramifications of the spread of English in a particular locality. This paper takes the stance that the divergent English language ideologies are a result of the different perspectives taken which could be attributed to the unique social contexts and historical experiences of a particular locality. 1992) argues that English penetrates or invades local spaces and disturbs the ecological balance that exists between people. linguistic imperialism and language rights. 20). The view of linguistic imperialism (Phillipson.

English is everywhere. Now. to improve the quality of life? Ma: Yeah. three years after the successful bid for the 2008 Olympics. Wu. But for you young people. The interview questions centred on why Chinese people. both open to everyone and with ‘learning English for the Olympics’ as a goal). Researcher: Can we improve the quality of our lives by learning English? Ma: Actually. Extract 1: 1a 1b 2 3 4 5 6 7a 7b 8a 8b 9 Stanza 1: English is for pastime and job hunting Researcher: I want to find out why we Chinese put so much effort into learning English. This English corner was set up in 2004. to understand and learn from the outside world and a way to keep up with the present times. yeah. I feel many old people want to improve their quality of life. in his late 40s and a woman. you can learn from their (foreign countries’) strong points/strengths to 10 11 12 13 14a 14b 15a 15b . it is to enrich their spare time. especially retired people. so if we do not learn English.80 Lin Pan “English improves my life quality of life and keeps me up to date. even in (Chinese) songs. Both of them had been attending this English corner for one year and three years respectively. Chaoyang library has been organizing whole-day English teaching and practice programmes every Saturday (the Olympic English class on Saturday morning and the English corner on Saturday afternoon. Since then. want to learn English. yeah Researcher: Why is it so? Is it really useful to people? Ma: I feel many people treat it as a pastime. I am interested in this question and at the same time confused by it. Stanza 2: Learning English to understand the world Researcher:(surprised) Wow. I guess it is for job hunting. Learning English was positively labelled by the two interviewees as a means to improve their quality of life.” Extract 1 is part of a discussion with two retired individuals at the English corner at Chaoyang Library. The two major interviewees involved were a man. in her 70s. especially when they are old. that is what I think. The discussion took place on a Saturday afternoon when a number of people were practising their oral English. I feel we cannot understand the outside world. employment and so on. Don’t you think we are kind of crazy about the language? Ma: Yeah. Here. Ma. Through learning English.

ways of life. Ma: In the 50s or 60s. Wu: I am like a blind man. He portrays English learning in a positive way since the status of English is associated with the improvement of his quality of life. I feel if we understand English.English language ideologies (ELI) in Olympic Beijing 15c 16 overcome our own weaknesses. posting the word ‘rice’ on the rice jar. you were illiterate. Just now we said English is to improve our quality of life. In stanza 1. Ma identifies the difference in attitudes towards English between the young people and the senior ones. in China. true. Stanza 3: using English to promote Chinese culture Researcher: Well. this newly available language choice becomes for him a key to a new. now you are illiterate if you do not know English. Stanza 4: Learning English to understand the world (a senior lady joined the group) Researcher (turning to the senior lady): So can you tell me why you want to learn English? What’s the use of English in your life and in your work? Wu: Now. we are like illiterates. Like illiterates who come to the city (if we don’t understand English). Such an enthusiastic attitude is in sharp contrast to the preceding eras when learning English was frequently labelled with negative connotations and access to English was often denied by the State (see section 4 for details). Our traditions can also be promoted by using English. now it is – Wu: When the country had just been liberated. It seems. we are opening up to the world on the street. such as foreign culture. with globalization and accompanying social changes taking place in China. There are many aspects in foreign countries that you can learn from. Others: Yes. say ‘flour’ on the flour jar. our life quality of life will be different. many words are in English. of course. we are now using the same method in learning English. do you think we also have some good aspects that they can learn from? Ma: Yes. You should use English to communicate with them. (nodding and agreeing). they are all different (from ours). 81 17a 17b 18 19 20 21 22a 22b 23 24a 24b 25 26 27 28a 28b 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 The above extract is subdivided into 4 stanzas according to its themes. in Beijing. “enriched” . we learnt Chinese characters by posting the word. if you did not know Chinese characters. You know. you get to know something different.

and indicates that he feels English is a tool helping him link the two. Phillipson and Skutnabb-Kangas. even in (Chinese) songs. stanza 2. In addition. 1995). so if we do not learn English. therefore. In a similar way. De Swaan. he takes a relatively neutral or even passive stance with his somehow apologetic confession ‘I feel we cannot understand the outside world’. instead of raising protests against what some have called a cultural or ecological threat (Mühlhäusler.82 Lin Pan life. 2001). In line 15. the female interviewee Wu also admits the influence of English in China and says that now China is opening up to the world. Through their self-depiction of becoming ‘illiterates’ and ‘a blind man’. 2006. his words reveal that the cultural influence of English. He dichotomizes the world into “China and the outside world”. 1996. Also worth noticing is the perspective Ma adopts. She then compares herself and her group of learners to ‘illiterates’ and ‘a blind man’.” The interviewee first points out that English facilitates communication with the world and learning English helps towards a mutual understanding between people and countries. Similar to Ma’s comments. Here again. this instrumental view is voiced again in line 17 of stanza 3. an empowering addition to his linguistic repertoire and indispensable for accessing all the indexicalities of the language. they take on an implicitly subordinate role by exalting the significance of English over that of Chinese. by his comment: “our . and confesses that they use the same method and put in the same amount of effort to learn English as they learnt Chinese when they were young. is not an individualistic free choice but an act aligned with the dynamics within the broader social discourse. in stanza 4 (line 24–37). the speaker is attracted to the power of English and is oriented towards it (Calvet. which is fast making inroads into Chinese society. research respondents knowingly anchor their individualistic choices within the macro. Ma further comments on the importance of English: “Now. Skutnabb-Kangas. Ma’s utterance “through learning English. 2000. I would argue that his gracious embrace of English language. it is clear that the power of the language is often determined by its advantages of communication or practical values. which has determined English learning as an imperative both necessary and inevitable. and English words are seen everywhere on the streets. Confronted with the cultural influence of English. Later in stanza 2. Skutnabb-Kangas and Phillipson. has become a driving force for him and possibly other older people to opt for English courses. Here. 1996. English is everywhere. This point of view can be better understood in relation to globalization and China’s efforts towards internationalization as indicated by ‘China is opening up to the world’. you can learn from their strong points to overcome our own weaknesses” reveals that English is regarded as an instrument for self-improvement. all-encompassing context of globalization. I feel we cannot understand the outside world.

“I like English and it will be beneficial for my job and career. like CCTV9 news anchors – look at their bearing. I really want to have such a skill. it could offer me the best opportunities. Extract 2: Researcher: You have continued learning English. I also feel that you’ll have a special skill which nobody has except you. Also. especially your spoken English I have no problem with reading or writing English. The instrumental nature of his words echo . I discontinued so my English is no longer fluent now.” Extract 2 is from an interview with Ni. You know. for English a century ago) and ‘using foreign things to serve China’ ( advocated by Mao Zedong. I envy them very much. if you have enough vocabulary. a slogan used “learning from the barbarians to check them” ( . She had already graduated from university but she was very enthusiastic about English learning and kept attending part time English courses and English corners.. She works for a well-known architectural design company in Beijing. I was very curious about the reasons behind her enthusiasm and wanted to explore what learning English meant for her as a young and enterprising professional. Studying English in itself can bring many advantages. — Stanza 2 English brings benefits to my career — But I sometimes think that if my English was good. but if I could speak good English. once you know the language. a young professional. the nature of instrumental ideologies still remains unchanged in essence (this point will be further addressed in section 4). you will have better comprehension and better ability for expressing yourself. their ease. You can make a lot of friends. it is convenient for communicating. and have a good command of it.English language ideologies (ELI) in Olympic Beijing 83 traditions should also be promoted by using English” and “you should use English to communicate with them”. No matter whoever you are with. and it opens a lot of windows for you. then it would be my strength. actually. It seems that in the long evolution of the ideological history of English in China. if your English. but I feel I stopped. R. 1 2 3a 3b 4a 4b 5a 5b 6a 6b 7a 7b 8 9 10a 10b 11a 11b 11c . C. Is this for your career or – Stanza 1: the significance of English learning Ni: Out of interest. in the 1960s). former Chairman of P. I feel that if I could speak as fluently.

. . very much like a state-owned enterprise. so every time they were doing something. But suppose my English is good. they speak English and I speak English. it makes no difference whether we make friends with you or with others. . if we are all the same. At the time I was very young. I will be appreciated by my company. If you have invested so much already and you have spent so much time. and they have very good relations with our general manager. But I feel I haven’t shown myself . The boss would say “ emm. Now I am looking after an American design company. The general manager won’t know – Well. we can communicate smoothly – isn’t that beneficial to me?! — Stanza 3: English helps me to make friends Ni: Actually my English was good When I went with you to the class in 2002. and I felt very happy with them. . you are special” and he will notice you. Then I could speak good English. Emm. “Ni. I don’t need a translator. Besides. I feel it is a skill. 19a 19b 20a 20b 20c 20d 20e 20f 21a 21b 21c 21d 22 23a 23b 23c 24a 24b 25 26a . they might have felt I was a new-comer and they might have felt I was very special. Researcher: you mean promotion?! Ni: Yes.84 11d 12a 12b 13 14 15a 15b 16a 16b 17a 17b 17c 17d 18a 18b 18c 18d Lin Pan then I . I felt that my spoken English was good at the time I could speak with foreigners. It brings a lot of opportunities and a lot of friends. they would say. He does not understand you. yes. an assistant to an American architect. . Everytime they come. come here. but he will not know that you have good English. My colleagues in the design company were all very kind to me. Our company is a hierarchical one – one layer on top of another. . I will have a special skill. I was an architect’s assistant.” they would ask me to join them. — Stanza 4 English is a passport I feel people should be special. Otherwise. I go to receive them. When they come. it is like having a passport. because when you have such special qualities. he will know that I am the project manager for design. it’s very conservative.

I started to wonder about the influence of English on Chinese language and culture. Bourdieu sees symbolic capital as a crucial source of power. I’m not sure where this will take me but I hope I can gradually improve. ‘ease’. Ni’s generous admiration of English TV news anchors in stanza 1. In short. together with such valuable intangibles as elegance and gracefulness. ‘be appreciated’. ‘better ability’. the value of which is derived from its scarcity. ‘a skill’. ‘self-attainment’and ‘elevate yourself ’in stanza 4. The above two extracts have illustrated the significance of English learning from the perspectives of retired citizens and a young professional. friends. ‘strength’ in stanza 1. ‘special’ in stanza 3 and ‘special’. Accordingly. the possession of good English communication competence will certainly lead to improvement of both her social and economic positions. The acquisition of symbolic capital not only results in possession of the capital itself. ‘it is convenient for your communication’. And for you. The way she portrays the benefits of English naturally link to Bourdieu’s concept (1992) of symbolic capital. 85 In the above extract. Ni regards English competence as a ‘special skill’. That’s what I think. ‘best opportunity’.English language ideologies (ELI) in Olympic Beijing 26b 26c 27 28a 28b then you should continue doing it. ‘special’ and ‘good’ in stanza 2. She expresses her unconditional longing for a good command of English which is evident by her repeated use of positive adjectives and phrases throughout the four stanzas. for Ni. These include ‘it opens a lot of windows’. colleagues’ recognition. As previously stated. recognition and authority. the particular use of the word ‘special’ is very prominent and is repeated five times in all four stanzas. In the same way. reflecting on how it could be of value for her career and for enhancing her social network. that is. but also in the accumulation of prestige. is it going to be positive or negative? This research question surfaced as I recalled the 1980s when China put into effect the Reform and Opening-up policy. ‘special gift’. difficult to obtain otherwise. ‘a passport’. when English was still regarded as a . it is an accomplishment. Given the fact that my research respondents associate multiple benefits with English and English learning for both themselves and the country as a whole. Ni first illustrates the importance that English holds for her. how much faith do they have that learning English will affect Chinese language and culture? And if there is an influence.a symbolic capital the acquisition of which would bring her not only the skill itself but also the derivatives such as job promotion. her frequent use of positive words and phrases in addition to the constant repetition of ‘the word special’ points to her earnest yearning for a good command of English. ‘better comprehension’.

And when I enquired in my interviews whether English is perceived as a threat to Chinese language and culture. Stanza 2: It is impossible for English to become a threat Ma: This issue was once discussed in a debating contest. In most cases. I wanted to explore whether or how much the “linguicide” and “linguicism” ideologies (Phillipson and SkutnabbKangas. You don’t know it so you should learn it. 1995. my interviewees’ well-defined confidence with regard to Chinese language and culture was clearly unmistakable. “Your root is Chinese. improve together. so it is impossible (for English to become a threat). 3a 3b 4 5a 5b 5c 6a 6b 6c 7a 7b 8a 8b 9a 9b 10a 10b 11a 11b . A teacher said we Chinese have five thousand years of civilization. 1984. Your root is Chinese. we should learn together. Will this be a threat to our Chinese language? Wu: If they are advanced. These places wanted to reduce the Chinese elements for many years but failed. Sometimes. 1983). while there may be 16 meanings for one English word. Our five thousand years of civilization are respected by foreigners. Stanza 3: English and Chinese are complementary Wu: Also.” Extract 3: 1 2 Stanza 1: English is simpler and advanced Ma: There are many road signs. Wu: For example. then it depends on your Chinese language skills. Ma: Also I feel studying English is not a case that one diminishes the other. If you’ve reached a certain level and need to translate them into Chinese. most respondents gave negative answers. English is not as rich as Chinese. Researcher: Many road signs are in English.86 Lin Pan source of “spiritual pollution” (‘jingshen wuran’ in Pinyin or ) and the social-cultural values which English represented were avoided to a great extent in learning and teaching (An. many are in English. The problem is that we are too old. Hong Kong and Taiwan.Yue. not your English skills. There may be more than 40 meanings for a similar word in Chinese. English is simpler than Chinese. Skutnabb-Kangas. 1988. but rather that they are complementary. The following group discussion with Ma and Wu provides such an example. 1998) hold true for the English learners in the Olympic classes. and Chinese can complement English.

for Wu. my respondents tend to think about English in a more constructive way. 51). MacNeil and Cran. the correlation between national language and national identity is well depicted. Wu also supports Ma’s opinion by quoting the situation in Hong Kong and Taiwan as further examples. In the first stanza. she makes the point that there is no reason for the Chinese to despise or abandon their own culture. Thus. 87 Extract 3 is divided into three themes in three stanzas. generate positive discourse on English and learning English? What are their objectives for learning English. the roots of a person or a nation cannot be changed (line 6c) and she reinforces her argument on the solidity of Chinese roots by commenting that ‘our five thousand years of civilization is respected by foreigners’. the Chinese “national language is – the primordial foundation of national culture and the matrice of the national mind” (Hobsbawm. Why did my respondents. By presenting foreigners’ respect towards Chinese culture as a counterargument. not as concise as English. 1990. with regard to the influence of English on Chinese culture.English language ideologies (ELI) in Olympic Beijing 12 13 14 But Chinese is not as simple as English. The words ‘simpler’ and ‘advanced’ demonstrate an appreciative attitude towards English language as the celebrators (McCrum. First. p. and her prioritizing the mother tongue over English in achieving good translation fits well with her argument that ‘your root is Chinese’ and this will not change. 2002) view the spread of English to be inherently good. These points are further elaborated and strengthened in stanza 3. According to her. But not a threat to each other. This made me reflect on the role of Olympic English classes. Then in stanza 2. The ideology reflected is that though English is important. translation skills signify a person’s language competence. as languages could complement each other. The above extract elucidates the point that instead of regarding English as a threat to Chinese language and culture. in that it both has intrinsic advantages in terms of the nature of the language (suggested by the word ‘simpler’) and extrinsic benefits in terms of functions (by ‘advanced things’) that are superior to other languages. outside the mainstream education system and not compulsory? And how do they see the significance of English to Chinese society? The extract that . Ma declares that English could never become a threat as ‘the Chinese language and culture have five thousand years of civilization’. So they are complementary. Ma and Wu note their positive opinion about English language by saying that ‘English is simpler than Chinese’ in line 2 and English is seen as an ‘advanced thing’ in line 3a. Ma in lines 10a and 10b also dismisses the idea that English could be a threat to Chinese and makes it clear that studying another language does not necessarily lead to the decline of the mother tongue. more often than not.

Researcher: Actually it is [ 2a 2b 3a 3b 4a 4b 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12a 12b 12c 12d 13 14 15 . Zhao: Yes. so it was like that in the beginning. when we first started training. foreigners come to China and become very interested in Chinese things but if there is no one to explain these things to them. “The Olympics as a goal was not enough. Schools might need the experience of such people. Our original class did not want to stop learning English after the Olympics. for example. in which she explains to me the objectives of the training in the Olympic class and voices her opinions about the significance of English in Chinese society in the long run. exhibition centres. etc. we did not have such a long-term goal. we thought that the environment for learning English wasn’t there. The Olympics served as an opportunity to implement these training classes. Researcher: Then how about after the Olympics? Zhao: At the very beginning. aimed at the Olympics. Researcher: Oh. one of the advocates of the English Speaking Association of Chaoyang District. schools. Stanza 2: Studying English to go beyond the Olympics Zhao: So we needed to revise our aim. For example. you discovered a long-term goal. in museums. they perhaps need people with such aspirations.88 Lin Pan follows is selected from the interview with Zhao. the goal grows bigger and bigger. What could we do? We should train volunteers. Therefore it is only by talking to them that these things will become clear. But after the training got started. When we created the environment for learning. so we wanted to create such an environment. there are many who will not understand them. we felt that the Olympics as a goal was not enough. we should meet our social need for volunteers. hospitals. Now as the training goes on. But when we were working towards this goal. we needed to have an important objective.” Extract 4: 1 Stanza 1: Studying English for the Olympics Zhao: In fact the objectives of our classes are very clear: they are held for the Olympics. – (We) did not want to stop learning English after the Olympics. Museums and exhibition centres need translators. So that is our next training target.

” Worth noticing is the convergence of thoughts between Chen Lin. an official representative. was officially voiced by Chen Lin. 5 million inhabitants in Beijing. Sri Lanka) . their initial idea to open them was to ‘create an English environment’. Olympic English classes sprouted up across Beijing to ensure that by 2008. This view of ‘English beyond the 2008 Olympics’ as a long term goal. a platform to enable us to cast our vision beyond this. that is. a civilian representative.g. that ‘the Olympic English mania’ has made Beijingers more open-minded. This means that the Olympic English classes were originally conceptualized as only a bridge to create an environment for English learning as their idea of ‘learning and practising English’ came before the goal of ‘learning for the Olympics’. in that both attribute the learning of English to be of instrumental value for having international communication and possibly going international. 35% of Beijing regular inhabitants. along with several other retired citizens. a renowned professor of ELT in China and an adviser for the office of the Beijing Speaks Foreign Languages Programme (BSFLP). the Beijingers no longer remain defensive about their own language but they get to know another language and culture and communicate with another culture with good intentions. In order to sustain their English learning environment. advocated the learning of English after the successful bid for the Olympics. As revealed in stanza 1 of the above conversation with Zhao. such as Africa (e. India. all of the classes were opened for the Olympics. He explained. In addition. according to the office of the Beijing Speaks Foreign Languages Programme (BSFLP). ‘We learnt English for 2008 but we should not stop at 2008. Tanzania). Zhao says that ‘they realized that the Olympics could only be a short term goal and they don’t want to stop learning English after the Olympics’.4 He also said that ‘I feel a greater significance of learning English is that it changes the way people think. We should “go beyond 2008”. In other words.English language ideologies (ELI) in Olympic Beijing 16 Zhao: [Step by step Researcher: Therefore we can say that the Olympics is an opportunity.g. Chen’s labelling of the significance of learning English goes explicitly against the ideologies reflected in some other parts of the world. Moreover. in stanza 2. 89 Zhao. they re-targeted other social needs. the Vice-Chair of the Chaoyang English Speaking Association. Zambia. in a similar manner. some parts of Asia (e. as Zhao explains in line 1. With the help of their neighbourhood committees. they set up an English speaking association in Chaoyang District and opened more than 20 Olympic English classes affiliated to it. as Beijing will be more open and active in international communication after the Olympics’. In fact. and Zhao. are prepared to help foreigners when Beijing hosts the Olympic Games. clarifies that although ‘all of the classes were for the Olympics’.

not that one diminishes the other. and that English has both intrinsic (the nature of the language) and extrinsic (the functions of the language) qualities superior to other languages (McCrum. Furthermore. there is a wide array of ‘instrumental views’. Additionally. which sees the spread of English as natural. the view of laissez-faire liberalism. the data shows that some impact of English in China is clearly felt by people. 2002). easier and better communication with the world and more promising career prospects – a “linguistic capital” to use Bourdieu’s term (1977). that either support or critically question the spread of English as a global language. where voices proliferate to protect their national language against the invasion of English. English language ideologies are sets of ideas. 1988). MacNeil and Cran. which I will attempt in the following section. but rather that they are complementary’. and to minimize the cultural and ideological influence that English will exert on people’s minds. neutral and beneficial. 1990) and/or some European countries (e. Multi-layered ideologies and their contextual implications As stated earlier in section 2. In addition. it is not uncommon to find a celebrative attitude among respondents/interviewees. exemplified by remarks such as ‘your root is Chinese’. and English words are everywhere on the streets –’.90 Lin Pan (Kachru. even in (Chinese) songs –’ and ‘China is opening up to the world. as in ‘now. ‘it is impossible (for English to become a threat)’. who tend to view the spread of English as inherently good for the whole world. many interviewees showed great confidence in the integrity and prosperity of Chinese language and culture. However. The positive significance attributed to learning English from both official and civilian levels and the overlapping tone between the civilian and the official discourses are worthy of further examination. exemplified by words such as ‘English improves the quality of my life and keeps me up to date’. In parallel. sometimes taking the form of discourse. and they see ‘studying English. I have explored the different layers of English language ideologies in contemporary China when the Olympic Games were due to take place in Beijing. First. In contrast to the movement of remedying the wrongs of language hege- . is also somewhat ubiquitous among my interviewees. The matrix of opinions expressed about learning English fit into several ideological categories as we distinguished earlier in this paper. by examining the discourses of the language learners. young professionals see English as a passport to their job and career and English language competence is regarded as a gatekeeper towards a better quality of life. France) (Flaitz.g. 4. In the above section. English is everywhere.

and to be eligible for promotion to higher professional ranks. At the national level. These layers of meaning of English learning indisputably relate themselves to the impact of globalization and China’s determined drive for internationalization in recent decades. It could be argued that the English language ideologies discussed and summarized in the previous analysis echo Kachru’s (2006) notion of “the Outer and Expanding Circles of English speaking and learning countries”. a context-specific discussion and interpretation seems to be in order. Day. the social. social and economic prestige. to advocate the right of all people to speak the language of their choice. and to strengthen ‘language rights’ in international law as proposed by some scholars (Cooke. cultural and historical factors which inform China or other countries vary and are often distinctively unique. In other words. Therefore. they are cultural and political systems of ideas about social and linguistic relationships (Gal and Irvine. That is. This is because. 1995. proficiency in English is seen as a key to a host of opportunities: to enter and graduate from university. English proficiency is associated with superior national. people’s ideologies of English in China may be attributed to its unique social context and historical experiences. Wallerstein. 1989). Consequently. to fight ‘language imperialism’ abroad and ‘linguicism’ at home. Following this line of thinking. as made clear earlier. celebratory or laissez-faire. English is perceived as a necessary means for helping the nation open up further. 1995). I would counter-argue that despite apparent similarities.English language ideologies (ELI) in Olympic Beijing 91 mony. Wallerstein. I will relate the English language ideologies I summarized above to China’s specific social-historical background and will locate the ‘right time and moment’ for the ideologies of language to emerge while explaining their implications. the ways in which languages are used and thought about by a particular person are never just about languages but also about community and society (Woolard. 1985. language ideologies are contextualised sets of beliefs about languages. which can be categorized as either instrumental. socio-historical and socio-political factors play a crucial role in the emergence of dominant language ideologies. the confidence of my research respondents is exhibited by their remarks on the impossibility of English becoming a threat when faced with a civilization of 5. 2001. 2004). Irvine. 1988. at the end of the paper. a valuable resource for realising its modernisation programme. Firstly. As non-linguistic socio-economic.000 years and ‘the roots of a person or a nation will not be changed’. However. 2000. to go abroad for further education. 2006. as people’s discourse is a way to show how they perceive . 2004) and the world as a whole (Calvet. my informants expressed open-minded attitudes toward learning English. and an important cornerstone of international competition. Skutnabb-Kangas and Phillipson. to secure desirable jobs in public and private sectors. in general. On a personal level. De Swaan.

2008). in addition to China’s efforts in recent decades at internationalization. Secondly. a close examination of the history of China’s educational interactions with foreign countries in general (Lam. when the state was concerned that fundamental Chinese values and beliefs were being jeopardised by the influx of foreign ones. this response appears to be in conflict with the well-founded view of ‘linguicide’ and ‘linguicism’. the responses are. 2005. Therefore. 2005). The value package of English places itself in sharp contrast to the previous eras when English was constantly associated with “barbarism”. Hence. 2003. 2010). offers a way . and foreign-language teaching in particular (Jin and Cortazzi. English gained momentum in China from the 1970s and since then has enjoyed a high level of prestige into the 21st century. Pan. “imperialism and colonialism” in the late 19th century and early 20th century. As previously stated. but it is also seen at a more personal and individualistic level as symbolic capital to attain brighter career prospects and a better life style. to use English for the purposes of state building. more often than not. while maintaining cultural integrity. The positive discourse about English made by my research respondents to a great extent bespeaks the swift socio-economic changes China has gone through. “China has had a strategy to mitigate undesirable cultural transfer in place since the mid-nineteenth century: a policy of controlled and selective appropriation. the adaptive learning attitude and the desire to improve the Chinese economy and promote Chinese culture via English. Pan. and “a language of our enemy” when the People’s Republic of China had just been founded in the 1950s and 1960s (Adamson. 231). which is used to explain inter-lingual relationships in many parts of the world. centred upon confidence towards the integrity of Chinese language and culture. the cultural and ideological influence of English has always been reduced to a minimum. The state’s full embrace of English in various sectors has also generated ideological changes in people as they become increasingly convinced of the indispensability of English to China’s development.92 Lin Pan globalization and their discourse itself becomes a facet of globalization (McKay and Bokhorst-Heng. A period of selective exposure was always followed by a swing back to the prohibition of foreign values and beliefs or the substitution of foreign culture with Chinese culture. 2007) reveal constant swings between selective introduction and prohibition of foreign culture. 2004. learning English is not only encouraged by the State as a means of accelerating modernization and internationalization. p. All the above serves as an explanation for the heavy emphasis placed on the benefits English brings in people’s discourse. with regard to the impact of English on Chinese language and culture. Lam.” This ‘selective appropriation’ tradition. As summarized by Adamson (2002. Nevertheless. mostly arising out of China’s need for modernization and economic development.

p. The same applies to the way the State has been propagating the use of English in Chinese society in recent decades. 23). it becomes hegemonic power. p. that is. To interpret the concept of power in Gramsci’s terms (1971). Such instances of overlapping may be better understood within the power and cultural power framework of China today. For Bourdieu. We thus see that cultural power is functioning in its least overt physical form. Last but not the least. it is a form of hegemony exercised by the ruling class to make their ideas the most natural and dominant ones for that society and develop and maintain consent. p. individuals. Therefore. 1971. Nevertheless. but routinely. 23) elaboration of “symbolic power” and “misrecognition” and Gramsci’s (1971. Hence. as the functional usefulness of English to the nation as a whole is placed at the forefront. in the routine flow of day-to-day life and day-to-day discourse. as products of power. By generating consent (‘legitimacy’) among the population. With the nation’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the successful bid for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in 2001. no matter whether young or old. the State identifies the mother tongue languages as being the languages of cultural identity and ethnic cohesion. 377. 13). overshadowing its less instrumental implications. Blommaert’s idea can be traced to Bourdieu’s (1991. In addition. the term “symbolic power” refers not so much to a specific type of power. the popularity of English has reached new heights amongst government policy makers. the more legitimacy the dominant groups have. optimistic and are willing to adapt when learning English. p. p.English language ideologies (ELI) in Olympic Beijing 93 to interpret why my informants. are confident. the less coercion the ruling class need to apply. and English as the language of commerce. 2008. when the cultural power exercised by the ruling class is no longer perceived as power. cultural power is not exercised coercively. as already noted. he points out that symbolic power is “invisible” power which is “misrecognized” as such and thereby “recognized” as legitimate (Bourdieu. Mayr. perceive it as legitimate and accept the language as a thing that is “for their own good” (Blommaert. People consent to particular formations of power because the dominant cultural groups generating the discourse represent them as “natural” and “legitimate” (Gramsci. 377) concepts of “consent” and “hegemony”. 1991. According to Blommaert (2008). . global connectedness and modernization. rather to an aspect of most forms of power as they are routinely deployed in social life. both civilian and official discourses overlap in that the significance of English learning is ‘going beyond the Olympics’ and helping to equip society for a more modernized China. but has become the normal state of things and has begun to organise people’s lives in a way that is no longer perceived as oppressive. irrational or questionable. 2008). educationalists and the Chinese public.

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At the same time. Keywords: language education. but also represents a serious threat to local languages and. local scholarship 1. along with the push for the relevant national language. English as a medium of instruction. multilingualism. perhaps most importantly. I shall focus on two levels. to children’s sense of identity. is not only pedagogically ill-advised for the great majority of primary school children in the region. I shall conclude with recommendations designed to encourage multilingualism in local languages at the primary level and the implementation of bilingual policies at the tertiary level.English as a medium of instruction in Asian education (from primary to tertiary): Implications for local languages and local scholarship ANDY KIRKPATRICK Abstract This article will review and critique the general trends towards the significant increase in the teaching of English and the use of English as a medium of instruction in education throughout East and Southeast Asia. while it may reach an international audience. First I shall discuss the situation as regards the role of English in primary schools and then consider its role in tertiary education. Introduction This article will review and critique the general trends towards the significant increase in the teaching of English and the use of English as a medium of instruction in education throughout East and Southeast Asia. may be essentially reframed through being translated into English. . I shall argue that the trend towards the ever earlier introduction of English into the primary curriculum. ‘indigenous’ knowledge disseminated through English. The increasing trend towards English–medium programmes at the tertiary level also threatens local languages and the status and value of knowledge and scholarship written and disseminated in languages other than English.

three (Cambodia. Laos and Vietnam) were part of the French colonial enterprise. in alphabetical order. ‘internationalization’ can often mean ‘Englishization’. the situation in the ten countries which make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). often from primary 1. but even there parental demand means that primary schools are required to offer English. for example. In Singapore schools. This is currently the case in Malaysia and the Philippines. and. English in Primary Schools I shall use. In the next section. at the postgraduate level. Thailand and Vietnam. teach English from primary 1. in effect. Of these countries. although both countries have recently announced changes in this regard. especially. as I shall argue below. English has now become a core course in primary schools. Laos. Indonesia is an exception. especially those in urban areas. Indonesia was a Dutch colony and only Thailand escaped colonisation. Cambodia. the number of programmes offered through English is increasing across Asia. English is the medium of instruction for all subjects. the Philippines. English is a compulsory subject in primary school and is gradually being introduced earlier and earlier into the curriculum. 2. where maths and science are taught through English from primary 1. where English remains an optional subject at primary level. Brunei primary schools will teach maths and science through English from 2011. I shall then consider the role of English as a medium of instruction at the tertiary level and conclude with recommendations designed to help maintain multilingualism at both the primary and tertiary levels. known as SBIs from their Indonesian acronym sekolah bertaraf internasional. For example. Indonesia.100 Andy Kirkpatrick In almost all countries of Asia. the situation with regard to language education and the role(s) of English in primary schools and the consequences of this will be considered. Myanmar. but not exclusively. Singapore. other than foreign languages (Kirkpatrick 2010). which will be discussed below. These are. These SBIs use English as a medium of instruction for maths and science. five (Brunei. Throughout the rest of Asia. Brunei. Myanmar. These varied colonial histories have had an effect upon . but many schools. The Philippines and Singapore) were once colonies of English speaking nations. Indonesia is also currently experimenting with international standard schools. At the tertiary level. in China it is now officially introduced at primary 3. This is partly explained by the desire of universities to internationalize. In some countries it is even a medium of instruction in primary school. as a starting point. Malaysia. theoretically from primary 4 but. Malaysia.

Gonzalez 2007). himself a speaker of two Visayan languages. and thus was not seen to privilege a powerful group. one of whose tasks has been to promote and modernize the national languages (Alisjahbana 1976. the language of the powerful and spoken by 75 million people. making it the sole official working language of the group. the language spoken in and around the capital. Manila. a language which was spoken by only a tiny (3%) minority of the population. Indonesia has probably been more successful than the Philippines. which was signed in February 2009. In this.English as a medium of instruction in Asian education (from primary to tertiary) 101 the role of English in each. Other reasons for the privileging of English are familiar and include the desire of nations to participate in and benefit from internationalization and the knowledge economy (Rappa and Wee 2006). in Indonesia and the Philippines to take just two examples. Some seven hundred languages are spoken in Indonesia (Hadisantosa 2010) and more than one hundred in the Philippines (Galang 2000). nine of the ten countries of ASEAN achieved independence only relatively recently and are thus also each seeking to establish a distinct national identity. Filipino is the national language and “it is now more of an issue of atti- . points out. This is one explanation why countries such as Cambodia and Vietnam have adopted English in place of French as their first foreign language. Both countries are richly multilingual. gives English a privileged status. This may be more a question of attitude than linguistic proficiency. Aklanon and Ilongo. In contrast. Both have national language institutes (the Pusat Pembinaan dan Pengembanan Bahasa in Indonesia and the Komyson sa Wakang Filipino in the Philippines). In addition to seeking to participate in internationalization. This explains why many Filipinos are still not comfortable with the idea of a Tagalog-based language as the national language. For example. the respective governments have expended so many resources into establishing their national languages. Bahasa Indonesia and Filipino. with the former colonies of Great Britain and the United States retaining a strong institutional role for English (with the exception of Myanmar). so here briefly mention that the ASEAN Charter. This explains why. Indeed this was one reason why Javanese. Reasons for the relative success of the Indonesian people’s acceptance of Bahasa Indonesia include the fact that it is based on Malay. The adoption and promotion of a national language is a natural and effective way of doing this. However. I have described the role of English in ASEAN in detail elsewhere (Kirkpatrick 2010). Filipino is based on Tagalog. As the Filipino scholar Tupas. was not chosen to be the national language. many Cebuano speakers – who themselves outnumber Tagalog speakers – prefer to speak English rather than Filipino as a language of national communication. English has replaced French and Dutch as the first ‘foreign’ language in the school systems of the other ex-colonial nations and English is also the first foreign language taught in the Thai school system.

93% 17.91% 2.93 percent in 1980 to 34 percent in 2000) and the drop from 17. This would suggest that many of the 700 or more languages of Indonesia are under increasing threat. 1990. On the other hand.44% 15.57 percent of those who consider themselves speakers of vernacular languages other than the ones listed. 2000 Language Javanese Sundanese Madurese Batak Minangkabau Balinese Buginese Indonesian (BI ) Others 1980 40.97% 2.12% 2.23% 1.42% 1. and the increase in inter-ethnic marriage associated with this.29% 1.71% 2.64% 2. its very success as a national language has had a negative influence upon many local languages.102 Andy Kirkpatrick tudes. We can probably safely assume that the relative increase in first language speakers of BI and decrease of speakers of vernaculars will have been maintained over the most recent decade.08% 15.42% 1. Apart from anything else.11% 17. not inability. The table below (adapted from Montolalu and Suryadinata 2007: 48) shows.48 percent in 1980 to 4.91% 34.26% 4. One measure of the success of the national language is based on the number of speakers. This negative influence is greatly exacerbated by the adoption of English as the first second language taught in the school system.86% 3. Vernacular Language Speakers in 1980.69% 2.04% 17.00% 4.06% 4. Children of ‘mixed’ marriages who find themselves living in urban areas will tend to develop BI as a first language. This increase in first language speakers of BI can be attributed to social and geographical mobility. the shifting percentages of Indonesians reporting that they are first language speakers of particular languages. Table 1.48% 1990 38.11% 2000 34. The success of BI as a national language has done much to establish a sense of pan-Indonesian identity among the population.06% 1. Note that the figures for BI represent those who see themselves as first language speakers.70% 13. over a period of twenty years.26% 11.57% The figures for the seven local languages listed here appear relatively stable.78% 1. the inclusion of English into the primary curriculum is always at the expense of another subject. A local language is the most commonly sacri- . to speak the national language” (2007:32). especially as this is the language of education. What is remarkable is the increase in those who reported that they consider themselves first language speakers of Bahasa Indonesia (from 11.

the scale of the problem in China. One reason. While it is encouraging to see some move away from the more traditional Anglo-based testing tools. such as TOEFL or IELTS in the adoption of the CEFR scales (the plan is to adapt these to the Vietnamese context. the programme remains extremely ambitious. . .English as a medium of instruction in Asian education (from primary to tertiary) 103 ficed subject. Consider. Malay. there is an even more serious shortage of subject-specialist teachers who are expected to teach maths and science through the medium of English. in the long run. (Hung and Duzdik 2010). Vietnam has recently embarked on its ‘National 2020 English Initiatives’ under which all primary school graduates are to achieve a level of English equivalent to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) scales of A1 or A2 and all college graduates should have a working knowledge of English. This is culturally and linguistically pitiful” (2010: 31). At present. If there are insufficient teachers to teach English as a subject in primary schools. schools then drop the local language in order to give more time to the English teaching. The problems associated with this have recently been recognized by both governments. both Malaysia and the Philippines expect primary 1 children to learn maths and science through English. As a result. Reasons for this change include the realization that many children from the lower socio-economic classes and rural areas were failing these subjects and that there were not enough qualified teachers with adequate proficiency in English to teach them. Malaysia has announced a radical change of policy and that maths and science will be taught through the national language. in addition to Singapore. for the recommendation below that the primary school should focus on local languages is that there simply are not enough primary level teachers with adequate English proficiency to be able to teach English. It is impossible to estimate the number of primary schools in China. where English is a compulsory subject from primary 3. For example. with (the) emerging and mushrooming demand for English. children and the younger generation can no longer speak the local language. As Hadisantosa reports in her evaluation of the new SBI schools “. this pattern is replicated in even starker relief throughout Asia. but not the only one. but this has not yet taken place).000 secondary English teachers alone. An indication of the challenge lies in the fact that of the 250 EFL teachers tested in a trial project (and where the test used was the TOEFL) only 28 scored more than 500 (the very minimum required by some Englishmedium universities) and more than 50 scored less than 350 (a level equating to basic literacy only). from 2012. The then Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister is reported in the Star newspaper of July 7 . but the assumption that there are enough qualified and linguistically proficient English teachers to be able to provide quality English language teaching in all of them is unrealistic. for example. Remembering that Indonesia remains the sole nation which does not make English a compulsory subject. It will require the re-training of 62.

96 percent of primary teachers were sufficiently proficient in English’. . . Benson has similarly suggested that “being taught an academic content through the L2 represents a multiple burden for the learner” (2008:2) Many Filipino children are faced with this multiple burden. . . and other subjects through Filipino. it needs to be used to teach subjects like maths and science. ‘there are clear and consistent advantages to using the student’s first language. which is why the policy of using English as a medium of instruction (PPSMI) needs to stay: Mandarin is an international language. Cummins (1981) showed that migrant children to Canada required between 5 and 7 years learning English before they could use it successfully as an academic language. the language of . as I think most readers will agree. Many researchers support this position in arguing that cognitively complex subjects should not be taught through a foreign language until the learner has achieved a certain level of proficiency in the language. because it’s an advantage to the Malays. to obligate the use of English in teaching mathematics’ and that. arguing that. Filipino is. But as reported above. that’s why we are fighting and want PPSMI to be retained. how can you make them study Science and Maths in English? The second quote comes from an opponent to the first speaker.104 Andy Kirkpatrick 2009 saying that ‘Only 19. an ethnic Malay who nevertheless defends the use of English over Malay. implemented a bilingual education policy (BEP). Tagalog. It is worth noting that. Two quotes from the debate over the medium of instruction controversy. at the stage of learning where the student is acquiring the basic understanding of the various mathematical concepts and procedures” (2000:13). in the Canadian context. help illustrate the different points of view. The first comes from a Chinese Malaysian. Because Bahasa is not an international language. But. in effect. science and maths are cognitively demanding subjects and are therefore best taught in the learner’s first language. The argument that. that’s where the Malays are at a disadvantage. Malay (Bahasa) is not an international language. “there seems to be no theoretical or empirical basis. since 1975. recorded in the New Straits Times of 21 March 2009. who remarks: They (the students) can’t even understand English. As Bernardo has eloquently argued in proposing the learning of maths and science through local languages in the Philippines. as English is the language associated with modernization. is common. through which children learn maths and science through English. Some three decades ago.2 percent of secondary teachers and 9. The Philippines has. the children had much more access to English than students in Asian schools. unlike Mandarin and English.

This. their linguistic proficiency and the availability of resources. not unnaturally. This has led to the current government ‘fine-tuning’ the existing secondary school policy which only allowed English medium education in about 25 percent of all secondary schools. 2010) shows that the immediate result of this will be an increase from September 2010 in the number of lower secondary maths and science classes – to the tune of six hundred – being taught through . but. Walker and Dekker 2008). This is because. In China itself. The only place in East and Southeast Asia where it is official policy to use the local language rather than the national language as the medium of instruction in primary education is Hong Kong. whose first language might be Bohol and whose second might be Cebuano. the national language law is clear in prescribing the national language. 2009) – and the new policy is too new for any evaluation of it to be made. although national minorities are allowed to use their respective languages as an MoI in primary schools (Kirkpatrick and Xu 2001). I shall consider the influence on this of the majority of Hong Kong’s universities only offering English medium education in the next section. the government’s new fine tuning policy means that the current Chinese medium schools which can meet certain criteria connected with student and staff quality. by another name. especially at the secondary school level. the mother tongue of the overwhelming majority of the population. This means that a child from the Cebu region. the remainder being Chinese medium. Putonghua. apart form anything else. will be allowed to teach subjects and classes through English. has meant that there is now pressure for Putonghua to become a medium of instruction. However.. Our research (Kan et al. English is also exerting increasing pressure in this regard. the universities’ language policies see parents demanding English medium education. and some schools are currently trialling the teaching of Chinese subjects through Putonghua rather than Cantonese.g. it led to Chinese medium schools being seen by parents as less prestigious than English medium ones. instead of insisting that all schools become multilingual sites. is why the Philippines government has recently announced that the use of the vernacular as a medium of instruction will be allowed from primary 1 to primary 3 in certain circumstances. arrives in primary 1 having to learn in two new languages.English as a medium of instruction in Asian education (from primary to tertiary) 105 Manila. However. This was an unfortunate policy as. Hong Kong can decide on the medium of instruction. the increasing influence of China coupled with an increase in migration from China to Hong Kong. in contrast to the rest of China. along with research that showed the efficacy of mother tongue education (e. This is to be welcomed. as the sole medium of instruction. although most experts would argue that three years is not enough – at least five years is required (cf SkutnabbKangas et al. as the medium of instruction in primary schools. This has meant that Hong Kong has adopted Cantonese.

This seems short-sighted in the extreme. It is hard to overestimate the damage that this seemingly far-sighted policy of modernization and internationalization is inflicting upon the lives of children and upon local languages. In this section I have provided a necessarily selective review of the situation with regard to the teaching of English in primary schools across East and Southeast Asia. are alarming. Not only is the early introduction of English likely to fail. especially around primary 5.106 Andy Kirkpatrick the medium of English. The table below is adapted from the UNESCO report entitled Education for All by 2015. It identifies a number of challenges facing certain ASEAN countries. The drop-out rates of children. Table 2. What is common across all systems is that the perceived need for a nation’s citizens to learn the national language and English as the international language has led to an increasingly early introduction of English into the primary curriculum. and almost always at the expense of local languages. Teachers who successfully taught these subjects through Chinese will now have to teach them through English. it also means that there is no place for the children’s mother tongue or other local languages in the primary curriculum. sometimes as a medium of instruction. It is noteworthy that the recommendations made by UNESCO to help overcome these challenges all require an increase in multilingual or multicultural education. This has resulted in a number of unfortunate consequences. And why? To satisfy parental demand for English medium classes. Students who had previously been successful in their learning of maths and science through Chinese will now have to learn these subjects through English. as there simply aren’t enough qualified and linguistically proficient teachers available either to teach it as a subject or to teach subjects through it. Education for All: Challenges and Measures Country Cambodia Indonesia Laos Philippines Vietnam Main challenges reduce low levels of develop bilingual education reduce low levels of survival to grade 5 reduce low levels of survival to grade 5 reduce low levels of survival to grade 5 decrease number of children out of school Measures to help survival to grade 5 add mother tongue education for early grades develop multilingual materials make curriculum flexible to allow for cultural diversity develop bilingual education for ethnic minorities .

org/culture/ ich/index. I return to this in the final section of this article. Benson 2008). including. with programmes being defined as full degree courses at both Batchelor’s and Master’s levels which were taught entirely in English. most importantly in this context. 3. but here turn to consider the role(s) of local languages and of English and their consequences for tertiary education in East and Southeast Asia.php?lg=en&pg=00136).400 English-medium programmes. The numbers provided in the 2008 study don’t give the overall percentage of programmes that are being taught in English.1. This increase from 700 to 2400 has led . These consequences are all the more tragic as there is now a large amount of research which shows that not only does mother tongue and multilingual education (MLE) benefit the children. but the adoption of MLE naturally revitalizes local languages (Cenoz 2009. Children do better in all subjects and local languages are maintained. Safeguarding Endangered Languages.English as a medium of instruction in Asian education (from primary to tertiary) 107 With regard to the problems surrounding the maintenance of local languages inherent in language policies that focus on the national language and English. 235 in Finland and 123 in Sweden. a recent UNESCO report. with the majority of the programmes being postgraduate. Skutnabb-Kangas et al 2009. 415 in Germany.unesco. using local languages in the primary school provides a win-win result. The Swedish figures have been challenged by Phillipson (2009) who points out that data from the Swedish Ministry of Education show that as many as 480 of the 680 MA degrees available in Sweden are taught in English. Maiworm and Wachter 2002). but they do indicate a substantial increase in the number of programmes taught in English identified in the earlier 2002 study which found only 700 of these. their ability to learn other languages such as English later. English in Tertiary Education 3. this section begins with a brief review of the current situation in Europe. The 2008 study identified 2. predicts that half of the world’s languages are under threat (http://www. The study also found that the majority of these programmes were being offered in northern Europe. In other words. The aim of a study commissioned by the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA) was to identify the number of programmes which were being taught in English at universities across continental Europe and to compare the results with an earlier study undertaken by the same authors (Wachter and Maiworm 2008. Subject specialist courses in English were excluded. with 774 in The Netherlands. The European Experience As Asia has adopted trends first seen in Europe.

“What emerges unambiguously is that in the Bologna process. Over 90 percent of the 2 million international students are shared between the United States. There are now over one hundred colleges which have some form of twinning arrangements with overseas universities.norden. leading Phillipson to argue that. This ‘convergence’ and the move to the internationalization of higher education has encouraged the use of English as a common medium.europa. At the same time. It is not surprising then that many Asian countries are now trying to set up local education hubs in order to attract fee-paying students on the one hand and to offer an alternative to their own students on the other. the countries from which these students come experience two forms of loss. 3. Typically these offer the first two or three years of a degree course in Malaysia. It is also important to point out that the number of English-medium programmes on offer in southern Europe. accessed 9 October 2010). in some form. East and Southeast Asia In Asia. “it seems inevitable that English. I now turn to consider the situation in East and Southeast Asia. the internationalization of higher education has been primarily characterized by Asian students travelling to ‘western’ countries to obtain degrees. The possibility of being swamped by English-medium programmes has not gone unnoticed and many countries have put in place language policies designed to ensure that local languages remain as the media of instruction. internationalization means English-medium higher education” (2009:37). First. they also experience a brain drain. Second. Germany and France (Howe 2009:384).eu/education/ policies/educ/bologna/bologna.pdf. remains relatively small. with the . will definitely become the language of education” (Coleman 2006:11).108 Andy Kirkpatrick one scholar to suggest 2007-746. as the international students need to pay fees and for their cost of living overseas.2. Malaysia has been relatively successful in this (Gill 2004). This increase in English-medium programmes is one consequence of the Bologna Declaration of 1999 which established a European Higher Education Area (EHEA) in which the forty six member countries would undertake “to reform the structures of their higher education systems in a convergent way” (http://ec. For example. Britain. as many international students choose to remain in their host countries after graduation. This has proved an extremely lucrative business for the providing institutions. the 2006 Declaration on a Nordic Language Policy was signed by the five Nordic countries with the aim of implementing bilingual language polices in higher education (http://www. accessed 9 October 2010). they lose hard currency. The majority of these students come from Asia. while increasing. Australia.

The medium of instruction is English and the university’s journal. Japan has something of a reputation for being reluctant to diversify and internationalize. international students are seen as a way of filling the places left empty by a falling Japanese population of the relevant age group. science and engineering. “universities have to internationalize for the sake of diversity . which offers an English-medium education to students who can afford the fees. however. cultural and academic – as we have seen. The extent to which cultural and intellectual diversity is the overriding motivation in the push to internationalize can be questioned. other than to try to explain to the world what it means to be Japanese.English as a medium of instruction in Asian education (from primary to tertiary) 109 student only having to travel to the host country for the final one or two years of their programme. People who are part of the same culture and language can no longer really develop intellectually” (McNeill 2007 cited in Howe 2009:387). Another is Tunku Abdul Rahman University. political.html. a prestigious private university in Tokyo. beginning in the academic year 2010–2011. the financial motivation is very strong and. will. publishes articles in English. has announced that. Malaysia itself. . The competition is no longer solely restricted to the traditional providers. established in 1997 by the national oil company to offer science and engineering courses. Waseda is one of the thirty Japanese universities participating in a nationwide internationalization project ( index. Waseda. the Volgograd State Medical Academy and Nizhny Novgorod State Medical Academy) who now offer these degrees through the medium of English. however. An indication of how widespread the increase in English-medium education is comes from the fact that some Malaysian medical students are now choosing to do their studies in a number of Russian universities (including the Moscow Medical Academy. the President of the nation’s top-ranked university. economic. has set up its own private universities – there are now twelve. . offer nine English-medium degrees.waseda. the University of Tokyo. where the students can undertake their entire degree. Platform. but at around a quarter of the cost of comparable degrees offered by Australian and British universities. such as the Petronas University of Technology. in subjects such as politics. These include those set up by public companies. accessed 11 October 2010). Some overseas universities have established campuses in Malaysia. in the case of private universities in Japan. economics. . some at BA and others at MA levels. Yet. Although Knight (2008) has listed four potential motivations for universities to internationalize – namely. It remains a “highly ethnocentric and gendered society” (Howe 2009:386) and ranks last in the list of OECD nations with regard to the number of foreigners (and women) in higher education.

the National Language Law of China limits the medium of instruction in schools to the national language. Parental demand for Englishmedium courses is high however. China’s University and College Admission System (CUCAS) (http://www. As pointed out earlier. These include more than thirty which offer some form of English-medium business degree and some forty which offer medical degrees in ‘western’ medicine through English. Six of Hong Kong’s government-funded universities are English-medium. Some also offer courses in aspects of traditional Chinese medicine through English. on the other hand. no such restriction exists. Zhu Rongji. “I hope all classes will be taught in English. with the exception of certain national minority languages.110 Andy Kirkpatrick China is the major provider of ‘international’ students. therefore. Not surprisingly. 2010) provides a list of Chinese universities which offer degree programmes through English. The Institute of Education. In order to achieve this laudable the then Premier of China. send their . As mentioned earlier. Cantonese is the medium of instruction in most government primary schools. I don’t worship foreign languages. the Chinese University of Hong Kong. English and Putonghua) and biliterate (in Chinese and English). I will now discuss the situation in Hong Kong in some detail. is officially bilingual and only one. an issue to which I will return. visited the School of Economics and Management of Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University in 2001 and announced that. but we need to exchange our ideas with the rest of the world” (China Varsities to Teach in English). as it provides an example of where English-medium education dominates the tertiary sector. especially those in wealthy urban settings such as Shanghai and Xian. They have to refer to these as some form of ‘special English’ courses in order not to be seen to be breaking the law. The Hong Kong government’s language policy aims to see its citizens trilingual (in Cantonese. the government’s trilingual-biliterate policy is undermined by the language policies adopted by the university sector. are experimenting with teaching content subjects through the medium of English. content subjects are taught by English teachers. and some secondary schools. However. and it is not surprising that it is also moving to increase the number of English-medium courses. with less than satisfactory results (Hoare 2010). cucas. accessed October 11. is officially trilingual. In these classes. At tertiary this makes Hong Kong the only place in Asia where the national language or English is not a main medium of instruction at the primary level. Only one. Putonghua (Mandarin). parents are desperately keen to ensure that their children study through English at the secondary level. at the expense of Chinese and at the expense of the government’s own language policy. Indeed universities have been encouraged by the leadership to consider offering English-medium programmes. Those that can afford it.

“To actually forsake the public school system that teaches in your own language for the private one that teaches in English is an increasingly common phenomenon” (Wang 2007: xiv). however. The policy of allowing secondary schools to choose their own medium of education was altered just before the 1997 handover. where teachers would translate the textbooks and children scrawl down the Chinese characters in the margins. A second was that parents still wanted an English-medium education. the adoption of English-medium education by six of Hong Kong’s eight government-funded universities appears short-sighted in the extreme. with the exception of English. Under the new policy. the secondary school language policy had been left to the schools themselves.English as a medium of instruction in Asian education (from primary to tertiary) 111 children to the schools of the English Schools’ Foundation (ESF). than those who have switched to study these subjects in English (Hong Kong Institute of Educational Research. The fine-tuning meant that Chinese-medium schools which could satisfy the criteria outlined above could offer classes through English. This new policy was not popular with parents. Hong Kong. This is potentially damaging for these students. many of these schools taught through what has been called a ‘textual explanation’ approach (Luke and Richards 1982:50) by which subject teachers spent the majority of class-time translating the English language textbooks into Cantonese. the linguistic proficiency of teachers and the availability of certain resources could set themselves up as English –medium schools. The remainder were to teach through Chinese. almost all offered – or claimed to offer – English medium education (Johnson 1994). This tendency to enrol one’s children in private English-medium schools can be seen throughout Asia. This led to only 114 out of a total of 460 secondary schools being English-medium. In concluding this section. In effect. which were originally established to cater for the children of expatriates. especially in maths and science. The immediate result of this. as reported earlier. the government relented and agreed to ‘fine-tune’ the policy. I myself observed classes of this sort in the late 1970s. only schools which met a set of criteria based on student ability. Hong Kong has the opportunity. that are now being taught in English. personnel and resources to internationalize education in a truly bilateral way. As indicated earlier. despite the current . as recent research findings indicate that students in Chinese-medium schools who take their final school exams in Chinese fare better in all subjects. as the universities taught through English (Kirkpatrick and Chau 2008). After years of campaigning. the fact that the policy led parents to perceive that the Chinese-medium schools were academically inferior to the English-medium ones was one cause. As a result. 2005). Before the ‘handover’ of Hong Kong back to China. has been a significant increase in the number of subject courses.

It has the opportunity to showcase Chinese scholarship. 4. This is a point which needs further elaboration. The move towards publications in English. The Anglicization of Scholarship As well as increasingly becoming the international language of instruction and assessment in higher education. This would include promoting local scholarship and knowledge and it is this issue to which I now turn. the reward for publishing in English in approved journals is far greater than publishing in local languages in local journals. only published articles in English since 2003. It is common to find universities in the region insisting that staff publish only in journals listed in the Science Citation Index (SCI) or the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI). The need to publish in English is exacerbated by the way universities in Asia reward and recognize the publications of their academic staff. This is . English is “by far the most important language of scientific and scholarly conferences” (Ammon 1996:26). and may eliminate the status of any other language as an international language of science” (Hamel 2007:66). Hong Kong could be leading the way in developing multilateral international higher education. Ammon (1996) also reports that the European Science Foundation’s working language is English as is the language of the Foundation’s journal. despite its e French title. “has already reduced multilingualism in the field. even though the local language journal might be a far more appropriate place for their publication and where it is likely to be read by far more people than in the SCI journal. even the journal Association International de Linguistique Appliqu´ has. This almost inevitably requires publication in English. in essence. a Chinese city. It also undermines the status and role of local journals and publishing in local languages. More than 90% of the information in the Science Citation Index (SCI) “is extracted from journals in English taken mostly from English language journals” (Truchot 2002:10). To show just how widespread publication in English has now become. Chinese academics earn much more from publishing in English in SCI journals than they do for publishing in Chinese in local languages. “We should move beyond the so-called established order dominated by the Anglo-Saxon paradigms and instead develop systems and standards that could preserve national heritage and promote rich cultural traditions” (Mok 2007:447). Communication. Generally speaking. It is commonly assumed that publishing in English in international journals assures the author of a wide readership. culture and languages. English has long been dominant as the language of international scholarship. For example.112 Andy Kirkpatrick government’s attempt to market it as ‘Asia’s World City’ is.

students from Mainland China writing PhD theses in universities in Australia. ‘vapours’ (Scheid 2002:48). I am not sure. Translations of qi include: ‘that which makes things happen in stuff’. ‘(finest matter) influences’. It is also much more likely to have real impact. however. the requirement that doctoral theses include primary source material seems to have been discarded. if not hundreds of thousands. It is also increasingly used as the international language of scholarship and the dissemination of knowledge. ‘a configuration of energy’. also illustrates the problems associated with translating fundamental concepts of ‘indigenous’ knowledge into English. characteristics that have been excised from what now passes as TCM. simply limited to its use as a medium of instruction and assessment. an article published in Chinese in a local journal can be assured of a readership of thousands. Scheid 2002). The requirement to disseminate knowledge through English may also radically alter the nature of the knowledge being disseminated. in my own field of applied linguistics. therefore. it is an alarming trend and one which appears to be caused by the privileged position of English as a language of scholarship. In the conclusion. The privileging of English in this way may also be undermining the status and prestige attached to knowledge written in languages other than English. For example. TCM is characterized by ambiguity and diversity (Hsu 1999.English as a medium of instruction in Asian education (from primary to tertiary) 113 simply not the case. ‘stuff in which things happen’. qi. I have noted that. as many academics checking their citation indexes can attest! In contrast. ‘energetic configuration’. the UK or the US seldom make reference to scholarship written in Chinese. A brief look at the problems involved in the translation of an apparently simple but fundamental concept of TCM. This further threatens the status and role of local languages and knowledge written in languages other than English. a study on the transmission of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) through English found that TCM should more appropriately be called modern Chinese medicine (MCM) (Kirkpatrick 2009). But either way. The increasing role of English in higher education is not. Countless articles in countless journals go unread. even though there may be a rich tradition of Chinese language scholarship on the topic. For example. ‘emanations’. Whether this is because their supervisors or possible examiners are not able to read Chinese or whether they are not advised or encouraged to make use of the scholarship written in their own language. I draw .


Andy Kirkpatrick

some recommendations that may help revitalize the place of local languages and knowledge.

5. Conclusion and Recommendations This article has described and illustrated the growth of the role and use of English in education in Asia, with the situation at primary and tertiary level being given prominence. It has shown that throughout Asia, English is being introduced earlier and earlier into the primary curriculum, sometimes as a medium of instruction and always at the expense of local languages. This, combined with the emphasis placed on the need for children to learn their respective national language, means that children are often unable to learn through their mother tongue or other local languages at great sacrifice to their own personal development and the vitality of local languages. One cause of the increasing demand for English at the primary level, is its perceived role as the language of internationalization and modernizaton and its associated role as the lingua franca of the internationalization of higher education. This, in turn, threatens the role of languages other than English as languages of education, scholarship and the dissemination of knowledge. In this final section, I shall make some recommendations which might help the revitalization of local languages at both primary and tertiary levels. 5.1. Recommendations for the Primary Level The major recommendation for primary education in Asia is that the primary school should focus on local languages. This will, no doubt, raise an outcry among parents who feel that they want their children to learn English and that the earlier they learn it the better. All things considered, it is true that young children find it easy to learn languages. But the conditions and resources need to be adequate, the teachers need to be qualified and linguistically proficient and the language to be learned needs to play an identifiable role in the speech community. For the vast majority of Asian primary school children, few, if any, of these conditions are met. Instead they are ‘taught’ English by teachers whose own level of English is low, who may not be trained and in schools that are inadequately resourced and where there is a dire shortage of appropriate language teaching materials. The result is that these children are condemned to failure. The fact that English has usually displaced the local language from the classroom further means that they are deprived of the opportunity of learning their own mother tongue, again at great sacrifice to their personal and cogni-

English as a medium of instruction in Asian education (from primary to tertiary)


tive development. This is why I argue that it is so essential for the primary school to invest in local languages. As many scholars of multilingual education have demonstrated (cf, for example Cummins 1981; Benson 2008; Cenoz 2009 Garcia 2009; Skutnabb-Kangas et al 2009), providing primary school children education in their own mother tongue sees them perform well in all subjects. Fluency in the mother tongue also allows them to build bridges to fluency and literacy in other languages. That is to say, fluency in the mother tongue and the national language will help the children in their later learning of English. This can be left until secondary school, where the likelihood of there being linguistically proficient qualified teachers, adequate resources and appropriate teaching materials is far greater. In this context, it is important to point out that, in Europe, the current policy is that children should learn their first language + two. While one of the ‘two’ is almost always English, the policy is aimed to ensure that all children grow up trilingual. No such policy exists in Asia. 5.2. Recommendations for the Tertiary Level The first recommendation for universities in Asia is that they develop and implement bilingual language policies which are designed to revitalize the local language as a language of education. The Nordic countries offer possible models. For example, Sweden and Denmark have set targets of ‘parallel competence’ in English and Swedish/Danish (Phillipson, in press). Preisler has argued for a system of ‘complementary languages’ in tertiary education whereby “the two languages will be functionally distributed within the individual programme according to the nature of its components” (2009:26). In the context of Hong Kong, this means that the six universities which currently operate an English-medium only language policy would be required to introduce bilingual policies. The second recommendation is for universities in Asia to work together to establish new ‘centres’ for journal publishing. There is no reason why Asian universities could not combine resources to set up bilingual journals, publishing in the respective national language and English. At the same time, they need to promote local scholarship and knowledge by publishing in local languages and, if need be, to provide translations of these publications in English. In summary, the recommendations can be very simply stated in the following way:
that the primary school focus on local languages; that the tertiary sector implement bilingual policies for teaching and publishing.

In this way, local languages can be revitalized at the primary level, while allowing children the opportunity to learn through the local languages to their great


Andy Kirkpatrick

benefit, sense of identity and cognitive development. Local languages can be used to disseminate local knowledge andAsian universities can create conditions for higher education to become multilateral and multilingual. This would allow local languages and English to play complementary roles in education.

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Gonzalez, Andrew. 2007 Language, nation and development in the Philippines. In Lee Hock Guan & Leo Suryadinata (eds.), Language nation and development, 7–16. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Hadisantosa, Nilawati. 2010. Insights from Indonesia. In Richard Johnstone (ed.), Learning through English: policies, challenges and prospects, 24–46. London: British Council. Hamel, Rainer Enrique. 2007. The dominance of English in the international scientific periodical literature and the future of language use in science.AILA Review 20. 53–71. Hoare, Philip. 2010. Content-based language teaching in China. Contextual influences on implementation. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 31,1. 69–86. Hong Kong Institute of Educational Research, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. 2005. Further evaluation on the implementation of the medium of instruction guidance for secondary schools (2002–2004): executive summary. FileManager/EN/Content 1914/es14 further%20eval%20on%20the%20imp%20of %20the%20moi%20(2002–2004).pdf (accessed October 11 2010). Howe, Edward R. 2009. The internationalization of higher education in East Asia: a comparative ethnographic narrative of Japanese universities, Research in Comparative an International Education, 4, 4.384–392. Hsu, Elisabeth. 1999. The transmission of Chinese medicine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hung, Nguyen Ngoc & Duzdik, Diana L. 2010. A call for collaboration: Vietnam’s National English 2020 Initiatives. Paper given at the International Conference on Innovations in ELT, SEAMEO RETRAC, Ho Chi Minh City, 23–24 September. Johnson, Keith. 1994. Language policy and planning in Hong Kong. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 14. 177–199. Kan, Vincent, Lai, K.C., Law, Agnes and Kirkpatrick, Andy. (forthcoming). Fine-tuning Hong Kong’s medium of instruction policy. Hong Kong: Research Centre for Language Education and Acquisition in Multilingual Societies, Hong Kong Institute of Education. Kirkpatrick,Andy. 2009. English as the International Language of Scholarship, in F. Sharifian (ed.) English as an international language, 254–270. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. Kirkpatrick, Andy. 2010. English as a lingua franca in ASEAN: a multilingual model. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Kirkpatrick, Andy and Chau, Michael. 2008. One Country, two systems, three languages: a proposal for combining Cantonese, Putonghua and English in Hong Kong’s schools, Asian Englishes,11, 2. 32–45. Kirkpatrick, Andy & Xu, Zhichang. 2001. The new language law of the People’s Republic of China. Australian Language Matters 9(2). 14–18. Maiworm, Friedhelm and Wachter, Bernd. 2002. English-language-taught degree programmes in European higher education. Bonn: Lemmens.


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Mok, Ka Ho. 2007. Questing for internationalization of universities in Asia: critical reflections, Journal of Studies in International Education, 11, 3/4.433–454. Montolalu, Lucy & Suryadinata, Leo 2007. National language and nation-building: the case of Bahasa Indonesia. In Lee Hock Guan & Leo Suryadinata (eds), Language nation and development, 39–50. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Phillipson, Robert. 2009. English in higher education. Panacea or pandemic? Angles on the English-Speaking World, 9. 29–57. Phillipson, Robert. In press. Language policy and education in the European Union. In Nancy Hornberger (ed.) Encylopedia of language and education, In Stephen May (ed.) Vol 1 Language policy and political issues in education. Dordrecht: Springer. Preisler, Bent. 2009. Complementary languages: The national language and English as working languages in European universities. Angles on the English-Speaking World, 9.10–28. Rappa, Antonio & Wee, Lionel. 2006. Language policy and modernity in Southeast Asia: Malaysia, Singapore the Philippines and Thailand. New York: Springer. Scheid, Volker. 2002. Chinese medicine in contemporary China. Durham: Duke University Press. Skutnabb-Kangas, Tove., Phillipson, Robert., Mohanty Ajit & Panda Minati. 2009. Multilingual education: concepts, goals, needs and expense: English for all or achieving justice. In Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Robert Phillipson, Ajit Mohanty & Minati Panda (eds.) Social Justice through Multilingual Education, 320–344. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. Truchot, Claude. 2002. Key Aspects of the Use of English in Europe. Strasbourg: Council of Europe. Tupas, Ruanni. 2007. Go back to class: the medium of instruction debate in the Philippines. In Lee Hock Guan & Leo Suryadinata (eds.), Language nation and development, 17–38. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. UNESCO. 2007. Education for all by 2015. Will we make it? Oxford: Oxford University Press ( (accessed August 15 2010). Wachter, Bernd and Maiworm, Friedhelm. 2008. English-taught programmes in European higher education. Bonn: Lemmens Walker, Stephen and Dekker, Diane. 2008. The Lubuagan mother tongue education experiment (FLC). A report of comparative test results. Manila: Summer Institute of Linguistics International. Wang Gungwu. 2007. Keynote Address. In Lee Hock Guan & Leo Suryadinata (eds.), Language nation and development, ix-xvii. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Andy Kirkpatrick is Chair Professor of English as an International Language at the Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIEd) and Director of the Institute’s Research Centre into Language Education and Acquisition in Multilingual Societies. His research interests include the development of regional varieties of English, with a particular focus on

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Asian Englishes. He is editor of the Routledge Handbook of World Englishes (2010), and author of English as a Lingua Franca in ASEAN: the Multilingual Model (Hong Kong University Press 2010). Email:


in which universities have a vital role to play in contributing to the development of pluralistic. and to make the case for imagining universities in these settings as sites of multilingualism. the diverse and rich linguistic resources that have been brought into the sector are largely ignored or treated as problematic. My intention is to raise linguistic diversity as an issue that needs greater debate and research in these universities. that is the “observable ongoing process of the increasing and ever-more intensive interconnectedness of communications. 2004: 191). However. multicultural and multilingual societies at national. regional and global levels.6 million in 2007. As universities in these settings have responded to operating in a globalised world. 1. national or international level” (Block 2006: 3). in educating “critical citizens of the world” (Giroux 2004: 17). Introduction During the past few decades a mass system of postsecondary education has developed practically across the globe.5 million in 1970 to 150. events. with numbers rising from 28. activities and relationships taking place at the local. and in promoting an “ethos of personal growth that better represents what humanity might become” (Gibbs et al. A key driver in this expansion has been globalisation. recruitment of students and staff who are multilingual and/ or bi-dialects has significantly increased. . to problematise the monolingual ethos and practices of much of the sector. UNESCO (2009) reports dramatic increases in the student population.Universities in the Anglophone centre: Sites of multilingualism1 ˆ SIAN PREECE Abstract This article sets out to examine the increasingly complex linguistic ecology of universities in countries in the Anglophone centre. This is in the interests of maintaining discourses that represent higher education as in the public good.

and multilinguals from around the globe who have been attracted to study and work in Anglophone centre institutions. this interconnectedness is also shaping the language or linguistic ecology.122 Siân Preece Altbach et al (2009: ii) observe the interconnectedness of globalisation in relation to higher education. In the case of Anglophone institutions. This has contributed to the linguistic repertoires of bi. their linguistic ecology has evolved to include the linguistic repertoires of both socalled native speakers of English and bi. separated both from the subject of . in that universities make efforts to preserve the use of standardised varieties of Anglo-American English and use these prestigious varieties along with disciplinary literacy practices as a “critical tool” (Blommaert 2010: 173) for positioning students and staff as “‘in’ or ‘outside’ normalcy” (ibid: 165). one or two larger minority languages in the polity”.and multilingual students being problematised (Ruiz 1984). information technology and knowledge networks together with the spread of English and “other forces beyond the control of academic institutions”. This problem-solution stance adopts an atomistic approach to linguistic diversity. As universities in these countries have expanded. 2010). and solutions being sought for fixing what are deemed to be language deficiencies. The linguistic repertoires of this population reflect diverse social.and multilingual users of English. which I use in this paper to refer to the cohabitation of an array of languages and dialects in the institution. in which the language and literacy practices of the academic community are compartmentalised and taught discretely. the attention of educational institutions is commonly “riveted on the national/ official language and perhaps. the “superdiversity” (Vertovec 2006) of urbanised communities around the globe. commenting on how the sector is being shaped by the increasing integration of national economies. As Kaplan and Baldauf (2009: 43) point out. here taken to be the English-dominant nations of the United States. by fostering the conditions for the growth in recruitment of staff and students from culturally diverse populations around the globe. The linguistic ecology spans a heterogeneous staff-student population from a range of linguistic minority communities in the Anglophone centre as well as a multitude of English-knowing bi. rather than being treated as multilingual capital (Eversley et al. This is particularly the case in countries that have traditionally been regarded as forming the Anglophone centre. There is often a mismatch between the monolingual ethos and ideology of institutions and the linguistic diversity of their staff and students. the United Kingdom. cultural and educational traditions and. Australia and New Zealand. universities in the Anglophone centre appear to have taken a largely myopic stance to these developments. this riveting of attention has meant a fixation on English and a monoglot ideology (Silverstein 1996). Anglophone Canada. In universities in Anglophone centre settings. However. in many cases.

This paper aims to contribute to the debunking of this myth in higher education by examining ways in which the linguistic ecology of universities in Anglophone centre countries has become more diverse as a result of globalisation. and treating it as a resource to be maintained and utilised. I am concerned with taking a more holistic approach to linguistic diversity than is usually the case in the sector. Creese and Martin (2003: 1) also observe that ecological perspectives require an “exploration of the relationship of languages to each other and to the society in which these languages exist [including] the geographical. I start by outlining how the global higher education stage has not only facilitated the spread of English in the higher education sector. Shohamy (2006: 173) contends that “monolingualism is a myth detached from reality that must be recognized as such by educational systems”. Research into language and identity in higher education in Anglophone centre countries illustrates that this problematising approach to linguistic diversity often results in bi. This research illustrates ways in which institutional othering of multilingual students often exacerbates feelings of stigmatisation and encourages an oversimplified view of how to address the language needs of a diverse body of students. socio-economic and cultural conditions in which the speakers of a given language exist. as well as the wider linguistic environment”. 2010.Universities in the Anglophone centre: Sites of multilingualism 123 study and from the linguistic repertoires of bi. Marshall 2010. that is the policies and practices that universities implement in response to oper- . I am concerned with making linguistic diversity visible in Anglophone centre universities and also with increasing its status. but also created the conditions for the diversification of the linguistic ecology in universities in the Anglophone centre. Martin 2010. I then look at the linguistic ecology at the macro level by examining how the internationalisation agenda. According to Mühlhäusler and Fill (2001: 3). studies such as the ones above suggest that provision needs to be underpinned by robust institutional policies on linguistic diversity that are sensitive to the complexities of the linguistic ecology of the institution and informed by bi.and multilingual students and staff. Here then.g. In this paper. Preece 2009.and multilingual education.and multilingual students being positioned as in need of language remediation and being required to take programmes of English language and academic writing (see e. Simpson and Cooke 2010). While there is clearly a role for specialised English language teaching in universities in the Anglophone centre. ecological approaches are concerned with examining “the diversity of inhabitants of an ecology” and finding ways of sustaining this diversity. I find the ecology metaphor generative for this discussion. Using the UK as an example. rather than a problem to be eradicated.

I approach bi. Crystal (2004: 37) argues that English has become “the normal medium of instruction in higher education in many countries – including several where the language has no official status”.and multilingualism that reflect different research traditions (see Kemp 2009 for an overview). political and economic forces of capitalism.and multilingualism as socially constructed concepts that. 2. in most instances. that is the policies and practices of universities to increase the recruitment and retention of students from underrepresented groups of the domestic population. Phillipson (2009: 201) asks whether there is “now an assumption that English is the default medium of higher education. hegemonically projected as being ‘normal’?”. in more than one variety of English. Others take a much more critical stance to the spread of English in the sector. The Global Higher Education Stage Altbach et al (2009) comment on the ways in which universities are now operating on a global higher education stage. In Phillipson’s view. the rise of English as the dominant language of academia is anything but normal. There are various definitions of bi. has affected the linguistic ecology at the micro level of the classroom. Altbach et al (2009: ii) depict its spread as “unprecedented since Latin dominated the academy in medieval Europe”. In a similar vein. particularly those in the Anglophone centre. I draw on data from my study of language and identity in higher education in the UK (Preece 2009) to illustrate how the access agenda. Altbach et al (2009) argue that globalisation has increased the tension between the strongest universities. has facilitated the increased movement of students and staff across national boundaries.124 Siân Preece ating in a global environment (Altbach et al 2009). Within a system of global higher education. as Blackledge and Creese (2010: 6) assert. this usually involves a prestigious variety of standardised English and a non-prestigious vernacular variety or World English. Following this. In this paper. and. Viewed within the context of universities in the Anglophone centre. in which universities. “have different meanings across different spaces and times”. English has become an exceptionally powerful language. and those on the . I follow Grosjean’s (2010: 4) definition of bilinguals as “those who use two or more languages (or dialects) in their everyday lives” to refer to university students who routinely experience their lives in more than one language. regarded as centres of higher education due to their international reputation for research and excellence. Rather it has been engineered to serve the wider social. are increasingly run as corporate concerns in the global marketplace.

These conditions have been fostered by the sectors’ response to operating in a globalised world. According to Altbach et al.Universities in the Anglophone centre: Sites of multilingualism 125 periphery. They argue that internationalisation is compounding existing centre-periphery inequalities between universities (see also Altbach 2004. to a smaller degree. 291) between universities in different parts of the world. Phillipson 2009). other major industrialised nations in the EU. Those institutions at the top of the international ranking generally use English for teaching and research. it has also created the conditions for the linguistic ecology in universities in the Anglophone centre to diversify. 9 in Australia and 8 in Canada (Times Higher Education 2010). These policies are often referred to as the internationalisation and access (widening participation) agendas respectively. They point out that while internationalisation creates a “two-way street” (p.1. the process is largely regulated by Anglophone countries. these agendas have impacted on the linguistic ecology in Anglophone centre universities by facilitating the increase in numbers of bi-. the United Kingdom. have significant levels of research funding and offer a wide range of programmes in different disciplines. 28 in the United Kingdom. Canada and New Zealand. 119 were located in the Anglophone centre. A look at the world university rankings in 2009. and. in which policies have been implemented to increase both the numbers of international students and the numbers of domestic students from under-represented groups in the national population. The internationalisation agenda Altbach and Knight (2007) refer to the policies and practices that higher education institutions have set in place to deal with operating in a globalised world as internationalisation and comment on how the implementation of the internationalisation agenda is increasing the mobility of academic staff. At the same time as globalisation has facilitated the spread of English in higher education. such as France and . Friedman 2005. 2. multilingual and/ or bi-dialectal users of English. students. Odin and Mancias 2004. the centre-periphery binary has been exacerbated by the ways in which universities are competitively ranked on an international scale. with 71 in the United States. Institutions regarded as centres are mainly located in the Englishdominant countries of the United States. higher education programmes and institutions across the borders of nation states. and some non-Anglophone industrialised nations. Australia. such as France and Germany. for example. reveals that out of the top 200 universities in the world. This system of ranking allows those universities at the top to occupy powerful positions on the global higher education stage and to exert significant influence on attitudes to language and literary practices in the sector. As will be discussed.

Universities in the Anglophone centre largely control this process by regulating admissions to their home institutions and exporting their own programmes of study southwards (via distance learning and off-shore campuses located on the periphery).5 million to around 7 million by 2020 (Altbach et al 2009). Nearly 250. to institutions located in the Anglophone centre. Taking the UK as an example.150 12.180 150. in 2008/9. in 2008–9 Indian students formed the largest cohort in UK universities Table 1.2 per cent from 341.8% +7. The growth in student mobility has impacted on the linguistic ecology in many universities in the Anglophone centre.2% .070 32.9% −13.5 million students who are currently studying overseas have migrated northwards. Table 1 illustrates the region of domicile for non-UK students in UK universities and demonstrates that there have been increases in student numbers in UK universities from all regions of the world.9% +9.810 4160 1845 341. 1985) model of World Englishes.126 Siân Preece Germany.310 19.6% +1% +15. One consequence is that the vast majority of the 2.485 2.000 were from EU countries other than the UK (Higher Education Statistics Agency 2010).9% +13.295 137. Latin America and Africa. the number of non-UK students in UK higher education institutions rose by 8. with the exception of South America and unknown EU countries. many of these students are from the Outer and Expanding Circles. Drawing on Kachru’s (1992.790 2008/9 117.745 35.285 16. from countries in Asia.690 22. this trend is predicted to continue with the number of international students rising from 2.790 to 369. Non-UK students represented just over 15 per cent of the total student population and this proportion is expected to rise. Region of domicile of non-UK domicile students 2007/8 and 2008/09 in UK Higher Education Institutions (Higher Education Statistics Agency 2010) Region of domicile Other European Union Other Europe Africa Asia Australasia Middle East North America South America Non-European Union unknown Total non-UK domicile 2007/8 112.970 % change +4.660 13.970.755 2. For example.000 students came from countries outside the EU.7% −2.610 3590 1800 369.325 24. This state of affairs seems set to continue given the financial rewards for universities and the current crisis in public funding.4% + 8.9% +8. while just over 100.

non-UK) within UK institutions. Velez-Rendon 2003). Students from the Outer Circle in UK universities primarily come from postcolonial settings in which English is generally regarded as a second and/ or official language and is used in a variety of domains. Bolton 2002. Many come from European countries with two or more official languages either at the state or regional level. 1984).065 students2 . Rista-Dema 2008. Given the global spread of English. He observes how these Outer Circle norms are influencing the development of nativised varieties of English in the Expanding Circle. with 34. however. it is questionable whether the differentiation between the roles of English in the Outer and Expanding Circle countries is still fully viable.e.and multilingual linguistic repertoires. students from countries in the Expanding Circle come from settings in which English is more likely to be perceived of as a foreign language that more exactly conforms to the norms for standardised varieties of Anglo-American English. It is highly likely that many will have received some or all of their compulsory education in English-medium schooling. indigenous varieties of English have evolved that have de-Anglicised Standard British English by incorporating localised or nativised grammatical. On the other hand.g.035 students3 (Higher Education Statistics Agency 2010). Platt et al. This point has been widely taken up and there have been a range of studies into the nativisation of English in countries in the Expanding Circle (see e. rather than intranational. phonological. whereas Chinese students formed the largest contingent of students from a country in the Expanding Circle with 47. The use of English in this Circle is often portrayed as restricted to international.Universities in the Anglophone centre: Sites of multilingualism 127 from an Outer Circle country. . Seargeant 2005. Crystal (1997: 56) commented that the distinction between English as a second and foreign language had ‘less contemporary relevance’ than previously and that English was in greater use in some places in the Expanding Circle than in some of its traditional bases in the Outer Circle. As shall be discussed. Over a decade ago. localised varieties of English rarely receive a warm welcome in universities in Anglophone centre settings. Many of these students can also be regarded as bi. lexical/ idiomatic and discourse features of their own (Jenkins 2003. The debate on World Englishes suggests that students from various countries in the Outer and Expanding Circles may well be bringing a diversity of English dialects into universities in the Anglophone centre as part of their bi. In these settings. domains.or multilingual users of English. Berns 2005. Lowenberg (2002) also points out that students from countries in the Expanding Circle are increasingly studying English in Outer Circle settings where they are learning the norms of Outer Circle standardised varieties of English. A similar picture of linguistic diversity emerges from the other EU students (i. however. Lowenberg 2002.

Philippson (2009: 202) warns against the “discourse of historical amnesia” that hides the multilingualism and diversity of English-dominant countries. This literature illustrates how different national and regional varieties of European English are evolving.or multilinguals. it is questionable whether international students in UK universities who are from other Anglophone centre countries are monolingual native speakers of English. In the following section. Canada and New Zealand.or multilingual users of English. there is a body of literature documenting the spread of English in member states of the European Union outside the UK and Ireland (see e. the indigenous peoples of Australia. the United States. that is individuals from underrepresented groups in the domestic population. to a much more limited degree. from working class families to those from more socially elite and affluent professional backgrounds. Finally. the indigenous regional and minority European languages and the heritage languages of immigrant communities in Europe. In the Anglophone centre this agenda has contributed to significant increases in the numbers of domestic students who are multilingual and/ or bi-dialectal users of English of some sort.g.2. This has been driven by internationalisation policies that are encouraging cross border movement of students. I look at the access agenda and discuss how this is affecting the linguistic ecology at the micro level of the classroom. third and subsequent generations of minority ethnic groups. This suggests that the cohort of European students in UK universities are bringing diverse linguistic repertoires into the sector that include European varieties of English. Given the high levels of cultural and ethnic diversity in settings in the Anglophone centre. This body of students is composed of the first. second. Berns 2005. the majority of which are located in the Anglophone centre. Berns 1995. 2. I have discussed how the linguistic ecology in universities in the Anglophone centre has been affected by the increasing recruitment of international students (and EU students in the case of the UK) who are bi. . These students span a range of different socioeconomic backgrounds. Lowenberg 2002). largely from periphery to centre institutions.128 Siân Preece Similarly to the literature on the Expanding Circle. So far. the 22 official languages of the EU other than English. The access agenda Allen et al (2005) comment on the attempts that governments in OECD countries have made over the last few decades to improve access to higher education for non-traditional students. the African American and Latino communities in the United States and. it is perfectly possible that a sizeable proportion of students migrating between Anglophone nations are also bi. such as the UK and the USA.

“[h]igh-modernity or late. Students were enrolled on the programme based on the results of an academic literacy test taken during induction. Universities are expected to “[create] a highly-skilled workforce” that is capable of establishing an “enterprise culture where everyone with talent is inspired to turn ideas into successful enterprises” in the free market (ibid). In the UK. In this scenario. There was also very little history of higher education among the students’ parents and elders. had been established to improve the retention of students from widening participation backgrounds. To examine how this is affecting the linguistic ecology at the micro level of the classroom. knowledge and professional skill development are important to the future of our societies”. many of whom are from working class linguistic minority communities.or post-modernity means that the industrial heartlands of countries such as the UK and USA have been devastated and. Within the UK. and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. the majority came from backgrounds that have traditionally been categorised as working class on the basis of occupation. enterprise and science. in the following section I turn to data from my study of language and identity in higher education (Preece 2009). this “economizing of universities” (McLean 2006: 45) can be seen by placing universities in the Department for Business. Most were required to attend the programme rather than opting into it as a free . To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy” (Department for Business Innovation and Skills 2010). Allen et al (2005: 2) comment that. promoting innovation. This programme. access to higher education is framed in terms of meeting the needs of industries in the global marketplace by providing a highly educated and skilled workforce.Universities in the Anglophone centre: Sites of multilingualism 129 While the access agenda has its roots in social justice. In this case. This Department is composed of ten management groups. Multilingual classrooms I conducted my study with 93 first-year undergraduate students from a range of linguistic minority groups while they were taking an academic writing programme at a post-1992 university in London. globalisation has reframed the debate on access to higher education in neoliberal economic discourses. on which I was a lecturer.4 which not only compete for funding but have the collective mission to “[build] a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success. in order to compete in an increasingly tough global market. Innovation and Skills (BIS). 3. the drive towards skilling the workforce has impacted on the linguistic ecology in universities by encouraging a rise in the numbers of students from non-traditional backgrounds.

had come with the intention of studying. 3. following which they were likely to return to their home country. in which four participants. S = Sita. an open-ended questionnaire and information from the student record system. 10. field notes from classroom observations and reflections on classroom events.what language is that? that’s a Sri Lankan language obviously yeah/ I can speak my Ghanaian [language so yeah [Ghanaian language/ he can speak THREE langua[ges [I speak FOUR languages [FOUR languages [oh::: <ironic tone> [Arabic er Urdu/ Hindi right and Punjabi . The linguistic repertoires of the participants in the study included English along with a variety of Creoles and heritage languages in use among members of the Caribbean. 11. 7. South Asian and African communities in London. 12. H = Hibba5 1. Kavi (aged 21). Tano (aged 23) and Hibba (aged 22) are discussing what languages they use at home and with their friends. K: S: K: T: K: T: K: H: K: T: H: K: H: I spe.130 Siân Preece choice. 8. 6. An example of this comes in the following extract that was audio-recorded in the classroom. the participants drew attention to these when given opportunities to do so during the research. many of South Asian heritage. 13. 4. These participants had been in Britain for a short period of time. most were the children of settled minority ethnic communities in the UK. K = Kavi. While the institution did not acknowledge the participants’ diverse linguistic repertoires in any formal or systematic manner. 2. The data were gathered over a period of two years and consist of audiorecordings of group work interaction in the classroom and interviews of key participants. Some participants were migrants who had been born and educated in Outer Circle settings and had arrived in the UK as young adults. However. 9.I can speak Tamil/ sort of yeah right <laughs> can you speak any language? I can speak Tamil wha. 5. A few came from countries in the Expanding Circle where they had studied English as a foreign language at school. Generally these participants had received all or the majority of their compulsory schooling in the British state system and were aged 18–21. Sita (aged 19). T = Tano.

25. 23. 22. Sita’s utterance and laughter (turn 2) have a teasing quality. 16. to position herself as speaking more languages than Tano. While Hibba claims to be literate in four languages. although he mitigates this with the comment ‘sort of ’(turn 1). 19. Nonetheless. 20. interrupts (turn 8) in what appears to be a competitive move. The interaction opens with Kavi presenting himself as a Tamil speaker. 18. 21. His decision not to name the languages in his linguistic repertoire may have been motivated by his perception of his interlocutors’ knowledge of Ghana and its linguistic complexities. The interaction is largely controlled by Kavi and Hibba as they weigh up which of them has the greatest level of expertise in their heritage languages. At this point. a British Asian. 15. K: H: K: H: K: S: H: K: S: T: H: K: can you write/ can you/ can you write them? yeah yeah you’re writing them all? yeah I can WRITE in Tamil but not fully fluent I’m fluent in that [I can/ I can [you can read? yeah I can read I’m [fluent in that [proper proper reading? like if I gave you a newspaper would you read it from cover to cover? yeah/ I can read some articles (xxx) NOT how I read English (classroom data) 131 The interaction takes on the tone of a sociable sparring contest in which the participants compete with each other for who speaks the most languages and who is the most multiliterate. A series of exchanges then follow between Tano and Kavi (turns 3–7) in which Tano. The tone of Tano’s ‘oh’ (turn 10) sounds ironic and similarly to Sita’s utterance (turn 2) may have been an attempt at playfulness. The raised volume of ‘three’ and the tone of this utterance suggest that Tano’s multilingualism is to be admired.Universities in the Anglophone centre: Sites of multilingualism 14. 24. Kavi has ascertained something of the linguistic diversity that Tano brings to their group as he announces that Tano speaks three languages (turn 7). This is followed by a series of exchanges (turns 14–25) in which levels of literacy are compared. Her ability to tease Kavi about his level of expertise in Tamil comes from their shared heritage as part of the Tamil diaspora in London. a mature Ghanaian student who had been the UK for two years at this point. establishes Kavi’s heritage culture and represents himself as speaking “my Ghanaian language”. Both of their families had sought asylum in the UK as a result of the civil war in Sri Lanka with Kavi arriving in the UK at the age of 11 and Sita being British born. 17. 13). Hibba. Kavi concedes . which she then goes on to list (turns 11.

with participants sometimes adopting seemingly contradictory positions. These positions were fluid. As might be expected. this appears to have been successful. particularly if they had arrived in the UK in their late teens and early adulthood. and much weaker affiliations to English. 3. he migrated to the UK at the age of 19 to join his mother. While it seems likely that Hibba’s greatest expertise is also in English. where he attended English-medium schools. separate bilingualism.132 Siân Preece that he has a greater command of reading in English than in Tamil. flexible bilingualism. migrants commonly adopted this position. he spent five years working and studying. Akinwole illustrates this well.1. In interactions about his linguistic repertoire. Akinwole displayed strong affiliations to Yoruba. a variety of positions were adopted towards this diversity that illustrate the participants’ affiliation towards the languages and dialects in their linguistic repertoires within the setting of the academic writing programme and the institution more widely. Throughout the interaction. The portrayal of linguistic diversity as a normal part of everyday life was evident throughout the data. as her claims went on to earn her the admiration of the group. her claim to have mastery of four languages may have been a strategy for jockeying for position among her peers. On arrival. it is possible that local is a reference to Akinwole’s everyday life in areas of London populated by the Yoruba community rather than a reference to his life back home in Nigeria. As Eversley et al (2010) list Yoruba as one of the top-ten languages in London. which can be placed towards the weaker affiliation to English/ stronger affiliation to heritage languages end of the continuum. separate bi-dialectalism and flexible bi-dialectalism. However. English as L2 A key position for several of the participants was English as L2. Akinwole expressed the view that: . I have discussed elsewhere (Preece 2010) how these positions can be expressed along a continuum of weaker affiliation to heritage languages/stronger affiliation to English and weaker affiliation to English/stronger affiliation to heritage languages. In this paper. before he was able to progress into university. the participants adopt a multilingual positioning. These positions are English as L2. After growing up in Nigeria. depicting this as his ‘local language’. Their shared experiences as multilinguals appears to facilitate group sociability and construct linguistic diversity as a natural part of daily life. Within this group. I will focus on a number of positions that the students adopted in relation to their linguistic repertoires that appear helpful for considering the needs and identities of heterogeneous groups of multilingual students in universities in the Anglophone centre.

Geet also attended a Gujarati complementary school to maintain and improve his oral and written literacy. A similar picture emerges from students who can be classified as 1. Despite living in the UK from a young age. . 2009). .and second-generation immigrant’. . when I am . . perhaps learned during his schooling in Nigeria. As Geet found it almost impossible to participate in the peer group banter of his British-born peers. I’m more calm and I’m actually more easy going . adopting the position of English as L2 may have assisted Geet in negotiating social relations with his peers. . . they often inhabit ‘liminal spaces. . He presents himself as having difficulties with expressing himself in English and claims that spoken interaction that has to be conducted in English only remains as a source of anxiety. if they speak Gujarati then I will speak Gujarati as well.5 generation. On comparing Gujarati and English. Interview 1). . . . . questionnaire). his family sought asylum in the UK and Geet made the transition from Kenyan schooling into the British education system. . I have my Gujarati mother tongue language (Geet. Akinwole presents himself as ambivalent to using English at home and with his Yoruba-speaking friends. . When he was eight. living in two worlds. These students migrated to the UK part way through their compulsory schooling and as Marshall (2010: 43) contends. really have the words to say. if I always speak to people [in] English. I sometimes stutter . After arriving in the UK. . When I am talking [in] that. somewhere between first. Interview 1). Geet goes on to claim that his main motivation for speaking English is to improve his proficiency: I have Gujarati friends [at university] but they don’t usually speak Gujarati that much so . One student who exemplifies this is Geet. he claims that: I have noticed . they are difficult (Geet. . By adopting Gu- . particularly when interaction involved witty repartee. I’m able to improve my English. I mean . with my friends. As I have discussed (Preece 2006. so I can improve my English . Geet (aged 19) spent his early childhood in Kenya. But at home . . his silence became the subject for jokes at his expense. . using Gujarati at home and English and Swahili at school. . . Geet positions English as his L2. say at work. . I might not . His association of English with formality suggests that he primarily associates it with institutional settings. . I’m always speaking English . . .Universities in the Anglophone centre: Sites of multilingualism 133 I never feel comfortable speaking in English with my family and friends because I always feel that I am in a formal setting and environment (Akinwole. When I speak with people just with English. Classroom observations indicated that Geet was often marginalised during group work.

a British Pakistani. She constructs Punjabi and Urdu as maintaining the cultural and religious traditions of her heritage culture as well as interactions among family members. This separation has been described in various ways. 3. Separate bilingualism Separate bilingualism (Creese et al. English . To tell you the truth the language that you speak at home . Separate bilingualism indicates a view of languages as discrete and bounded entities that are used in different domains and need to be kept apart. which is portrayed as more or less English only. which is good ‘cause obviously you need to like . so your language Punjabi. such as the two solitudes (Cummins 2005) and parallel monolingualism (Heller 1999. This position also enabled him to mitigate the problems that he was having with his academic work by allowing him to explain these in relation to being a language learner. who uses English. religion comes into it. In this interaction. Urdu comes into that. keep a hold of your tradition and your culture and stuff like that. Creese and Blackledge (2010: 105) observe how separate bilingualism “represents a view of the multilingual/bilingual student/teacher as ‘two monolinguals in one body’”. . Interview 1). Drawing on Gravelle (1996: 11).134 Siân Preece jarati as his mother tongue and English as his second language. obviously you are in the country everyone speaks it you have to know it . and I think that our language our mother tongue is for like home and your family and keeping the traditions. . . . Geet was able to position himself as possessing communicative competence in Gujarati and a person worthy of respect among his peers. 2008) was a commonly adopted position for the majority of the participants in the study. . This can be placed midway along the continuum of weaker affiliation to heritage languages/ stronger affiliation to English and stronger affiliation to heritage languages/weaker affiliation to English and gives the impression of equality and balance between languages. Urdu and Punjabi. in which we are discussing the associations that she makes with these languages. demarcating Punjabi and Urdu for the domain of her family and English for use in the “outside world”. culture comes into it. . . obviously there is more tradition comes into it. . . stuff like that (Saba. An example of this comes in the following extract of interview data with Saba (aged 18). . Saba is typical of the British born participants in that she had received very little sustained schooling in her heritage languages.2. . This example is typical of the ways in which many . The private realm is constructed as excluding English in opposition to the public domain. English . . the outside world is more based on . 2006). Saba makes a clear distinction between the languages in her linguistic repertoire. which is good.

Vietnamese. In this interaction. Ling’s linguistic repertoire encompassed English. in which we are discussing her use of code switching. One use of code-switching was to construct a distinctive identity from first generation migrants. phrase. she is obliged to use “one language at a time” and “one language only” (Li and Wu 2009). This was characterised in the data as mixing of English and heritage language(s). flexible bilingualism indicates the use of codeswitching. 2008).Universities in the Anglophone centre: Sites of multilingualism 135 of the participants adopted a separate bilingual positioning. In interactions with others whose linguistic repertoire encompasses Cantonese and English. This positioning bounded heritage languages to the domestic and private space of the family and heritage community and English to the public domains of life beyond the ancestral community. such as her siblings and friends. a British Chinese student.3. 3. she differentiates her use of flexible bilingualism from separate bilingualism. Cantonese. This position is illustrated in the interview interaction below with Ling (aged 20). British Sign Language and Mandarin. Interview 1). such as Creese et al (2006: 38) and Li Wei and Wu (2009) whose study of complementary schools in the UK found that second generation minority ethnic teenagers valued being able to code-switch between their heritage languages and English. in which “the speaker makes a complete shift to another language for a word. However. SP: Can you think of any situations when you would really mix up the Cantonese with the English when you are talking to your friends? What particular subjects do you think you talk about? Ling: Um anything really ‘cause it is like when I am talking to you it is like you wouldn’t know Chinese so I’ll have to stick to English but when you know someone that is Chinese and they know English as well you kind of mix it up just naturally it’s not like when you change a subject (Ling. This resonates with a variety of studies. As Creese et . Ling adopts the position of a flexible bilingual by reporting that she routinely juxtaposes Cantonese and English regardless of the topic of conversation. in which efforts are made to keep languages apart. Ling: Cantonese is mainly for like my parents and my grandma but um when I am communicating with my brothers and sisters we kind of mix up Cantonese and English. Unlike separate bilingualism. when her interlocutor’s linguistic repertoire differs (her elders and me). Flexible bilingualism Another position marking the midway point on the continuum is flexible bilingualism (Creese et al. or sentence” (Grosjean 2010: 51–2).

a Kenyan migrant who had been living in the UK for ten years at the time of the research: When I speak Swahili with my friends I find I break it with English sometimes/ speak English as well as Swahili/ some kind of mixes/ which is not really good (Awino. Unlike separate bilingualism. S: =half yeah: (1) but most of the time it’s in English okay/ now they’ve like/ changed (1) 4. Biba (aged 22) and Leela (aged 19). This view is typified by Awino (aged 32). classroom data). about the languages that they use at home and with friends. produced by people who are careless about the way they speak” (p. This utterance comes from interaction between Awino. These negative connotations often came to the fore when intergenerational relations were the subject of discussion: S = Seema. S: they think it’s bad though/ you know how parents are 6. Grosjean (2010) observes that code-switching is commonplace among bilinguals who share the same languages.) I don’t know 2. are discussing their parents’ negative response to their habitual .136 Siân Preece al (2006: 38) comment. flexible bilingualism is a way in which British born bilinguals can differentiate themselves from newly arrived migrants and adopt positions as sophisticated young people in relation to the migrant freshie who is not proficient in the linguistic practices of the peer group.) half and half= 3. Grosjean also comments on the ways in which code-switching is often viewed negatively as creating “an unpleasant mixture of languages. imitation of others and emphasis of social role. S: I speak English [mixed like (. This perception was prevalent among the participants in my study who frequently associated code-switching with linguistic deficit. M: it’s very bad we don’t know the language <laughs> In the extract above two British Asians of Gujarati heritage. Seema (aged 19) and Maya (aged 19). a British Moroccan and British Asian respectively. M: [talked with ((xx))/ and I was like (. M: they know it 5. Despite portraying code switching as a habitual practice. He identifies a variety of reasons for codeswitching. M = Maya 1. 52). flexible bilingualism blurs the boundaries of the private and public worlds that second generation minority ethnic students inhabit. including the attractiveness of one language compared to another for expressing particular ideas. suggesting that they routinely use English in the home context alongside heritage languages and that heritage languages are used alongside English outside the home. they also conformed to ideological norms that associate it with deficit and semilingualism.

Separate and flexible bi-dialectalism The notion of separation and flexibility is also helpful for reflecting on the participants’relationship with English. Biba and Leela. while some were users of World Englishes. Heller 2006). A: yeah/ 3. in which they are discussing their attempts at making friends with their undergraduate peers. Blackledge and Creese 2010. Maya’s utterance (turn 6) may be enacting a parental disapproving voice with the accompanying laughter signalling that this is a subject for humour.Universities in the Anglophone centre: Sites of multilingualism 137 use of code switching. the laughter may also mask anxieties about not fulfilling parental expectations and of not conforming to dominant discourses on bilingualism that assume that languages must be kept separate (see e. 1. They routinely adopted bi-dialectal positions that were articulated through a posh/slang binary to differentiate between the prestigious variety of Standard English that they were required to use in higher education and the non-prestigious varieties of English with which they strongly identified. is suggested through the covert references to their parents and elders in the ambiguous use of ‘they’ (turns 3–5). B: adapting to different people an’ their cultures y’know/ an’ their backgrounds (classroom data). . L: yeah/ 6. The face-threatening nature of this exchange. These mirror separate and flexible bilingualism in that the first involves the separation of standard and vernacular varieties of English while the latter involves their juxtaposition. The use of an impersonal pronoun in combination with the pauses in turn 3 is suggestive of shared experiences of family relationships.4. 3. the participants adopted the positions of separate and flexible bi-dialectalism. all were bi-dialectal users of English. However. in which they are sharing the experience of not only disagreeing with their parents but also acting against their wishes. A: [yeah/ you’ve got to adapt/ yeah/ 5. As mentioned. L: when we came ‘ere/ I mean/ if I saw a posh person I actually spoke posh with them/ but if I saw somebody who was happy with their slang/ I spoke slang with them/ and I think that’s how you socialise with them/ 2. in particular London English (Harris 2006). The majority were habitual users of a vernacular variety. Cummins 2005. An example of separate bi-dialectalism is illustrated in the following interaction between Awino.g. In interactions about their use of posh and slang. B: it’s how you adapt to different people [that’s what adapting is about/ 4.

It also suggests that the participants paid attention to the “soundscape” (Harris 2006). . Leela and Awino co-construct boundaries between posh English and slang. In this interaction. whoever knows in that circle how to do it. a British Pakistani. Tahir reports that he has formed a study group with his peers. who are “happy with their slang” and posh others. . This is represented as a “circle”. An example of this comes from interview data with Tahir (aged 22). In this instance. the good thing is . . Biba. Flexible bi-dialectalism is used as a tool for constructing understanding of disciplinary knowledge by juxtaposing “slang and stuff ” with the language of the academic community. This is in sharp contrast to the institutional positioning that he occupies as a remedial English language user on the English language programme. This resonates with Rampton’s . accommodating to the accents and conversational styles of their fellow peers as a way of fitting in and making friends. This position also appears to be empowering in that it enables Tahir to speak from a position of expertise in which he can scaffold the intellectual development of his male peers. . Similarly to flexible bilingualism. . this positioning also facilitates a narrative of success in establishing new social relationships in higher education.138 Siân Preece In the interaction. whilst if the teacher explains I might not get [it] . . all sit down and we’re trying to [explain] . . they found vernacular English a valuable resource for establishing peer group relations and constructing a bridge into their academic work. suggesting collaboration and cooperative learning. So I’d explain it in my terms to make sure they understand it . It may be that separate bi-dialectalism enables working class students to navigate alien social terrain that includes many more people from middle class and professional backgrounds than they have previously encountered during schooling. he explains to all of us and because we all know each other well. in which we are discussing how he makes sense of the academic work in his discipline: There’s five of us so we . how I know how to do it (Tahir. which enables them to categorise the people that they are encountering in university into people like themselves. know slang and stuff. . showing the thinking. the participants also adopted the position of flexible bi-dialectalism. While vernacular English has little legitimacy within the institution. the participants’ representations suggest that far from being a hindrance. language and behaviour. The regular reference to posh and slang in reference to the student body suggests that the participants have constructed an understanding based on shared experiences of social class norms for appearance. . . Interview 2). They portray themselves as keeping posh and slang apart by using posh with one group of potential friends and slang with another. . . we’d explain it in a way we will understand .

Universities in the Anglophone centre: Sites of multilingualism 139 (2006: 316) “vernacularisation of school knowledge”. in which adolescents use posh and Cockney stylisations as a way of mediating school work and getting down to the task at hand. However. it seems likely that this strategy has been transferred from London schools into higher education. Curricula still largely adopt a monolingual stance that encourages uncritical use of “one language only” (OLON) (Li and Wu 2009) and by extension one dialect only (ODON) for most of the time. Quantitative studies that map the linguistic repertoires of the staff-student population at institutional level would be helpful in developing the bigger picture. These could then be used to inform curricula design. in raising awareness of linguistic diversity in the sector and for examining claims that multilingualism is the norm for significant numbers of staff and/ or students in these settings. Discussion The statistics for non-UK students in UK institutions and data from research conducted on the academic writing programme illustrate some of the ways in which the linguistic ecology of universities in theAnglophone centre has become more complex. there appears to be little systematic documentation of the linguistic repertories of students and staff. In order to support the development of language policies there is a need for further research into linguistic diversity in Anglophone centre universities. there is often less than a warm welcome for the linguistic diversity that accompanies cultural and social diversification. universities in Anglophone settings still seem to be operating with the assumption that their students are monolingual native speakers of English who ‘naturally’ use a standardised variety of Anglo-American English and who enter university with considerable expertise in the literacy practices common in Anglo-American academic traditions. 4. despite the linguistic diversity in their midst. Further qualitative work exploring identity and pedagogical issues is also required as multilingual students do not form a homogeneous . rather than monocentric. delivery and assessment that are appropriate at the local level and more sensitive to the needs and identities of a linguistically diverse student population. Although universities in the Anglophone centre claim to celebrate the cultural diversity of the student body. perspectives to linguistic diversity. There is also a lack of institutional wide language policies that could inform curricula design and delivery. Given the closeness in background and educational experience of Rampton’s participants to those in my study. While ethnic monitoring in Anglophone settings is commonplace. Universities in the Anglophone centre have not kept pace with the changing student demographic and need to devise institutional language policies that take pluricentric.

however. Kachru’s model could provide a starting point for recognising linguistic diversity and hybridity of English use. and for some from postcolonial settings. it serves the purpose of highlighting the “pluralism. . they may well be invested in the standardised English of the Anglophone centre. 173). While this model clearly has its limitations for describing the current situation in relation to English in different parts of the world. This would enable further examination of the salience of separate and flexible bilingualism and bi-dialectalism within the context of higher education. It can be used to draw attention to the diverse linguistic repertoires of students in universities in the Anglophone centre and provide a way of critiquing attitudes in these universities to the linguistic diversity in their midst. non-native normative features” [italics in original]. Describing the asylum application of Joseph. . For domestic students. At present. Within this context. They are also likely to have differing investment in the academic language and literacy practices of the Anglophone centre. and diversity of English world-wide” (Berns. there is little differentiation between the two as is illustrated in Simpson and Cooke’s (2010: 70) study that illustrates how the sector’s negative reaction to non-prestigious varieties of English of migrant students can contribute not only to these students experiencing downwards educational trajectories. For international students who have incurred very sizeable costs of studying in an Anglophone country. It would be helpful to draw on the research into separate and flexible bilingualism in complementary schooling in the HE sector and to extend the notion of separation and flexibility to varieties of English. This resonates with Blommaert’s (2010) argument that the linguistic resources of those coming from the periphery are evaluated against a “mainstream” that reflects the “national order” of the Anglophone centre (p. viewing this as carrying status and prestige. they may experience ambivalent feelings about the academic linguistic and literacy practices to which they are expected to conform. it also helps to re-position the remedial English user as an “English-knowing bilingual” (Pakir 1999) or “bilingual user of English” (McKay 2002) and to call attention to Lowenberg’s (2002: 433) plea to find ways of differentiating between “deficiencies in the second language acquisition of English .140 Siân Preece group and are likely to exhibit differing levels of expertise and affiliation to the languages in their repertoires. but also to their longer terms prospects of educational success being damaged. Blommaert critiques the . 1995: 10). a Rwandan refugee in the UK. This may fuel resistance to using L1 in the university context. . . [and] varietal differences in the speakers’ usage resulting from their having previously learned and used . heterogeneity. There are also emerging patterns from research about the ways in which multilingual students both conform to and resist the dominant norms for compartmentalising the languages and dialects in their linguistic repertoires.

it is generally with a “problem” label that frequently results in bi. In conclusion. As they argue “if current trends of internationalization continue. the distribution of the world’s wealth and talent will be further skewed”. When language appears on the agenda. . representing a rise of 31. who already hold a disproportionate share of power and wealth. teaching .and multilingual students being labelled as in need of remedial English tuition. In the very unequal world in which we live and work. the mass expansion of tertiary education has resulted in an increasingly complex linguistic ecology in universities in theAnglophone centre. whether these be monolingual or bilingual users of English. delivery and assessment of the curriculum. representing a rise of 3. .and multilingual students from a wide range of backgrounds. of creating spaces for other knowledge and perspectives to be critically evaluated and of finding ways of using linguistic diversity as a bridge into academic studies and a resource in the design. The first step in this direction is to imagine universities in Anglophone settings as multilingual spaces and to acknowledge that multilingualism needs to be given space beyond “the heads of the students or of . Notes 1.or multilingual” (Phillipson 2009: 210).Universities in the Anglophone centre: Sites of multilingualism 141 ways in which linguistic resources of those from the periphery not only “[lose] weight and value during the journey [to the UK]”. it is my contention that universities in the Anglophone centre need to exercise particular care not to increase the gap between the haves and have nots through language practices that privilege elite groups. this is barely recognised. . This paper is based on a presentation at the 2010 Bloomsbury Round Table 2. The call to imagine universities as multilingual spaces is intended as a way of valuing the knowledge and linguistic resources of bi.5% on 2007/8 figures 3. . but are also used by those in authority in the Anglophone centre to create arguments for doing things to people. Altbach et al (2009: viii) comment that one of the biggest challenges facing higher education in the global world is making opportunities available on an equitable basis. While these universities are sites of multilingualism.7% on 2007/8 figures . It is my contention that we need to recognise linguistic diversity in the sector and consider ways of treating it as an asset. The linguistic ecology has been shaped by policies that universities have put into place to deal with globalisation. staff who are bi. such as refusing asylum applications or enforcing immersion education. in particular the internationalisation and access agendas.

Universities and Skills are one management group in BIS. Shareholder Executive and UK Trade & Investment. Angela. Fair Markets. Investigating multilingualism in complementary schools in four communities. 23–43. Kingsley. Bolton. All participant names are pseudonyms. 2005. Creese. Multilingual identities in a global city: London stories. Block. Berns.) Multilingual classroom ecologies: inter-relationships. 2009. Arvind Bhatt. Li Wei. Executive Summary. Angela. 2006. Nirmala Bhojani and Peter Martin. financial aid and access. Creese. Altbach. Jan. Liz. Liz Reisberg and Laura Rumbley. 3–11. Philip. Shahela Hamid. 85–93. heritage and learner identities in complementary schools. David. People and Communications. 2010. Economic and Policy Analysis. Science and Research. Angela and Peter Martin (eds. Scientific and Cultural Organisation. Barac Taskin. 1–7. Angela and Peter Martin. namely: Business. Innovation and Enterprise (including the Better Regulation Executive). Chao-Jung Wu and Dilek Yagcioglu-Ali. 103– 15.142 Siân Preece 4. Peter Martin. 181–200. . 1995. Blackledge. 2003. Birmingham: University of Birmingham. Adrian and Angela Creese. The Sociolinguistics of globalization. 2002. Adrian Blackledge. 2006. 2010. Language and Education 20. 2005. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Special Issue of World Englishes 21. Multilingual classroom ecologies: inter-relationships. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Creese. 2010. Angela and Adrian Blackledge. Expanding on the expanding circle: where do WE go from here? World Englishes 24. A Report prepared for the UNESCO 2009 World Conference on Higher Education. student fees. Vally Lytra. Arvind Bhatt. 2008. In Creese. Action on Access. This group is situated with nine other management groups. Blommaert. John Storan and Liz Thomas. References Allen. Trends in global higher education: tracking an academic revolution. Translanguaging in the bilingual classroom: a pedagogy for learning and teaching? The Modern Language Journal 9. International comparators of widening participation in higher educaction – policy and practice: Higher education in the USA. Chinese Englishes: from Canton jargon to global English. Multicultural. English in the European Union. 5. Lucy Solomon. Margie. English Today 4. Paris: United Nations Educational. Berns. Legal. interactions and ideologies. Creese. Multilingualism: a critical perspective. Margie. interactions and ideologies Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. London: Continuum. Finance and Commercial.

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language learning and widening participation and language and gender. UNESCO Institute for Statistics (2009). 2006. Michael.) The Matrix of language: contemporary linguistic anthropology Boulder: Westview Press. Steven.Trends in tertiary education: . In Brenneis.preece@ioe.Universities in the Anglophone centre: Sites of multilingualism 145 Silverstein. Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings 2009: Top 200 world universities. Special Issue of World Englishes 2. Simpson. She is interested in applied linguistics in educational settings and her research interests include linguistic and cultural diversity. Movement and loss: progression in tertiary education for migrant students. Velez-Rendon. Language and Education 24. 01. July 2009. ox. James and Melanie Cooke. Times Higher Education (2010). s. She is the author of Posh Talk: Language and Identity in Higher Education and has published several articles on multilingual and gender identities. 185–98. http://www. English in Colombia: a sociolingustic profile. University of London. No. D and R Macaulay (eds. 57–74.compas. The emergence of super-diversity in Vertovec. 2010. UIS Fact Sheet. Monoglot ‘standard’ in America: standardization and metaphors of linguistic (accessed 09 November 2010). Siân Preece is a Lecturer in TESOL education at the Institute of Education. 1996. Gloria. 284–306.


A key finding emanating from this research concerns the centrality of the (male) peer group in shaping the linguistic choices these men make and how these may influence current and future bilingual practices. Pujolar 2001.. 1. This led to the observation by Piller and Pavlenko (2001:1–3) in their introduction to the arguably first comprehensive discussion of gender in the context of multilingualism and second language learning. A focus on men’s rather than women’s communicative behaviour and language choices in bilingual settings is motivated by a continuing dearth of studies of men as gendered beings. to some extent. These case studies provide an insight into the complex interrelationship between linguistic choices and the performance of their masculinities in various settings and across different stages of life.Risking or boosting masculinity? Men’s language choices in multilingual settings ANNE PAUWELS Abstract In this paper I draw upon recent insights and advances in the study of gender in multilingual settings to analyse and discuss the constitutive role of language in gender performativity. Pavlenko et al. language practices of three Australian-born men whose parents had migrated to an urban setting in Australia. Gender research and multilingual settings In the past 2 decades significant advances have been made in the exploration and study of gender.g. 1992. gendered behaviour and gendered practices in bilingual settings and multilingual contexts (e. that the gender-blindness from which much research into biand multilingualism suffered. Burton et al. Trechter 2003. In this paper I present case studies of the linguistic choices and. is starting to disappear. Goldstein 2001. ultimately impacting on language maintenance efforts. Gal 1991. more specifically in the performance of masculinities. Indeed until the 1990s . Winter & Pauwels 2005 to name but a few). Rampton 1995. 2001.

Gal 1978) and tended to operate with a concept of gender as a set of traits (based on biology) differentiating men and women. immigrant women’s greater degree of language maintenance in a range of communities was linked to their (biology-based) role of primary carers for children and the aligned cultural role of primary bearers and transmitters of cultural and linguistic traditions. differential rates of language maintenance or shift were explained in terms of the social and cultural consequences of biological roles (e. for details Holmes 1993. Holmes & Meyerhoff 2003. explanations of language practices based on essentialist concepts of gender.. historical and cultural construct. may vary across cultures as well as over time within a culture” (Piller & Pavlenko 2001:22).g. More recently. Pauwels 1995. To this description I would add that variation not only occurs ‘over time within a culture’ but also within a person’s lifespan. For example. dynamics and permeability of gender across time. Differences in bilingual practices and choices.g.. What is considered to be normative masculinity/ies or femininity/ies in adolescence may well be (very) different from those affecting an adult or an elderly person. Furthermore the consequences of transgressing normative masculinities or femininities tend to be different. Callan and Gallois 1982. Moving beyond gender as an essential category allows for a capturing of the fluidity. e. ethnicity. as well as beliefs and ideas about relations between sexes.g. then it comes as no surprise that normative masculinities and femininities. contexts and cultures:“If gender is viewed as a social. 1997). Eckert&McConnell-Ginet 1992). influencing or reflecting linguistic practices and choices in multilingual settings were minimal (with some notable exceptions.. Butler 1990.g. although it took some time before they were applied to multilingual settings due to a monolingual focus (‘monolingual bias’ according to Piller & Pavlenko 2001: 1) prevailing in language and gender research. not only according to culture but also depending on life stage. Current work on gender and language favours a social constructionist or performative view of gender (e. . Cameron 1997a. In relation to gender (and sexuality) the field of language and gender has been the main force in upping the level of theorising around these concepts (e.148 Anne Pauwels focus and attention on the role of gender and sex in shaping. 1993. race and sexuality among others have been subjected to considerable scrutiny given their (significant) limitations. McElhinny 2003) stressing the importance of “a more context-sensitive approach which treats gender as a system of social relations and discursive practices whose meaning varies across speech communities” (Piller &Pavlenko 2001: 3)..

g. it is understandable that the linguistic treatment of women has occupied .. those adolescents operating in multilingual and multicultural settings face the additional task of negotiating different cultural normativities associated with masculinity and femininity (Piller and Pavlenko 2001) often leading to very complex situations. yet seen as acceptable in their other cultural sphere. Eckert 1989) as well as pinpointed the period of adolescence and young adulthood as a particularly crucial and salient stage in the formation of an individual’s linguistic identity (e. Labov 1972. ‘ethnic’ and ‘minority’ adolescents as well as members of certain youth subcultures express and negotiate their identities linguistically ( 2008. Gender. Cheshire et. form and negotiate expressions of identity away from parental ‘control’ and to seek alignments of various kinds with one’s peer group.g. or engaging in innovative. traditions and what may be considered hegemonic practices but also a period in which acceptance by one’s peers through affiliation with a variety of subcultures is of great importance. Often it is not only a period of rebellion or of resistance against norms. Men’s language choices in multilingual settings Given the prominence of feminist approaches in the study of gender and language.Risking or boosting masculinity? Men’s language choices in multilingual settings 149 2. desiring and normative performances of femininity and masculinity. In multilingual settings choosing to speak one language or code over the other. For many young people across cultures and in all parts of the world this period marks the first major opportunity to shape. The case studies presented in this paper will show how three men have dealt with this complex transcultural negotiation of their masculinities and how this has impacted on their linguistic practices and language choices beyond adolescence. adolescence and linguistic identity Much sociolinguistic research on language has revealed the centrality of adolescent speech behaviour in effecting language change (e.. Whilst these negotiations around gender affect adolescents in any kind of setting. Rampton 1995. transgressing normative masculinity or femininity may be harshly sanctioned in one of their cultural spheres. Maher 2005).g. Thus attempts to resist normative femininity/masculinity as part of adolescent ‘rebellion’ in one culture may be simply perceived as normative gendered behaviour in the other culture. 2004. Bailey 2000. Eckert 2000. 2006). bilingual. Of particular importance during this period of transition from childhood to adulthood is the shaping of a gendered identity which involves a constant negotiation between desirable. non-conformist linguistic practices vis a vis the languages in one’s community are typical ways in which ` immigrant. Hewitt 2003. For example. 3.

Teutsch-Dwyer 2001) the majority of work examining the nexus between language practices and masculinities continues to be located in predominantly monolingual or monocultural settings (e. Taking this criticism into account Johnson (1997: 21) draws upon Robert Connell’s (1995) views that studying the multiplicity and diversity in masculine performances is not so much a question of learning to appreciate the diversity but for “understanding the way in which such variation plays a part in the overall construction of hegemonic masculinity”. Griffin 1989). i. 4. With this paper I wish to make a further contribution to exploring the dynamics of language and masculinity in multilingual settings. Central to this exploration is the need to recognise the dialectal nature of the relationship between femininity and masculinity and thus extend the social constructionist or performative notion of gender to the latter. And there is no inherent reason why the discursive strategies used by individual men should be consistent .. After all. Since the 1990s increasing attention has been paid to studying and analysing men’s behaviour from a feminist perspective in an attempt to put gender back into men. Coates 2003. to examine men as gendered beings.150 Anne Pauwels centre stage for many years. Pujolar 2001.. . Gender and language dynamics in transitional bilingual settings In the following sections I present and discuss three case studies that explore and illustrate the interplay between language choice and gender (masculinities in particular) and how this may impact on questions of language maintenance. of multiple masculinities and the acceptance of a more complex view of masculinities have had on the issue of masculine hegemony (e. Although there has been a recent increase in studies examining men’s communicative behaviour in multilingual settings (e. A collection of papers edited by Sally Johnson and Ulrike Meinhof (1997) has been instrumental in exploring men’s communicative practices and linguistic choices from this perspective. for many centuries women’s linguistic behaviour was seen as either aberrant and hence in need of explanation or as unworthy of attention. Kiesling 1989).. contextualized ‘masculinities’ ” (Johnson 1997:20) because “There is no underlying reason why men as a group should be linguistically homogeneous. This gives rise to “the notion of variable.g. From a feminist perspective the criticism has focused on the impact that the recognition of heterogeneity in men’s behaviour.g. Within a framework of critical sociolinguistic studies of multilingualism (e. This stance is not without its critics (both feminist and non-feminist).g..e.g. Cameron 1997b. or even one utterance to the next” Johnson (1997: 21).either from one situation. both in monolingual and multilingual settings.

many children of migrants grow up bilingually. members of this second generation are usually exposed to the parental language(s) in which they gain varying levels of competence. linguistic choices and attitudes of this second generation has become a major research focus. Furthermore.. The Case studies 5. Within domains linked to family life.. either in practice or through policy. Consequently. 5. Of course there is considerable variation amongst such societies in terms of their attitudes towards ongoing bilingualism and the amount of support or opposition they have vis a vis language maintenance efforts (e.1.e. Data The data for these case studies have come from two large-scale projects investigating language practices in bilingual settings. Lo ` Bianco 2007). Although the label ‘second generation’ to denote the locally-born children of migrants is increasingly subjected to debate (e. In many such societies. the maintenance of the immigrant language is not considered a responsibility of the state but as that of the community in question (e. often characterised by a considerable migrant intake.g. Winter & Pauwels 2007). Unlike their parents they are immersed from birth into the new linguistic environment and learn the dominant language of this new environment with relative ease. Ozolins 1993). i. The issue of language maintenance arises foremost in societies where there is no tradition of stable bilingualism. the examination of the language dynamics..g. there is a strong consensus among language scholars of the pivotal role this generation plays in shaping the language practices of future generations. Of crucial interest in the study of language maintenance and shift is the question whether and how this second generation continues its bilingual practices and thus enables subsequent generations to access the language(s) of their ancestors. Not surprisingly.g. though the case studies are not strictly speaking longitudinal. children born and raised in the country to which their parent(s) migrated. they do provide insights into these men’s linguistic practices from childhood through adolescence to (young) adulthood. Furthermore I have chosen to focus the case studies on members of the so-called second generation. The first project was a three year study of the language dynamics and the language maintenance patterns in two generations of three ethnolinguistic groups residing in Australia: German- .Risking or boosting masculinity? Men’s language choices in multilingual settings 151 Heller 2007) they provide scenarios for more detailed and localised discussions of language identities assisting in identifying and refining language maintenance opportunities and restrictions.

Max has regular contact with his parents. According to Max she encourages him to use more German to his German friends and family. Max is tertiary educated and works as an engineer in an automotive company which has quite a lot of contact with Germany. and Roelof Max is a German-Australian who was 32 at the time of the investigation (1993). He still lives with his parents. memoirs. Within this group. to date there has been little systematic attention paid to this group of Australians or on the impact of increased outward migration and transnational mobility on Australian society. etc. Con.At university he met his partner who does not have a German background but who is keen for Max to teach her some German. Greek-Australians and Vietnamese-Australians. He went to university where he studied law and is now working as a . They do not have children yet. He has one sister who is three years younger and he is engaged to a second generation Greek-Australian woman who is 25 years old. He went to Greek school as a little boy and later attended Greek language classes run by the state school system. analysis of diaries. The second project (which is still in its pilot phase) plans to examine the language practices of Australians who have migrated or left Australia on a long-term basis. Although this is not a new phenomenon. Max has one sister who is three years younger. He was exposed to German in the home although his parents did not insist on him speaking German. relatives and friends who are German-born or like him are children of German immigrants. Two case studies – Max and Con – have been drawn from the first project and the third case study – Roelof – comes from the second project on the language practices of the Australian diaspora. In a recent study by Hugo et al. as well as questionnaires about various aspects of language use. Con is a Greek-Australian who was 28 years old at the time of the interview (1993).2. (2003) these Australians are referred to as Australia’s diaspora. interviews and participant observation. In lower secondary school he learned German for three years but did not continue with it. Profiles of the three men: Max. 5. blogs. my particular focus is on the Australian-born children of immigrants who move to live long-term in their parental home country. His mother died seven years before the interview with Max. Data on their language use was collected mainly through questionnaires.152 Anne Pauwels Australians. To date in depth interviews with 4 participants have been undertaken and their questionnaire data have been analysed.. The modes of data collection include in-depth interviews. He was born in Melbourne from German-born parents who had migrated in the early 1960s. At the time of the interviews they had been together almost ten years. He sat a final year exam in Greek.

Linguistic skills and proficiency In an investigation about language choice in bilingual settings it is important to gain an understanding of the linguistic skills the participants have as well as an insight into how they rate their language skills. Hence Roelof. He was born in Melbourne. 5. In addition the interviewer rated their proficiency in speaking. After his traineeship Roelof was offered a position in the export branch of the company and soon thereafter he moved into his own accommodation.3. Although there is no direct relationship between language proficiency and language use. Roelof attended Dutch language classes run by the state school system between 12 and 18 and sat a final year exam in Dutch. When he was 27 years old he went to live in the Netherlands to undertake a traineeship in the tulip industry as he was keen to set up a bulb-growing business in Australia. After three years in the Netherlands he married a colleague. He grew up in a household in which a lot of Dutch was spoken and heard. The International Second Language Proficiency Scales (originally known as the Australian Second Language Proficiency Ratings) developed by David Ingram and Elaine Wylie (Ingram & Wylie 1979) was used to undertake the ratings. He went to university to study agriculture. a participant’s actual and/or self-rated proficiency may influence the language choices they (can) make and the language practices they can engage in. where they have been living ever since. He also had occasional visits from his Australian-based family and relatives. In 2000 Roelof decided to move his family to Australia. Con and Max were asked to rate their proficiency in their ‘home’ languages – Dutch. Greek and German respectively. Like Con. The participants’ English language skills were not assessed given their educational trajectories (all had completed university-level . Roelof is a Dutch-Australian who was almost 45 at the time of the interview (2006). listening and reading based on their performance in the interview which also included some language tasks. It uses a 12-point scale ranging between 0 and 5 to rate each skill with 0 standing for no proficiency to 5 referring to native-like proficiency.Risking or boosting masculinity? Men’s language choices in multilingual settings 153 solicitor in a firm that counts many Greek-Australians amongst its clientele. They stayed in the Netherlands for another 9 years and had two children. During his twelve years in the Netherlands Roelof maintained regular contact with his family in Australia including two return visits. He has regular contact with his extended family including many cousins who are also second generation Greek-Australians. His friendship circle is a mixture of Greek-Australians and predominantly AngloAustralians. the youngest of 5 children two of whom were born in Australia. Initially he lived with his aunt and uncle whose two sons were Roelof ’s age and who were quite fluent in English.

I speak X well enough to take part in face-to-face conversations with most background speakers and in telephone conversations describing familiar things and relating familiar events. Beyond basic courtesy forms I have limited ability to tailor my language. .g.g. I can use the telephone for most purposes and I understand most TV and radio news stories. However I tend to miss subtle plays on words or references to ‘deep’ aspects of the culture. The description for a listening scale of 3 states: I understand almost everything when I am participating in social conversations with background speakers of Indonesian on fairly complex and abstract topics (e.154 Anne Pauwels education). Self-rated and interviewer-rated language proficiency skills of 3 interviewees Participant Con Max Roelof Self-rating: Speaking 2+ 1+ 2+ Self-rating: Listening 4 4 4 Self-rating: Reading 3 2+ 3 Rating: Speaking 2+ 2 2+ Rating: Listening 4 3 4 Rating: Reading 2+ 1 3 Overall. which are the key skills for making language choices. The Table below summarises their self-rated and interviewer-rated language proficiency in three skills. I have difficulty with some accents. are between 2 and 2+ for speaking and between 3 and 4 for listening. (ISLPR scale) These ratings suggest that the participants have sufficient levels of proficiency in the home/community language to operate relatively comfortably. For a rating of 4 it is: I understand most things in the language. Table 1. I often have trouble coming up with the vocabulary I need. Con slightly overrates his reading skills. particularly when I am trying to express more complex ideas. and conveying my opinions fairly precisely ‘off the cuff’. Their ratings for speaking and listening. on a bus) even though I can’t understand some things that they say. even things as difficult as complex radio documentaries with fast speech. I use a range of complex sentences. In the ISLPR scale. there is considerable consistency between the self-assessment and the assessment undertaken by the interviewer. the extent to which a government should subsidise sporting activities). ratings of 2 and 2+ for speaking entail basic social proficiency with the following description for 2. I can generally follow a conversation I overhear between background speakers (e. Only Max’s self-ratings tend to be different from the interviewer ratings: he underrates his spoken proficiency whilst slightly overrating his listening and reading skills. I use a variety of constructions with clauses but I make mistakes in grammar.

His reaction to this apparent . neither Roelof ’s and Max’ parents experienced (major) difficulties with English.Risking or boosting masculinity? Men’s language choices in multilingual settings 155 5. Max felt that he needed to speak more German with his father. ‘then you speak Greek’. he would always speak English except when his parents insisted on them speaking Dutch. Dutch. Max gives a categorical ‘ No I don’t’. However. This lack of confidence in speaking German seemed to be exacerbated when his younger sister was around. Three of Roelof ’s siblings are much older than him (10 to 15 years older) and he said that ‘he would follow their lead’ with regard to language use when he was in Australia. adolescence did not change the language dynamics within the family much with Dutch/Greek continuing to dominate the interaction with parents and English with siblings. ’ Whereas parental lack of proficiency in English played a role in the language choices Con made. ‘out of habit’ and German had become a language he heard rather than spoke in the home. German or Greek) was the main. Con describes his home situation as ‘completely Greek’. a change came when his father became more dependent on him and his sister after his mother died –he was 25. ‘all the time Greek at home’ whereas Roelof recalls that both his father and mother would feign lack of comprehension until he answered in Dutch. His father had always spoken more German than his mother and now reverted even more to German. if not sole language used for family interactions. Con claims to ‘mainly use English’ with his sister except if his parents are around.e. For Max. He also remarked that his sister now wanted to speak German with him when his father was around although they had never spoken German to each other when younger. They were encouraged as well as reprimanded if they replied in English. In Con’s and Roelof ’s case. He felt that she seemed more fluent in German than him. yet he struggled as he was ‘not feeling confident enough’ to do so. Language practices in the family All three men grew up in a family where the community language (i. Max thinks he only spoke German before he went to school: ‘No. In response to the interviewer’s question whether he would ever speak German with his sister. parents were quite insistent that they speak Greek/Dutch in the family. especially younger ones or those close in age to the participants. I don’t remember it myself but I was told it was German. although the presence of parents could change that.’ As soon as he went to school his parents no longer insisted on him speaking German with them – ‘English and German was definitely spoken in the family.4. with Joost who is two years older than him and who was also born in Australia. By the time Max was 17 he spoke mostly English with his parents. For Roelof and Con. Almost from the start English was the preferred language for communication with siblings.

relatives and other members of the same ethnolinguistic group the preferred.g. something his sister is happy to do. English became Roelof ’s main language of interaction with his cousins and other peer group contacts (see below). His sister on the other hand seemed to relish the opportunity to practice her German with them. it is the intergenerational language. For peer group interactions involving friends. older relatives and family friends. His move to the Netherlands meant that there was almost no face-to-face contact with parents and siblings. despite being immersed in a Dutch-speaking environment. If they were joined by visiting relatives and friends from Germany (both young and old) he remained silent or responded in English. his partner uses the occasion to practice some German with her. if not unmarked language choice tends to be English. In some families and communities. as most investigations into the language practices of the second generation in Australia have shown (e. During a participant observation session around an extended family get together (christening of a nephew) Max could be heard to speak in German with his father and some older relatives and older friends of the family when he was on his own with them. Sometimes Max joins in with a few German words but does not switch into German.. Language choices with his father and sister have not changed dramatically since he moved out of the parental home and started sharing a home with his partner. Roelof moved out of the parental home when he was 19 and went to university. a non-German speaker who is interested in learning German. In fact. Bennett 1990. Over time. Upon arrival in the Netherlands his interactions with his aunt. 5. Language use with his siblings remained the same when he met them in the parental home but changed almost completely to English outside of this location. He recalls that little changed in terms of language use when he visited his parents but that his telephone conversations with his parents were usually bilingual: he spoke English and they spoke Dutch. When he called his parents he greeted them in Dutch and then usually switched to English. it is linked to the older generation’s preference for the use of the community language in familial settings for a plethora of reasons. In other words. In most cases though. Language practices and the peer group For many second generation Australians the use of the community language is associated primarily with interactions involving members of the first generation: parents. Rubino .5. when his sister visits them at home.156 Anne Pauwels change was to remain relatively silent in such interactions. uncle and other relatives irrespective of their age were predominantly in Dutch. this practice continues to be influenced by the older generation’s limited competencies in English. Cavallaro 1997.

Con’s friendship groups and networks have always included Greek-Australian peers because ‘this is kind of unavoidable in Melbourne’ according to Con. to from one language to the other’. around friends. – ‘and. Con commented that he started using more Greek with his friends. to explore questions of hybridity and in some cases escape the linguistic and cultural constraints of the home environment. Con. including Con. Peer group interactions and settings. – ‘it just depends on the flow of the conversation or the topic of the conversation whether you’re discussing Greek politics or you’re discussing [incomprehensible]. Con’s peer group networks often involve friends. and he engaged in it frequently even in the presence of non-Greek speaking friends. especially during adolescence. mostly English with a bit of Greek thrown in between’. Tsokalidou 1994). . He recalls that when he first went to school he would sometimes seek out Greek kids so that he could speak Greek as ‘he got tired from concentrating on speaking English’.Risking or boosting masculinity? Men’s language choices in multilingual settings 157 2006. code-switching. In bilingual settings the linguistic choices made in such sites can shape the future of the ‘minority’ language in the community. relatives and acquaintances of Greek-Australian background. Con describes his language patterns in these settings as follows: ‘it depends on the flow of the conversation sometime I I in that regard I found myself to tend to drift from both from both la.e. . probably for a selfish reason that is I want to improve my own Greek and I – . especially by speaking with same age (male and female) visitors from Greece: – ‘I tend to enjoy the conversation in Greek. the students. this changed rather rapidly and English became the default language among his Greek-Australian friends and peers. ah and mainly for the ah only . especially male friends. i. These contexts are critical sites in the performances of gender which influence and shape linguistic practices. friends and acquaintances. he did comment that he sought out opportunities to improve his Greek. . Roelof and Max all have access to peer group interactions involving members of their ethnolinguistic group including relatives. in high school. ‘we kinda used English with Greek words thrown in’. However. Although Con felt confident about his proficiency in Greek. provide opportunities to play and experiment with emergent linguistic and cultural identities. Con enjoyed this way of speaking with his friends. This is not surprising as the Greek community in Australia is both expansive and close-knit (Clyne 1991). . especially after the passing of the first generation. reverted to English. Greek was spoken in the classroom but outside of the formal lessons. even whilst attending Greek school.

Although Max’s friendship networks are ethnically more diverse than Con’s. apparently for fear of having his German competence judged as inadequate. one of his best friends whom Max sees regularly. For example. is perceived as a fluent speaker of German – ‘I have a friend who speaks it fluently’ – yet he never speaks German with him: ‘ The reason is I really just don’t feel confident enough’. . even though they speak English. There was almost no evidence of any form of code-switching or codemixing to the extent that German placenames and names were pronounced in their Anglophone forms. and that tends to improve my own Greek’. . I personally feel that for my own sort of. Yet he claims that interactions with such peers are almost entirely conducted in English. Interestingly. Max also continues to have peer group networks that include German-Australians and German speakers. ‘if there is someone from Greece I think because .158 Anne Pauwels – enjoy having a fluent conversation in Greek with someone who is actually also fluent in Greek. especially if he perceives them as being more competent in German.e. His partner confirmed this and commented that it was particularly obvious with his male friends whom Max perceived as being more competent speakers. I enjoy the conversation more because they are so fluent in Greek that I enjoy the conversation and it allows my own development of the Greek language’. Max does not seize opportunities to improve his German when he meets up with more fluent language users. with the older first generation) or where he feels that his proficiency outranks or is at least on a par with that of his interlocutors. . Only in situations where he is confident that his proficiency is better than that of his interlocutors is he willing to use German. . you . Max restricts his use of German to situations where he is expected to speak German (i. This was confirmed in the participant observation sessions comprising Max and his German-Australian friends and cousins. he mentions that he has done some basic translating for English-speaking monolingual colleagues at work: ‘ To try and interpret for someone else just you know um just to sort of to basically yeah try and get a message across’. As these situations occur less and less . at least it’s just. In fact he mentions that he consciously avoids speaking German with his peers. Later on in the interview he elaborates on his reluctance to speak German to his peer group: ‘I suppose I don’t make a well maybe I do make a bit of a conscious effort in the sheer fact that I don’t have enough confidence to speak it so I suppose it would be and also I’d be very conscious of them judging the way I would be speaking German so therefore I don’t do it I guess.’ Although Max’s friendship networks give him regular opportunities to speak German he does not take advantage of these. he nevertheless continues to have a select group of close German-Australian friends and family with whom he meets regularly. Unlike Con.

He noted that in such encounters ‘they were happy for me to keep speaking English as long as I could understand what they were saying. it gives you status. possibly leading to complete language shift. they regularly praised him for having maintained Dutch so well and being so good at it. although ‘a fair bit of English was spoken’. Whilst he did not withdraw from social situations or peer group interactions with Dutch speakers he seldom. However. especially if they were male. Asked why he seemed more reluctant to use Dutch with male friends. This growing lack of confidence in his Dutch language skills triggered in Roelof the same reaction that Max displayed – withdrawal from the use of the community language. if ever. In addition. Yet his language choices are more akin to Max’s than to Con’s. During this time he also started using more Dutch with his friends . which was not too difficult except if they spoke dialect’. used Dutch with them. you know more . he grew less confident using Dutch with his friends and colleagues. Despite feeling that his Dutch language abilities had improved significantly since his arrival in the Netherlands. Roelof recalled that he was not too apprehensive about having to speak Dutch ‘all the time’ when he moved to the Netherlands. this changed quite dramatically after a few weeks living with his relatives in the Netherlands. that you are you know less competent or something because they look up almost admire you when you speak fluent English. He mentions that he felt ‘quite awkward’ when they made remarks like ‘just speak in English cause we understand and it’s easier for you’ when he was ‘trying to explain something complex’ in Dutch. two brothers who were slightly younger than him (22 and 25 respectively) were initially in Dutch but soon switched to English. Roelof ’s situation is more complex due to his move to the Netherlands where he is immersed in a Dutch-speaking environment.Risking or boosting masculinity? Men’s language choices in multilingual settings 159 frequently his use of German is likely to diminish considerably. they ‘hurried me up’ by switching to English. . His aunt and uncle did not speak English very well and he was comfortable speaking Dutch with them. he joined their network of friends and the same language pattern arose when interacting with these friends. This seemed to be a combination of their ‘wish to practice English with me’ and Roelof feeling intimidated by their apparent fluency in English. he commented: ‘Somehow it feels that they are more critical. his use of Dutch increased in the home. He joked that ‘ I was like an English language guru to them’ but also admitted that ‘I am getting less confident about my Dutch’. As he got on well with the two brothers. He felt confident that he would manage the transition quite well and was looking forward to being immersed in a Dutch language environment. Interactions with his cousins. Roelof mentions that their ‘English wasn’t that crash hot’ but that they did not seem to care about it and that they ‘feel confident using it’.’ When he married a Dutch speaker. . Although they did not correct his mistakes. and with his cousins.

However.160 Anne Pauwels when they made home visits. Roelof would speak English to the child and Hanna would speak Dutch. nieces or nephews at the time of the interviews. both Con and Max were contacted in 2007 to ascertain their current family situation. Men and language choice in multilingual settings These admittedly brief descriptions of these men’s reported language practices in the context of family and friendship settings offer an opportunity to gain insight into how their masculinities shape and are performed through the lan- . Max reported that he had separated from his partner and that there were no children. The language of the family is predominantly English with little evidence of code-switching. On the other hand.’ This changed again when they had their first child as both parents decided it would be good to raise the child bilingually. Both Roelof and Hanna commented that they were ‘pretty consistent in this pattern even when we had our second one’. relatives and friends did impact on the language for family communication: Dutch started dominating as the language of the family although Roelof continued speaking mainly English to his children. His children have become Englishdominant although they continue speaking some Dutch with their mother and also with their Netherlands-based relatives. no stress about getting it wrong. Roelof ’s main use of Dutch is in communication (mainly via phone and video calls) with his Dutch in-laws. Roelof ’s use of Dutch diminished further with few situations calling for the use of Dutch. Hanna mentioned that code-switching was their normal way of interaction before they had children. Neither was available for further interviews but Con reported that he had two young children and that Greek continued to be spoken in the family. especially in the home: ‘Speaking Dutch with her was fun and normal. After moving his family to Australia. he continued speaking English when he had ‘nights out with the boys’.6. Roelof ’s parents have died and his contact with his siblings is almost entirely in English. Roelof mentioned that he felt more at ease speaking Dutch with Hanna. Language practices with the next generation Neither Con nor Max had children. It was therefore not possible to examine their language practices in relation to the next generation at the time. Roelof and his wife. The presence of two young children who spoke Dutch with their mother. However. 5. Roelof at the time of the interview had two children allowing an insight into the question of language maintenance in this family. 6.

Even Roelof. The Greek-Australian community is one of the largest ethnic communities in Australia with large concentrations and a relatively dense network along ethnolinguistic lines in major capital cities. However. It is very likely that their pre-school language experience was predominantly in that language. Furthermore. this environment is also relatively secluded and hence a safe one in language terms: speaking Greek. they are well-educated. not only in the school and outside the home but they also bring it home.Risking or boosting masculinity? Men’s language choices in multilingual settings 161 guage choices they make in multilingual settings. accept this as part of their role and duty as sons of immigrant parents. Census data and research results point towards a community with high levels of language maintenance even in the second generation in comparison to many other groups.g. who has four older siblings. at least when speaking to the parents. Men and language use in the home: doing filial masculinity The three men grew up in families where the community language had a central place. the focus in this paper is not on how representative they are of their ethnolinguistic communities or on drawing comparisons between the men but on exploring and shedding light on how their performances of masculinity shape as well as are constitutive of their language choices. Clyne 1991). they had some formal instruction in the community language and their self-rated and tested language skills are comparable. is likely to have heard and spoken mainly Dutch. Both Con and Roelof. Upon school age English makes its presence felt in the lives of these men. The men in these three case studies display some similarities: they are second generation men. especially Melbourne (e. English is a lingua non grata in the home. The Dutch and German communities in Australia are almost at the other extreme of the language maintenance spectrum. German or Dutch in the home amongst family members does not pose risks to the preferred linguistic perfor- . Clyne 1991). The German-speaking community also shows high rates of language shift in both generations but less so than the Dutch community (e. For Con and Roelof. even Max but to a lesser extent... whereas Max’s parents seem to accept the entry of English in the home. The Dutch community regularly tops the list of ethnolinguistic communities with the highest rate of language shift in both first and second generation.g. Yet they are also markedly different in terms of ethnolinguistic background as they are part of very different ethnolinguistic communities in Australia. Within the home environment the ‘filial’ side of their masculinity takes prominence and that side requires choosing and using the language preferred by the parents. 6. although Roelof ’s case is probably the most atypical. The language profiles of these three men are hence not at odds with those characteristic of their ethnolinguistic communities.1.

the home seems to be the only environment in which he dares use German without the threat of being exposed as ‘not competent’.2. Con’s home environment is probably the most conducive to the use of the community language not only because of his parents’ limited English language competence but also because the language associated with his filial duty enhances his masculinity within a wider network of Greek friends and relatives including his peers. For Roelof. For Roelof and Max the use of Dutch/German in these encounters poses a risk to their preferred projection of masculinity. at least in the home. For Max who repeatedly mentions that he does not feel confident about using German. GermanAustralian). traditions and values associated with their migrant parents. Although their preference may be to speak English to them for whatever reason. Outside the home the ‘Australian’component of their hybrid identity takes precedence. Greek-Australian. Dutch-Australian. which entails displays of competence including linguistic ability in the community language.g. For example. linguistically marked by the use of English as the preferred language including for communication among friends and other peers sharing the same ethnolinguistic background. Doing filial masculinity involves the use of the community language to one’s parents. When doing filial masculinity does not intersect or interfere with other performances of masculinity that demand other language choices. Doing masculinity in these contexts is not bound by filial duties that demand the use of the community language. they tend to comply with the wishes of their parents and speak Dutch. Men’s language choices in the peer group: risking masculinity or boosting masculinity? All three men have siblings as well as friends/relatives who belong to their peer group and with whom they share an ethnolinguistic background. 6. Yet these peers share common or similar experiences of language. culture.. It is foremost in interactions with these peers that questions of identity are explored: for many members of the ‘second generation’ language choices are central to the performance and expression of hybrid gendered identities or hyphenated belongings (e. Max not only avoids speaking German with his friends . speaking Dutch with his parents – at least when he was living in Australia – is an expression of being dutiful. Greek or German respectively. This duty seems to fade when he is no longer in Australia and his contact is via the telephone.162 Anne Pauwels mances associated with projected masculinities outside the home. these three men abide by the language associated with the home. Using the community language within these contexts is a marked choice that problematises the complexity of their gendered hybrid identities.

Unlike Roelof and Max. who wishes to use more German to him but he refuses. Con’s preferred projected masculinity in these settings also contains an element of competence. uncle and initially his cousins). His status as a ‘native speaker’ of English imbues him with linguistic authority leading to a positive masculine identity. As a result of this Roelof starts losing confidence in his ability to speak Dutch to his peers and retreats from the use of Dutch in these encounters. the alleged linguistic superiority of his friend silences or mutes Max in speaking German. yet it is constructed as a desire to improve proficiency rather than as a display of superior proficiency. but he even makes a conscious effort not to speak German with his best friend who is a fluent speaker. Linguistic competence also marks Roelof ’s preferred masculine projection in peer groups. Although he does not avoid situations involving peers who are German speakers. these linguistic practices may boost his status as a Greek-Australian male. not only in his own eyes but also in those of his peer group as well as parents. In fact. Despite receiving positive feedback about his Dutch language proficiency from his relatives (aunt. he ensures his masculinity is not diminished by choosing English as his language of choice. even preferred language for communicating with Greek-Australian peers. . This is also confirmed in his later interactions with his sister. The restoration is aided by the fact that his Dutch cousins and friends like to improve their English. His withdrawal from Dutch is motivated by a perceived loss of masculine status that is intertwined with notions of linguistic competence. especially during adolescence and young adulthood. and seeking ways to improve and practice is not a threat to his projected masculinity in these settings. he is not intimidated by (male as well as female) friends’. visitors’ and colleagues’ superior linguistic fluency in Greek and welcomes engaging with them in Greek to improve his own proficiency.Risking or boosting masculinity? Men’s language choices in multilingual settings 163 because he does not feel confident. Although English also occupies the status of ‘default’. they do not undermine his status as an Australian-Greek male as his competence in English is beyond doubt. Con clearly relishes opportunities in which he can improve his Greek. he seems increasingly intimidated by the linguistic confidence his cousins display in their use of English. Conversely. In both Max’s and Roelof ’s case the ‘muting’ or silencing is more pronounced in the context of male peers. Con’s language choices and practices in peer group interactions are in marked contrast to those of Max and Roelof. Hence using Greek. His retreat into the linguistic comfort zone of English is a way of restoring a positive masculine identity. suggesting that demonstrating or displaying linguistic competence in the community language is a critical aspect of performing masculinity in the company of other bilingual men. even if there is no ‘perfection’. Despite the closeness of these two friends.

The latter in turn were significantly influenced by the role of language and language choice in the performance of their masculinities.164 Anne Pauwels 7. Con engages in practices which are likely to boost his knowledge of the community language. especially with the passing of the first generation. Max and Roelof impose severe restrictions on their use of the community language. practices and actions. restricting it to interactions with older relatives and occasionally his wife. Although all three men were judged to have sufficient proficiency and fluency in the community language to allow for meaningful interactions with community language speakers. yet curbs his use significantly. Underlying this behaviour by Roelof and Max seems to be a fear of exposing linguistic limitations in the company of (male) peers whose linguistic competencies are considered superior. These case studies have indeed revealed how Con. they choose to manage this linguistic resource in different ways. their current linguistic behaviour has been shaped by the choices they made in adolescence and young adulthood. as he relishes opportunities to display his knowledge of Greek in the peer group and seeks out ways of improving his competence in Greek through interactions with much more proficient speakers. Men. With time this lack of use is . In terms of language maintenance. Roelof and Max live their bilingual lives and how language choices and practices shape and are shaped by their contextualised masculinities. This was clearly voiced by Roelof when he mentions being granted ‘guru’ status by his cousins and their friends as a native speaker of English. using Greek (however imperfect) with one’s peers not only expresses the recognition of a shared identity but positively boosts his masculinity in the peer group. it is likely that Roelof and Max may find it increasingly difficult to find safe settings for their use of Dutch/German. Roelof has plenty of opportunities to boost this linguistic resource. It seems that for Con. they retreat from the use of the community language to the safety of English. Although all three men have now reached middle age. As exposing limitations in their linguistic competency is perceived as damaging their desired projection of masculinity. localised and individualised insights into particular forms of behaviour. Unlike Max and to some extent Con. This is especially marked in the case of Roelof who moves to the Netherlands and is thus immersed in a Dutch language environment. masculinities and bilingualism Case studies are designed to allow for more in-depth. Of particular relevance to further study of gendered behaviour in bilingual settings is the pivotal role the peer group plays in influencing linguistic choices and practices. Con’s behaviour is in marked contrast to that of Roelof and Max. I contend that for Max and Roelof a display of linguistic competence in German and Dutch respectively is a critical component of their masculine performance in such peer group settings.

Francesco. 1997a. 1995. New York: Routledge. 1989. Meinhof (eds. Bodies that matter. Community languages. Bennett. Coates. Clyne. New York: Teachers College Press. Performing gender identity: Young men’s talk and the construction of heterosexual masculinity. Butler. Masculinities. 1990. Oxford/Providence: Berg. Deborah. Connell. Sociolinguistica 22. 47–64. B. London: Sage. Cameron. Kerswill & E. Butler.) 1994. 21–36. International Journal of Psychology 17. Cavallaro. Victor & Cynthia Gallois 1982. The performance of their desired masculinities have had a negative effect on their bilingual practices. Jenny. P. Language and masculinity. Penelope. 555–582. Burton. Fox. Cameron. Michael. Penelope. Linguistic variation as social practice: The linguistic construction of identity in Belten High. Real boys don’t do languages. Monash University. London: Palgrave Macmillan. The Australian experience. Judith. Gender and discourse. Jane. References Bailey. Language in Society 29. Oxford: Polity Press.Risking or boosting masculinity? Men’s language choices in multilingual settings 165 likely to have an impact on proficiency. Deborah. 2003. Ethnicity. E. Monash University. 2000. 1990. 1997. 2000. thus further reducing the chances of language maintenance. Eckert. Bilingual women: Anthropological approaches to second language use. Men talk. NewYork: Routledge. Oxford: Blackwell. In Ruth Wodak (ed. Conversely. Language and negotiation of ethnic/racial identity among Dominican Americans. Jocks and burnouts: Social categories and identities in the high school. In Sally Johnson & Ulrike H.). Oxford: Blackwell. Callan. 345–358. Language dynamics of the Italian community in Australia. Jennifer. . Theoretical debates in feminist linguistics: Questions of sex and gender. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Carr. Torgersen 2008. Judith. 1997b. Oxford: Blackwell. Eckert. Ketaki Kushari Dyson & Shirley Ardener (eds. 1993. 1991. Boys and language learning. Con’s willingness to use Greek in a wide variety of settings and to seek improvement from more competent speakers undoubtedly puts him in a much better position to pass on the language to the next generation.Language attitudes of Italo-Australian and GreekAustralian bilinguals. friendship network and social practices as the motor of dialect change: Linguistic innovation in London. Jo & Anne Pauwels 2005. Attitudes of the second Dutch to language maintenance and ethnic identity. PhD Thesis. S. PhD Thesis. Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. Cheshire. Australia.). Robert W. Pauline.1–23.


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Eckert, Penelope. 2004. Adolescent language. In Edward Finegan & John R. Rickford (eds.), Language in the USA: Themes for the twenty-first century, 360–375. New York: Cambridge University Press. Eckert, Penelope &Sally McConnell-Ginet. 1992. Think practically and look locally: Language and gender as a community-based practice.Annual Review ofAnthropology 21. 461–490. Gal, Susan. 1978. Peasant men can’t get wives: Language and sex roles in a bilingual community. Language in Society 7.1. 1–17. Gal, Susan. 1991. Between speech and silence: The problematics of research on language and gender. In Micaela Di Leonardo (ed.), Gender at the crossroads of knowledge, 175–203. Berkeley: University of California Press. Goldstein, Tara. 2001. Researching women’s language practices in multilingual workplaces. In Aneta Pavlenko, Adrian Blackledge, Ingrid Piller & Marya Teutsch-Dwyer (eds.), Multilingualism, second language learning and gender, 77–102. Berlin: Mouton-De Gruyter. Griffin, Christine 1989. Review of Brod, Kimmel and Connell. Feminist Review 33. Autumn. 103–105. Heller, Monica (ed.) 2007. Bilingualism: a social approach. Houndsmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan. Hewitt, Roger. 2003. Language, youth and the destabilisation of ethnicity. In Roger Harris & Ben Rampton (eds.), The language, ethnicity and race reader, 188–198. London: Routledge. Holmes, Janet. 1993. Immmigrant women and language maintenance in Australia and New Zealand. International Journal of Applied Linguistics 3.2. 159–179. Holmes, Janet & Miriam Meyerhoff (eds.) 2003. The handbook of language and gender. Oxford: Blackwell. Hugo, Graeme, D. Rudd & K.Harris 2003. Australia’s diaspora: Its size, nature and policy implications. Canberra: CEDA Information Paper No 80. Ingram, David & Elaine Wylie 1979. Australian Second Language Proficiency Ratings. Mimeograph. Johnson, Sally. 1997. Theorizing language and masculinity: a feminist perspective. In Sally Johnson & Ulrike H. Meinhof (eds.), Language and masculinity, 8–26. Oxford: Blackwell. Johnson, Sally & Ulrike H. Meinhof (eds.)1997. Language and masculinity. Oxford: Blackwell. Kiesling, Scott F. 1998. Variation and men’s identity in a fraternity. Journal of Sociolinguistics 2:1. 69–100. Labov, William. 1972. Sociolinguistic patterns. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Lo Bianco Joseph. 2007. Contrasting and comparing minority language policy: Europe and Australia. In Anne Pauwels, Joanne Winter & Joseph Lo Bianco (eds.), Maintaining minority languages in transnational contexts, 78–104. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

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McElhinny, Bonnie. 2003. Theorizing gender in sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology. In Janet Holmes & Miriam Meyerhoff (eds.), The handbook of language and gender, 21–42. Oxford: Blackwell. Maher, John C. 2005. Metroethnicity, language and the principle of Cool. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 175–176. 83–102. Ozolins, Uldis. 1993. The politics of language in Australia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pauwels, Anne. 1995. Linguistic practices and language maintenance among bilingual women and men in Australia. Nordlyd 23. 21–50. Pauwels,Anne. 1997. The role of gender in immigrant language maintenance inAustralia. In Wolfgang W¨ lck & Annick De Houwer (eds.), Recent studies in contact linguistics, o 276–286. Bonn: D¨ mmler Verlag. u Pavlenko, Aneta, Adrian Blackledge, Ingrid Piller & Marya Teutsch-Dwyer (eds.), Multilingualism, second language learning and gender. Berlin: Mouton-De Gruyter. Piller, Ingrid & Aneta Pavlenko 2001. Introduction: Multilingualism, second language learning, and gender. In Aneta Pavlenko, Adrian Blackledge, Ingrid Piller & Marya Teutsch-Dwyer (eds.), Multilingualism, second language learning and gender, 1–16. Berlin: Mouton-De Gruyter. Pujolar, Joan. 2001. Gender, heteroglossia and power. Berlin: Mouton-De Gruyter. Rampton, Ben. 1995. Crossing:language and ethnicity among adolescents. London: Longman. Rampton, Ben. 2006. Language in late modernity: Interaction in an urban school. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Rubino, Antonia. 2006. Linguistic practices and language attitudes of second generation Italo-Australians. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 180. 71–88. Teutsch-Dwyer, Marya. 2001. (Re)constructing masculinity in a new linguistic reality. In Aneta Pavlenko, Adrian Blackledge, Ingrid Piller & Marya Teutsch-Dwyer (eds.), Multilingualism, second language learning and gender, 175–198. Berlin: Mouton-De Gruyter. Tsokalidou, Roula. 1994. Cracking the code: An insight into code-switching and gender among second generation Greek-Australians. PhD Thesis, Monash University, Australia. Trechter, Sara. 2003. A marked man: The contexts of gender and ethnicity. In Janet Holmes & Miriam Meyerhoff (eds.), The handbook of language and gender, 423– 443. Oxford: Blackwell. Winter, Joanne &Anne Pauwels 2005. Gender in the construction and transmission of ethnolinguistic identities and language maintenance in immigrant Australia. Australian Journal of Linguistics 25.1.153–168. Winter, Joanne & Anne Pauwels 2006. Language maintenance in friendships: Second Generation German, Greek and Vietnamese migrants. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 180. 123–139. Winter, Joanne & Anne Pauwels 2007. Language maintenance and the second generation: Policies and practices. In Anne Pauwels, Joanne Winter & Joseph Lo Bianco (eds.),


Anne Pauwels

Maintaining minority languages in transnational contexts, 180–200. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Anne Pauwels is Professor of Sociolinguistics and Dean of the Faculty of Languages and Cultures at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. Her research deals with the social and sociolinguistic aspects of language and communication, with particular attention to multilingual and transnational settings. Her main research foci include multilingualism, language maintenance/shift, language policy in relation to language learning in schools and universities as well as various aspects of the relationship between gender and language. Email:

The multiple faces of multilingualism: Language nominations

Abstract Language nominations are appellations commonly assigned by language users to their languages, such as mother tongue, foreign language, heritage language, languages of new minorities. They are the markers of the diversity of multilingualism, indicating both the linguistic and societal characteristics of languages and the perspectives of their users. The changeability of nominations over time reflects the evolution of sociolinguistic situations within local and global communities, including attitudinal development, regarding the range of languages sharing particular environments (language ecology). Cumulatively, language nominations can be regarded as a naturally evolving classification reflecting the diversity of the functions and status of languages in the contemporary world – a classification that provides useful tools for monitoring the dynamics of multilingualism in particular communities and within a specific timeframe. This paper introduces and describes the notion of language nominations and shows the roles that specific language appellations may play for multilingual individuals and multilingual societies. It also demonstrates how language nominations can be used in research on multilingualism. Key-words: Multilingualism; language nominations; liminality, identity, language and timespace, linguistic diversity, mother tongue

1. Introduction This paper has two principle aims: one is to present and describe the notion of language nominations and demonstrate the role which specific language appellations play for multilingual individuals and multilingual societies. The other aim is to show how language nominations can be used in research on multilingualism and in multilingual practices.


´ Larissa Aronin, Muiris O Laoire and David Singleton

The new linguistic dispensation (Aronin and Singleton 2008) is characterised by a vast diversity of populations and multiple languages in space and time. Diversity and identity have become especially active foci of investigation in the study of languages and society. The recognition and celebration of diversity go hand in hand with what Riley called identity rush, (Riley 2010: 376). Multiple and diverse “identities are reconfigured, recovered and rejected” (Riley 2010: 376) against the background of a myriad of language repertoire configurations and patterns of language use. Each language in a repertoire plays a particular role unique to the individual involved. Language roles for individuals only very loosely coincide with the allocation of roles which a community may give to its languages. What in certain formal contexts is referred to as official language may be the mother tongue for some and a third language for others.The great range of language role allocations contributes to what can be called ‘multiple faces of multilingualism’.1 The face metaphor includes many aspects which are important in multilingualism.2 The meaning of the word face includes nuances such as appearance, facade, side, dimension, and also self-respect and respect, reputation, dignity, as well as honour, prestige, image status, position. These we easily recognize as being hot spots of current research on language and society. The metaphor of multiple faces appositely captures the nature of multilingualism in that it represents its manifold nature, the possibility of outward and inward contents and the necessity to reveal its heretofore undiscovered depths. Some faces are not easily seen, and they may take considerable time and scholarship to discern. Some faces of multilingualism come to the surface later than others. Elsewhere we have pointed out that many language-related processes and phenomena have, of late, become especially visible owing to recent societal shifts and changes, in particular to those in the domain of language use. In other words, under the current sociolinguistic dispensation, issues which previously were impossible to single out, are now becoming apparent (Aronin and Singleton 2008; Aronin and Hufeisen 2009). We have called this quality of contemporary multilingualism liminality. Figure 1 presents our proposed outline of current developments and properties of multilingualism, among the three basic properties of which we place liminality. In what follows we suggest that language nominations reflect a range of perceptions regarding specific languages on the part of those who speak them and on the part of those who may appraise the languages and their speakers. First, we define and describe the concept of language nominations. Then we show how language nominations function de facto for individuals and communities. After suggesting a classification of language nominations, we outline some possibilities relative to the use of this concept in research. The final section serves

The multiple faces of multilingualism: Language nominations


Figure 1. The Properties and Developments of the Current Global Linguistic Dispensation (Aronin and Singleton 2008; Aronin and Hufeisen 2009: 105)

to illustrate such a use, drawing on an empirical study by Ó Laoire and Aronin (2005) as an example.

2. Language nominations The concept of language nominations refers to language appellations such as mother tongue, second language, foreign language, official language, majority language, minority language, etc., which are assigned to various languages according to their perceived role and value for an individual or a community (Ó Laoire and Aronin 2005). Language nominations are terms that have been traditionally attached to languages used in society which necessarily accompany or replace the proper names of particular languages (e.g. English, Turkish, Urdu, etc – which, of course, are also language nominations).

foreign language. permanency and inseverable emotional ties. . on the other hand. Other language nominations are consciously and carefully coined by professionals involved in language research. however. mother tongue carries the connotations of origin. Some parents reminded the child of the location of a language: ‘A l’école on parle le fran¸ ais’ [at school we speak French]. e Naturally evolving language nominations are vital in individual language acquisition.g. They clearly carry emotional and functional connotations and they point to the political and societal status of given languages. Appellations in common usage often (but not always) coincide with the terminology of the language sciences. in the USA language professionals observing the upsurge of interest by the grandchildren of immigrants in languages of their forebears felt compelled to construct and define the term heritage language (Kagan 2005. (Barron-Hauwaert 2000: 7) . Wiley 2001.’French’ or ‘English’) while the other half used personalized labels such as ‘Mummy’s/Daddy’s’ {language. In part. etc. or that English is ‘Australia’s c language’ (as they previously lived in Australia). Half the sample of children used the ‘proper’ name (i. ‘Mama spricht Deutsch’ [Mama speaks German] or ‘Papa dit ca en fran¸ ais’ [papa says it in ¸ c French]. The genesis of language nominations is twofold. while second language and foreign language. She researched the use of languages in trilingual families. on the basis of a shared popular understanding of the designated phenomenon rather than on the basis of the decisions of some academic or political body.’ The author further notes that she assumed ‘There was a correlation with age. labeling each language is necessary. In addition to carrying strong subjective connotations. language policy. For example. is bottom-up in nature. native language. Muiris O Laoire and David Singleton Language nominations. e. Thus. [. connote distance between the inner world of the speaker and his/her languages. language teaching. Such terms may also convey subjective evaluation and/or information about the place that a society allocates to a specific language in a specific place and period of time. their creation is the work of ordinary language users – i.] as a younger child would say ‘Mummy’s language’ and an older one ‘English’. are more than just labels. her sample coming mostly from Switzerland and Belgium. Barron-Hauwaert writes: With three languages. Vald´ s 2000). . language nominations advert to the value and role currently assigned to a given language by a particular society/community.172 ´ Larissa Aronin.e. Some such nominations come into circulation naturally by way of popular coinage.e. but their origins may also be characterized by a degree of top-down imposition.Very telling evidence of the significance of language nominations for individual language acquirers comes from Barron-Hauwaert (Barron-Hauwaert 2004).

third language. In many of these states Russian is a minority language while in others it has been sidelined and nominated as a foreign language. This is an example of natural evolving language nominations. Such comments usually refer to the cases when a given set of speakers and those outside their particular community of speakers apply different proper names to the same language. second language. The term additional situates the language within a set of values where many languages are seen as enjoying more or less equal status. they claim to be Anˆ m speakers (Romaine 1994: citing Thurston 1987). German or French. the people of Salkei village. It can be argued that there exist some individuals and communities who do not know which language they use. As for the Bolo speakers themselves.The multiple faces of multilingualism: Language nominations 173 Families may use a personalized label when the child begins to talk. ’to help the child label the phenomenon of the mother and the father speaking differently. as in the case described in Mesthrie et al. Using the rather neutral term additional perhaps implies that the situation of using more than one language is not unusual or strange. They say Bolo speakers really speak Mouk. . would be used. and as such now competes for a place in the school curriculum with English. the Anˆ m people of another village do not think e that the Bolo speak acceptable Anˆ m any more e (Mesthrie et al. when the child has mastered two languages. Languages have symbolic value in society and very often a language nomination is an expression of that value. such as ‘Mummy’says . for example. It can be said that language nominations have a reflective function since they reflect and mirror the current state of the attitude to and role of each language in the picture. Being aware of language nominations also allows for thinking about these roles in a particular time and in a particular discourse. 2000: 10) . but Aria speakers from other villages say it is not Aria. In the days of the Soviet Union. it shows an important role for nominations in individual early language acquisition. who speak Mouk. In modern times we increasingly meet the nomination additional language(s) used where previously foreign language. The language spoken in Bolo village is also from a linguist’s point of view identical to Aria. the Russian language was the language of interethnic communication. After the dissolution of the USSR it is still used as a lingua franca by speakers and organizations in business and political negotiations. say that Bolo people speak Aria. use of the proper name is more appropriate’ (Barron-Hauwaert 2000: 7). If this e were not complicated enough. ‘Later. (2000: 10) in connection with the fuzzy boundaries between languages in Papua New Guinea. but more importantly. etc. However. .

rather for orientation on the global-local. “non-territorial languages” means languages used by nationals of the State which differ from the language or languages used by the rest of the State’s pop- . Janson (2002) notes that the naming of a language is a crucial step in its emerging identity: ‘[a] language without a name does not exist’ (Janson 2002: 230). traditionally used within a given territory of a State by nationals of that State who form a group numerically smaller than the rest of the State’s population. migrant languages. a further example of language nominations functioning to reflect language status and attitudes. then. lesser used languages. “territory in which the regional or minority language is used” means the geographical area in which the said language is the mode of expression of a number of people justifying the adoption of the various protective and promotional measures provided for in this Charter. Language nominations. b. the assessment is not good or bad. whether or not there is any intention of doing so. Even if a language nomination is created in a top-down manner. although the latter appellation is a perfectly worthy one. individual coinage and varying degrees of consensus. and ii. frequently we also overtly or covertly evaluate it. The difference in nominations (or mis-nomination from someone else’s point of view) demonstrates the social processes of inclusion-exclusion. and LOTE – languages other than English. This is. The nomination of international language is perceived as more weighty than that of lesser-used language. “regional or minority languages” means languages that are: i. New language nominations are continually cropping up in the relevant literature. The European Charter for Regional or Minority languages illustrates this point. different from the official language(s) of that State.174 ´ Larissa Aronin. abounding in terms and definitions which are seen to be required by the situation it addresses: a. c. defying or accepting ethnical links. close-far scale of languages. arising out of research. But. the impetus for its coinage is the societal significance of the function and role of the phenomenon it designates and the terminological needs of social practice in respect of this phenomenon. recent examples include: pluricentric languages (Clyne 1992). at least to a degree. Muiris O Laoire and David Singleton The above-described situation demonstrates how languages identical from the linguist’s point of view are perceived as self-evidently different by different communities speaking them and acquainted with them. thus. When we name a language with any of its appellations. it does not include either dialects of the official language(s) of the State or the languages of migrants. mainly. perform a measuring/rating function.

although traditionally used within the territory of the State. for example. unique languages. it helps to establish clear goals and to design effective curricula suitable for every kind of learner. Cenoz (2009: xiii) begins with what can be interpreted as an attempt to find the proper nomination for the languages used in the Basque Autonomous Community by weighing the specific circumstances of the Basque. culture or politics. Any meaningful change or particular need in language-related activity – such as. In a very different context the nomination titular languages is increasingly entering the general discourse following the increase of information and research on the post-Soviet countries. It is often the case that a more nuanced status of a language in a community is signalled by being associated with new labels and by a discussion of the relative merits of. Many specific sociolinguistic situations. The first comes from the Basque Autonomous Community (BAC) in Spain. We offer here two examples where any investigation of the educational systems in question inevitably requires a pre-determination of the pertinent nominations as a point of departure. cannot be identified with a particular area thereof. autochthonous languages.) The interest in minority languages. actually trying out the proper nominations for languages. brings about the need to be more specific and to acknowledge and consider finer distinctions in the roles and vitality of minority languages in different circumstances. (European Charter for regional or minority languages 1992 http://conventions. In education. be they in education. An example of a scholarly attempt to further explore already numerous roles and appellations in respect of English is the study recently undertaken by Cook (2008) who analyses two language nominations of English – English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) and English as a Second Language (ESL). which has become especially intense in recent decades. require deliberation of nominations or around nominations as a pre-requisite for planning or understanding the situation. – can trigger a discussion of nominations for the languages involved. and the second refers to teaching Irish in Ireland. Such a fitting and matching process.The multiple faces of multilingualism: Language nominations 175 ulation but which. and the differences between the nominations in question. In her examination of education through Basque in the BAC. .coe. In fact. clarifying and specifying the nominations of languages involved may be the first necessary step in language planning. second and foreign languages. discussed and used (sometimes in very specific contexts) by researchers – thus: regional Treaties/Html/148. for example education. A number of terms have been proposed. Spanish and English languages against the definitions of heritage.htm. local languages.

an autochthonous language. speakers of Basque as a first language learn Spanish as a second language defined as ‘a language other than the mother tongue learned in an environment in which that language is the dominant language or where the language is an international language of commerce and industry’. and a foreign language for learners from the immigrant and migrant community. But it is not the kind of heritage lan- . Cenoz is aware of the fact that the existing nominations do not exactly cover the current sociolinguistic situation and that ‘it is difficult to fit educational and sociolinguistic realities within strict boundaries and there is overlap between the scope of heritage. Irish. second and foreign language. In fact Basque can be considered a heritage language ‘learned by members of an ethnic group desirous to reconnect with the culture of their ancestors’ because it is learned by Basque L1 speakers and by Basque students who no longer speak Basque and learn it at school. shows that nominations are instrumental in defining approaches to teaching the language. All students in the Basque Autonomous community also learn a foreign language understood as ‘a language that is learned in an instructional environment or during a temporary sojourn abroad as part of general education or for professional purposes’. an official language for all. second and foreign languages as defined by Kramsch (2007:5). Language learning in the Basque educational system is linked to research on heritage. She explains that: .176 ´ Larissa Aronin. At the same time. These situations cannot be considered heritage language learning in a strict way but it is difficult to consider them ‘second language’ because Basque is not the dominant language or an international language and it is not a foreign language either because it [is] an official language in some parts of the Basque Country. Muiris O Laoire and David Singleton turns out to be indispensable for working with the realities of the Basque educational system and is in fact a common prerequisite for defining policies and designing curricula in respect of any educational system. the spread of Basque as the language of instruction and the new multilingual and multicultural situation in the Basque Country have developed into situations which do not fit completely into the three categories of heritage. Irish is a native language for some (three percent of the population). (Cenoz 2009: xiii–xiv) Ó Laoire (2010: 231–249) discussing the approaches to teaching Irish in the past. second and foreign languages’ (Cenoz 2009: xiii). It is very common for speakers of Spanish as a first language and for immigrants who speak other languages to be instructed through Basque even if this was not the language used by their ancestors. (Cenoz 2009: xiii). is now taught communicatively using methods adopted from foreign language pedagogy. Further. . a second language for the majority of learners. .

A language nomination can lead to greater respect and use of the language. Thus. The language act of 1989 nominated the state language of Moldova as Romanian. language nominations are indispensable and need to be used when dealing with (planning. For both individuals and groups of people language nominations are instrumental in negotiating their identity and status. or any disquiet or commotion. In 1994 the then president Snegur managed to include an article in the new Moldavian constitution using the nomination Moldovan language. evaluating.The multiple faces of multilingualism: Language nominations 177 guage that is taught. At times of major political events. Then a struggle took place between radical nationalists oriented to Romania and the more moderately inclined parties who preferred the term Moldavian language. Luchinsky. for instance. role and status of the language for its various sets of learners. About a year later the Speaker of the parliament. In addition to the reflective and assessment functions. analysing) education through specific languages or language education. say in the USA. We have already discussed above the formative/ important role of language nominations in the process of acquiring two or more languages by a child in a family. In the first case individuals link themselves or demonstrate their links with a language which is prestigious or important to them in some way. Many such examples are reported in discussions of census results. ethnic turbulence. in the case of Chinese or Spanish speakers. or it may have an opposite diminishing effect. A well known example is the case of the Modovan-Romanian language (see for example in Alpatov 2000: 185). can guide people towards dealing in a particular manner with a given language or towards a particular set of attitudes in respect of a particular language and its users. suggested a compromise: “Moldovan (Romanian) language” which was also rejected. In order to assess the teaching of Irish and draw up future plans in an informed way. in fact. the discussion must inevitably be centred on the situation. Each language nomination for Irish thus necessitates a differentiated curriculum and pedagogical approach. where immigrants nominate the official/national . Two opposite scenarios are known to be used to ascertain one’s identity: either subscribing to. Since nominations indicate the status of a language in a society. because in Ireland Irish is taught to all students. they are very often the subject of struggle and negotiation activities or a long period of political lobbying. In 1995 a student demonstration ensued in which one of the main demands was a return to the previous Romanian language nomination. the public appellation (nomination) for a certain language can produce a tangible impact on the outcomes of events and the social situation. Language nominations are instrumental in negotiating individual identity. A language nomination. language nominations perform another important function: they can modify or exert some influence on identities and groups of language users. or defying certain language nominations.


´ Larissa Aronin, Muiris O Laoire and David Singleton

language of a host country as their native language. People who wish to assimilate or not be different from the general population of a country or region report themselves as the native speakers of the majority language. The other side of the coin is that some language speakers for a variety of reasons do not admit their first language as their mother tongue. We have seen in the previous section that language nominations are used de facto, whether consciously or unconsciously, by individuals in order to negotiate, and stabilize their identities as well as by societal agencies in order to process languages in education, politics and culture.

3. Language Nominations: the potential of the use of this concept We argue here that the concept of language nominations can be fruitfully used in research and in practice (see also Aronin and Singleton 2010). Language nominations are numerous and diverse, and they perform a variety of functions. We propose here a classification of language nominations into four main categories: 1. Language proper names, such as French, Tamil, Armenian. 2. The continuum of ‘close – far’, covering the range between the poles of ‘mother tongue’ and ‘foreign language’. 3. The complex hierarchical continuum of social-geographic dimensions. e.g. international (implies simultaneously of world-wide spread and importance) and regional languages (less geographical spread and of less importance than international, but more than ‘lesser-used’, ‘tribal’ languages). 4. Emotional-identity scale, including such nominations for languages as heritage, home, ethnic and community. Each of these nominations hints at the proximity of a given language to the speaker revolving around his/her permanent and temporary identity characteristics, such as his/her past, emotions and attitudes, interests and predilections, needs and career. It can be easily seen that these four axes along which one can situate language nominations overlap. A language may be seen from the angle of career needs, while simultaneously referring to the identity situation (for example, for a German-speaking wife of an Irishman living in Ireland, English is probably the language she works in, and the language in which she communicates with close friends and colleagues) (axes 2 and 4); Alternatively, a language can be seen from the perspective of a particular hierarchical continuum – for example, language appellations of various weights/importance between international and lesser used languages. A language and its importance can be categorised and studied from the point of view of any one of these axes, ignoring the other

The multiple faces of multilingualism: Language nominations


categories for a particular situation and particular research needs. Usually researchers take one axis at a time, when considering the specific needs of their analysis. It is also clear that one and the same language can receive more than one nomination from its speakers or outside evaluators. Languages differ in the number of nominations that are attached to them. For example, the French language, French – labelled by a proper name nomination, (axis 1) is also an international language (axis 3), since it is one of the most widely used for business, culture and tourism communication along with English, German and Spanish; it is a foreign language for pupils and students in Ireland, Russia, the UK, and many other countries (axis 2), a heritage language, a colonial language for Algeria (axis 2), a minority language among the Lebanese immigrant community in London and a majority language in France. Unlike French, the Chuvash language (a Turkic language spoken in central Russia – primarily in the Republic of Chuvashia and adjacent areas) does not have so many nominations. It is a minority language in some regions of Russia. The number and the exact number of nominations involved may be used as a kind of rating of a particular language. In this way, for example, we can say that the more nominations a language has, the more functions it performs, the more active it is in the global or local scene, depending on whether it is associated with more global nominations or with locally oriented nominations. Deliberating over given data on how people nominate their languages realizes only part of the potential of the concept of language nomination. We claim here that more targeted use of the phenomenon of language nominations can be highly beneficial in research contexts. Language nominations do not always remain static in the face of time and space changes. With regard to the geographic spread of languages, particular appellations are not permanently attached to particular languages (Aronin and Singleton 2010). For example, German changes its nomination of official language to that of minority language as one travels across the border from Germany to Italy, and Hungarian undergoes the same shift in appellation in the transition from Hungary to Slovenia (see Cenoz and Gorter 2008). Similarly, the nomination lingua franca is aptly attached to Hindi in some states of India, but this language could not be appropriately labelled as a lingua franca throughout the entirety of the country (Kachru et al. 2008). The changeability of nominations over time is remarkable. It reflects the evolution of language situations within particular and global communities. In former times the terms native language, mother tongue and first language denoted the first language spoken as a child, the language of one’s family and one’s home and the language of the wider community in which one lived. These days,


´ Larissa Aronin, Muiris O Laoire and David Singleton

we notice that it is by no means unusual for a person to take some time and to think very hard before responding to the question ‘what is your native language?’ Increasingly, popular usage applies such terms to a person’s strongest language or the language considered by the individual as his/her most important language, whether or not this was the language originally encountered as the parental or home language. Moreover, whatever the order of acquisition, the language perceived as the first language may or may not be the language of the wider community. In addition to further clarifying and adding new language nominations, researchers replace nominations which, in their opinion, are not suitable any more, in the sense that that they do name the phenomenon adequately. In introducing a new approach to multilingualism, Herdina and Jessner (2002) have chosen the less conventional nominations of primary, secondary and tertiary languages rather than the more commonly used first language, second language and third language. As time passes by, and the liminal aspects of multilingualism become ever more manifest, the need to change language nominations is felt by some researchers to be increasingly urgent. In 2009 Hammarberg devoted his paper in the 6th International Conference on Third Language Acquisition and Multilingualism in Bolzano, Italy entirely to the issue of the basic language nominations. In a later article (Hammarberg 2010), Hammarberg questions traditional appellations of non-first language learners in favour of other nominations which he suggested. His essential argument is that the problems with the expressions first, second and third language have become more apparent with the emergence of research on L3 acquisition. “The recent focus on L3 acquisition means that one has begun taking the complexity of multilingual language learners’ language background into account.” He than continues: “This gives rise to reflection about some of the currently used basic terminology in the field, in particular how the concepts first, second and third language are understood.” (2010: 91). Hammarberg stresses “the need for reconsideration and clarification of the concepts L1, L2 and L3 from the point of view of multilingual language users and learners”. Hammarberg proposes to change these established terms and suggests primary, secondary and tertiary language as possible replacements. (2010: 91) The increase in the number of nominations and the evident increase in their use in social and scientific discourse, as well as the tendency to make strenuous efforts to clarify and disambiguate the language nominations in question speak volumes about the increasing importance of language nominations in the current language dispensation (Aronin & Singleton 2008). Language nominations can be considered to be sensitive and dynamic diversity markers which enable us to ‘keep a finger on the pulse’ of the changes in functions and status of any given language in a given society. They may also provide a starting point for various

The multiple faces of multilingualism: Language nominations


Figure 2. Acquisition of languages. The ordering hierarchy (Hammarberg 2010: 101).

kinds of comparisons which emerge from the perceptions of actual language communities, and which are thus less likely to be open to charges of researcher bias. Language nominations can also be used to explore the success or otherwise of a language policy, or to gauge the distance between the desired status of a certain language and its de facto role in a particular society. For example, a language may be granted official status in a given community, but members of that community who speak it as a first language may not nominate it as their native language if asked to ascribe language nominations to their repertoire of languages.


´ Larissa Aronin, Muiris O Laoire and David Singleton

We have seen so far that analysing the number and character of nominations in relation to specific languages, comparing nominations across languages, and tracing the changes in language nominations over space and time can be fruitful in sociolinguistic research. Looking closely into a particular sociolinguistic situation through the lens of language nominations can also bring fresh insights. In the next section we show how new findings can be obtained using language nominations as a tool for exploring the identities of multilinguals.

4. An empirical study of the identity of multilinguals using the language nomination concept This section aims to show the potential of using language nominations as a point of departure in studies especially interested in the linguistic identity of speakers. Language nominations were used as a tool in the research by Ó Laoire and Aronin carried out in Ireland and Israel in 2005.3 The study focused on how multilinguals themselves nominate their languages, with a view to revealing and describing the characteristics of multilinguals. The purpose of the study also included that of understanding the subjective value of each language as opposed to other languages in a particular person’s language constellation. The study sample comprised 37 multilinguals, citizens of Israel from autochthonous (n = 5) and immigrant (n = 32) populations and 29 EU citizens temporarily living/studying/working (n = 24)/ in Ireland and immigrants (n = 4). The countries of origin were many: Israel, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Chile, Israel, France, Morocco, Switzerland, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Poland, USA, Scotland (UK), and the USSR; in Ireland, France, Finland, Germany, Spain and Sweden. The informants reported using 20 languages in Israel and 19 in Ireland, even though Ireland was not at the time considered to be multilingual. Both vibrant and spreading, pluricentric and non-pluricentric languages were involved, LWC (English, French, Spanish, German) and autochthonous (Hungarian, Moldavian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Valenciano, Berber), modern and heritage (Yiddish), Slavic, Semitic, Finno–Ugric, non–Indo-European (Japanese), with corresponding various kinds of scripts and with different script direction – from right to left (Arabic and Hebrew) and from left to right (Cyrillic and Roman scripts used in the rest of the languages). This diversity allowed the authors to draw conclusions as to ‘multilinguals (in general) in these particular multilingual settings’ in Israel and Ireland, and such findings indeed may be applicable elsewhere. A questionnaire was designed aimed at eliciting information on multilinguals’ thoughts, opinions, and world outlook in regard to the languages in their

The multiple faces of multilingualism: Language nominations


particular constellations. The data were analysed according to the nominations of languages used by the participants (mother tongue, native language, L1, L2, L3 etc.). To ponder the collected data on language nominations fractal- type images were constructed consonant with the newer frameworks put in place by fast unfolding complexity science. The founder of fractal geometry Benoit Mandelbrot (1989: 7) called it “a new geometric language, which is geared towards the study of diverse aspects of diverse objects, either mathematical or natural, that are not smooth, but rough and fragmented to the same degree at all scales” (for more on the use of complexity in multilingualism research see Aronin & Singleton 2008a). The canon of research tools has shifted in recent times, moving from traditional methods of data presentation and analysis and now admitting into research methodology images once considered unscientific and irrelevant. Mathematicians once believed that using a visual image for scientific speculation was entirely inappropriate. For this reason Fractal Geometry was initially rejected by the majority. Garcia (1991: 30) comments on this as follows:
The problem does not always lie in the image itself, but with the interpretation of the image. True, those conjectures made by visual observation should ultimately find support in proofs. However, the amount of research sparked by the visual pondering of such images demonstrates that intuition should initially run unchecked. Though a general distrust of images in the mathematical community has historically confined such benefits to the arts, Fractal Geometry is a field where visual exploration is essential.

The study used fractal-like images with the aim of locating certain findings which might be overlooked and not come to the fore in a solely quantitative/qualitative approach. There were 20 languages mentioned as being mastered at various levels by the 37 Israeli respondents and 19 languages by respondents in Ireland.The frequency of inclusion of each of these languages in personal language constellations varied (see Figure 3 and 4). Although the 2005 study yielded a variety of results, only the finding directly referring to language nominations is discussed in this article. In Figure 5 the languages of multilingual participants are arranged according to language nominations. The participants were not guided by any predetermined definition of what constituted native language, mother tongue or second language. Analysis focused on understanding the subjective value of each language as opposed to other languages in a particular informant’s constellation. The Figure illustrates the use of languages by the participants of the study from Ireland and Israel in correspondence with the nominations (marked on the

. or Spanish. the emergent pattern would tend to support a similar trend.. Fractal. those which were nominated in the MNL1 triple nominations (TN) happen to be mostly LWC and/or pluricentric languages. French – green. native tongue and L1). e. German. This distribution is very clear in the case of Israel images of languages known by multilinguals in Israel. mother tongue.g. second language. while less clear in the case of Ireland.g. French. In both countries when triple nominations were supplied they most frequently included what was considered to be the closest. In the Figure languages are indicated by specific colour.9% of cases. German – blue. etc.184 ´ Larissa Aronin. Muiris O Laoire and David Singleton Figure 3. e. foreign language) by each multilingual (vertical axis). for example. Vertical numbers correspond to the respondents. It was noted that the image of the languages represented on the left side.. In . one and the same language.e. i. English – orange. It was found that one language was nominated as often as three times. one language was given three nominations by its speakers (see Table 1). In Israel. most emotional nominations (mother tongue.g. Russian – violet. in 24% of cases and in Ireland in 69. different shades in grey scale represent languages horizontal axis) applied to each of their languages (e.

g. thus underscoring participants’ distancing o from Swedish. Spanish and French languages. In this context it is worthy of note that two respondents from Finland classified Swedish as L3 even though authorities would conventionally regard Swedish in Finland as either L2 or L1 (Bj¨ rklund 2005). Other non-widely used languages feature prominently e.mother tongue. Fractal.Native language. . one immediately notices that triple nominations are sometimes allocated to languages other than languages of wider communication (Finnish.The multiple faces of multilingualism: Language nominations 185 Figure 4. Vertical numbers correspond to the respondents. In looking at some of the differences between the data of the two countries. Swedish). different shades in grey scale represent languages Ireland with relatively recent newcomers (average images of languages known by multilinguals in Ireland. this is perhaps due to participants’ emotional attachment to either or all M/N/L1 (M. N. This may be due to a short period of stay in Ireland and respondents’ intention to leave on completion of their studies. There were cases when one and the same language was given all these three nominations (see Figure 4 and 5) what we called triple nominations. L1). Finnish and Swedish. Alternatively.4 months) this trend still exists with the German.

L3. . Legend for Image 1: Mmother tongue. Ln – successive languages. L2. Vertical numbers correspond to the respondents.186 ´ Larissa images of language representation in multilinguals in Ireland and Israel. N. Muiris O Laoire and David Singleton Figure 5.Native Language. L1 – First language. Fractal. different shades in grey scale represent languages.

. 24% 11 cases 69. a measuring function (to the extent. when one language was given triple nominations by all its speakers. – most frequent triple nominations include what we consider to be the closest. – the languages which were nominated in the ‘prime rank’ nominations are mostly LWC and/or pluricentric languages.54% Bulgarian Ireland 20 cases 69. they match each language with particular values and practical functions or combine them in accordance with their current perceived needs and current environment and not in any generally pre-expected or pre-determined way. In this study multilinguals emerged as being autonomous and self-guided. Language nominations carry out at least four overlapping functions: a reflective function. a modifying function.54% Spanish 1 case 4. 5. Allocating nominations to their languages. selfsustained and flexible in the way they assign functions and values to their languages. of course.75% Russian 2 cases 9.The multiple faces of multilingualism: Language nominations Table 1. most emotional nominations. Language nominations deal with the liminality of multilingualism by serving as indicators of the important aspects of use of multiple languages by individuals in society.09% English 1 case 4. available at the current state of scientific development) and a means of studying people and communities using multiple languages.9% 9 cases 45% German 2 cases 10% Spanish 3 cases 15% Swedish 3 cases 15% French 3 cases 15% Finnish 187 Pondering the coloured fractal-like representations of the samples in these two sociolinguistic situations yielded the following findings of regularity: – triple nomination. in other words choosing from a range of different possible permutations.54% French 1 case 4. Brief Summary In this article we have introduced the concept of language nominations which is defined as “language appellations that are assigned to various languages according to their perceived role and value for an individual or a community”. Cases of triple nominations Israel 22 cases 43.

social and personal dimensions of a language. Vladimir. Muiris O Laoire and David Singleton Language nominations are markers of diversity. Larissa & David Singleton. International journal of multilingualism 5(1). 105–129. Notes 1. 3. capturing in one naming unit linguistic. Ulrike Jessner (eds. Moscow: Institute Vostokovedeniia. [Special Issue The Diversity of Multilingualism]. Issues surrounding trilingual families: Children with simultaneous exposure to three languages. Britta Hufeisen. (Алпатов Владимиp Михайлович. 150 Languages and politics: Socio-linguistic problems of the USSR and the post-soviet space. Multilingualism as a new linguistic dispensation. The dynamics of language nominations can be seen as marking the changes relative to language in society and to individual language users. 150 языков и политика: 1917–2000. & David Singleton. In this article we have emphasized the need to monitor the vibrant and dynamic reality of multilingualism in a more informed and attentive manner. This new metaphor was used as a title for a recent workshop held in London: ‘The Multiple Faces of Multilingualism’ 24–25 June. 2005. examining language nominations may provide valuable authentic data in future research studies and accounts of multilingualism. 2000. 1997. 2000. 1–16. The complexity of multilingual contact and language use in times of globalization. Conversarii. Studi linguistici 2. Trilingualism-Tertiary languages – German in a multilingual world . Larissa. For more about metaphors in investigating multilingualism see Aronin & Hufeisen 2009 chapter 6: 103–120.).). Aronin. 2008b. 2009. 2. 2000.188 ´ Larissa Aronin. Aronin.). References Alpatov. Larissa & Britta Hufeisen (eds. multilingualism and multiple language acquisition. 2010. 2010. Aronin. Suzanne. 33–47. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Larissa & David Singleton. The study and the findings were originally presented at the L3 conference in Fribourg. 2008a. As well as shedding light on the role that any named language may play for an individual or speech community. Aronin. Barron-Hauwaert. The exploration of multilingualism: development of research on L3. In Larissa Aronin & David Singleton (guest eds. Москва: КРАФТ + ИВ РАН). In Jasone Cenoz. Affordances and the diversity of multilingualism. International journal of the sociology of language (Mouton de Gruyter).

[Special Issue]. 1991. The languages of the multilingual: Some conceptual and terminological issues. Barron–Hauwaert. IRAL 48/2–3. Björklund. (eds. Yamuna Kachru & S. In Breffni O’Rourke & Lorna Carson (eds. Vivian. Fribourg/Freiburg and Biel/Bienne. http://www. 5–42. 2010.coe. 23–40. 2005. Change and challenge in the teaching of Irish. Language learner autonomy: Policy.A dynamic model of multilingualism: perspectives of change in psycholinguistics. Muiris. 2008. In support of a proficiency-based definition of heritage language earners: the case of Russian. 213–221.htm (accessed 1 May 2000). Fractals in geophysics. Garcia. Sridhar. Rajend. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Benoit. Siv. Germany.). Hammarberg. 1992. Language strategies for bilingual families: The-oneparent-one-language approach. Mandelbrot. especially for the geophysicist.). 1989. project ejournak/jg 051/beitrag/barron. . Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Mandelbort & Christopher H. curriculum. 2008. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.spz. The International Journal of the Sociology of Language 171. Jasone. Kagan. Janson. Multilingualism and minority languages: Achievements and challenges in education. 24–29 August. http://conventions. Bardel & C. AILA Review 21. Finland. N. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Tore. Philip & Ulrike Treaty/EN/Treaties/Html/148. Cenoz. Linda. classroom (A festschrift in honour of David Little). Leap. Cook. 2010. Björn. 2009. Andrea Deumert & William L. 2002. 2005. Jasone & Gorter Durk. B. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Toward Trilingual education in Vaasa/Vasa. 2004. Lindqvist (eds. Joan Swann.). Oxford: Peter Lang. 2000.htm (accessed 1 May 2000). (eds. 8th –10th September. Herdina. Basel: Birkhauser Verlag. In Benoit B. Muiris & Larissa Aronin. 2005.). ELF: Central or atypical second language acquisition? Paper presented at AILA (International Association of Applied Linguistics) Congress. 2002. Ó Laoire. Speak: A short history of languages. 91–104. Approaches to Third Language Acquisition. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Olga. Suzanne. Multifractal measures. Switzerland. Scholz (eds. Cenoz. International journal of bilingual education and bilingualism 8(2–3). Language in South Asia. Zeitschrift f¨ r Interculturellen Fremdsprachenunterricht (Journal of u Intercultural learning in the German language) 5(1).). Ó Laoire. Introducing sociolinguistics. Mesthrie. Santa Cruz: Dynamic Press.. Thinking of multilinguality – ‘my self’ or ‘my various selves?’An exploration of the identity of multilinguals. The Fractal Explorer. 2008.tu-darmstadt. European Charter for regional or minority languages. 231–249. Kachru. In C. Paper delivered at the Fourth International Conference onThird LanguageAcquisition and Multilingualism. Towards multilingual education: Basque educational research from an international perspective.The multiple faces of multilingualism: Language nominations 189 [special issue]. Braj.

Israel and is a research associate at Trinity College. Muiris Ó Laoire is a senior lecturer at the Institute of Technology Tralee. Heritage languages in America: Preserving a national resource. modernity and the European Language Portfolio. multilingualism and multiple language acquisition (John Benjamins. He is contactable at dsnglton@tcd. She contributed to The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics Wiley-Blackwell (to be published in 2012) and co-edited The exploration of multilingualism: Development of research on L3. She serves as a secretary of the International Association of Multilingualism. . McHenry: Delta Systems. Wiley. New York: Harcourt College Publishers. 373–385. Spanish for native speakers. She has published in a range of international journals on a wide array of topics connected with multilingualism such as The international Journal of the Sociology of Language. classroom (A festschrift in honour of David Little). the lexicon and multilingualism. Philip. He is author of textbooks. 2000. curriculum. 2001. Language learner autonomy: Professor David Singleton took his B. Guadelupe.). Language Teaching. where he is Head of the Centre for Language and Communication Studies. Email address: larisa@research. International Journal of the Sociology of Language. He is a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin. Email: drmolaoire@eircom. age-related factors in language acquisition. Terrence. Reflections on identity.190 ´ Larissa Aronin. In Breffni O’Rourke & Lorna Carson (eds. Language Awareness (12–3&4 2003). Muiris O Laoire and David Singleton Riley. multilingualism language regeneration and language pedagogy. but his principal areas of interest in recent times have been cross-linguistic influence. and is an Advisory Board Member of Language Teaching (CUP). Donald Dr. Larissa Aronin is a senior lecturer at the Oranim Academic College of Education. He has published across a wide range of topics. Valdés.A. Dublin. Ranard & Scott McGinnis (eds. The International Journal of Multilingualism.). Ireland.haifa. Introduction. Volume 1. 109–142. at Trinity College Dublin and his Ph. 2009). at the University of Cambridge. 2010. On defining heritage learners and their speakers. AATSP professional development series handbook for teachers K-16.D. In Joyce Kreeft Peyton. His most recent international publications appear in the Language Policy (Kluwer) and in Current Issues in Language and Society (Multilingual Matters). academic books and several articles on sociolinguistics. Dr. Oxford: Peter Lang. (Mouton) The Encyclopaedia of Language and Linguistics (Elsevier Science) and The International Journal of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education and The International Journal of Multilingualism.

develop specific competencies for expanding and managing their multilingual repertoire. The role of different types of the participants’ multilingual repertoires is assessed. This contribution presents empirical evidence that. Of particular interest. previously unlearnt languages. most notably in the context of the European strive for the upward revaluation of smaller. Evidence from cognate guessing tasks RAPHAEL BERTHELE Abstract Most researchers agree on the idea that multilinguals have specific advantages over monolinguals in learning more languages and. less used languages.On abduction in receptive multilingualism. the EuroCom-projects). e. is the development of receptive competences in several genetically closely related languages (cf. The process of interlingual inferencing is discussed as a form of abductive reasoning. and quantitative and qualitative data are analyzed to support the idea that this type of abduction is an essential driving force in receptive multilingualism and language comprehension in general. on the one hand.g. seems to support the claim that multilinguals are more efficient in developing receptive competences in new. and other factors influencing good performance in cognate recognition are identified. The article focuses on the question how multilinguals use their languages in order to guess the meaning of cognates in unlearnt but genealogically close languages. more generally. Different measures for phonological and graphematic distances across languages are established and correlated with the rates of successful cognate recognition in the search for a threshold of string similarity beyond which recognition becomes unlikely. A series of studies is discussed whose aim is to tap into this process of interlingual inferencing. .

Inferencing and abductive reasoning in language learning and use There is converging evidence for the claim that bi. which in turn leads to measurable advantages – at least regarding general efficiency – in TLA (cf. and Section 3 offers some concluding remarks. The main point of this chapter is theoretical. at least in some respects. More concretely. The explanations offered for these advantages in third language acquisition (TLA) refer to advantages in cognitive development or to enhanced language awareness (Jessner 1999). Section 1 provides a brief overview of the context of this research and the most relevant literature.192 Raphael Berthele 1. The goal of the deliberately reductionist approach discussed below is to shed new light on a pivotal resource in multiple language learning: interlingual correspondences. It will be argued that one of the key inferencing procedures that underlie the linguistic tasks in the scope of our studies is of the abductive type. the recognition of cognates in closely related but unknown languages.and multilinguals have. Cummins 2000: 35). why many bi/multilinguals might be better at language learning in general. can be used as an explanation as to why bi-/multilinguals do better at the particular tasks we used and. 2009). and which limit the spontaneous inferability of items? These three questions will be addressed using data elicitation methods described in Section 2. The empirical studies presented in this chapter focus on a narrowly defined aspect of linguistic competence. Le Pichon Vorstman et al. this research attempts to tap into a cognitive mechanism which is likely to contribute to the advantages in TLA within genealogically related languages observed by scholarly research in the past. then. The research questions that will be addressed in this chapter are the following: 1) Are there multilingual profiles (regarding the languages in the individual multilingual repertoire) that favour the rapid recognition of familiar words in unknown target languages? 2) Are there other characteristics of the participants that influence the quality of the interlingual recognition process? 3) Which linguistic properties of target items (words) allow for spontaneous interlingual recognition. advantages over monolinguals in learning additional languages (Cenoz 2003: 82. . The particular nature of abduction. Learning and using two languages is hypothesized to lead to enhancements in particular cognitive skills and/or language awareness. also de Angelis 2007. sometimes also termed the “M-factor” (Herdina and Jessner 2002: 131). as a consequence of this first conclusion.

which are at the very core of this chapter. M-Factor. of languages in general or based on knowledge that links different languages in the multilingual system together. Based on inferentially emerging interlingual identification. the EuroCom framework (Hufeisen and Marx 2007.1. the interlingual ones. 2003) aims at the rapid development of comprehension skills in reading and listening in one family of languages at a time (Romance or Germanic).2. Inferencing. more frugal ways of preparing multilinguals for the task of reading in an unknown but genealogically familiar language. particular features that are unique for the particular language are listed and presented. as discussed e. these frameworks pursue a double focus: on the one hand. on the other. it seems that there should be better. Inferences can be drawn based on co-textual or contextual information. Both inferencing and transfer therefore participate in . The usability of these lists remains at best unclear. McCann et al. Although the general idea of this enterprise seems very promising. Furthermore. Evidence from cognate guessing tasks 193 1. and despite the fact that the authors have made great efforts to reduce the philological complexity. languages other than English) in light of an over-emphasis on teaching English. we consider interlingual inferencing as a mechanism that operates on potential transfer bases. on acquired and learnt items and structures in any language pertaining to the multilingual repertoire. one of the fundamental principles in language learning is the ability to draw inferences. Studer (2008) deems inferencing a central process in almost any receptive activity of language users.g. It is these latter inferences. in Odlin (1989). based on knowledge of the target language. such interlingual inferences are closely related to central questions on the potential (but also the danger) of language transfer. transfer and hypothesis testing According to Carton (1971). the potential of interlingually transparent words and structures is documented. multilinguals can be said to transfer items and structures from one language into another. As an example. As one of many examples. one of its main weaknesses is its orientation towards a detailed. For the remainder of this contribution. list-based presentation of interlingual correspondences that draws on the philological tradition. Given the density of these contents. i. bi-/plurilingual competence A focus on cross-linguistic similarities is becoming increasingly important as a means of promoting the usage value of less commonly used languages (LOTE. Picking up on an idea already present in Lado’s (1957) contrastive analysis hypothesis. sound correspondences across Germanic languages are presented in EuroComGerm (Hufeisen and Marx 2007) on no fewer than 44 pages. 1.On abduction in receptive multilingualism.e. lengthy.

Gass and Selinker 1994: 6–7) as well as in multilingual language didactics (see e. Three types of inferencing according to Eco (1984: 42). namely abduction.2 Abduction was introduced into semiotic theory by Peirce (1931) who was interested in the “mental operation of guessing” and viewed abduction as a process of “forming an explanatory hypothesis” (CP 5. (1a) Aural-oral variant: [bli:ve] – What does this Danish verb mean? Participant: From French plier [plie:] or from English believe. Wolff 1994). the emphasis lies on discovery. the exact nature of these inferencing processes often remains surprisingly unclear. Figure 1. In the view of Eco (1984). hypothetical grammars. on ‘inductive’ procedures. Let us consider a token from the data collected in the studies discussed below and how it relates to the three types. [pli5] Interviewer: What’s that in English? .g. a language none of the informants has learnt.1 In this regard. an item that was presented either aurally or in its written form (but not both). spontaneous. Bold lines refer to given knowledge. however. the participants had to infer the meaning of the item blive. dotted lines refer to inferenced knowledge. However. authors tend to forget that there is a third type of inferencing.194 Raphael Berthele the process of the dynamic construction of interlanguages in the form of often short-lived. particularly in so called ‘constructivist’ teaching approaches.171). abduction is the daring attempt to speculate about potential rules that might explain the meaning of a signifier (42). These procedures are argued to be more efficient and more cognitively adequate for language learning than the traditional deductive or ‘instructivist’ methods (cf. a process that is considered central to most modern theories of second/foreign language acquisition (see e. Most often.g. As an example (1). Meissner 2001). One of the tasks involved the spontaneous guessing of the meaning of cognate verbs in Danish.

Evidence from cognate guessing tasks 195 Participant: ’believe’. since here the empirical basis is rather weak (often only 1 result). . This uncertainty is particularly important in abduction. In deduction. . but this doesn’t fit in Interviewer: Why? [. deduction and abduction. [. . the result is an unavoidable entailment of the rule and the case. ] thus „BLIBE“ → German bleiben (.On abduction in receptive multilingualism. in Spanish v and b are often pronounced the stay‘) Both examples are actual responses drawn from the study that will be described in more detail below. . A second difference between abduction and induction needs to be explicitly mentioned . using her knowledge of Spanish grapheme-phoneme correspondences. and she looks for potential phonological ‘rules’ that might support and even explain this spontaneous analysis. and in induction results can allow for the inferential generalization of a rule. she has a gut feeling that it could be related to the German bleiben. Figure 2. As Figure 2 shows. ] (1b) Written task: What does the Danish verb <blive> mean? bleiben. Based on Eco’s schematic representation of induction. Example 1b is a vivid example of interlingual abduction: The participant is confronted with a stimulus. The figure should make it quite clear that both induction and abduction by nature involve uncertainty regarding the validity of the inference as a whole to at least some degree. the case and the result. this particular token can be rephrased as in Figure 2. induction and abduction exemplified with Germanic sound correspondences. Deduction. there are other ways of linking together the rule.

labeled “(almost) balanced bilingual” in Figure 3).196 Raphael Berthele here: the former presupposes the knowledge of rules. This difference. Empirical Investigations 2. The studies make use of paper and pencil tasks targeting unlearnt languages that are genealogically related to the main languages of the participants. Romance targets: r = 0. Task C: 10’). differ to substantial degrees with respect to their similarity. example 1b).001). All participants had to fill in a detailed language biography questionnaire in order to self-assess their proficiency in their languages (including dialects). commonly referred to as ‘cognates’. Section 2. Germanic targets: r = 0.392. Results Studies 1a and 1b Firstly.g. n = 179.001. a general correlation between the number of languages spoken by the participants and the number of successful translation attempts was calculated. Different groups were formed. n = 135. 2. words or rules. as will be argued in this article. The tasks were carried out under time pressure (Task A: 15’.). It seems thus important to deconstruct the lay category of cognates and to reconstruct it based on scientific criteria (cf. p < 0. The translation attempt for each item in an unknown Lx involved writing down the (guessed) meaning of the item as well as the interlingual (or contextual) transfer bases. Task B: 5’. Another group of ‘intra-family’ bilinguals was defined as speaking at least two . Berthele and Lambelet 2009 for more details). the question was addressed as to whether there are particular multilingual profiles that stick out with respect to the ability to draw interlingual inferences. e. as the one given in example (1b). a group of bilinguals has been defined as participants who speak at least two languages/dialects on a level of at least 4 (maximum: 6. Secondly.2. the target languages and the learnt languages share a great deal of vocabulary. These interlingually shared words. Both studies were inspired by the methodology developed in Müller-Lancé (2003). whereas the latter is about finding the rule based on a corpus of data. This analysis reveals a positive but relatively weak effect for task C only (inferencing of cognates without context. p < 0. 2. which lead to the guess (cf. is a crucial one – from an acquisitional and from a teaching point of view. More importantly.1. Lexical inferencing across Germanic and Romance languages Two preliminary studies were carried out that will be summarized very briefly here (see Berthele 2008.4.249.

all (near) cognates N (# of participants) sample participants’ L1 mean # of languages in the repertoires Task A: Infer meaning of words (Word list with context) Task B: Reading comprehension Task C Infer meaning of cognates (Word list without context) Germanic (study 1a. all high frequency.29 17 Romontsch Sursilvan words (from a reading text. all (near) cognates Study 1b 150 Students of Psychology at the University of Fribourg/Freiburg French or Italian 4. all high frequency. There is considerable evidence on both the Romance and the Germanic side that the most skillful interlingual inferers are those participants who master two languages in their repertoire that are related to the target languages. Individuals not falling into these categories are labelled “(normal) multilingual” in Figure 3. etc. Two structurally analogous studies on Romance and Germanic target varieties Study 1a 183 Students of German at the Universities of Zürich. authentic article. since a large number of the participants who claim to have high proficiency in two Germanic systems are speakers of a German dialect (Alemannic. On the Germanic side this shows the multilingual potential that lies in bilingualism with dialects and a standard language. Platt.25 17 Dutch words (from a reading text. the discussion in Berthele 2008). cognates and non-cognates) Romontsch Sursilvan reading comprehension (7 questions) 29 Romanian and Romontsch Sursilvan verbs. two Romance or two Germanic languages respectively (cf. To sum up the result of the search for the “good interlingual inferer” we can conclude that: . Fribourg/Freiburg German (dialect or standard) 4. “2 Germanic > 4” in Figure 3) or Romance (study 1b.On abduction in receptive multilingualism. cognates and non-cognates) Dutch reading comprehension (7 questions) 29 Danish/Swedish verbs. Evidence from cognate guessing tasks 197 Table 1. i.) and the German standard language (cf. Marburg. Table 2). “2 Romance+> 4 in Figure 3) languages on a level of at least 4.e. translated newspaper article.

sound-symbol correspondence). tasks A and C in the case of the Romance targets). Additionally. the more likely she is to correctly infer word meaning (all three tasks in the case of the Germanic targets. They had to fill in a similar language profile questionnaire as in study 1. c) multilinguals with high proficiency in two languages that are close to the target languages perform better than all other groups.198 Raphael Berthele Figure 3. we designed a follow-up study described in the remainder of this chapter. 2. B. Study 2: Listening and reading comprehension in Germanic languages The follow-up study only focuses on Germanic verb targets without context. the informants took 3 modules of Meara’s (2005) language aptitude tests (called Llama B. and C. D and E: word learning.3. In order to be able to increase the amount of variance explained. Multilinguals’ profiles and respective success in tasks A. sound recognition. A total of 163 adolescents and young adults (between 13 and 35 years old) participated. This study draws on the method used in task C. b) multilinguals who assess themselves as having a high proficiency in at least two of their languages do better than multilinguals without this particular type of self-assessment. a) the more multilingual a participant is. The stimuli were 28 Danish and . all native speakers of a Swiss German dialect (or bilinguals with heritage languages or Romansh).

all high frequency and (near) cognates. The stepwise regression reveals that there are four independent variables that contribute in a statistically meaningful way to the variance of the target variable (cf. number of languages in the repertoire.003 . supposedly important factors were entered stepwise: vocabulary learning ability (Llama B). self-assessed proficiency in L1.615 Model: 1 Age Age 2 Llama B – vocabulary learning Age 3 Llama B – vocabulary learning English proficiency Age Llama B – vocabulary learning 4 English proficiency # of languages in the repertoire B .073 . school/educational level. . not as a paper and pencil task but face to face with a fieldworker who recorded the verbal protocols and wrote down the responses. 3.318 . In order to answer the first question. Section 2. age (the older. the better).021 . i.).280 .111 Beta .051 . vocabulary learning ability. Lx. .330 .042 .044 . These four variables account for 62% of the variance. L2. they are potentially detectable with counterparts in English and/or German (cf. .006 . with respect to the quest for the profile of the ‘ideal’ interlingual inferer.267 . Stepwise regression coefficients for the number of successful inferencing attempts adjusted R2 = .016 .041 . sound recognition (Llama D). English proficiency.019 .050 .005 .420 . below.356 .393 . Table 2.089 . and secondly. # of languages in the repertoire. Table 2): 1.116 .236 Std.147 Sig. with respect to linguistic features that interact in statistically relevant ways with the empirical difficulty of the stimulus items. The data have been analyzed in two ways: firstly.045 . The informants were presented with half of the stimuli in written form and half in aural form.587 .009 .501 . age. a regression analysis was carried out.111 .352 -.005 .e.018 .019 .044 . Error . As independent variables. Two conditions were created in order to have all verbs presented in both forms. . sound-symbol correspondence (Llama E).4. .000 .000 .On abduction in receptive multilingualism.110 . Evidence from cognate guessing tasks 199 Swedish verbs. A subsample of the informants performed the same task in a think-aloud protocol. 2. The dependent variable was the standardized score of the proportion of correct inferences an individual managed to draw. i.344 .167 .244 R2 change .196 . 4.001 .004 . Example (1a) above is taken from this data.e.310 -.

g. Despite its being taken for granted. The construal of cognateness as a radial category avoids the pitfall of assuming the interlingual indentifiability of items in an aprioristic way.e. Before discussing these results and their potential consequences for the acquisition and learning of third/additional languages.5 and 2. can make use of their repertoire in the sense that it provides not only important lexical transfer bases. the category has fuzzy boundaries since it remains unclear where interlingual cognateness ends. As shown in Figure 2 above. and above all in languages that are relatively similar to the target language. that there is at least one component of language aptitude that seems to interact with this ability. there can be substantial allophonic and allographic variation.200 Raphael Berthele The analysis shows that the ability to draw inferences increases with age. It is this knowledge and these skills that allow the interlingual guessing game to become increasingly accurate. and that the multilingual repertoire. contributes significantly to successful inferencing.4. however. There are clear cases of obvious code similarity (homography or homophony) across languages. even within what is commonly construed as a language. Moreover. If we consider these results in the light of the presupposition that we are dealing with abduction rather than induction. as we will see in much more detail in Sections 2. i. conceptual knowledge and strategic know-how that fits into the top box in Figure 1. cognate is a rather problematic category. the results make perfect sense: multilinguals with high proficiency in many languages. another question should be briefly addressed: What is the influence of particular linguistic characteristics in the target words on successful interlingual comprehension? 2. I would suggest conceiving the category of cognate as a radial category with prototypical. knowledge of the history of sound changes in Germanic and synchronic sound correspondences allow for the identification of graphematically and phonologically quite different items. and where ‘cognateness’ ends often remains unquestioned in the literature. and most prominently the proficiency in English. but also potential rules and regularities. In other cases. minimal or even major differences in pronunciation occur.e.6. and the recognition of interlingual cognates is taken for granted and thus part of an implicit methodology in comparative historical linguistics (for an example see Campbell 2004: 126). Both in spelling and in pronunciation. in Dijkstra 2003). such as the Danish and the English spelling of the verb <give>. In order . almost or completely identical examples at its center and increasingly different examples on a graded scale. i. What exactly is a cognate? Analysis of individual items The term cognate is well established in psycholinguistic investigations of the multilingual mental lexicon (e.

Once these measures are established. the proportion of correct answers per item per task variant has been calculated (cf. Evidence from cognate guessing tasks 201 Figure 4. In order to test this hypothesis. et al. 2006). a featureless comparison of the graphematic strings has been carried out (cf. Very generally. the interlingual distances need to be measured.On abduction in receptive multilingualism. I have used two variants of the Levenshtein algorithm. Secondly. columns 2 and 4 in Table 3). there are elaborations that also take into account the phonological distance between the respective segments (Heeringa. This produces a rough measure for the graphematic similarity of the two written forms of the cognates. . in its simplest form. For the purposes of this study. Whereas this algorithm. which is a tool that calculates feature-based Levenshtein distances for word pairs. last row in Table 3). Measuring string distance is possible by applying a variant of the algorithm proposed by Levenshtein (1966). it seems reasonable to hypothesize that the items’ empirical difficulty in the interlingual inferencing task correlates negatively with the Levenshtein distances. Firstly. The radial category of synchronic cognateness to account for the gradedness of the cognate category. only counts the smallest number of insertions or deletions that have to be carried out in order to transform one string into the other. the aural stimuli of the words have been transcribed phonetically. these transcripts have been coded using the X-Sampa3 standard and fed into the L044 software. it is possible to correlate them with the empirically measured ease of inferencing in our experiments.

Some items are comparatively distant but still easy to infer. As Figure 5 shows. In some cases.29 0.202 Raphael Berthele Table 3.14 0. Listening comprehension: Analysis of individual Items The data from the listening comprehension condition will first be discussed.416. there seems to be a threshold at around 0. p = 0.14 0. however.24 0. n = 28. there is no simply linear relationship between the two variables.557 Phonological level [‘miE’nA] [‘maIn@n] [mi:n] 0. no items were inferred by more than 15% of the participants. .014. Among the items with relatively small phonological distances we still find considerable variation. Example items with Levenshtein distances kunne (Danish) Graphematic level Target Cognate German Cognate English English: distances German: distances Empirical difficulty <kunne> <können> <can> 0.Above this threshold. aural: −0.50 0.497).349. 2. n = 28. A further explorative analysis was thus carried out that analyzes phonological and graphematic features of particular segments of the pairs of cognates. komma. Levenshtein distances with respect to English thus seem to be a modestly useful predictor for the inferability of the target items.002. aural: r = −0.14.5. The lack of clear correlations and the unexplained patterns in Figure 5 raise the question whether it is not mere distance/difference. as Figure 5 illustrates.471.805 0. e. this explanation does not seem to be equally manifest (ville – wollen). p = 0.026).22 for the distance measure in the listening comprehension condition.33 0. n = 28. but rather particular types of differences that are the key to the empirical differences across the items in this interlingual guessing puzzle. p = 0. in others. p = 0. However. this can be interpreted due to the high similarity to German (kommen). n = 25.453 Phonological level [‘kh un@] [‘kh oen:@n] [kh æ:n] 0.g.161 mena (Swedish) Graphematic level <mena> <meinen> <mean> 0.081 A correlation analysis of these values with the Levenshtein distances shows a negative interaction with the distances between the target item and the English cognate for both the written and the audio stimuli (written: r = −0. No such interaction can be found correlating the target and the German values (written: r = 0.40 0.

On abduction in receptive multilingualism. Vowels and Consonants: segment differences (e. phonation Vowels: aperture. Secondly. backness. Inferability of verbs and Levenshtein distances to English Firstly. since the data points in Figure 5 suggest that there is a meaningful difference with respect to interlingual inferencing between items with a Levensthein distance of more than 0. Evidence from cognate guessing tasks 203 Figure 5. mena). the consonant positions are filled with consonant clusters. diphthong/monophthong. The item-map thus contains variables which code the main articulatory differences between the cognates for each pair of words: Consonants: place/manner of articulation. fricatives. affricates vs. the target items have been categorized in two groups (low Levenshtein distance D < 0. roundedness. kunne.218. a more elaborate item-map has been constructed for each item in the list. The simplified schematic structure of the target items is C-V-C-V pattern (cf. high Levenshtein distance D > 0.218. In some cases. phonetic features have been coded based on the phonetic transcriptions of the items. For each of these four positions. insertions or deletions of sounds). quantity .218). as in skrive.g.

4% (178 tokens) are . i. 275 (81. Only 61 (18. Firstly and most importantly. This analysis was carried out for two groups of participants separately: for the good inferers and for the poor inferers. An exploratory analysis has been carried out using classification trees with the dependent variable “correct inference” (a nominal variable) and the whole phonological item-map as independent variables.e. two selected paths that lead through the tree in Figure 7 will be analyzed as an example. 77.2%) of the items are successfully translated. The second criterion that plays a statistically significant role is the comparison of phonation of the second consonant in English and in the target item. Node 8 thus stands for verbs such as ha a a [h6:]. it is very unlikely for the good inferers to find the cognate. the good inferers succeed in 363 attempts (56. the differences between these clusters have been coded as a whole. The next criterion that plays an important role is the comparison of the aperture of the first consonant in the German and the target cognates. Within these cases.1% of correct inferences).8%) remain unrecognized. g˚ ["go:@].204 Raphael Berthele If there is more than one segment per idealized C or V position. the first vowel criterion is important: if the first vowel shows a difference in roundedness when comparing English and the target item. If there is a difference in phonation.5%). If there is no difference at all or merely a minor one (node 5). and st˚ ["st@P]. or if one of the forms lacks a second consonant. The exploration of these categorization trees shows which phonological features discriminate within our data with respect to successful interlingual inferencing.7 Let us now turn to the items that do not present any difference in phonation regarding the second consonant. In order to lay out the logic of these trees. This analysis produces the picture shown in Figure 6 and Figure 7. The goal was to find out which of these numerous variables discriminate best with respect to the dependent variable. that are relatively well translated (69. These groups were determined by dividing the sample according to the criterion of whether a participant scored below or above the mean of correct inferences (36%) for the whole sample. if the Levenshtein distance is below the threshold.6 In other words. if an item has a Levenshtein distance that is higher than the threshold discussed above. it is less likely that the inferences will be correct (43. Based on this item-map with an impressive number of variables (54 for the aural data) it is possible to run a cross-tabulation analysis which indicates whether each particular feature coincides with higher or lower success in interlingual inferencing. to all items that belong to daughters of node 3. as in the case of consonant clusters. the inferences are more likely to be successful than if not. However.5%). the question here is which linguistic feature clearly brings about less success in inferencing when two cognates differ with respect to it.

Listening comprehension (bad inferers) correctly inferred.On abduction in receptive multilingualism. . the majority of the tokens are correctly inferred (tale.1% correct inferences). the majority of the items is not inferred correctly (53. tänka. Even if this feature differs (node 10). ligge). lægge. the last criterion is the manner of articulation comparing the first English consonant and the target words.5% likelihood that they will be inferred correctly (items such as komma. there is an 88. If the words present the same manner of articulation. Evidence from cognate guessing tasks 205 Figure 6.3%). Analyzing the daughters of the former category (node 5 in Figure 7). If there is a difference larger than 1 step. 54.

Listening comprehension (good inferers) All nodes in the two figures above could be analyzed in this manner. . The table can be used for a tentative exploration of structural constraints governing the interlingual inferencing task. For the sake of brevity we will not go into more details here but the following table shows a synopsis of the hierarchy of the features that the categorization tree analysis produces as being statistically significant for the good and bad interlingual inferers. Table 4 provides a hierarchically structured account of the features that interact in a statistically significant way with the probability that participants carry out correct inferences.206 Raphael Berthele Figure 7.

Important structural characteristics in listening comprehension poor inferers Feature expected or unexpected relationship expected phonation C2 aperture roundedness manner of articulation # of segments C1 V1 expected V2 expected L EN GE GE GE backness manner of articulation backness unexpected C2 GE expected V1 GE EN manner of articulation monophthong/ diphthong place of articulation expected V1 EN quantity C2 EN quantity expected unexpected expected unexpected expected expected unexpected expected unexpected Consonant Vowel Levenshtein EN GE Feature expected or unexpected relationship good inferers rank of constraint consonant vowel Levenshtein EN GE 1 L EN 2a C2 EN 2b 3a V1 GE 3b V1 EN 4a C1 EN 4b C2 EN 5a On abduction in receptive multilingualism. Evidence from cognate guessing tasks 5b 207 .Table 4.

4. 2.e. Delving deeper. 6. 9 relate to English and 6 to German.) or different (t-s). 5. For the reading comprehension data. One could tentatively hypothesize that consonants seem to play a slightly more important role. Good inferers are thus relatively likely to infer items that are below this threshold but highly unlikely to infer items that lie beyond this threshold. one of which behaves inversely). 4 to consonants. 7 relate to consonants. Since we have little access to the participants’imagined phonology when reading the words.e. show a less clear picture – 4 variables are related to vowels. and 6 to vowels. Of the 15 features listed in Table 4. at first glance. The most important factor for the good inferers is the Levenshtein criterion. similar (v-w. however. difference here coincides with more correct inferences.208 Raphael Berthele 1. but only when taking into account the unexpected relationship between vowels and correct inferences discussed in (2) and the invariably expected effect direction between consonants and correct inferences (3). i. the vowels were strictly coded in a nominal and rather . let’s briefly turn to the analogous analysis of the written task. Good inferers infer correctly if consonants are the same (3 C variables vs. bad inferers have a relatively high chance of inferring the words correctly. This means that these participants do a relatively poor job even if the Levenshtein distance is below this threshold. 2 to the Levenshtein criterion. the first two levels in the respective hierarchies are always occupied by feature comparisons to English. 2. All consonant differences between the cognates listed in Table 4 stand in the expected relationship with the number of correct inferences. Reading comprehension: Analysis of individual Items Before commenting further on these exploratory results.6. 2 V variables. the vowel differences coincide with higher levels of correct inferences compared to word pairs with the same vowels. i. etc. whether an item lies below or above the threshold visible in Figure 7 above. but differences in vowels do not seem to trigger worse performances. 3. Of the 6 features listed in Table 4 that relate to vowels. This suggests an even stronger role of consonants: if they are the same. This criterion only shows up in fourth position for the group of poor inferers. Poor inferers. in other words. Of the 15 features listed in Table 4. b-p. the coding was simply based on the question of whether the particular segment is the same. 5 have an unexpected relationship regarding the phonological difference between the cognates and the number of correct inferences. it turns out that all four vowel variables show unexpected patterns. Moreover.

. Evidence from cognate guessing tasks 209 Figure 8. 2. 4 (or 5. Levenshtein distance above or below the mean does not predict correct inferencing in a measurable way. 4.e. Of the 16 statistically significant variables that enter the model and that are listed in Table 5. German <ie> is treated as <i>. Of the 9 vowel variables. if 2a is included) have an unexpected relationship with the changes in correct inferences. half to English. Half of the variables relate to German. 9 relate to vowels and 7 to consonants.On abduction in receptive multilingualism. 1. Reading comprehension (bad inferers) approximate way for sameness or difference.). i. Swedish <˚ > as <a>. <ä> as <a>.e. 3. erasing all diacritics and length markers in all languages (i. etc. a Table 5 can again be used for a tentative exploration of structural constraints governing the interlingual inferencing task in the reading condition. difference coincides frequently with more correct inferences.

as in kunne. 2 have an unexpected relationship with the changes in correct inferences. i. difference coincides in two cases with more correct inferences.210 Raphael Berthele Figure 9. Reading comprehension (good inferers) 5. Of the 7 consonant variables. the German onset plays a crucial role: If it is identical. if not. 6. the word is hardly recognized (skulle). The good inferers seem to be particularly efficient if the first part of the item is identical to English (V1 and C1 on levels 2 and 3 of the tree). or if there is no English cognate at all. .e. On the other hand. then the word can be recognized (blive). if the English onset (C and V) are not absolutely identical.

and some of the patterns uncovered are rather puzzling. since differences in the second CV segment are less frequently listed and often in an unexpected relationship. Evidence from cognate guessing tasks Table 5. Discussion and support from qualitative data The results of these tree analyses are not absolutely clear.7. However. consonantal contrasts (or their absence) seem to be a more important predictor for successful inferencing than vowels.e. In the listening comprehension condition. If vowels are concerned. if consonants often play a measurable role. Nevertheless there are some preliminary conclusions that can be drawn from the analyses of the listening and the reading comprehension task. i. it is (with the exception of C2) in the expected direction. comprehension can even be better in cases where they are different from the English or German counterpart. Important structural characteristics in reading comprehensio good inferers rank of constraint 1 2a consonant vowel Levenshtein V2 V2 EN GE expected or unexpected relationship unexpected – (vowel never identical) expected expected bad inferers Consonant Vowel Levenshtein V1 V2 EN GE 211 expected or unexpected relationship expected expected GE EN EN EN 2b 3a 3b 3c 4a 4b 4c 4d 5 V1 C1 EN EN C2 V2 V2 V1 EN GE GE GE EN GE GE GE EN unexpected unexpected unexpected expected unexpected expected expected unexpected expected C1 GE expected V2 C2 C2 C2 C1 2. difference coincides with less successful inferencing. This confirms Möller and Zeevaert’s .On abduction in receptive multilingualism. The same unexpected pattern in the vowel category can be found in the reading comprehension data. Table 4 and Table 5 show a slightly higher importance of the first segments (onset). in particular those which stand for higher comprehension proportions coinciding with phonological/graphematic differences.

cognate recognition becomes unlikely. letter. Dijkstra (2003). language in BIA (Bilingual Interactive Activation).212 Raphael Berthele (2010: 9) observation that similarity or sameness of the onset is more important than in the rhyme in cognate recognition. The overall difference between the cognate strings as measured by the Levenshtein algorithms only plays a significant role in the listening condition. word in BIMOLA (Bilingual Interactive Model of Lexical Access)) which are incrementally activated depending on the visual/aural input. Although the picture is not totally unambiguous in the case of the reading comprehension data. et al. We can thus hypothesize that the pattern comparison that interlingual inferers apply is selective in nature and does not simply compare the forms in a holistic way. differences in vowels are disregarded and chances are good that the correct cognate candidates will be selected. and it is generally assumed that there does not seem to be such a thing as a “language switch”. If these similarities are sufficiently strong or salient. Grosjean (2008)). in this study we are rather interested in higher-level cognition applied by multilinguals to resolve the interlingual puzzles. phoneme. word. even if there were one. Although there may well be an automatic component in cognate recognition. distinguish among different structural layers (feature. Cenoz.or multilingual lexicon (cf. and the configuration of activation and inhibition across or within layers vary across the different models. phonological features. In the experimental data discussed in this contribution. The following passage from a think-aloud protocol in the reading comprehension condition illustrates this main focus on selected features: . we can assume that the multilingual lexicon is “an integrated lexicon that consists of a mix of words” (Dijkstra 2003: 17). If consonantal patterns differ.or multilingual word recognition as investigated in other psycholinguistic paradigms (cf. 2003. feature. In our case. phonemes. the tendency seems to be similar: the good inferers in particular rely on consonants. although some of the models differ with respect to the architectural details regarding how words or features are associated with languages or organized in language specific ways. Nevertheless. the participants are put in a situation where they are explicitly asked for a multilingual search across their lexicon. Table 4). it seems useful to take into account the notions put forward in theoretical and empirical studies of the bi. it seems that not all of the structural elements (letters. we are not actually dealing with cases of automatic bi. Pavlenko 2009): following the majority view in the field. Based on the explorations of the data presented above. Most of these models. classes of phonemes such as consonants) participate in the same way in this search: in the auditory condition the results discussed above suggest that informants first rely on similarities of consonantal features. and here only with respect to English. particularly with respect to manner and place of articulation (cf. however.

. but only because there are two -ll. it seems that the results discussed based on Table 4 (consonant identity being more important for bad inferers than for . ah villicht „fähig sein“ oder so oder “wissen“ skill. what do you think what this . .g. /i/.On abduction in receptive multilingualism. but this is totally . or ‘to know’ skulle ja sägemer wissen yes. 17s] skulle dasch sicher es Profilwort. Evidence from cognate guessing tasks 213 (3) (think-aloud task. . ah. skulle skill. aber weiss au nöd ‘to roll’. was ächt das isch . .but I don’t know aber da macht aso das isch absoluut . However. maybe ‘capable of’ or so.hät. The item is also an example that illustrates the difficulty of linking cognates that differ with respect to (onset) consonants. roll because of the shared <ll> graphemes). . P: Swiss German native participant. it is by no means impossible to overcome consonantal ‘impediments’ (see example 1b): In retrospect. . the task is carried out in Swiss German) P: skulle – oh dasch aber es herzigs Wort ‘skulle’ – this is a cute word ii – tönt e chli nach Tootechopf oder so sounds like ‘skull’ or something [long silence. wome gar nöd cha abläite this surely is a profile word that cannot be derived [12s] kchäi Aanig. Fähigkeit oder so from skill somehow.‘to know’ vo irgendwie skill. P: rollen. let’s say. . aber nur wils zwäi -ll. ability or so The example illustrates how the participant varies the vowels (/u/. . can I also say that I don’t have a clue? skulle schifaare – näi skulle ‘to ski’ – no [3s] skulle F: was teichsch. F: Field worker. computer screen displays the form <skulle>. chani au säge i heb kchäi Aanig? no idea. /o/) while explicitly mentioning associations between forms that share consonantal elements (e.

there are consistent patterns of interlingual plausibility that multilinguals display when they are asked to provide potential cognate forms within the Germanic languages. I hypothesize that there is more to this than the simple number of potentially transferrable forms. we can identify at least two partial cognitive processes that contribute to good guessing capacities based on the intra. we can now try to understand the differences between groups with different multilingual profiles: as we have seen..e. Conclusions Based on the analyses in Section 2. As schematically represented in Figure 10. but they also search for potential rules in the consonantal domain. I would like to suggest that multilinguals with such highly developed dia-systems – be they due to proficiency in two Romance languages or to proficiency in a Germanic dialect and a standard language – develop a meta-system that is a form of abstraction over the bilingual mental corpus. focusing on consonants and neglecting or systematically varying the vowels. Good inferers thus consider not only modifications of vowels. as in Figure 10. 3. the form corresponds to an abstracted meta-form that combines the features that are similar or the same . the most efficient interlingual inferers are those multilinguals who master two languages that are closely related to the unknown target language.214 Raphael Berthele good inferers) are in accordance with the abductive strategies that can be observed with particularly gifted multilingual subjects: the search for cognates does not stop after a first – maybe too simple and too direct – string analogy has been identified: (blive→to believe). and – at least if our hypothesis is correct – in the case of a bilingual Romance lexicon. as the Spanish grapheme-phoneme rule discussed in example 1b. In the light of the results discussed in this Section. 2) Good hunches regarding when to continue and when to stop searching. This finding as such is not overwhelmingly surprising. the patterns are aligned in a flexible way allowing for more or less systematic variation. As Möller (in preparation) has shown. inspired by the revised hierarchical model (Kroll and Stewart 1994). The first process can be seen as a form of perceptual tolerance in pattern recognition. i. since one could argue that these multilinguals simply have more potential transfer bases that nurture the inferencing task. however. A cognate in an unknown language will first be associated with one or more than one word forms in the multilingual lexicon.and interlingual competences: 1) A flexible and selective comparison of features and patterns. Coming back to the results reported in Section 2.

Evidence from cognate guessing tasks 215 concept courirL1 corrireL2 interlingual Inference: potential cognate recognition c?r(r)?r Linter cuorerLx Figure 10. blive→to believe). at first sight. according to Gigerenzer (2007). <?> stands for a phoneme/grapheme placeholder. In other cases. that it is mainly speakers of dialect (and Standard German) who are good at interlingual inferencing. is more mysterious. The relative invariability of consonants and the ‘unreliable’ nature of vowels is a feature well known from dialectology: Schmeller’s (1872) dictionary of Bavarian dialects has introduced a consonant skeleton organizing principle. These schematic forms and the heuristics that at the same time allow for their emergence and cognitive entrenchment enable multilinguals to be particularly efficient in recognizing cognates in unknown languages. the search is aborted too quickly since a supposed cognate has been identified that satisfies the interlingual comparison (e. This abstract schematic entry in the multilingual lexicon is the basis for the enhanced potential lexicon as measured by the interlingual inferencing task: the multilinguals develop quick and efficient interlingual heuristics within a language family regarding potential interlingual differences and similarities. The finding reported in Section 2. Cuorer is the Romontsch Sursilvan cognate. The second process listed above.2. is therefore not very surprising. Schematic abstraction over French and Italian cognates of the verb ‘to run’ in multilinguals. The data dis- . however.On abduction in receptive multilingualism. i.e.. in the two Romance languages and has placeholders where the two languages differ. since the synchronic vowel instability (caused by diachronic changes) makes an alphabetic order of a multi-dialect dictionary impossible.g. sometimes searches are merely a waste of time. How do our subjects decide when to stop and when to continue searching? Good stopping rules. are important in simple heuristics in general just as much as in interlingual inferencing: as shown in the transcript above.

turn out to be validated by other studies. and 2. and the pendulum is swinging back to approaches that . Radically inductive approaches to foreign language teaching have been criticized for quite some time now. where multilinguals are confronted with items or texts in poorly mastered or unknown languages or varieties. speculation can go too far or be a waste of time. As the quite fuzzy description of these two processes makes clear. is therefore a dialectic one: if the subject is confronted with a cognate form. both concerning the multilingual subjects and the linguistic contrasts involved. if the tendencies discussed in Section 2. it is good to speculate based on the linguistic knowledge that is at hand. so it is good to know what a likely candidate is. the sound correspondence section of the EuroCom materials could and should be simplified and shortened by at least 50% to the most important consonant correspondences. However. Quality increases with increasingly proficient multilingual systems. in order to focus on the purely formal.216 Raphael Berthele cussed here do not provide evidence that permits tapping into this particular part of the interlingual inferencing process with sufficient ecological validity. when it is appropriate and important to consult a dictionary or ask a proficient speaker). or.5. In naturalistic situations. we are dealing with speculative and probabilistic processes that are not amenable to direct scientific observation. contextual information available that contributes in significant ways to this decision. The artificial and decontextualized nature of the word list data investigated here deliberately neglects these important constraints. an inferencing process that exploits multlilinguals’ knowledge of what are likely and of what are unlikely correspondences across and within languages. in naturalistic contexts again. there would be additional. and I have argued that the main process that enables multilinguals to be efficient in the tasks is a form of multilingual abduction. And finally. it is important to know when to abort the search (and. The challenge of the purely linguistically based process of abduction as the one described in Section 2.6. and we can hypothesize that the better the interlingual heuristics on the linguistic level.and context. linguistic side of the process. the better the chances to successfully understand utterances and texts in related unlearnt languages. The main result of the empirical studies presented in this contribution is that the quality of these interlingual guessing procedures depends on many factors. if none can be found that satisfies the expectations. Notes 1. The latter certainly plays a role in naturalistic exolingual contexts. most notably the semantic fit of the item within the co.

Evidence from cognate guessing tasks 217 2. in future variants. Carton. 45–58. Raphael & Amelia Lambelet. Karin. Berthele. Tübingen: Niemeyer. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 2008. Sociolinguistica. Dialekt-Standard Situationen als embryonale Mehrsprachigkeit.htm [July 28. and secondly by Chomsky (1968) as a principle in first language acquisition. this method acts as a control for the total number of alpha errors when running multiple statistical tests. 6. a difficulty that at this point has not been satisfactorily resolved: all of the participants are not only proficient in standard German. Papers from the second international congress of applied linguistics. 3. Cambridge: University Press. it turned out to be impossible to construct an analogous item-map for the dialectal cognates. 13–24. 2010] The feature-based and featureless distances have both been normalized using the longest length among the set of least cost alignment should control systematically for the native dialects and include them in the analyses.∼kleiweg/L04/ [July 28. as recommended in Beijering et al. These examples illustrate an important flaw in the method applied. Erkenntnisse zum interlingualen Potenzial des Provinzlerdaseins. Cambridge. 2004. 1971. (2008).ac. 2010] cf. the idea of radically ‘constructivist’ foreign language teaching is still surprisingly alive and kicking. 8–12 September 1969. but also in one or several Alemannic Swiss German dialects as their respective L1s. References Beijering. Mattheier & Alexandra Lenz (eds. 2nd edn. However. Abduction has been mentioned before in linguistics: firstly as a mechanism in language change (Mc Mahon 1994). 2008. cf.phon. 2009. Approche empirique de l’intercompréhension: répertoires.let. Linguistics in the Netherlands.rug. Predicting intelligibility and perceived linguistic distance by means of the Levenshtein algorithm. For nominal dependent variables. 7.). include focus on form or to mixed ‘post-method era’ practices. http://www. /St6:/ ‘stand’). http://www. processus et résultats. 151–62. Berthele. 4. Historical linguistics: an introduction. the QUEST algorithm is the recommended procedure. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. since the different Alemannic dialects spoken by the different informants are quite different in phonology.g.). . The study discussed here thus. Aaron S.). many of which have cognate forms that are quite close to the target items (e. Volume 22.ucl. In Marjo van Koppen & Bert Botma (eds. Charlotte Gooskens & Wilbert Heeringa. Zurich German /h6:/ ‘have’. Dialektsoziologie/Dialect Sociology/Sociologie du Dialecte. 87–107. Inferencing: a process in using and learning language. Raphael. LIDIL. However. 5.On abduction in receptive multilingualism. In Paul Pimsleur & Terence Quinn (eds. especially in the German-speaking world. In Klaus J. Additionally. The psychology of second language learning. Campbell.

2006.. Language transfer in language learning. Metalinguistic awareness in multilinguals. 2003. Language. 1968. de Angelis. Jasone. and reversals. . Stewart. Language and mind. S. Philip & Ulrike Jessner. Australia Association for Computational Linguistics. The multilingual lexicon. 2002. Torino: Einaudi. Category interference in translation and picture naming: Evidence for asymmetric connections between bilingual memory representations. 2003. Gigerenzer.). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan. Wilbert. 1966. Susan & Larry Selinker. insertions. Lado. 2007. Proceedings of the Workshop on Linguistic Distances. Aachen: Shaker. Evaluation of String Distance Algorithms for Dialectology. Eco. Gut feelings: the intelligence of the unconscious. & E. Ulrike Jessner & Britta Hufeisen (eds.218 Raphael Berthele Cenoz. 10(8).]: Harcourt Brace & World.: Multilingual Matters. Cambridge: McCann. Oxford: Oxford University Press. International Journal of Multilingualism 6. Clevedon et al. Fran¸ ois. Germanische Sprachen lesen lernen. 2nd revised edition. Cummins. Vladimir I. Language learning experience in school context and metacognitive awareness of multilingual children. 2007. Journal of Memory and Language 33. Ulrike. EuroComGerm – Die sieben Siebe. Robert. 1999. Understanding language change. Charlotte Gooskens & John Nerbonne. 11–26. In Jasone Cenoz. Studying bilinguals. c Heeringa. Cognitive aspects of third language learning. Chicago [etc. Le Pichon Vorstman. Clevedon/Buffalo/ Toronto: Multilingual Matters. Gerd. Klein & Tilbert D. Mc Mahon. Britta & Nicole Marx. Viktorija Ceginskas & Huub Van Den Bergh. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Semiotica e filosofia del linguaggio. 2003. 1994. F. Language Awareness Vol. 201–9. Soviet Physics Doklady. Levenshtein. Gass. Sidney. New York: Viking. Ulrike Jessner & Britta Hufeisen. 71–87. 149–74. New York . Linguistics across cultures: Applied linguistics for language teachers. 258– 80. Henriette De Swart. Cenoz. Kroll. Umberto. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Grosjean.A dynamic model of multilingualism. 1984. 51–62. EuroComRom – How to read all the Romance languages right away. 2008. International Journal of Bilingualism 7/1. Noam. Jasone. Perspectives of change in psycholinguistics. Ton. J. The multilingual lexicon. 1994. Hufeisen. Peter Kleiweg. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers Chomsky. 1994. 2000. Binary codes capable of correcting deletions. 2009. Jessner. The additive effect of bilingualism on third language acquisition: A review. 2007. 8: 3&4. Horst G. Lexical processing in bilinguals and multilinguals. power and pedagogy : bilingual children in the crossfire. Jim. Emmanuelle. Third or additional language acquisition. 707–10. Aachen: Shaker Verlag. Stegmann. 1957. 2003. Gessica. Dijkstra. Herdina. William J. April M.

Methodische Folgerungen aus der Mehrsprachigkeitsdidaktischen Forschung. 2008.: R. 21. Aneta. 217–248. Odlin. 2. 1931. 93/5. 2001. LanguageTransfer: cross-linguistic influence in language learning. Robert & Ludger Zeevaert. 2009. Wolff. 1872.). Der Konstruktivismus: Ein neues Paradigma in der Fremdsprachendidaktik? Die neuen sprachen. The bilingual mental lexicon: interdisciplinary approaches (Bilingual education & bilingualism [70]). Berkeley (CA) and Berne. Robert. Bausteine für einen neukommunikativen Französischunterricht. and variationist approaches to language usage. Zürich: Universität Zürich. Oldenbourg. In Franz-Joseph Meissner & Manfred Reinfried (eds. The collected papers Vol. Johann Andreas. Peirce. Tübingen: Narr. Müller-Lancé. Franz-Joseph. Cambridge: CUP. Der Wortschatz romanischer Sprachen im Tertiärsprachenerwerb. Pavlenko. Email: raphael. Vom induktiven zum konstruktiven Lehr. Charles Sanders. 2003. 1994. Dieter. Möller. Italienischen und Katalanischen. 21–50. Cambridge. 1989. he has been working on the empirical investigation of multilinguals’ comprehension skills in foreign languages.). „Da denke ich spontan an tafel“ – Zur Worterkennung in verwandten germanischen Sprachen. Buffalo (N. He has worked and studied in . Terence.und Lernparadigma. Recently. His research interests cover cognitive. Bayerisches Wörterbuch von J. Schmeller. Ähnlichkeits-Intuitionen bei der Erkennung von germanischen Kognaten. Andreas Schmeller. Inferenzen als Prinzip des Sprachverstehens (218 Bl. München. Johannes. 407–29. Zeitschrift für Fremdsprachenforschung.On abduction in receptive multilingualism. Möller.berthele@unifr. Evidence from cognate guessing tasks 219 Meißner. Thomas. Studer. edn. V: Pragmatism and pragmaticism. Lernerstrategien am Beispiel des Spanischen.Y. Raphael Berthele is professor of multilingualism at Fribourg University.): Multilingual Matters. MA: Harvard University Press. Tübingen: Stauffenburg. 2: pp. in preparation. Tübingen. 2010. psycholinguistic.


don’t know many words in that language. and interaction strategies.390 bilingual children. Introduction It is a common observation that children under age 6 who started to learn a second language at age 4 or 5 make mistakes in that language. this has important repercussions for the assessment of bilingual children in school and elsewhere. These language input environments concern. and speak that language much worse than children who are monolingual in that language. Typically. many of the differences between individual bilingual children’s use of their two languages can be attributed to differences in the language input environments for each of the languages. 1. language use patterns in the parent pair. age of first regular exposure to each language. Evidence for my claims will be based on a survey study of 3. As I will argue. people outside the small circle of specialists who study young children’s language learning attribute this difference between these young “new” bilinguals and monolinguals to the very fact that the bilinguals are dealing with two languages. Usually. by extension. a more in-depth study of 31 bilingual families. amongst others. the learning opportunities . and findings from the literature. inter-individual variation between bilingual children). relative and absolute frequencies of input for each language.Language input environments and language development in bilingual acquisition ANNICK DE HOUWER Abstract A striking feature of young bilingual children’s language use is that there can be so much difference between the ways in which they use either of their languages and the levels of language skill in each. If indeed it is the case that differences in language input environments can explain much of the variation between one particular child’s use of two languages (and.

Yet when he was younger he had spoken Arabic fluently. When Lauren was three years old. His diplomat parents spoke Swedish to him from birth.222 Annick De Houwer that young “new” bilinguals had for learning their second language are not taken into account. so he would speak Arabic. but often were out so there was an Arabic-speaking nanny for Sven from the very start. As Sven’s mother explained to me. The nanny went back to Cairo. This was when the family lived in Cairo (where Sven was born). At the beginning his parents thought he just needed some adjustment. let alone speak Arabic. where Sven was put in a French-English school. Sven’s mother spoke to me shortly after this disastrous visit . and only spent a few hours’ time with Lauren on week-ends). At age two and a half. so they invited the nanny to come to Brussels when Sven was 4. and did not speak English or French. The speech therapist was well aware that the boy had only arrived in a Dutch-speaking environment two months previously. He was 4.1 Yet another example of blatant “blindness” to the idea that the language input environment may affect young children’s language learning is the case of Sven. The nanny stayed in Cairo. Sven’s parents thought that Sven perhaps missed his nanny. Sven became very unhappy. However. This fact became very clear to me when I happened to speak to a speech therapist at a university hospital clinic in the mid 90s who explained that they were treating a four-year-old child from Ghana for a language learning disorder since the child did not speak any Dutch (the majority language). and they had heard of the “silent period” when children first come in contact with a second language. French and English. he accused Lauren of rejecting him. and who understood Swedish but hardly spoke it. she and Sven’s father thought that adding two more languages would be great for Sven. This enraged her father. Sven was a happy little boy who spoke Arabic fluently. the only words she said in English were “yes” and “no”. Instead. Swedish. She was very worried about Sven. Lauren heard English only about three hours a week (her father worked hard.5 years old and very unhappy. But when Sven continued to be pretty much silent Sven’s mother started to worry. who would not even consider the possibility that the amount of time he spent speaking English to her had anything to do with her own use of English (De Houwer 2009). He hardly spoke. They expected him to speak Arabic to the nanny and were very surprised that he could no longer even understand her. Sven’s mother talked to me at a conference in Brussels. This speech therapist’s blatant “blindness” to the notion that children’s amount of experience with a second language may be an important explanatory factor in early second language acquisition (ESLA) reminded me of a similar sort of “blindness” in an American father of a girl (Lauren) who had been raised with English and Dutch from birth. But in Brussels. and hardly any Swedish. Then the family moved to Brussels.5 years old.

and neither she nor her husband had ever considered that the very small amount of time they spent with Sven speaking Swedish might have anything to do with his low Swedish speaking abilities.Language input environments and language development in bilingual acquisition 223 and didn’t know what to do. Luckily there was a school in Brussels that offered Swedish (in addition to French). Also. The first three all relate to input frequency (e. It is the aim of this article to offer a brief review of some recent studies that have either implicitly or explicitly addressed the relation between language input environments and language development in bilingual acquisition. This effectively limits the discussion to children up until around the age of 6. but are not limited to. I limit my discussion to children who have not received any reading or writing instruction at school. some studies have looked at the amount of time since the first day . the length of time children have heard a language. which is most likely the most important environmental factor in bilingual acquisition. a comparison of different studies can yield important insights. the length of time that a child will have heard a language is in fact a frequency measure). De Houwer 1990. not on comprehension. However. She was highly surprised to hear me suggest that Sven needed much more time to hear Swedish – she had interpreted Sven’s very low speaking skills in Swedish as the result of him being tired and unhappy at school. Also. These include. I focus only on language production. there are a few studies that have looked at other global aspects of children’s language input environments in relation to bilingual development. and that he appeared much happier.g. Through a mutual acquaintance I heard about a year later that Sven had changed considerably and was now speaking Swedish and French much better. 1995.. 2. “Language input environment” is the overall term I use to refer to a number of different aspects of the language input that children hear. Such children. and the way parents respond to children’s choice of language. 2009). are in the process of Early Second Language Acquisition (ESLA. Early Second Language Acquisition Monolingual children may become bilingual once they start to regularly hear a second language. the number of utterances children hear in a language. Recently. Bilingual acquisition as understood here encompasses both Early Second Language Acquisition and Bilingual First Language Acquisition (both explained below). few systematic studies have been carried out to investigate the specific role played by the overall amount of language input in two languages to young children. the way languages are distributed among parents in a bilingual family. if they are under age 6. I also advised changing Sven’s school. So far.

9 words per sentence. Aurelio. preschool children who had input in German from birth said much longer utterances than children who had heard German for only about the last third of their lifetime. my comparison). We can thus see that a similar amount of exposure time led to quite different levels of structural complexity amongst these three children (my interpretation of the Rothweiler data). the children Jan. however. one child on average said 2. Jan. my comparison). Likewise.7 and 5. see also Meisel 2009). another child 2. Suzanne Schlyter reported that many Swedish-speaking preschoolers in a French-speaking school needed more than a year’s input in French before they started to say enough sentences in French for Schlyter and her colleagues to have enough material to analyse the children’s sentence structures (Schlyter & Granfeldt 2008).5 (data from Cantone 2007.8 (data from Cantone 2007. he was 4 years old.9 words per sentence (the boy Furkan).4 (the girl Ece). At that age. children with exposure to German from birth usually produce longer sentences than age-matched ESLA children with 15 months of exposure only.8 with daily input at a French-speaking school for 3 months to just over a year said either nothing in French.2 If we compare the findings for the Turkish-German ESLA children reported on by Rothweiler (2006) to findings from children who have had exposure to German from birth. and yet another child only 2 (the girl Melisa). she was 4 years and 3 months old.5 German words per utterance on average.224 Annick De Houwer of exposure to a second language that it takes for pre-school age children to actually say more in the new language than just a few words or set formulas. of course.11 and 6. Meisel (2009) suggests there is a large degree of interindividual variation between ESLA children in how fast they learn to speak a second language. Thus. presumably).8 and 4. . we see that at the same age. Lukas and Carlotta had an average mean length of utterance between 3. 15 out of 35 L1 German children between the ages of 2. For children’s early language acquisition. For those children who did produce French sentences Meisel (2008) found qualitative differences on the morphosyntactic level between the children in relation to the length of time they had heard French (data were analyzed for 10 children. or just single word utterances (Meisel 2008). Lukas and Carlotta all had an average mean length of utterance in German between 3. This is most clearly shown in a study of three Turkish-speaking children who started to acquire German in an all-German-speaking preschool (Rothweiler 2006). At age 4. When Furkan produced an average of 2. at the same age. When Ece said 2. This little comparison is only suggestive. After 15 months of hearing German four hours a day from the teacher and other children (excluding vacations and week-ends. the mean length of their utterances is an important indication of the structural complexity of their speech (Brown 1973). the children Marta.

the L2 learners studied by Golberg et al. This point will be taken up again in the conclusion. the same L2 learners “used more different word types in production than younger native speakers who had had the same amount of exposure in English” (Golberg et al. other and more sophisticated measures than mean length of utterance need to be considered.5 or younger. c Fantini 1985. Meisel 2008. after 3 years’ exposure to English.. After 9 months’ exposure to English. However. While some of these structures show influence from ESLA children’s L1. Tabors 1987. This suggests that older L2 learners can learn vocabulary faster. Granfeldt et al. but especially with children aged 4. This is of particular importance for applied settings such as preschools and the speech clinic. Li Wei 2011.Language input environments and language development in bilingual acquisition 225 and much more data from many more children need to be collected in order to make proper comparisons between ESLA children’s learning rate of their second language and the rate at which this language develops in children who heard it from birth. Pfaff 1994. 2008). used fewer different word types in production than age-matched learners who had heard English from birth. Also. 2007). . 2008: 58). ESLA children under age 6 are regularly reported to use morphosyntactic structures in their L2 that do not appear in the speech of children who have heard that L2 from birth (Ekmek¸ i 1994. These qualitative differences between L2 structural use by children who have had much less time to learn this L2 than age-matched peers acquiring this language from birth are added evidence for the fact that the length of time that children under 6 have had to learn a language is of importance in bilingual development. the length of time that children have heard their new L2 is paramount.g. regardless of which domain is considered. Another point on which ESLA children may differ from children who have heard these ESLA children’s second language from birth is the types of language structures they use. Findings regarding the expressive vocabulary development of 19 young children acquiring English as a second language further suggest that the interaction between the length of time that children have had to hear their L2 and their chronological age is an important variable to take into account (Golberg et al. Wong Fillmore 1979. Zdorenko and Paradis 2007). other structures do not (e. Ervin-Tripp 1974. The different findings for different domains of language use show that the relation between language input and bilingual development can be different depending on the aspect of language use considered.

Only 75% of the children spoke both Dutch and language X.1. 2009. 2009). Or a BFLA child may speak two languages. Speaking only one language. a BFLA child may speak only one language. There may be quite a large difference between a BFLA child’s two languages. Aurelio. however. A full quarter of the 3. tended to be families where both parents used the majority . Meisel 1989). Jan. Bilingual First Language Acquisition The children Marta. Amongst others. In BFLA children. in spite of hearing two languages at home I first consider those BFLA children who speak only one language. but they had also all heard Italian from birth (Cantone 2007). De Houwer 1990. Lukas and Carlotta mentioned in section 2 all heard German from birth. Those bilingual families where children ended up speaking just the majority language. A survey study I carried out in Flanders. There might well.226 Annick De Houwer 3.. it coincides with their chronological age. indeed. was able to show that the precise pattern of parental bilingual language use plays an important role in deciding whether a BFLA child will speak two languages or just one. As such. the survey looked at the language use of 3. If indeed the length of exposure to a language is so important. but one would not expect much variation within one particular child. Then there are BFLA children who. as one might in fact expect.390 children spoke just Dutch. I found that the language distribution within the parent pair plays a big role in explaining why so many children spoke only Dutch (De Houwer 2007. Dutch. i. be differences between children.At one extreme. Belgium.e. the facts are quite different. but may speak them at highly different levels of proficiency. The evidence to date suggests that much of this variation between a single BFLA child’s use of two languages finds its roots in children’s language input environments. just as there is individual variation among ESLA children (see earlier). then one should expect BFLA children to develop their two languages at the same rate. they were all going through a process of Bilingual First Language Acquisition (BFLA. 3. which could be any of the 73 languages reported in the survey. However.390 BFLA children in dual-parent families between the ages of 6 and 9 and their siblings. speak both languages equally well (De Houwer 2009). These children were growing up in a home in Flanders where the parents spoke Dutch (the majority language used also at school) and another (minority) language X. the period of time they heard each of their two languages is the same for both languages. in spite of the fact that they hear two languages at home from their parents. as suggested in the previous section.

. These are certainly issues to be further explored. Dutch. . but in addition that same parent also speaks the majority language.Language input environments and language development in bilingual acquisition Table 1. families where both parents speak the minority language at home may create much more of an environment conducive to using that minority language. the family already has two members speaking that language rather than just one. i. Other bilingual parents may be much less tolerant of the use of two languages within a conversation. These bilingual parents use what is termed “monolingual discourse strategies” (Lanza 1997). and only one parent used the minority language (Table 1). The fact that a much smaller but also much more detailed survey in another country with another majority language (Japanese) found very similar results (Yamamoto 2001) strongly suggests that the specific majority-minority language constellation involved is not a major factor that explains why many children raised bilingually speak only one language. Secondly. there may be less input in the minority language than in families where both parents speak the minority language (in addition to one or both also speaking the majority language). Parents who both spoke the majority as well as the minority language at home and parents who both spoke the minority language at home. After all. Most likely there are several contributing elements that can explain the findings from the survey but the most important one may be related to how often children hear each language. Parents may answer a child’s question in Spanish with a response in German. conversational patterns that allow the use of two languages within a conversation. had much better chances of having children who spoke both the majority and the minority language. Parents may also be more inclined to speak the minority language amongst themselves. Language distribution in the parent pair and children’s bilingual use Parent 1 speaks NL + X NL + X NL NL + X Parent 2 speaks X NL + X X NL 227 the children speak two languages 97% 79% 73% 34% NL = the majority language. X = any other language (the minority language) language at home. with one parent in addition using the majority language. Another reason why BFLA children may speak only one language while hearing two at home is that there is no particular pressure for them to actually speak two languages. if that is the language they usually use with their toddler. that is to frequency of input: if only one parent speaks the minority language.e. and socialize the child into using mainly one language within a stretch of discourse. These parents are using what Lanza (1997) has termed “bilingual discourse strategies”.

then. Patterson (1999) had already investigated the role of parental input strategy in Spanish-English bilingual families in the U. . an important milestone in child language development. in spite of hearing a majority and a minority language at home.228 Annick De Houwer Although so far there have not been enough studies documenting these discourse strategies and their possible effect on children’s language use. to children who actually speak two languages: in 27% of the families where one parent spoke Dutch. but first published during WWII) already reported on such a child.S. she found no differences between children from homes where both parents adressed them in both languages and children from 1P/1L homes in whether children had reached this important milestone or not. She looked at the relation between the use of mixed utterances by a group of 102 bilingual toddlers and parental input strategies. but it wasn’t until the late 90s that studies started to appear that paid more attention to this uneven development of a BFLA child’s two languages (De Houwer 2002). that is. that the supposed superiority of the 1P/1L parental input strategy is not supported by the actual empirical evidence. It would appear. studies of BFLA have started to pay more attention to BFLA children who speak one language markedly better than the other one. it is very likely that if parents use mainly bilingual discourse strategies. BFLA children who speak one language markedly better or more than the other one Recently. and the same majority language at school. e. Earlier. I have so far not heard any reports of BFLA children who only spoke the minority language. it should be emphasized that the language that “wins” in a BFLA setting where children speak only one language tends to be the majority language (see also. The survey study I discussed in this section also shows quite clearly that the so-called ’one person. Finally. Yamamoto 2001). the children did not speak that other language (Table 1). Leopold (1970.g.A. and allow the child’s use of “the other” language Alpha. 3. She found no difference between the use of mixed utterances by children from homes where parents used the 1P/1L approach and by children from homes where both parents adressed children in both languages (1P/2L).2.. Patterson also examined the role of language presentation in function of children’s first use of word combinations. and will become part of that large group of children raised bilingually who understand two languages but speak only one. Again. German-English Hildegard. and the other parent another language. one language’ strategy (1P/1L) does not necessarily lead to success. children have no need for speaking language A.

For bilingual acquisition there to my knowledge so far has been only one study that has published conversational input data on several bilingual families . This proportion was obtained by asking parents what proportion of the time their child heard each language. Looking at another area than lexis. (2008) found similar evidence. It is not unlikely that the relative frequency effects found so far are in fact by-products of underlying differences in absolute frequency. the more Spanish words they knew. The absolute frequency with which children hear a language was found to be of utmost importance for young children’s lexical development in a monolingual setting. as recently summarized by Hoff (2006). Basque. English. Although these studies are highly suggestive. In a study that looked only at one of bilingual children’s two languages. and the other way round. the frequency with which people talk to children will have various repercussions for many other important aspects of child directed speech). the authors were able to show that the more children heard Spanish rather than English. Using this input measure of relative frequency that Pearson et al. Chan and Nicoladis (2010) report a larger proportion of Mandarin words in the first 50 word production repertoires of two BFLA boys who heard markedly more Mandarin than their other language.. viz. Children who heard Spanish about equally often as English did not show major differences between the number of Spanish and English words in their production repertoire. (1997) were the first to explicitly investigate why some BFLA children seem to develop at the same pace in both languages while others do not. (2011) found evidence that relative frequency of input to young Spanish-English bilingual children could explain some of the variance in the children’s phonological memory skills in each language.. of how often children hear utterances and words in each of their languages. than the manner in which adults addressed children (note that. i. relative frequency is ultimately a by-product of absolute frequency of input.Language input environments and language development in bilingual acquisition 229 Pearson et al. Barre˜ a et al. They tried to explain differences between the number of different words that Spanish-English BFLA children produced in either language by referring to whether there was a difference in the overall proportion of input in each language or not. for instance. themselves called ’crude’. Parra et al. In a similar vein. They found that n children with less than 60% input in Basque produced fewer words in Basque than children with more than 60% input in Basque.e. The influence of the sheer number of words that children heard per time unit was much more important. Hart and Risley’s (1995) longitudinal study of 42 English-speaking monolingual families found that children in families where there was a lot of adult talk knew many more words than children in families that talked much less overall.

’s (2002) study was not focused on finding links between the input data and the children’s speech. whereas their respective caregivers have rank orders (2) and (1). However. In Table 2.230 Annick De Houwer and their children’s language development. Table 2 shows a near perfect match between the rank orders for the children and the adults. for Inuktitut there also is a near perfect match. caregivers who spoke more English compared to others had children who spoke more English. This confirms Hart and Risley’s suggestion that verbose caregivers will generally have verbose children. . Similarly. this study is summarized in Allen 2007). however.755 transcribed utterances (Allen et al. Allen et al. More interesting from a bilingual perspective. with again a reversal for two rank orders that differ in only one point: children AI and SA have rank orders (2) and (3). This analysis revealed that the more the caregivers in each family talked. Thus. I show a new analysis based on Allen (2007). The families speak English and Inuktitut. Absolute frequencies of adult caregiver and child utterances in English and Inuktitut in 5 families (based on Tables 2 and 3 in Allen 2007) family AI SR PN SA AW child 1231 (1) 1015 (2) 721 (3) 707 (4) 324 (5) English adults 1584 (2) 1717 (1) 1091 (3) 721 (4) 628 (5) Inuktitut child 1102 (2) 135 (5) 192 (4) 800 (3) 1427 (1) adults 2087 (3) 558 (5) 889 (4) 2499 (2) 3998 (1) Note: the numbers between brackets refer to the rank orders For English. There just is a reversal for two rank orders that differ in only one point: children AI and SR have rank orders (1) and (2). their study contained sufficient detail for me to be able to attempt such an analysis (De Houwer 2009: 124). the more their children talked. and caregivers who spoke more Inuktitut compared to others had children who spoke more Inuktitut. I did this for both the adult caregivers and the children in each of the 5 families. is that the rank orders for the two languages separately show great similarities between the adult caregivers and the children in each family. 2002. I computed the absolute numbers of utterances in English and Inuktitut based on the percentages in these tables (henceforth “absolute frequencies”). whereas their respective caregivers have rank orders (3) and (2). Table 2. The data are based on longitudinal recordings of natural conversations in the home for each of five child-caregiver pairs and comprise a total of 24.

we developed a language diary that allowed us to obtain reliable estimates of the number of waking hours per day that a group of 31 BFLA Dutch-French children between the ages of 5 and 20 months heard in Dutch and French. In an ongoing study that I am carrying out in cooperation with Dr. Place asked caregivers to record language exposure information for one week when the children in the bilingual families were 25 months of age. We also obtained data for times when both languages were being used in the same conversational setting. we also obtained measures of the number of different words that the 31 BFLA children produced in Dutch and French (for further information on this group of children and on the lexical measures used. and less well. Using the language diary developed for the Dutch-French study. Looking at only 5 families is not enough. Place found that the presence of English was overwhelming in these families. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. We also found that in this period of 15 months there were great fluctuations in the amount of time individual children heard their two languages. USA. What’s more. This fluidity appears to be quite normal in a bilingual setting: based on an overview of various reports on individual children in several bilingual families in different countries and speaking different languages and different language combinations. see De Houwer et al. the analysis here is quite crude. such changes appear to have quite an immediate effect on children’s language use. Preliminary (hitherto unpublished) results for 15 of the 31 bilingual toddlers at age 20 months show strong trends suggesting that the more often children hear a particular . we found great differences between families in the amounts of time that children heard just one of the languages.3 For the Dutch-French language diary study. Marc Bornstein. 2006 and De Houwer 2010). USA. and at a higher level of complexity. The chance is too high that what one finds is a pure coincidence. but it does suggest that it is worthwhile to start to look for absolute frequency effects for the two languages that bilingual children are acquiring. in spite of parents’ commitment to bilingualism. One needs to look at larger groups of children in order to make reliable comparisons. Child and Family Research. however. Place (2009) undertook a similar study to that of De Houwer and Bornstein (2003) for 31 English-Spanish bilingual families in Florida. they may start to speak a language much less. or both of them in a single conversational setting.Language input environments and language development in bilingual acquisition 231 Admittedly. As we reported earlier (De Houwer and Bornstein 2003). or. Children may suddenly start to speak one of their languages much more. I showed that a temporary increase or decrease in the contact that bilingual children have with each of their languages is quite common (De Houwer 2009). conversely.

scholars reporting on bilingual children have started to describe children’s language environments in terms of the estimated proportion of input in each language. (1997) showed that the relative proportion of input in two languages to bilingual children may have an effect on the number of words they produce. and how most of the children with the lower number of hours of input in French also produced the least French words (6 out of 7 children). Absolute and relative frequency of input in bilingual settings Ever since Pearson et al. I first express this relation in terms of the number of children who. Table 3 presents the relations between the number of contact hours for either Dutch or French and the number of words produced in either language. Table 3. the more words they will produce in that language (De Houwer 2006b). compared to the others. Then within each group (a and b). The same picture applies to Dutch. This has definitely been an improvement over the situation earlier. I plotted the number of children who were above or below the median for word production. and we plan to continue working with these data to see whether the trend we see so far is confirmed for the entire group of children. Giving a rough estimate of proportions of use of . 4. These preliminary results are encouraging. were (a) above or (b) below the median as far as the number of hours they heard French and Dutch was concerned. The relation between absolute input frequency in a language and the number of words that children produce at age 20 months French contact hours words produced number of children Dutch contact hours words produced number of children (a) above the median 6 2 (b) below the median 2 5 above the median below the median above the median below the median (a) above the median 7 1 (b) below the median 1 6 above the median below the median above the median below the median The shaded cells in Table 3 show how most of the children with the higher number of hours of input in French also produced the most French words (7 out of 8 children).232 Annick De Houwer language spoken. when often bilingual learning environments were not described at all (see De Houwer 1990 for a critique).

for instance. a small point difference indicates much more of a balance. Thus. and one would not expect large differences between the child’s two languages. Compare. Table 4.6 Note: the percentiles do not add up to 100% because mixed utterances were not taken into account. A large point difference reflects a much stronger use of one language over the other.4 2087 (3) 52.Language input environments and language development in bilingual acquisition 233 each language is perhaps easier than giving an indication of the average number of hours per day that a child hears each language.9 1717 (1) 72.3 889 (4) 41.3 721 (4) 20. the numbers in brackets refer to rank orders in a vertical comparison One of the assumptions when scholars refer to relative proportions of language input in two languages is that a 50–50 distribution is ideal. Table 6 shows the numerical point differences between the relative use of either language by caregivers and children.7 1091 (3) 50. one would expect the child to develop the two languages in a “balanced” way. mixed utterances are not included). In Table 4 I have plotted the amount of input in the 5 families studied in these publications in terms of both absolute and relative frequency.5 558 (5) 23. Compared to each other. Table 6 shows that this rank order is very different for the caregivers and the children. the language input information in the English-Inuktitut study by Allen et al. In Table 4 we see one family that comes close to this “ideal”: family PN. (2002) and Allen (2007). Nevertheless.7 caregivers’ Inuktitut absolute relative 3998 (1) 84.6 2499 (2) 72. again a rank order can be established amongst the 5 families. describing bilingual children’s language learning environments in terms of absolute amounts of input is most likely more informative. there is no such “balance” in evidence for the child in family PN (with a 3/4 to 1/5 distribution for both languages.9 1584 (2) 39. we see a “balance” in child SA that comes as a surprise compared to the very “unbalanced” input distribution of 21–72% for the caregivers in family SA. the relative frequency of use of either language by the caregivers in the 5 English-Inuktitut families does not predict the relative frequency of use of each language by the children . Furthermore. The same input information expressed in both absolute and relative terms (based on Tables 2 and 3 in Allen 2007) family AW SA AI PN SR caregivers’ English absolute relative 628 (5) 13. For this family. As I show in Table 5.

6 192 (4) 20. Children’s language use expressed in absolute and relative terms (based on Tables 2 and 3 in Allen 2007) family AW SA AI PN SR children’s English absolute relative 324 (5) 18.6 721 (3) 76.6 (4) 9.4 (5) 49.3 135 (5) 11.3 (2) 5.2 children’s Inuktitut absolute relative 1427 (1) 80.3 707 (4) 45.0 (5) 55. This stands in stark contrast to the rank orders for the absolute frequency of input as discussed earlier.0 (1) Note: the numbers in brackets refer to rank orders in a vertical comparison in these families.234 Annick De Houwer Table 5. .9 (3) 73.0 1231 (1) 47.9 (4) 5. (1997). whereas the English-Inuktitut data are based on transcriptions of recorded conversations and refer to the number of utterances said in a particular language. Point differences between the relative frequency of use of English and Inuktitut (based on data in Tables 2 and 3 in Allen 2007) family AW SA AI PN SR caregivers 71. It should also be noted that the comparisons here are based on very different kinds of data than the ones examined by Pearson et al. The latter referred to reported data only and to the number of different words children knew.3 (1) 51. the numbers in brackets refer to rank orders in a vertical comparison Table 6.6 800 (3) 50.9 1102 (2) 42.5 (2) 12. These were virtually identical.1 (3) children 62. Of course.2 Note: the percentiles do not add up to 100% because mixed utterances were not taken into account. but is does suggest that using absolute measures of input frequency might have more explanatory power than relative measures of input frequency. the above comparison again is quite crude.2 1015 (2) 84.

the results of the various studies so far are quite suggestive. strongly suggest that frequency of input is indeed a highly important factor. and to Sven’s mother not even 10 years ago. Obviously. they will soon become fluent speakers of both. that if bilingual children have had a lot of opportunities to hear and engage in each of their two languages. the more young children have heard a particular language. . and to speak it well. to the speech therapist in the 90s. especially if there are children in the classroom who share the same L1. For the organization of nursery schools with second language learners it thus becomes important to create a multitude of different settings in which individual children hear the new language. I could only respond to them based on my conviction and common sense that in a bilingual setting children’s opportunities to learn each language matter a great deal.Language input environments and language development in bilingual acquisition 235 5. Conclusion When I spoke to Lauren’s father in the early ’80s. Hearing the new language just through a few remarks from the teacher and a short story every day is not enough. either as a function of the amount of time they have had to hear a particular language or as a function of the language choice patterns they have encountered. the more chance there is they will learn to speak a particular language. The findings from both ESLA and BFLA with regard to the opportunities that children have had to learn their two languages. there are different factors besides amount of input that play a role. This is not easy. This last point is important for bilingual families to realize: if they are keen on raising children who speak two languages fluently and have a large vocabulary in each. Insufficient input in one of the two input languages may be part of the cause for what may look like delayed development in one of them (De Houwer 2006a). It is my firm belief. children must be given the opportunity to learn. Frequent book reading is also an excellent tool to boost bilingual development. whenever there is concern about bilingual children’s level of language development. I am not sure that the totality of the studies so far that have addressed links between bilingual children’s language learning environments and the bilingual development process offer enough empirical support for this as yet. however. children must be given the opportunity to hear their second language very frequently. Yet it is these peer interactions through which children can learn a great deal. Simply put. care should be taken to assess children’s past language learning opportunities. In clinical practice. This includes creating many situations where young second language learners interact with children who speak the second language already. However. This means that parents should speak to their children a whole lot. In ESLA situations.

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Invited plenary lecture.och Litteraturcentrum. Hoff. Die Bedeutung des Inputs für die Evaluation der Sprachkompetenzen bilingualer Kinder. 41–65. 2006b. 2006a. Fantini. Annick. French as cL2. Annick. Baltimore: Paul Brookes. Erika. Heather. 2011. Annick. (Original work published 1939–1949) Li Wei. 2L1 and L1 in pre-school children. USA. Meaningful differences in the everyday experiences of young American children. Balancing on the tightrope: language use patterns in bilingual families with young children. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Marc H.). a Hart. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1974. In Jonas Granfeldt (ed. Early understanding of two words for the same thing: A CDI study of lexical comprehension in infant bilinguals. Alvino. De Houwer. Amsterdam: North-Holland. Frankfurt: Peter Lang. In Annick De Houwer & Antje Wilton (eds. Bilingual development of English preschool children in Turkey. How social contexts support and shape language development. 55–88. Tempe. 2010.Language input environments and language development in bilingual acquisition 237 De Houwer. Language acquisition of a bilingual child: a sociolinguistic perspective (to age ten). Language Acquisition and Bilingualism Conference. Fourth International Symposium on Bilingualism. Bornstein.). 2007. The early acquisition of English as a second language: The case of young Chinese learners of English in Britain. Johanne Paradis & Martha Crago. Speech development of a bilingual child. Canada. Betty & Todd Risley. Input factors affecting bilingual development. 7–42. Studies in Romance bilingual acquisition – Age of onset and development of French and Spanish. A sociolinguistic perspective. 13–14 September. Jonas. Berlin. 2009. Suzanne Schlyter & Maria Kihlstedt. 2006. Is second language learning like the first? TESOL Quarterly. A linguist’s record. Applied Psycholinguistics 29. 1995. Annick. Granfeldt. April 30–May 3. Leopold. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. De Houwer. 1985. Germany. International Journal of Bilingualism 10(3). De Houwer. Multilingual norms. 4–7 May. Parental language input patterns and children’s bilingual use. 2006. Golberg. Ekmek¸ i.). Assessing lexical development in Bilingual First Language Acquisition: What can we learn from monolingual norms? In Madalena Cruz-Ferreira (ed. 1994. Applied Psycholinguistics 28(3). Sweden: Lunds Universitets Spr˚ k. Werner. Bilingual First Language Acquisition. Toronto. New York: AMS Press. Ervin-Tripp. 1970. 99–112. 331–347. Arizona. . De Houwer. De Houwer.). 111–127. c In Guus Extra & Ludo Verhoeven (eds. Lund. Özden. Elizabeth. Keynote lecture presented at the Jahrestag. 2007. The cross-linguistic study of bilingualism. Lexical acquisition over time in minority first language children learning English as a second language. Susan. 2003. 2008. De Houwer. Lanza. 1997. Annick & Marc H.Annick. Deutscher Bundesverband für Logopädie. Language mixing in infant bilingualism. Annick. 279–322. 411–424. Developmental Review 26. Bornstein & Sandrine De Coster.

Oller. Pfaff. Place. 32–38. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 108. Suzanne & Jonas Granfeldt. 1979. Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft 28. 2009. United Kingdom. 113–125. 105–122. The role of the first language in child second language acquisition of articles. Amsterdam: North-Holland. 55–80. The a relation of input factors to lexical learning by bilingual infants. Is child L2 French like 2L1 or like adult L2? Paper presented at IASCL 2008. Wang (eds.238 Annick De Houwer English in Europe today: Educational sociocultural perspectives. Zdorenko. In A. Influences on toddlers’ dual language exposure in bilingual homes. Child second language acquisition or successive first language acquisition? In Belma Haznedar & E. 203–228. Belikova. 2001. Jürgen. Sylvia Fern´ ndez. Jürgen. The XI Congress of the International Association for the Study of Child Language.). Lily.). Gavruseva (eds. What bilingual toddlers hear and say: Language input and word combinations. 1987. Tabors.). Sylvia. D. Interfaces in multilingualism. Edinburgh. Meisel. maturity and loss. Pearson. Meisel. Relations among language exposure. Second language acquisition in early childhood. In Guus Extra & Ludo Verhoeven (eds. The cross-linguistic study of bilingualism. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins Schlyter. 2009. Erika Hoff & Cynthia Core. Communication Disorders Quaterly 21(1). Vanessa Lewedeg & Kim D. Sylvia & Erika Hoff. Bilingualism across the lifespan. 41–58. Applied Psycholinguistics 18. Language use in interlingual families: A Japanese-English sociolinguistic study. 1989. Jürgen. Colorado. Current trends in child second language acquisition: A generative perspective. In Charles Fillmore. Patton. 2–4 April. L. In Kenneth Hyltenstam & Loraine Obler (eds. Tatiana & Johanne Paradis. In Conxita Lle´ (ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Janet L. July 28-August 1. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Yamamoto. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. 5–34. Aspects of acquisition. 2011. The development of communicative competence by second language learners in a nursery school classroom: An ethnolinguistic study. Early differentiation of languages in bilingual children. Early bilingual development of Turkish children in Berlin.). 1997. 1994. Child Development.). Individual differences in second language acquisition. . The acquisition of V2 and subordinate clauses in early successive acquisition of German. Monika. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.). phonological memory. Poster presented at the 2009 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development. 2006. Patterson. and language development in Spanish-English bilingually developing two year olds. New York: Academic Press. Denver. Marisol. Parra. Barbara Zuerer. Rothweiler. Boston: Harvard University. Place. Umeda (eds. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 13–40. Masayo. USA. 75–97. to appear. Individual differences in language ability and language behavior. 2008. Kempler & W. Carol. o 91–113. 2008. 2007. Meroni & M. Properties of dual language exposure that influence two-year-olds’ bilingual proficiency. Meisel. Wong Fillmore. 1999.

Her most recent publications include Bilingual First Language Acquisition (2009. of Brussels) is Professor of Language Acquisition and Teaching at the University of Erfurt in Germany. She is also Director of the Language Center there and of the European Bilingual Studies Group.dehouwer@unierfurt.Language input environments and language development in bilingual acquisition 239 Galana 2: Proceedings of the Conference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America 2. and intralingual subtitling. Email: annick. Somerville. 483–490. teen language. Free U. ERBIS. MA: Cascadilla Proceedings . Multilingual Matters). Annick De Houwer (PhD. Her research specialty is early bilingual acquisition but she has also published on Dutch child language.


S. Reading Research. Second Language Reading. English as a Second Language. Office of Vocational and Adult Education (2005) reported that . Key Words: Adult Education. Introduction Growing numbers of adult learners whose native language is not English are in need of reading instruction at the adult education level. The U. Literacy Development. While reading and literacy development are complicated. Phonemic Awareness. The results of this study document the relationship between phonemic/phonological awareness and L2 beginning reading in English for adult learners and provide evidence for similar relationships existing between phonemic/phonological awareness and early reading for adult learners and children learning to read in English. Department of Education. Phonological Awareness. The data reported in this paper were part of a larger longitudinal study that investigated a variety of factors related to initial reading development for adult L2 learners of English. 1. the findings of this study suggest the importance of the decoding process for adult learners in the beginning stages of ESL reading. A group of 26 participants enrolled in adult ESL education classes in the United States were followed for one year and assessed on measures of phonemic/phonological awareness and decoding ability.The role of phonemic awareness in early L2 reading for adult English language learners: Pedagogical implications MARGO DELLICARPINI Abstract This paper reports on part of a larger study investigating the role of phonemic awareness (PA) and decoding ability in second language (L2) reading development among adult English language learners who have not mastered reading in their native language.

One . which meant that they neither spoke nor understood Spanish or English. document literacy and quantitative literacy categories. Strucker 1997). 50% participated in either beginning literacy or beginning level ESL classes during that program year (U. four million were Hispanic. These individuals comprised two subgroups: seven million who were unable to answer even basic questions on the assessment. and specifically. initial reading in an alphabetic system like English includes mastery of word level skills. Barone & Morrow.S. the early reading process for adult ELLs who are beginning readers. the two languages used in the interviews. Robson 1982. 2006).5 These current data represent no change in the trend reported in the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS) which illustrated that second language (L2) adults in general fared poorly compared to other groups in terms of their ability to successfully interpret tasks in the prose literacy. What is known is that beginning reading encompasses a variety of factors: a person’s background experiences. Department of Education. Peyton & Adams 2005) the focus has been primarily on top down strategies such as schema.1 According to the most recent statistics of the National Assessment of Adult Literacy2 (NAAL. Of the former group. The initial process of reading in monolingual children. Klassen & Burnaby 1993. and the need to participate in certain types of literacy events. context clues and the transfer of comprehension strategies from the first language (L1) (Eskey 1988. culture. and more recently. While a number of studies have investigated L2 literacy (for a comprehensive review see Burt. 2003.8% of the participants in federally funded adult education during the 2003– 2004 school year were English language learners (ELLs).2003. and four million who were unable to participate due to a language barrier. United States Department of Education. Droop &Verhoeven 2003. 2005) in the year 2003 there were eleven million adults not literate3 in English4 in the United States. the results from the survey indicate that between four and eight million adults in the ‘non-literate in English’ category are non-native speakers of English. In an annotated bibliography on adult L2 reading research (Adams & Burt 2002) between the years1980 and 2002.6 Based on the aforementioned demographic data increased knowledge of the L2 reading process in general. will inform instruction and strengthen existing programs for adult ELLs. bilingual children. there were only five studies identified investigating beginning reading in adult ESL learners (Griffen 1990. Hinkel 2006). In addition. In order to effectively meet the educational needs of pre-readers and beginning readers additional research of the beginning adult L2 reading process is necessary. has been studied extensively (see Armbruster. Of this number. Slavin & Cheung 2005). and combined with the four million in the latter group. his or her language. Lehr & Osborn.242 Margo DelliCarpini 43.

Vellutino & Scanlon 1988). Lindamood. In fact. “perhaps the most important single conclusion about reading disabilities is that they are most commonly caused by weaknesses in the ability to process the phonological features of language”(Torgensen. Phonemic awareness is the ability to perceive. Numerous studies have found PA to be a necessary element in the beginning reading process in an alphabetic system. and PA has been found to be a predictor of future reading ability in children at the Pre-K and elementary level (Abouzeid 1992. Bentin (1992) claims that “the ability to decipher phonology from writing is a prerequisite for reading and understanding written words at the first encounter. therefore negatively affecting efficient word recognition (Sabatini. and there is frequently a distinction made between phonemic awareness (the smallest units. or a bottom up skill. Wagner. For the purposes of this research phonemic and phonological awareness will be conflated and referred to as PA. Hoffman. Phonological and phonemic awareness deal with units of speech. Conway & Garvan 1999: 579). Researchers have worked to define PA in terms of “. Deficits in phonological processing ability can negatively impact a reader’s ability to develop fluent decoding ability.Phonemic awareness and beginning adult L2 reading 243 important factor of beginning reading in alphabetic systems that has emerged from this research has been the role that phonemic awareness plays in the early reading process. . . . that this study investigates for adult ESL learners. . deficits in phonological processing have emerged as a leading cause of reading disabilities (Torgesen 1991). It is this component of reading. Maclean. . . phonemes) and phonological awareness (dealing with larger units such as onsets and rhymes) (Cunningham. and complexity of the syllable structure of items that are presented in each task . Bryant & Bradley 1988. Phonological and phonemic awareness: A review of the literature Phonological awareness (PA) is an awareness of the sounds of speech and is considered a metalinguistic ability. cognitive demands of the task. Research has provided evidence for the importance of the ability to phonologically decode words as a skill necessary to developing word recognition (Vellutino & Scanlon 1991). . Rashotte. Lundberg 1989. and needs to be mastered before efficient reading can occur” (p. In addition. Bentin 1992. Rose.& Yopp 1998). Venezky. ” (Jim´ nez & Venegas 2004: 798). Task complexity has also been the focus of research in order to better define PA as a construct. and as a diagnostic tool. 204). e . . identify and to manipulate the sounds in spoken language (National Reading Panel 2000). 2. to determine what the measures tell us regarding learner ability. complexity of the units on which the operations are performed. considered a word level skill. Ehri. Kharik & Jain 2000). Wilce & Taylor 1988.

. and discussed breaking PA into Simple Phonemic Awareness and Compound Phonemic Awareness. delete the [b] and say the word that remains [lack]) to be a more difficult or Compound PA task.e. and tasks like deletion (say the word black . reciprocal)” (Smith. Sprugevica & Hoien 2003). Researchers have hypothesized that PA is “(a) a prerequisite for learning to read. or a Simple PA task. Kameenui 1995). Carrillo 1994. and the nature and role of PA in adult monolingual learners who are beginning readers. . Korean. Goswami & Bryant 1990). then holding that operation in shortterm memory while performing another operation. PA in bilingual children learning to read in English. She identified tasks like blending (where sounds are blended together to form words or nonsense words: [k-æ-t] → [cat]) to be an easier. When researchers first began to investigate the relationship between PA and reading ability. researchers have argued that an awareness of units such as rhymes will facilitate the mapping of phonemes to letter sequences (Castles & Coltheart 2004. Studies conducted with children whose native languages include Spanish. English is not the only language that has been investigated in terms of the importance of PA to the early reading process. Gough & Hillinger 1980). children need to be aware of the individual phonemes and phonetic segments in spoken words before they would be able to learn about the correspondence between phonemes (sounds) and graphemes (letters) (Castles & Coltheart 2004. . In addition. Goswami 1993. they focused on the phoneme level since it was argued that letters in alphabetic systems (usually) represent individual phonemes. Kim & Davis 2004. and (c) both a cause and a consequence of reading acquisition (i. which requires the performance of one operation. Share & Mansour 2003. Simmons. the studies that inform the current research deal with the correlation between PA and beginning reading. Arabic and Latvian have further contributed to the large body of knowledge on the important role of PA and early reading (Abu-Rabia. While the research into PA takes on a variety of formats and comes from different disciplines. (b) influenced by reading instruction and practice. In order to learn to read. which requires one operation. She found that each of the tests of phonemic ability that were assessed7 had a high level of predictive validity. . Children in Yopp’s study had an easier time blending than deleting phonemes and identification tasks such as rhyme and phoneme isolation were the easiest tasks for children to perform.244 Margo DelliCarpini Yopp (1988) investigated the types of PA skills that were most predictive of decoding ability and that should be included in both research and practice.

In essence. Siegel & Wade-Woolley 2001. evidence for the causal relationship between PA and reading exists in the empirical studies that have investigated the positive effect of explicit instruction in PA on children’s spelling and reading achievement (Ball & Blachman 1991. Rack. PA in bilingual children learning English Research conducted with bilingual children learning to read in English has provided evidence for correlations between PA in the L2 (English) and literacy in the L2 (Stuart-Smith & Martin 1997).In addition.3. Hecht. Mann 1993. Poller. Green. Grandmaison & Lacroix 1999. Burgess. Barker. Simmons & Rashotte 1993. Spector 1995). Cross-linguistic research (English. “An awareness of phonemes is necessary to grasp the alphabetic principle that underlies our system of written language” (Chard & Dickson 1999: 263). ClarkChiarelli & Wolf 2004. McCabe. Cormier. Shanahan 2001. Comeau. Durgunoglu & Oney 1999. Olson 1992. McCutchen.Phonemic awareness and beginning adult L2 reading 245 2. Wagner. Torgesen. Moreover. A large number of correlational studies have consistently shown significant and predictive relationships between PA and early reading success among monolingual children (Mann 1984. Share & Stanovich 1995). Snowling. Yan. Dickinson.2. Gottardo. Durgunoglu. 2. Beretvas. Recent reviews of the research have concluded that the data provide strong enough evidence to establish this causal relationship between PA and early reading for monolingual learners (Adams 1990. Nagy & Hancin-Bhatt 1993. Torgensen. Ehri. Gottardo 2002. Wagner. 2. Correlations between PA and decoding ability Over the past three decades research documenting the causal relationship between PA and reading has grown and strengthened. Vellutino & Scanlon 1987. Donahue & Garon 1997). Abbot. Castiglioni-Spalten & Ehri 2003. PA and adult monolingual beginning readers Researchers have also investigated PA and its relationship to reading in adult learners who are non-readers. as well as correlations between PA and children’s subsequent reading and spelling abilities (Adams 1990. Nunes. Quiroga & Gray 2002). Moreover.Yaghoub-Zadeh. Walpole 2001). L1 PA scores in kindergarten have been shown to be predictive of L2 PA scores in first grade for children learning English as a second language (Cisero & Royer 1995). Willows. evidence has emerged for the cross-linguistic transfer of PA skills and has highlighted the positive ways that L1 PA abilities can be applied to the L2 reading (Cisero & Royer 1995. Schuster. Laughon. Portuguese. Rashotte. Bradley & Bryant 1985. Cox.1. .

The study 3. Participants’ age ranged from 18–46 years old with an average age of 22. Research has also provided evidence for the similarity between early literacy acquisition between bilingual adults and children (DelliCarpini 2006). Spanish. With the increase of adult ELLs who have not yet learned to read in either their native language or in English as their second language. in part. sound and syllable instruction showed more significant gains in word-recognition and spelling performance” (Durgunoglu & Oney 2002:261) than adults enrolled in traditional adult literacy programs in Turkey. the transfer of PA in the L1 to L2 reading. Shankweiler & Liberman 1995. like phoneme deletion or substitution (Lukatela. it would be an obvious extension of the L1 research to investigate the relationship of PA and learning to read in a second language for the first time for these older learners. To summarize. which types of PA seem to be important to beginning reading for these learners? 3. recent work by Durgunoglu and Oney (2002) suggests that.246 Margo DelliCarpini Serbo-Croatian. Participants were followed for a one year period and assessed on measures of PA and decoding ability. similar cognitive processes exist between children and non-literate adults acquiring reading skills in Turkey (in their native language) and that adults who “received explicit letter. Non-literate adult learners perform very poorly on traditional PA tasks. Participants The study involved 26 adult ESL students (native speakers of Spanish) attending adult education programs in a suburban county in New York State. the present study sought to answer the following questions: – Does PA in a second language in adult learners predict initial decoding ability in that language (in the same way that it does for monolingual children learning to read for the first time)? – Are some types of PA (as tested by the various subtests) more predictive of initial decoding ability than others for adult L2 learners? If so. Morias.1. 65% of the participants were male (17) and 35% were female (9). at least in terms of PA. Moreover. Turkish) suggests that older learners who cannot read an alphabetic system have difficulty manipulating phonemes. either due to lack of formal education or a reading disability. To address this. and the positive effect of explicit instruction of PA skills for both children and adults who may have deficits in their PA abilities. . Cary & Alegria 1986). Carello. there is strong evidence for the correlation between PA and early reading in monolingual and bilingual children. Bertelson.7 years.

February and April). Once students were identified as possible participants. options that are not always available when using one instrument. parenting education.2. The second program was an English Literacy Civics Program (EL/Civics) that focused on the development of English literacy skills through the content area of civics education and citizenship preparation.80 and has very limited error potential. and interactive literacy activities between caregivers and their children. some of the English PA measures were assessed using the Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing Version II9 /CTOPP (Wagner.3. the effect of inter- . In fact. In addition. December.80 level. so the reliability of assessment tools was ensured in this way. Tasks A battery of commercially produced tasks designed to investigate the level of a subject’s PA and decoding ability in English were employed (see appendix A for the instruments used). Data were collected during four collection sessions over the school year (October. Classroom context Participants were enrolled in three related adult education. A variety of existing measures were used to ensure that the assessment tools were field tested and to address a full range of PA skills.Phonemic awareness and beginning adult L2 reading 247 Participants were randomly identified from course rosters and class placement in either Beginning ESL Literacy or Beginning ESL levels. These tasks were administered for research purposes and were not part of the programs’ assessment systems. The assessment measures selected are commonly used in both educational settings and research settings to determine the level of PA. The third program was an Even Start Family Literacy Program that integrated adult education. 3. The first program was a traditional adult education program that had a large ELL population across several sites in the county and data was collected at two of the sites.8 Program placement was determined by trained intake counselors employed by the respective programs. the average overall level of prior formal education was very low for these students and all reported being unable to read in English and not reading well or at all in Spanish. 3. early childhood education. For example. an interview was conducted and students with self-reported levels of prior education totaling less than 4 years were included in the study.Torgesen & Rashotte 1999) which has internal consistency that exceeds . some measures were also taken from the Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests-Revised (1998) which also has reliabilities at the .

For example. replicate the studies that inform this research. – Substitution: The phoneme substitution task (PAT) required participants to substitute one phoneme for another and say the ‘new’ word. This required subjects to recompose. In the first. requires subjects to say a word that the researcher had stretched out. and the correlations between PA and decoding. For example. taken from the Phonological Awareness Test /PAT (Robinson & Slater 1997) participants were asked to identify either beginning or ending phonemes of the word provided (referred to as sounds by the investigator). both raw scores and percent correct scores were established (see results section). in part. or blend the constituent phonemes of a word. Based on the research in the field. as well as the predictive nature of PA to later decoding ability. If the stimulus is [black] and the instructed phoneme [b] is deleted. – Isolation: In the phoneme isolation task. A brief description of the tasks follows: – Segmentation: Two segmentation tasks from the CTOPP were administered. Each of the tasks was administered individually and each testing session took approximately 45 minutes per person. . – Deletion: In the phoneme deletion task (CTOPP). the researcher would say [k-æ-t] and the correct response would be [cat]. phoneme segmentation. participants had to say the word that remains after they delete a phoneme. The instructions10 for this task specifically asked participants to push a penny forward for each sound they hear. Tasks were administered and scored as per the published directions. For example. similar to those which have been used in numerous other PA research studies. phoneme blending. The remaining word was [flack]. “take away the first sound in the word and say what is left”. the findings of this study have the ability. the investigator said a word out loud and then asked the subjects to push pennies towards the researcher to indicate the number of constituent phonemes they heard in each word. if the original word was [black] and participants were instructed to take away the [b] and add [f]. All tasks were modeled and 3–5 practice tokens were administered before the scored part of the assessment began to ensure that participants understood the directions (given in both Spanish and English) and task. the investigator gave the directions. the remaining word is [lack]. the selected tasks have been shown to be related to each other and to reading.248 Margo DelliCarpini vention on PA ability. The second segmentation task. and for the purposes of this study. By using commercially produced assessments.

two multiple regression analyses were performed with the five PA tasks as the predictors and either (a) decoding invented word scores or (b) decoding real word scores as the outcome variable. ranges. real word decoding and invented word decoding) at all four time points. (and percent correct and converted means /CM for PA tasks)11 were computed for all study variables including the PA measures (i. the minimum score and maximum score on each task is provided. These tasks were from the Basic Skills cluster of the Woodcock Reading Mastery tests (Woodcock –Johnson). Correlations among the five measures of PA and among the two measures of reading acquisition were then computed at each time point.05 were used for all hypothesis tests. All twenty-six participants were included in each task. phoneme segmentation. z-scores for the five measures of PA were summed to arrive at total scores at each time point for each language (hereafter referred to as the PA scores). both the statistical significance of each PA task and partial correlations were examined. The Word Identification Test involves real words and the Word Attack Test involves pseudo words. This was done by converting each of the raw scores into z-scores (with means of 0 and standard deviations of 1) and then summing the scores separately for each time point.e. means. 4. each of the five PA tasks and both of the decoding tasks had equal influence on the respective composite scores.e. In addition. phonological isolation. To determine which PA tasks were most strongly related to the decoding tasks. That is. Results Table 1 illustrates (1) the general task performance at all data collection points and (2) the development of skills over time (means and standard deviations). Initially. phoneme blending. The next step was to compute total scores for PA and for reading acquisition. and z-scores on the two measures of decoding ability were summed to arrive at total scores at each time point for each language.Phonemic awareness and beginning adult L2 reading 249 – Decoding tasks: Real and invented word decoding tasks were administered. and phonological deletion) and the reading acquisition measures (i. At each time point. Two-tailed tests and an alpha (α ) level of . Statistical Analysis Both descriptive and inferential statistical analyses were conducted. for a total of eight multiple regression analyses. . The number of task items. In this manner.4. phonological substitution. 3. standard deviations.

65 2.79 2.46 7.94 4. 0 3 5 8 Min. 10.54 2.65 1.66 3.27 3. 0 0 0 Max. PA Blending.16 .80 3. PA Isolation. 9 9 11 15 Max. PA Substitution.64 SD 1.56 4.72 SD 1.68 2. Task PA Segmentation English Time 1 PA Segmentation English Time 2 PA Segmentation English Time 3 PA Segmentation English Time 4 Task PA Blending English Time 1 PA Blending English Time 2 PA Blending English Time 3 PA Blending English Time 4 Task PA Isolation English Time 1 PA Isolation English Time 2 PA Isolation English Time 3 PA Isolation English Time 4 Task PA Substitution English Time 1 PA Substitution English Time 2 PA Substitution English Time 3 Min. 0 2 5 2 Min.80 2.27 Mean .73 5. PA Deletion. is as follows: PA segmentation. 15. 3 7 8 Mean 2.31 2. 10 12 15 15 Max. 6 7 10 15 Max. 0 1 2 2 Min.04 Mean 2.08 3.02 2. 15.25 3. 15.15 7.25 2.27 SD 2.38 Mean 3.88 4.40 SD 3. Table 1.250 Margo DelliCarpini which represents the maximum score possible. Descriptive Statistics for PA Tasks Minimum and maximum performance on each task at each time point with means and standard deviations.04 12. 15.23 9.

35 0.8% 17.4 3.5% 61. 10 10 10 10 3.8% 46. 1988).73 2. Pre-test performance Pre-test PA Task Rhyme Isolation (15) Blending (15) Segmentation(15) Deletion (10) Substitution (15) Table 1.04 4.65 24.066 .8 3.27 7.43 3. The number of items on each subtest differed.65 3.38 9.Phonemic awareness and beginning adult L2 reading 251 PA Substitution English Time 4 Task PA Deletion English Time 1 PA Deletion English Time 2 PA Deletion English Time 3 PA Deletion English Time 4 0 Min.838 0.0% 16.9% 44. For the purposes of analysis.42 3.9% 13.6% CM 0.171 0.53 SD 3.35 3.2 further illustrate PA task performance.42 2.72 3.11 1.473 0. 15 15 15 10 10 Mean 12.54 SD 2. The CM was arrived at by averaging the percent correct for each subject on each of the subtests.1 and 1. the first PA assessment interval was termed the pre-test and the final assessment interval was termed the post-test.42 4.54 Mean 1. 0 0 0 0 10 Max.54 1.43 Table 1.11 3. Max.64 3.66 2. Mean SD % correct CM 0 0 0 0 0 10 6 9 10 3 3.53 % correct 82. a converted means (CM) was used (Yopp.266 Min.266 0. 8 2 2 0 0 Max. Post-test PA Task Blending (15) Isolation (15) Segmentation(15) Deletion (10) Substitution (15) Min.19 4.42 3.666 0. so in order to compare difficulty among measures. Table 1.186 0.43 2.1.20% 23.2.0% 0.5% 4.469 0.79 2.27 1.094 0.

and isolation is the easiest for them to perform at all time points. deletion and substitution. Yopp 1988). the results of this research provide evidence for a high level of correlation between PA and decoding ability at each time point (Table 2). Table 2. followed by isolation. In terms of the relationship between PA and decoding ability.85∗ . The results here suggest that PA for this group of students does fall into a pattern very similar to the relative of difficulty Yopp (1988) found in her study with kindergarten children. segmentation.0005).90 with ps < . In other words.79 to . the hierarchy of difficulty for the participants. as mentioned earlier in this paper. from least difficult to most difficult. evidence for a hierarchy of task difficulty emerges between time 1 and time 4.87∗ . was as follows: isolation/blending. . the presence of PA for ESL literacy level learners is a critical component in learning to read in English.90∗ . Stahl & Murray 1994.252 Margo DelliCarpini Participants began with very low levels of PA in English.0005. Correlations between English PA scores and English decoding ability at each time point English PA Time 1 . and phoneme deletion the most difficult. which researchers investigating beginning reading in children learning an alphabetic system have shown to be a critical factor in the process. As mentioned earlier. Phoneme substitution is most difficult for these participants. This finding is consistent with findings from other work investigating the PA skills of nonliterate mono-lingual adults. The data suggest that PA in English is correlated to decoding ability in English for adult second language learners acquiring initial literacy skills in English and therefore. In addition to development of PA over time for these learners. rhyme was found to be easiest for the children to perform. In the present study. task complexity has been a focus of PA research with children and monolingual adults (Jim´ nez & e Venegas 2004.79∗ English Decoding ability Time 1 Time 2 Time 3 Time 4 Note. phonological awareness skills are related to successful decoding for these learners.12 In the Yopp study. ∗ p < . Time 2 Time 3 Time 4 The correlations were statistically significant (ranging from .

none were statistically significant but isolation (.32. p = . t = 2. p < . p = .00. p < . The partial correlation between deletion and IWD (.51.36. t = 2. In terms of RWD.74.018). 20) = 10. p < . The third regression analyses were performed at Time 3 and 61.64) was higher than any of the other partial correlations. .50) was also higher than any of the other partial correlations.0005) and isolation (β = . p = . p = . The correlational analyses were followed by two multiple regression analyses at each time point with the five PA as the predictors and either (a) invented word decoding scores or (b) real word decoding scores as the outcome variable.0005).019).0005). The partial correlation between deletion and real word decoding (. none were statistically significant. p = . p < .58. t = 4.0005). Overall.70) was higher than that between isolation and invented decoding (. 20) = 22. In terms of the specific PA tasks. indicating that deletion was the best predictor of invented word decoding. In terms of the specific PA tasks.Phonemic awareness and beginning adult L2 reading 253 To determine which measures of PA in English are more predictive of decoding ability in English the scores on the individual PA and decoding ability tasks were used.42. When looking at the IWD task. The fourth regression analysis was performed at Time 4.08. p < . 20) = 10.0005) at this point in time.001). In terms of the correlations between the five PA tasks and IWD.9% of the variance in RWD was explained by the five PA tasks (F(5. 20) = 28.72.2% of the variance in IWD was explained by the five PA tasks (F(5. isolation (β = . The partial correlation between deletion and invented word decoding (. t = 2. p < . both deletion (β = . but the partial correlation between blending and RWD (. 20) = 6. 20) = 5.32). The first regression analyses were performed at Time 1. In terms of the specific PA tasks.38) was higher than any of the other partial correlations. In terms of IWD. p = . none of the PA tasks were statistically significant individually.55.0005) and 87.13.44. 85.40) had the highest partial correlations to RWD.50.017) were statistically significant. and deletion (β = . as with RWD at this time point.2% of the variance in RWD was explained by the five PA tasks (F(5.4% of the variance in IWD (F(5. 20) = 23.38. blending (β = .66.58.3% of the variance in real word decoding (RWD) was explained by the five PA tasks (F(5. although deletion had the highest partial correlation (. t = 3. 71. t = 2. rather than the composite scores. 85.9% of the variance in RWD was explained by the five PA tasks (F(5.32. At this point in time 57. only isolation (β = .018) was statistically significant.50).02. p = . The second regression analyses were performed at Time 2 and at this point in time 71. only deletion (β = . The five PA tasks explained. t = 2.001) were statistically significant for RWD.61.26.002). Additionally.95.5% of the variance in invented word decoding (IWD) was explained by the five PA tasks (F(5.

5. . An examination of the means (Table 1.42) was higher than any of the other partial correlations for RWD. Discussion The present study establishes a relationship between PA and initial decoding ability for adult second language learners who have low or no L1 literacy and who share an L1 (Spanish). The results indicate that PA in the L2 is correlated with initial L2 decoding ability for these adult ESL students.3% of the variance was explained by the five PA tasks (F(5. research that has addressed this issue for children and adults (Jim´ nez & Venegas 2004.1) shows that isolation was the easiest for this group as well. however. 20) = 6. but further investigation will be required to firmly establish these tasks as the best predictors of L2 early reading.08.42. with further investigation into the role of task type could be used as a diagnostic tool as well as an instructional device. At different times. Deletion was most highly correlated with invented word decoding ability. In terms of IWD. t = 2. Although this research did not specifically address the issue of task difference in measuring PA. but no one individual task emerges as ‘the PA task’ which could be used as a diagnostic.0503) approached statistical significance. deletion and isolation tasks were statistically significant. different tasks seem to be more highly correlated individually than others. In research on PA with children. This supports the general claim that there is a causal relationship between L2 PA and L2 decoding ability in literacy level ESL adult students.025) was statistically significant. only substitution (β = . Shankweiler & Liberman e 1995. 60. Lukatela. The partial correlation between substitution and IWD (. Alegria & Bertelson 1979. In terms of correlations.254 Margo DelliCarpini p = . and for real word decoding ability. there were significant correlations between specific tasks and decoding ability. There is evidence for some tasks being more highly correlated to decoding in this population. Stahl & Murry 1994) has found phoneme isolation to be the easiest task for learners. What emerges from the above data is that PA in general is correlated with decoding ability for adult L2 learners of English. p = . isolation has been shown to be crucial to reading and evidence emerges for its importance in real word decoding in this research with adult L2 adult learners as well. p = . Morias. Cary. the important conclusion is that PA in general is correlated with beginning decoding ability for adult L2 populations and as such. In terms of the specific PA tasks.48) was also higher than any of the other partial correlations.001). The partial correlation between isolation and RWD (.56. Carello.

which supported the findings from research with children (Stahl & Murray 1994). and put learners on a path to advanced literacy development.focused at the adult level for a variety of reasons. For learners who are found to have deficits in PA abilities. Despite the current educational focus on reading and literacy skills for learners in all age groups. student assessment. with further research.Phonemic awareness and beginning adult L2 reading 255 extending the earlier finding to older learners and the adult ELL population. Treiman & Baron 1981. then. Lindamood & Lindamood 1973. Jim´ nez and Venegas (2004) found that for low literacy adult e native speakers of Spanish found phoneme isolation to be the easiest PA task to perform. Tunmer & Nesdale 1985). In related research. The results from the present study support the findings from both of these studies. but one notable reason is the prevalent use of oral assessment measures in United States’ federally funded adult ESL programs. When programs and funding agencies rely on an instrument that focuses one skill over others for placement. Pedagogical implications The finding that PA is an important factor in decoding success. If the relationship between PA and decoding ability is similar for adults and children learning to read for the first time. 5. the types of skills that are included in this assessment may become the skills that are over emphasized in the program’s curriculum. For early readers comprehension depends on successful decoding ability (Gough & Juel 1991. and. learners must first acquire a word level awareness (Calfee. It would follow that a routine diagnostic should include a base-line measure of PA using one of many commercially and valid assessment measures. enhance success during the decoding stage. Fox & Routh 1975. most importantly program evaluation and program funding. Such a finding would have implications for practice in terms of what pedagogically sound approaches to teaching reading would best meet the needs of literacy level adult ELLs. there has been little to no systematic research on word level strategies and initial literacy development for older ELLs who are learning to read for the first time in their second language. it may be established that subsequent reading comprehension ability is dependant on successful decoding ability for these adult L2 beginning readers as well. The role of word level skills has been under. . Stanovich 1982). pedagogical approaches that recognize this importance and include activities that promote awareness of the sound structure of words may facilitate the development of PA. a critical stage of the alphabetic reading process has implications for practice.1. In order to learn to read an alphabetic system. The question of the path to initial reading ability for older ELLs with little or no L1 reading skills is the primary focus of this research.

to acquire information and. Directions for future research The sample size in this study was small. In terms of which tasks were most highly correlated with decoding ability. perhaps most importantly. the nature of instruction was not the focus of the present study. deletion and isolation tasks were the best predictors of decoding ability. Finally. that PA in English is predictive of decoding ability in English for this population. Based on the inferential statistical analysis the conclusion can be drawn. including non-alphabetic backgrounds. 6. and replication with larger populations is a needed direction for future research. but find their way to a new country which places a great emphasis on the ability to read and write for communication. it is critical that they be put on a path of literacy development that draws on their rich schema and gives them access to participation in the community. Evidence for the correlation of PA to decoding ability has emerged in the population under study. Like the child and monolingual adult studies that have informed this research. social interaction. In addition. the data in this study show that the correlations between English PA and English decoding ability are statistically significant. In addition. Conclusions This study was designed to investigate the role of PA in initial decoding ability for beginning adult L2 readers of English. and future research that investigates different instructional approaches and intervention protocols can be conducted to further unpack the role of PA in early literacy development for adult ESL literacy level students. For the students who have not mastered reading in their native language. for both real and invented word decoding. participants shared the same native language (Spanish) and investigation into populations with different L1 backgrounds. 5. to achieve economic selfsufficiency. as in the child studies. the data suggest . These students need to develop the basic skills necessary to decode text and then progress through the learning to read stage to one where they are reading to learn.2. This supports the child studies that discuss isolation as being a critical factor in learning to read an alphabetic system.256 Margo DelliCarpini An oral assessment measure would certainly contribute to this if there is no counterbalance in the form of reading and writing assessment. critical analysis. is necessary to fully understand the relationship between PA and decoding in adults who are learning to read for the first time or who are developing emergent literacy skills in their second language.

g. Further investigation into the development of initial reading in the second language for adults who have not acquired these skills in their L1 and are learning for the first time in their L2 will provide valuable information for researchers and practioners alike. Beginning ESL: Individual can recognize. Narrative writing is disorganized and unclear. as evidenced for the similarity in the hierarchy of task difficulty and the correlation between phoneme isolation and decoding in English and general PA ability in English and English decoding ability. can write a limited number of basic sight words and familiar words and phrases.. . While the results of this study extend the importance of PA skills and initial literacy development in an alphabetic system to an additional population.Phonemic awareness and beginning adult L2 reading 257 that literacy level adult ESL students and monolingual children have similar underlying cognitive processes. inconsistently uses simple punctuation (e. commas. Beginning ESL Literacy: Individual has no or minimal reading or writing skills in any language. May have little or no comprehension of how print corresponds to spoken language and may have difficulty using a writing instrument. periods. and will help to inform practice and develop strategies that best meet the needs of students such as the population under investigation in this work. Formerly the National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS). question marks). Can write basic personal information. may also be able to write simple sentences or phrases. the results are a small contribution to the area of second language reading research. National Reporting System (NRS) definitions of adult ESL levels which are used at the U. 2. Federal level to determine funding and program placement for adult education programs receiving federal funding. contains frequent errors in spelling. Appendix Assessment Instruments Employed Tastk Poneme Isolation Phoneme Substitution Phoneme Segmentation Phoneme Blending Phoneme Deletion Instument Ponological Awareness Test (PAT) PAT Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (CTOPP) CTOPP CTOPP Notes 1. including very simple messages. but has a limited understanding of connected prose and may need frequent re-reading. read and write numbers and letters.S.

auditory discrimination. The CM was arrived at by averaging the percent correct for each subject on each of the subtests. 2005).” (NAAL Question and Answers. for ages 7–24 10. 5. Mary. 8. p. Word recognition and basic cognitive processes among reading-disabled and normal readers in the Arabic language. . 1992. The identification of a respondent as Hispanic does not assume that the person is a non-native speaker (NNS) of English. Templeton& D. 1. 16. Bear (Eds. 2003. In S.doc 9. References Abouzeid. phoneme counting. National Reporting System (NRS) Guidelines: http://www. the NALS includes a range of skills that focus on not only decoding and comprehension. 11. All instructions were given in both Spanish and word matching.258 Margo DelliCarpini 3. USDOE. David Share and Maysaloon Said Mansour. The NALS has divided literacy ability into three sections: Prose Literacy. phoneme blending. Salim. 1988). %20Table%204-4-06. The ‘non-literate in English’ category included an assessment for the least literate adults completing the survey (NAAL. so in order to compare difficulty among measures. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal. USDOE.). 279–306. and to develop one’s knowledge and potential. phoneme segmentation. Questions used authentic formats and involved test items such as using newspapers (to measure prose literacy) using a transportation schedule (to measure document literacy) and using a loan advertisement that required participants to calculate interest (to measure quantitative literacy). In addition. 7. phoneme deletion. Hillsdale. Yopp specifically investigated: rhyme. 423–442. The category ‘Non-literate in English’ is a newly established category that identifies all adults who lack minimum basic reading skills necessary to participate in the main National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL). This category was established to answer the outstanding issue of the broadness of category 1 in the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS). Yopp (1988) did not use phoneme substitution as an assessment. Stages of word knowledge in reading disabled children. The number of items on each sub-test differed. sound isolation and word. Abu-Rabia. Document Literacy and Quantitative Literacy. but on the range of literacy skills and practices that an adult needs to function in society. 2005). but it can be interpreted from the report that a sub-set of those identified as Hispanic are NNS. 6. R. 4. Development of orthographic knowledge and the foundations of literacy. a converted means (CM) was used (Yopp. to achieve one’s goals. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.nrsweb. The NAAL defines literacy from a functional perspective as “the ability to use printed and written information to function in society.

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China 1. Another one is that they risk becoming dated in no time: for instance. These new developments have both positive and negative aspects. A mere five years ago it would have been unthinkable. socialized) to new media formats as tools for being or becoming someone is something that seems to often escape the attention of observers. as some would say. which are just as important as the opportunities. the Internet. Things move fast. and new opportunities for creating. XUAN WANG and CAIXIA DU Abstract Over the past two decades. shoot a moving target. articulating and ratifying identities. Keywords: Identity. identity repertoire. The negative ones. while Facebook at the time . the rise of the Internet has enabled new forms of social relationships. altering or developing identity repertoires. Introduction “I Twitter. this paper explores the dynamic between opportunities for and constraints on the creative deployment of identity repertoires on the Internet. and research only catches up with new developments at a relatively slow pace. and the Internet indeed offers quite a range of such opportunities for expanding. are the constraints on such forms of creativity. and the speed and degree to which we have been habituated (or.2 The effect of that is that papers such as this one face challenges.Identity repertoires on the Internet: Opportunities and constraints PIIA VARIS. or at least not at present. Through two examples from emerging Chinese Internet (sub)cultures. the main one being that they have to summarize and comment on an ever-broadening range of recent fast developments – in other words.1 The title is not so surprising. therefore I am” – this is the title of a symposium held at Tilburg University in the summer of 2010. new forms of interaction and community building. The positive ones are the new patterns and practices which enable people to create something new.

consequently. The rise of the Internet has over the past two decades generated a whole range of new patterns of human interaction. This is the general plot of the paper. articulating and ratifying new identities. and we have . However. but before embarking on our discussion we need to introduce two perhaps rather obvious but nevertheless fundamental introductory points. taken from emerging Chinese Internet subcultures. We will attend to these issues first by means of a broad sketch of the main issues surrounding the theme of this paper. the patterns of circulation of popular culture have altered. even if research on it is still quite fragmentary. enabled new forms of human relationships and. We shall also see that throughout these identity processes. This is where constraints come into play. cultural. capital and goods move in new ways. what happens on the Internet can naturally not be dissociated from the wider patterns of social transformation we have witnessed over the past decades – globalization processes entailing a complex of social. can illustrate this dynamic between opportunity and constraint. We shall see that ‘virtual’ reality is quite a misnomer.266 Piia Varis. altering or developing identity repertoires. Doing identity work on the Internet has to follow certain rules and norms: in addition it is open to scrutiny and assessment by often unknown and/or unsuspected others. even if constraints perhaps have not yet drawn sufficient academic attention. especially when identity processes are concerned. political and economic features. we believe that we do see some general lines developing here. The two cases presented here. The mechanisms of these new developments are being explored. Such ideologies need to be set off against the background of the panoptic and regulated nature of the Internet – a virtual space of real control and power. and the Internet indeed offers quite a range of such opportunities for expanding. People. positive ones as well as negative ones. also offered new opportunities for creating. because what is ‘virtual’ is very ‘real’ in the lives of many people. The negative ones are the constraints on such forms of creativity. The positive ones are the new patterns and practices which enable people to create something new. First. Xuan Wang and Caixia Du of writing has become one of the biggest changes in society and culture ever seen – its reported 500 million users and the 700 billion minutes these people spend on it per month testify to this (Facebook 2010) – it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that no one will even remember Facebook a decade from now. ratification and legitimation are salient. and that we encounter ‘Internet ideologies’ in this field – dominant ideologies of freedom and liberty that guide people towards new developments in their identity repertoires. and we want to emphasize from the outset that the constraints are as important as the opportunities. issues of authenticity and authentification.

none of them can be overlooked in explaining patterns of identity production. 2008). Virtually real identities Internet identities and online self-presentation have recently attracted more and more academic attention (see e. for instance. Turkle 1995. In online environments. Zhao et al. and that people invest considerable amounts of energy in modifying and changing their identities in relation to other people and different contexts. we cannot see identity as an essential feature of individuals. but as a bundle of processes and practices. We also need to pluralize ‘identity’. we also need to consider its uptake and response from others. Third. Nederveen Pieterse 1995. Georgakopoulou 2006. Karaganis 2007 for different perspectives on these developments). we have to a . the meaning of key concepts in the social sciences – such as ‘community’. ‘diaspora’. Block 2004. Appadurai 1996. 2006. Language. That is. It goes without saying that what follows needs to be set against that background (see e. for identity is dialogical. With these general and also widely subscribed to remarks in mind. And. ‘culture’. from this it follows that we should not think of identity just as something that is produced by someone as an isolated self-sufficient entity. genres and styles all belong to that complex of resources. we can now engage with the particular field we want to address here: the late modern jungle of Internet identities. Goffman 1981. Butler 1990. Gumperz and Cook-Gumperz 1997 [1982]. Blommaert 2005). Ellison et al. we need to accept that all of this is normal. we have to understand that identities are dynamic and changeable. although the performative. Second. but perform a repertoire of identities by means of resources they have acquired and have at their disposal for such purposes. and indeed a core characteristic of the social processes we observe and examine. forms and norms of communication.g. finally. Castells 1996.Identity repertoires on the Internet: Opportunities and constraints 267 new truly global art forms such as hiphop. when we talk about identity – the specific focus here – we have to take on board the achievements of decades of advanced scholarship (here we can think of such diverse works as. and the speed and scope of these processes have indeed often been attributed to the Internet. and while none of those resources alone is enough to generate a particular identity. plural. and start from the assumption that people do not ‘have’ one identity. 2002.g. Fourth. Maffesoli 1996. dynamic and dialogical character of identity may be at odds with lay discourses and self-perceptions which stress singularity and stability (“I haven’t been myself lately”). and ‘identity’ – have been altered. Androutsopoulos 2006. Hall and du Gay 1996. 2. Lepp¨ nen 2007. Bargh et al.

which aspects of one’s identity to highlight and which ones to conceal. a 2009). with a picture of themselves attached to that name to further authenticate their ‘real’ identity. Lepp¨ nen et al.e. one can start from scratch. users present themselves there. whether the claims to certain identities correspond to the corporeal self behind the computer screen and its material conditions – further facilitates selective self-presentation and creativity. for apart from selecting what information one wants to present of oneself. It is naturally clear that selective self-presentation and identity work also takes place ‘offline’ – we need to manoeuvre different audiences and different contexts in our everyday lives all the time (and it is noteworthy that for instance Goffman’s [1959] work has been applied to studying online environments too). in online environments the scarcity of clues one’s audience often has for determining the authenticity of one’s identity claims – i. The specific environment of the Internet compels us towards the use of certain types of identity resources. In contrast to ‘offline’ social relationships. and for this purpose we mobilize different resources – genres. Xuan Wang and Caixia Du ‘write ourselves into being’ (Sund´ n 2003) – or. the identity written into being does not need to correspond to the corporeal self and its material conditions. discourses. The audience one constructs for one’s identity performance also has an effect on what is presented and what is not. On anonymous sites we perhaps see more room for manoeuvring and identity play – we are for instance able to present ourselves with a self-invented user name. for instance in the case of Facebook. for the kind of identity one wants to perform has to be authenticated and ratified by those observing the performance.” In practice. however. Nevertheless. of course. is that in online environments we encounter what Naomi S. as danah boyd3 (2009: 145) e puts it: “One cannot simply “be” online. which derive much of their meaning from their history and . one must make one’s presence visible through explicit and structured actions. one’s ‘Friends’ (see also Gershon 2010: 174–179). having to write oneself into being means that on many forums. Baron (2008) has referred to as the “on my best day” phenomenon. We have to write ourselves into being. in many if not most cases. styles. In the (at least to some extent) disembodied world of virtual identities. with their real name. should by no means be seen as limiting the creative mobilization of different identity repertoires.g. Here we of course encounter differences between anonymous and nonymous sites for identity construction: for instance a social network site such as Facebook is a nonymous site.268 Piia Varis. An upshot of this. one is also to a certain extent free to choose one’s audience. and so on – that we have at our disposal (see e. what having to write oneself into being means is that because of this ‘have to’ – this obligation – we must experiment with different identity repertoires. However. Nonymous sites. and write into being the kind of being one wants to be.

Internet identities written into being can also be conceptualized on the axis of visibility-invisibility. there are explicit and implicit rules of conduct that we have to follow – at least if we want to make our identity endeavours successful in the sense of being accepted and authorized by others inhabiting the same online world – and architectural constraints to be negotiated. If nonymity becomes a burden. people often enter Internet platforms with no history. and the opportunities it provides for social action. the substance of what is one’s identity can be crafted using all kinds of resources for making things either appear. Acknowledging the stabilities and normativities is not to deny the fact that the range of new genres that the Internet offers us means increasing possibilities for identity and community formation – here we only have to think of the emergence of blogging as a format for the creation of all sorts of worlds that were previously unimaginable. and what does that suggest about me and my identity’. come into being. there is also the possibility of writing oneself into being with an alias. or an avatar. 2008). One can again make oneself invisible by choosing to stop engagement with these arenas. While this range of new opportunities can give the impression of a chaotic and limitless universe of human social creativity. with whom (‘who are my Friends. All this of course comes in a convenient wrapping of an ideology of individual freedom and liberty. The emergence of new environments and new genres may give us the illusion of increased freedom. engagement with others. and genres themselves are normative – not a case of anything goes. identities are performed within these genres. One can choose the arenas on which one wishes to display oneself and write oneself into being: where to be seen. that we see through all this. or they perform to an audience they have specifically found or summoned for a certain performance to take place. and forms of community in what is often experienced as a space of unrestricted creativity.Identity repertoires on the Internet: Opportunities and constraints 269 context. for in new environments norms emerge and those appropriating these environments and employing the new genres bring about the stabilisation of . be visible. However. see e. and move to (an)other one(s) – perhaps those which allow for more freedom in terms of identity construction. and with what sort of identity claims. That is. or disappear. both implicit and explicit. Given its nature. Stability online takes many forms.g. and even predictability. Walther et al. one gets both visibility and invisibility. it is useful to draw attention to the enormous degree of stability. In the latter case. while one’s own name and face can remain invisible. an alias or an avatar will do the identity work. at least if one wants to make oneself understood and accepted. the Internet can be seen as a space in which people (and not only young ones) can experiment with new and different forms of self-presentation.

Facebook users. Yet. hence exercising power on us and the online ‘archive’ we construct for and of ourselves (see also e. 2009. Herring and Paolillo 2006. we have archontic power (Derrida 1996): that is. surveillance and information-gathering – without those who are being observed and of whom information is being gathered necessarily being aware of it. A further complication in online identity work is that in many ways we have to comply with ready-made identity formats. 2009). Thurlow et al. also O’Hara et al. This means that part of our identity work is already laid out for us. All of this is also very consequential: careless self-presentations may come back to haunt one later in life – youthful misjudgements in self-presentation may still be accessible years afterwards to for instance future employers searching for information on a potential employee. with such identity markers we often also become attached to a certain physical body in time and space which is in apparent contradiction with the idea of freedom and liberty online to be who one wants to be in the way one wants to be. This is also when the Internet becomes a late-modern panopticon (Foucault 1995 [1975]). the motivation for them is of course in many cases economic. Xuan Wang and Caixia Du certain practices and behaviours and thus participate in the creation of norms. Richardson and Hessey 2009 for a discussion on Facebook as a way of archiving the self. and that the more subtle means we have for identity construction offline are not available for us. allowing for observation. That is. Lanier 2010 for different perspectives). consequently. boyd 2001). are not only making identity statements to their visible audience (‘Friends’). for completely different purposes. there are (invisible) others who are in a position to collect.g. 2004.g. Identity work carried out in online environments can be stored and used for other (identity) purposes later and. but also to invisible parties who want to sell their products and . Although it can be suggested that such ready-made identity formats facilitate communication and interaction. our identity work can be used by (invisible) others for marketing and other purposes which may have nothing to do with the original purpose for which the online identity was constructed (boyd 2001). In many virtual environments. becoming someone means writing oneself into being according to pre-selected identity markers such as the familiar A/S/L (age-sex-location) grid (e. Killoran 2003. self-presentation and social relationships need to be managed and manoeuvred within certain parameters (see boyd 2001. Weisbuch et al. and things said and done for certain communicative and identity purposes can be recontextualized elsewhere. Further. for instance.270 Piia Varis. classify and interpret information provided by us. With online environments. we also “run the risk of being taken out of context” (boyd 2008). as an effect of this archive function of the Internet. users themselves – despite what they may think – are not the (only) norm setters: communicative acts.

obscure this fundamental reality of what goes on there. 2010. revolving around the presumed ‘virtual’ nature of Internet spaces. What we wish to illustrate here is the kinds of restraints people are confronted with within different online environments. we have to be mindful of the constraints that are included in the neat package of freedom. But we should start a bit further back. 2010 had reached 420 million. Thus. For instance. 3. Yang 2003a. geographical distribution of access is uneven: those living in urban spaces are more . social. Wang and Hong 2010). as we have seen. a closer look yields a somewhat different picture: rules are designed and followed. Although Tsui’s (2003: 66) view that “rather than being a technology of freedom. It seems that more and more people in China do have Internet access.Identity repertoires on the Internet: Opportunities and constraints 271 services – hence for example the phenomenon of gender-specific advertising that those presenting their gender in their profile get (see also Jespers 2010). We shall next illustrate this point with two examples from emerging Internet (sub)cultures in China. This is also when the ‘virtual’becomes ‘real’: a part of real economic. people follow explicit and implicit norms and find themselves faced with non-negotiable platforms. while our first impression of virtual identity processes may be that of bewildering diversity and freedom. the whole story. Ideologies of freedom and creativity. but the ‘technologies of freedom’ are not available for everyone. The Internet is also becoming an important tool for personal expression and public participation in China. and its potential in bringing about social change and enabling and facilitating organised forms of political action should not be overlooked (e. the Chinese Government reported its determination by the year 2015 to increase the number of those with Internet access to 45 per cent of the population (Information Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China 2010). as they are called ) has increased is quite remarkable: between the end of 2009 and June.g. In June 2010. there has been a reported increase of 36 million users (China Internet Network Information Center 2010). the number of Internet users in China by June. According to a report by the state-run China Internet Network Information Center (2010). stratification and control. the internet is well on its way to becoming a technology of control” is not. Creativity within limits: Two cases from China We should start our exploration of the limitations with a more general point concerning constraints. often with unforeseen consequences. The speed with which the number of Chinese Internet users (or ‘netizens’. cultural and political processes of evaluation. and consider who exactly are these people with the privilege to engage in the new ‘virtual’ identity practices.

we see him appear in many different forums. from a similar disadvantaged background. is part of communities of likeminded people and. he is also basically unemployable. or a music-DIY site. even though it may be surprising in the case of such an . but this is only one part of his lived reality.51. What we can conclude from this brief biography is that we are looking at a case of someone who is short of almost every form of capital (Bourdieu 1986): the economic. and our underachiever has been able to get some status for himself by engaging in the global phenomenon that is hiphop. most notably cultural and social resources he has at his disposal for building meaningful group belongings and social networks. com and www. consequently. Something of a juvenile delinquent. he has been involved in street crime. and a MySpace-kind-of-platform. what we also know about our rapper is that he does not perform or tour much – his visibility is confined to the Internet. he does not have an extensive social network. but through his musical endeavours he has been able to generate social networks and visibility for himself. for improving his mobility and. and those living in western China are less privileged in terms of Internet access than their fellow citizens in eastern parts of the country (Information Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China 2010). respectively. Online. obviously there are haves and have-nots already in terms of access to the resources for realizing these opportunities. seem scarce. However. when it comes to the opportunities for new technologically mediated identities. With his record. Thus. He does live with his parents. Music itself of course functions as a kind of a (sub)cultural glue in the lives of many people around the world. But he has a computer connected to the Internet. His personal trajectory is easily summarized. However. builds social networks. this does not mean that these opportunities are totally out of reach for people living on the margins of societies. which can be characterized as a social network site. for accumulating further resources. Apart from a small circle of friends. Xuan Wang and Caixia Du likely to enjoy the availability of the new forms of identity and community building than those living in rural areas. in a small bedroom with hardly any comforts. He is an educational underachiever and a school dropout who rebelled against the educational system. This underachiever may not appear to be in possession of a lot of social capital. and this is where the other part of his existence starts.272 Piia Varis. On these forums he promotes his music. The material reality of this rapper thus seems to be that of someone socially very invisible. This becomes clear with our first case4 – a rapper from Enshi.yyfc. China (a remote rural area in Central-Western China) who can be considered as someone absolutely marginal in multiple senses of the word and yet has access to opportunities provided by the Internet. and has been in prison several times.

he is able to write another kind of self into being. On different online forums. . He is. for instance concerning the freedom of speech in China. therefore by no means a minor social tool – which was shut down for undeclared reasons earlier in 2010. On the contrary. but these new opportunities also come with constraints. and some of the lyrics for his songs that he posts online feature profanities. China. the Internet enables the deployment of identity repertoires otherwise not within his reach. and his specific art form (hiphop) can also be viewed negatively as too ‘Western’ and not an authentic part of Chinese have to comply with are by no means implicit. China proclaims itself to be a ‘harmonious’ – – a site that has more than 100 million users. who on the surface seems quite ‘harmless’. after all.g.Identity repertoires on the Internet: Opportunities and constraints 273 underachiever. he is part of a subculture. and help construct an image of someone who is not only part of a subculture.51. that is not the whole story and. ‘offline’ bodies and realities do not necessarily matter online. We can safely say that at least some of the rules and norms the users of www. interact with each other and work on their social networks and identities.51. our rapper does not have unlimited freedom in establishing himself as a certain kind of self. The freedom of our rapper and these other users is limited. MacKinnon 2008. In a sense this is what happens here: an underachiever can become someone with status. Zittrain and Edelman 2003. The first constraint we can observe is quite a practical and also a major one: his carefully crafted identity work may disappear anytime. His identity repertoires may have expanded with the Internet and he is able to escape the material locality he is in.e. and does not approve of the dissemination of ‘harmful information’ online (see e. according to which ‘online’ and ‘offline’ worlds and experiences can be different and separated. Campbell 2004). 2009. its more than 100 million users are not able to download music. but also outspoken. and corporeal. Zhang and Wang 2010). these things – which are clearly identity statements. Here we could apply the idea of the “online disembodiment thesis” (e. homogeneous and highly normative – society. However. He also engages in asking provocative questions online. someone with a legitimate identity within an essentially global hiphop network in spite of being locally marginalized. If the site is blocked. In no time at all. However. only broadening his identity horizons and building a community of music enthusiasts. he even has ‘followers’ (and even became a topic for research in a Dutch university). That is the case at least with www. Websites may be shut down. through the different multimodal resources available. unfortunately. bold and critical – may disappear. For this rapper from Enshi. someone whose existence as a certain kind of self is authenticated by his followers and others with whom he interacts online. Hence the limitations for someone like the Enshi rapper.

which is our second example.6 Blogging in general has become hugely popular and also increasingly influential during the past decade or so. But this he does within a policed Internet environment. 2005). but it seems to escape definition. Many efforts have been made to characterize this new genre (e. The presence of Cyberpolice at www. As Miller and Shepherd (2004: n.g. So essentially he needs to be able to do two things: be mindful of what he says – mindful of the kinds of repertoires and resources he mobilizes – and be ready to be a nomadic user. in which his opportunities need to be carefully checked against the risks of this enterprise. and in this he is not alone. messages and whole sites. Posts. Herring et al. identity and community formation are literally policed in a very explicit way. The rapper clearly benefits from the identity opportunities the Internet can provide. and this is clear from the presence of the Chinese Cyberpolice on the site (see Figure 1). ‘wrong’ forms of interaction and relationship formation – have undesired consequences (see e.) put it. It allows him to become more widely recognized and to break out of Enshi. along with certain selves written into being and made visible. and move from one forum to another. Qiu 1999.51. MacKinnon 2008). may disappear. An additional facet of this is that he is also transgressing rules he may not even know to exist. We can witness a similar dialectics of opportunities and constraints within the budding and in many ways already blooming Chinese blogging culture.p.g.5 What the Enshi rapper is forced to do. is to migrate from one site of engagement to another. and whichever site happens to be fully functioning will be his main forum. “Blogs can be both public and intensely personal in possibly contradictory ways. They are . The Cyberpolice monitor online behaviour and the posting of ‘harmful information’ – ‘wrong’ kinds of identity statements.274 Piia Varis. Xuan Wang and Caixia Du Figure 1.

it is reasonable to suggest that such opportunities used to be centrally managed – identities ascribed to one were more difficult to escape. be they purely intellectual or concerned with knowledge sharing. reaffirmed through common intellectual enterprises and emotional investments. Blogging can also be viewed within the framework of the ‘new knowledge culture’ (Jenkins 2006. blogrolls (i. e notably in the cyberspace. identity and identification are mind-boggling. appear online in many different forms. The opportunities offered by this new online genre for information. (. To take the case of the Chinese blogging scene . These communities. and members of this audience can naturally be physically located anywhere in the world provided with Internet access. sexuality. To take the specific location of China as an example. and they may belong to more than one community at the same time. temporary and tactical affiliations. ) these new communities are defined through voluntary.g. Rak 2005) – while at the same time they can be extremely public in nature. however. McNeill 2003. friends. blogs can be characterized as highly personal – as a late-modern form of diary (e. for instance. These communities come together through. even a very superficial exploration of the blogosphere allows one to discover individuals and communities posting on cooking. consisting of. a list of blogs that a blogger may recommend to others by providing links to them) and comments people post on blogs. see also L´ vy 1997). drawing on L´ vy’s 1997 work) indeed notes. and be instrumental in processes of democratization. Yang 2003b for musings on the cyberpotential for these purposes). Audiences can also be unexpected and unsuspected. shared and built upon may be from any sphere of life. These communities. and a community of bloggers can be viewed as a collective knowledge community. . There might be a familiar circle of readers. Members may shift from one group to another as their interests and needs change. To quote Jenkins (2006: 27). fashion. are formed.g. However. not to mention the implications for collective work and community building (see e. and so on. As Jenkins (2006: 29. family. . with the emergence of the Internet and blogging as part of it. The ‘knowledge’ exchanged. where new types of community.” That is. and the ones introduced as forbidden ones more difficult to perform. gardening. with shared objectives (and here we may think of a range of objectives. say. the new e communities emerging may also serve political functions. the expansion of one’s identity repertoires is easier.Identity repertoires on the Internet: Opportunities and constraints 275 addressed to everyone and at the same time to no one.e. eating disorders. are held together through the mutual production and reciprocal exchange of knowledge. but a blogger may also have (and all this unassumingly) a very wide audience. or colleagues. or ones with affective functions as well).

Blogging makes no exception in this. as in many others. the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner. an Internet forum that had been running for about five years was shut down after someone posted a critical comment on their blog on the building of expensive stadiums while great numbers of Chinese were living in poverty. these opportunities come with restraints. To reiterate our point of departure. In other cases. audiences can be unexpected. indirect and obscure expressions and the use of homophones for instance to be able to say what one wants for certain identity and communal purposes – as has been the case recently with online discussions on Liu Xiaobo.276 Piia Varis. when a lot of cleaning – both ‘virtual’ and ‘material’ – had to be done to present to the rest of the world a certain kind of China. Xuan Wang and Caixia Du as an example (and to risk over-simplification by referring to it as a single entity). Here we see the precariousness of identities and knowledge communities that exist in the blogosphere: with blogging. someone’s (virtual) life and identity was erased. it was one on literature – a (sub)cultural forum for likeminded people to share and create knowledge and establish identities. not even in the land of freedom that the Internet is supposed to be. In this case. Prior to the Olympics. and politically dubious statements are naturally seen as threatening. There are CD-roms available for unblocking websites that have been closed down. and we are also able to observe astonishing degrees of linguistic creativity from bloggers and other Chinese Internet users to make sure that they can avoid control and censorship. there are consequences for making certain identity statements and trying to employ certain identity repertoires. A harmonious virtual China does not include vulgar language or swear words. This was perhaps most obvious prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. As the case of the rapper already illustrated. Quickly these roundabout ways of expression become shared knowledge among Internet users and communities and identity work can remain under construction. What is seen as ‘harmony’in Chinese society entails not saying and doing certain things. In practice this means metaphorical talk. The case we present here is an example of the latter. ultimately. and the Chinese Cyberpolice is potentially part of the . unsuspected and undesired. we do see that blogging means increased opportunities for identity construction and community building. The blog in question was not created for overtly political purposes. to avoid erasure. as we saw with the case of the Enshi rapper. However. or the side product of blogging on something with no directly observable political meaning. and the blogger forced to migrate and display his/her identity elsewhere on the Internet. we witness increasing individual and collective creativity to manoeuvre through the screening of identities and practices and. the political functions may of course be either the main goal of bloggers.

or the ‘material’ life. so to speak. and can we – or should we – in fact make such a distinction? What seems ‘virtual’ here is in fact very ‘real’. What remains unclear with this type of intervention from the Cyberpolice and the identity correction they make. and the identities that are displayed become not only monitored by others but also by the users themselves. which tells the blogger him. or more accurately replaced with two stars. Mobilizing a political repertoire was a move that required intervention from unsuspected members of the audience monitoring the blogosphere. and perhaps even been authenticated and approved by other Internet users. and this needed to be rectified. but so are the constraints. in the sense that an identity has been displayed employing certain repertoires.or herself as well as his or her audience that a mistaken kind of an identity had been assumed. and be replaced with the text “Cherish your life. and it is a very positive development that people can engage in these forms of creativity. identity work and community building. certain moves and manoeuvres are necessary. The second kind of creativity. is what is addressed here as ‘life’. consequently implying the potential formation of a ‘wrong’ kind of a knowledge community. however. So we witness two kinds of creativity: the first kind is brought about because of the new socio-technical tools available. This was the case with our example here: a ‘wrong’ kind of an identity was displayed by someone. In addition. is forced creativity – to be able to inhabit online environments. What is obvious is that the opportunities provided by the Internet may be unprecedented. they also embark on self-policing. Sometimes identity policing is more in the details: single words in blogs become omitted. . What the Chinese cases show us is that Internet users are not only monitored from the outside. for whole blogs can be blocked within hours of posting something that is considered ‘harmful’ or ‘sensitive’. The message sent to the blogger as well as to ging” (“ anyone wishing to access the blog is clear. as identities – and whole communities – need to be legitimized and approved of not only by immediate participants but also by invisible others. The Chinese Cyberpolice is effective in its work. keep away from blog”7 ).Identity repertoires on the Internet: Opportunities and constraints 277 audience. Is it the ‘virtual’ life of the blogger that is being referred to. and as a consequence. Identity correction is not always as drastic as it was in this case. possibly members of the same knowledge community. in what can be described as a late-modern panopticon (Foucault 1995 [1975]). and the imprisonment of Internet activists should be one of the clearest examples of the ‘real’ nature of all of this.

and navigational habits not only with their acquaintances but also the companies who interpret much of this data. if you are unhappy. one sitting in front of a computer screen. describes the current situation as follows: Today.0 ideology”. to display our cultural interests and our networks. provide all sorts of demographic details about ourselves. as we have seen in our discussion here.). As part of a sea change toward the feasibility and importance of keeping private things private. We may have the feeling of having another reality to live in – an alternative reality that we can use to complement or replace the ‘corporeal’ one. you may present yourself as rich. not just for American young people). latent possibilities for total control have opened up. you may still present yourself as happy.e. Conclusions By way of conclusion. nobody knows you’re a dog”. Xuan Wang and Caixia Du 4. if you are poor.” conversations. indeed. The cartoon. featuring two dogs. i. Indeed.278 Piia Varis. In different online environments we need to. And all this is at present very much part of our lived realities. The online actions Scholz refers to can of course be done for identity purposes. and the Internet provides opportunities for broadening our identity repertoires (and. marketers can even learn about the stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves. sometimes no one needs to know that you are a dog. or at least are encouraged to. The new socio-technical tools we have at our disposal for imagining identities and communities enable us to conjure up selves that satisfy our desires . and these others may be interested in knowing whether you are indeed a dog or not –for different economic or political purposes for example. our online behaviours can be monitored by (often invisible) others. and the other one on the floor next to it. Scholz (2008: n. young people don’t mind so much that they share their “friends lists. Today. to add an important point to Scholz’s characterisation. American youth cares much less about their privacy than users of the Web a decade ago.p. popular public discourse on the Internet and its recent developments. and is the key component of the new global order” (Appadurai 1996: 31). if it happens to be unpleasant or insufficient for us. We now live in an era where imagination has become a social practice (Appadurai 1996). in his discussion on what he labels as the “Web 2. is itself a social fact. With these firms (and possibly government bodies) as daily confidantes. included the caption “On the Internet. That is how we tend to think about online environments: if you are a man. it “is now central to all forms of agency. However. you may present yourself as a woman. we might want to remind ourselves of the famous 1993 cartoon in The New Yorker which has become a kind of a symbolic item in discussions on Internet and identity. they are represented in the profiles of our social networking sites.

but as Lo (2009: 384) puts it: “For the nation-state. contextual cues. and regulations. both visible and invisible. archiving. There is no need for doomsday scenarios. and this is not only about what is legal or illegal as such – norms and rules for communication and identity and community building are also obeyed without explicit legal restrictions.” Creativity involves transgression. within the kinds of communities we wish to be part of as statements of our identities. with Internet identities we can indeed talk about repertoires in the plural. emergent. for there is room for manoeuvring. the emergence of new forms of self in the society requires further social surveillance. elsewhere we see it in more covert forms. What needs to be remembered here is that these late-modern . the new technologies of self (Foucault 1988) come with restrictions of the kind we also have not been able to imagine before. then there will always be another one that will allow that to happen. and if one online environment does not satisfy our desires in imagining who we want to be. we witness overt policing of the Internet. but the Chinese cases presented here clearly illustrate a point. That is. But China is not alone in this and by no means the only place where control. surveillance and censorship. It is widely known that China limits the use of the Internet. the opportunities for imagining and acting on our imaginings are like nothing we have been able to imagine before. Here we have to remind ourselves of some of the features that come with the package that is presented to us in popular media ideologies (i. we navigate and manoeuvre in different environments. The cases presented here are not only anecdotal evidence but they are indicative of larger patterns. However. As Internet users. screening and profiling happens – in China. risk management.Identity repertoires on the Internet: Opportunities and constraints 279 to be what we want to be. of nomadic subjects (to put Braidotti’s 1994 term into literal use): users who migrate from one forum to another in search of a place for identity construction that can be confirmed by other subjects.e. beliefs about and attitudes towards the possible and appropriate uses and functions of different media. and the scope and nature of control may seem like something foreign for Internet users elsewhere. and the scope and significance of opportunities we have for extending our immediate corporeal realities should not be undermined. However. The explicit censorship we come across in the case of China is not the core point here. Identities and communities online are not all about freedom and liberty. and in societies obsessed with security and stability. The new freedoms for imagining and creating identities are undeniable. The two cases from China presented here are cases of nomadic Internet users. transgression is a risk. see Gershon 2010: 3) as one of unlimited freedom: control. and our navigation and manoeuvring can be complicated by the fact that these environments often come with no histories and sometimes with very little.

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(Bourdieu 1977: 183) . recontextualized and commodified in the service of tourist identities and of tourism’s cosmopolitan mythology. (Franklin and Crang 2001: 10) Symbolic capital. it is the preparation of people to see other places as objects of tourism . . in the last analysis. language too is on the move. These playful. difference. tourism. commodification. It is in this way that the globalizing habitus (Jaworski and Thurlow 2010) of tourism privileges or elevates those who choose to travel. cosmopolitanism. the source of its effects. a transformed and thereby disguised form of physical “economic” capital. guided tours) where local languages are stylized. the everyday. Specifically. and only inasmuch. local languages. seemingly innocuous “textualizations” of language/s are also exemplary enactments of banal globalization (Thurlow and Jaworski 2010). In this paper we examine some of the ways that our research has shown language commonly being taken up in tourism’s search for exoticity and authenticity. . we present a series of different touristic genres (broadcast media. containing linguistic/cultural difference under a guise of celebration and respect. guidebook glossaries. Keywords: language. micro-level ways in which the social meanings and material effects of globalization are realized. And it is not just people who are on tour. as it conceals the fact that it originates in “material” forms of capital which are also. banal globalization. tourism ” is firmly established as one of the world’s largest international trades.Tourism discourse: Languages and banal globalization CRISPIN THURLOW and ADAM JAWORSKI Abstract Described as the “one of the greatest population movements of all time. the touristic gaze and imaginary shape and mediate our knowledge of and desires about the rest of the planet. produces its proper effect inasmuch. globalizing habitus Touristic culture is more than the physical travel.

as a truly global industry – perhaps even the world’s largest. And yet. single international trade – there are few people whose lives remain unaffected by tourism. Why tourism matters (for language scholars) Academics working in the interdisciplinary field of critical tourism studies often have to justify their scholarly interest to those unable to see beyond their own personal experience of tourism as a frivolous. recreational activity.286 Crispin Thurlow and Adam Jaworski Figure 1. tourism is simply “one of the greatest population movements of all time”. sociologists. The promise of contact 1. For anthropologist Ed Bruner (2005: 10). geographers and others have looked to examine the . It is precisely because of its scale and influence that anthropologists. be it people privileged enough to tour or people who are “toured”.

this growing body of research clearly demonstrates tourism’s powerful role in reshaping cultural practices. solely – semiotic in nature because.Tourism discourse: Languages and banal globalization 287 social and cultural practices by which tourism is organized and experienced (for an overview.g. In seeking to contribute a uniquely sociolinguistic or discourse analytic perspective to the field of tourism studies. it is instrumental in producing the very culture that tourists set out to know. For all its economic weight and political consequence. it is a key site for the study of human communicative processes – most obviously with regards intercultural contact and exchange. more correctly. however. Just as tourism has proved to be an obvious research domain/topic for anthropologists and sociologists. Not only does tourism involve face-to-face (or more mediated) forms of visitor–host interaction. memories. tourism is fundamentally – and. and indeed the photos of themselves in exotic locations. like advertising and marketing. More importantly. discourses and styles). lifestyles. privileged lens through which many people make sense of not only a particular destination or “culture” but of the world at large. travel brochures. however. the tourist imagination and tourist practices are always heavily (in)formed by – and prefigured in – the heavily mediatized representations of television holiday programmes. genres. Bauman 1998. “encounters”. Blommaert 2005. postindustrial capitalism (see. but the ultimate goods purchased by tourists during their travels are images. instead. tourism serves as a very influential. papers in Coupland 2010). Kirshenblatt-Gimblett 1998). for example. at times. As a whole. our own work focuses on the role of language and communication in tourism. We therefore share with other colleagues a broader interest in understanding the life of language/s under globalization or. the souvenirs they bring for “the folks back home”. see Thurlow and Jaworski 2010). establishing ideologies of difference. tastes. More than this. Much of the significance – the cultural capital – of tourism lies also in the “tourist haze” created as tourists return home with their own travel stories about well-trodden destinations. and perpetuating unequal relations of power (Favero 2007). and in (re)organizing relations between groups. newspaper . a key part of what is actually produced and consumed is the semiotic context of the service. but also in terms of the circulation of linguistic “material” (e. like in many other types of service interactions. Tourism seldom merely represents cultural difference or reflects existing socioeconomic relations within and between countries. communities and entire nations (Lash and Urry 1994. and so on. we are keen to learn what tourism tells us about language and languages nowadays. tourism is an intensely social and communicative business. constantly reflexive and deeply semiotic As a service industry. As Adrian Franklin and Mike Crang note (quote above). Heller 2003. In many respects it is the ideal industry for global capitalism because it is highly flexible.

“sightseeing is the world with the sound turned off ”. postcards. tourists usually end up gazing simply because they cannot understand the languages spoken by the . The signs that mark out what is to be looked at become as. Tourism as a language market Until not so long ago. any lack of scholarly attention to language is explained by the nature of the tourist experience itself. or more. . in particular. as well as the relative value of local languages in the global linguistic marketplace. where the pictures circulating around sights are more important than the sites themselves . 129) What we mean to show in this paper is that language. John Urry (2002) calls this search for the already seen the hermeneutic cycle: What is sought for in a holiday is a set of photography images.To some extent.” With particular reference to photography. this then moves on to a tracking down and capturing of these images for oneself. While the tourist is away. in Michael Cronin’s (2000:82) words. . To be sure. local languages often feature no less heavily than photos/images when it comes to tourists’ search for authenticity and difference. In the case of language. tourists are also drawn into a regime of truth about the nature of language and “linguaculture” (Agar 1994). 2003) thus serves as an extension of the tourist gaze (Urry 2002. after Foucault 1976). languages and. It is. however. by no means the only sense through which travel is experienced (see Franklin and Crang 2001). “a structure of expectation is created. As David Dunn (2005. systematized and disciplining ways in which tourism is structured and learned. the socially organized. Along with material goods such as photographs and souvenirs. And it ends up with travellers demonstrating that they really have been there by showing their version of the images that they had seen before they set off. 2. In this way. spurred in large part by John Urry’s commonly misunderstood notion of the tourist gaze just mentioned. the visual representation and production of sights/sites continues to be a dominant mode for visitors and hosts. (p. tourism research tended to focus almost exclusively on the role of visuality. guidebooks and so on (see Thurlow and Jaworski 2010). as Mike Crang (1999: 361) explains. important than the sites themselves. The tourist linguascape (Jaworski et al. which have already been seen in tour company brochures or on TV programmes. snippets of local languages too are (re-)packaged and promoted as useful props (or trinkets) in the enactment of tourism’s performances of exoticity. 2006) further explains.288 Crispin Thurlow and Adam Jaworski travelogues.

language and languages sit at the very heart of the tourist experience. the symbolic market – however insubstantial and playful it appears – is grounded in the material inequalities of the global political economy.g.g. The issue for us is one of language ideology as it dovetails with the ideologies (or mythologies) of both tourism and globalization. interpersonal relations and group structures.) in the second half of the twentieth century. . logging. call centres and tourism). is arguably more easily detached from identity and used as a strategic styling resource (cf. we suggest. In her work on bilingual areas of francophone Canada. have led to the commodification of both language (understood as a measurable skill) and identity (especially in relation to other forms of cultural practice such as dance and music in tourism). we want to look at three examples: travel shows. It is this that we mean to show now by turning to some data which illustrates just some of the ways that language/s is/are commonly – and. in each case. Monica Heller (e. our own research suggests that language (along with other communicative modes) is everywhere in tourism. Coupland 2007). the political economy of language has long been recognized (e. for example.Tourism discourse: Languages and banal globalization 289 objects of their gaze. To this end. and so have the general processes of commodification and appropriation of language in the new economic order of flexible accumulation and of time–space compression. language. We end with a more critical/social theoretical reflection on the politics of representation and the implications of tourism’s use of local languages. and as Bourdieu (quote above) reminds us. Bourdieu 1991. its representation and its realization. and their substitution with new information and service-based industries (most notably. One place where this happens often is in tourism discourse where local languages may be marketed and traded as “metonyms of place” (Urry 2007) and/or markers of cultural authenticity to be consumed by tourists. Of course. problematically – taken up in tourism discourse. linguistic and other symbolic resources become highly marketable commodities. And yet. etc. guidebook glossaries and what we like to call the “greeting game”. in fact. In these domains of economic practice based on contact between different linguistic markets through advances in communication technology (call centres) or mobility (tourism). Due to the new conditions for its commodification. The expansion of tourism as a dominant cultural industry is one of the major areas of economic activity under globalization which has highlighted the significance of language commodification in the study of shifting identities. Cameron 2000. Bell 2009. Irvine 1989). its enculturation and its enactment. together with other forms of cultural practice. 2003) demonstrates how the collapse of traditional industries (cod-fishing. mining.

indeed. edited from the original). it is Steves’ Rome City Guide. (We will show shortly that this singular moment of tourism discourse is by no means limited to Rick Steves. he takes a moment to introduce two local guides/friends.) and of course the thing about Rome is it has so much history(. at least) radio show Travel with Rick Steves. Case study #1: The language play of travel shows The broadcast media offer some of the quintessential ways in which tourism is pre-figured as “the preparation of people to see other places as objects” (quote by Franklin & Crang above).290 Crispin Thurlow and Adam Jaworski 3.) today I have joining me two Roman guides friends of mine who have helped me with my tours and my guidebook research and today are joining us(. Take a look at the following extract from the start of one episode of the popular (in the USA. what it means to be a tourist and the “rules of engagement” with local places. In other words. to radio or to the USA.) Susanna Perucchini is here in our studio and Francesca Caruso joins us by telephone from Rome (. After a short preamble (lines 1 to 5. local people and.) do I say benvenuti? benvenute si benvenuti (laughs) Francesca come va? (laughs) molto bene e tu? ciao bella (laughs) (laughs) ciao (laughs) (laughs) I gotta say ciao bella si yeah you said it well yeah that was perfect ciao bella because I wouldn’t want to say ciao bello (laughs) no you wouldn’t I’ve learned (.) no SP: RS: SP: RS: FC: RS: FC: SP: FC: RS: FC: SP: FC: RS: FC: RS: .) Not only does it have a lot of history but it’s a vibrant opportunity to connect with today’s Italy (. local languages.) This episode was first aired in May 2008 and was repeated in January 2010.1 Extract 1: From Travel with Rick Steves (10 May 2008) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 RS: as you peel through its fascinating and jumbled layers you’ll find Rome’s buildings cats all that laundry crazy traffic and two and a half million Romans endlessly entertaining (. starting in line 6. people learn what the value of tourism is.

) Italian (1. viewers. 15. Barthes 1977 [1964]) confirms his relatively limited grasp of the language. cf. Indeed. and. the depiction of local languages does not happen often in shows like these which are for all intents and purposes “infotainment” targeted at predominantly English-speaking audiences. the arguably pragmatic inappropriateness of “ciao bella”. For now.0) this farmhouse has been in the family for generations (. Extract 2: Vera. 2003. his inability to recognize the correction offered (lines 10 and 11). In a world (or interactional frame) marked as play. To be clear. line 5) which sits at the heart of so much tourism discourse. the chief pasta maker and TV presenter Mary Nightingale 1 2 3 MN: (voiceover) I found all the hotels very comfortable and what’s nice is they’re all so individual and they feel so (. for example. We start with Extract 2 – as it happens. these extracts are just four instances where a presenter is seen to use a local language.) well it’s great to have you both here 291 Steves’ performance of Italian (and Italianicity more generally. his incorrect gendered inflection of “benvenuti” (line 9). 18. another performance of Italianicity – to exemplify the deployment of a local language as an ideal marker of authenticity and/or as an exotic backdrop. 14.) Vera is the boss (. however. Jaworski and Thurlow 2009. Across a lot of our research. Nor is it to deny credit where credit is due: at least. some might argue. 17. we present the following short extracts from once hugely popular British television holidays shows. Note also the promise of contact (see “opportunity to connect”. This is hardly. 24 and 26). Steves rests comfortably in the knowledge that after his dabble with Italian he may return safely to English – after all. It’s a low-stakes game. the framing of this local language as a largely playful resource for use by Steves is keyed as “endlessly entertaining” (line 3) in his preamble and by the laughter throughout (lines 12. by the same token. his slightly awkward (if not also heteronormative) game with “bello”. both his Italian guests are fluent English speakers. a serious or committed attempt to take up or to move into Italian. 16.Tourism discourse: Languages and banal globalization 26 27 FC: RS: definitely not (laughs) OK thank you (. all part of a pleasurable encounter with otherness. he’s having a go. as we will now show.) and the . This is not to say that he has no Italian. grammatical accuracy is clearly less important – if at all – and the consequences of pragmatic failure – the need for serious conversational “repair – mitigated by largely one-sided relationships of power. At least this is how these encounters are presented to listeners or. we have found much the same playful framing of local languages in different domains of tourism discourse (see Jaworski et al. Thurlow and Jaworski 2010). however.

see Jaworski et al. Jaworski and Thurlow 2009.292 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Crispin Thurlow and Adam Jaworski chief pasta maker (cut to Vera’s kitchen where she is making pasta) quest’e’ la pasta queste this is the pasta these sono (. the tourist-presenter (CD) is interacting with “larger than life” store-keeper Massimo.) eat it raw eat it raw (picks up a single strand of raw pasta.) isn’t that absolutely beautiful (. In turning to the camera midway through Vera’s instructions. In Extract 3. Italian is spoken only by the local expert (Vera) who is cast for her stereotypical expertise as the “chief pasta maker” whereby pasta once again metonymically condenses all things Italian (it all feels “so Italian”. turns away from Vera. the food and the language all serve as metonymic markers of place and of difference.) the mixture (.) guarda (picks up a packet of pasta) ` this is pesto pesto from Genoa (.) it’s perfect (realising that MN is no longer listening to her. Thurlow and Jaworski 2010). The person. In this case. 2003. we find the relegation of a local language extended through its use as a ludic resource.) look [ si si pesto fresh tomatoes si yes yes pesto so I need these as well yeah (picks up a tray of blackberries) avanti 6 7 9 CD: M: . Extract 3: Ciche ciche cento – Massimo and TV presenter Craig Doyle 1 2 3 4 5 CD: M: CD: M: (voiceover) the Italians are passionate about food and no one more so than Massimo one of Siena’s larger than life grocers grande grande= large large =grande large questo e pesto pesto genovese (. The use of local languages as exotic backdrop or soundscape is one of the most common ways in which the tourist linguascape is produced (again.) l’impasto (. It is not what Vera is saying that is important but rather that she is simply saying something in Italian while making pasta.) mangiala cruda mangiala cruda are (. the presenter confirms the primary interactional alignment (with the audience “back home”) and proves that Vera’s talk is really intended as little more than another scene-setting resource. as an object of play. turns and looks baffled at MN’s interest in the piece of pasta) Vera: MN: Vera: In this extract. line 2). raises the piece of pasta to the camera) there’s a piece of Vera’s tagliatelle (.

and “ciao” line 19) and finishes with the largely nonsensical “ciche ciche cento” (line 19) – a phrase which possibly. are also likely to be strategies of condescension. for a British audience at least. reserved for those who are sufficiently confident of their position in the objective hierarchies to be able to deny them without appearing to be ignorant or incapable of satisfying their demands. the presenter here clearly has only a basic grasp of Italian.) ciao a presto (shakes hands with CD) bye see you soon [ ciao grazie bye thank you (walks out of shop. echoes the Cinquecento from Italian car manufacturer Fiat (which was also being heavily advertised at the time this show was first broadcast).Tourism discourse: Languages and banal globalization 293 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 CD: M: CD: M: CD: M: CD: M: 19 20 CD: CD: let’s go on oh yeah tomatoes dried si chiamano ciliegini (shows CD some dried tomatoes) they’re called cherry tomatoes (points over M’s shoulder) look at that out there (pops a tomato in his mouth with a look of mock guilt-cum-innocence) [ (looks away briefly) grazie grazie (. both Massimo and Italian are just props in his skit. voiceover) thank you Massimo It is worth noting that this last extract (like Extract 4 below) is also structured by a musical score – in this case. it is all just a game for the benefit of the folks back home. while Massimo presses on with explaining his produce. the presenter also “condescends” into the local language in precisely the way that Pierre Bourdieu (1991: 69) explains it: One can see in passing that strategies for the subversion of objective hierarchies in the sphere of language. Rather like Rick Steves above. None of this is to deny the fun of trying out snippets of the local language. the presenter throws about one or two familiar snatches of phrasebook Italian (“grande” line 4. “si” line 6. a lively swing-jazz tune.) (CD pays) thank you thank you a posto cosi anything else? ciche ciche cento no (. as in the sphere of culture. although this enjoyment should not conceal the privilege of not really having to . “grazie” lines 15 and 19. ideal for the kind of comedic sketch being staged. To match his somewhat condescending interaction with the local person.) ciche ciche ciu (. For the presenter.

Extract 4: Been learning that all day! (with TV presenter Lisa Riley) 1 2 3 4 5 6 LR: (voiceover) it’s well worth taking a wander up the side streets off the square (camera on LR and friend) where you can find traditional tapas bars just like this one (points to bar) ((shall we take a look)) (LR walks to bar. where the presenter (LR) excitedly tries out her one line of Spanish in a service encounter with a barman. In this particular case. Jane Hill (2001[1998]) demonstrates how apparently jocular incorporations and ungrammatical approximations of other languages are . what is shown is only the most superficial form of engagement with local people (almost always in service ecounters – see below) as an arch performance of contact. for example. laughs to her) how are you bula bula la la la JS: In her study of the use of “mock Spanish” by Anglo-Americans in the United States.] is just ten minutes away (. all we want to show is how the highly scripted/staged nature of these types of televised encounters with hosts is accidently revealed: note the easily missed use of the TV presenter’s name by the vendor in Line 5. Extract 5: Bula. to barman) hola me puedes dar la carta por favor? hello can you give me the menu please? Barman: (hands over menu) ((unclear)) LR: gracias (to camera.294 Crispin Thurlow and Adam Jaworski depend on the language. John! (with TV presenter John Savident) 1 2 3 4 5 6 (JS apparently wandering through a market place) away from the hotel the town of Nandi [sic. The pleasurable value of local languages for tourists (as presenters or otherwise) is commented upon explicitly in Extract 4. Pragmatic matters such as the arguably inappropriate use of the familiar t-form (“puedes”) are again less important than the pleasure of learning and “having a go”.) Fiji is such a friendly place and you’re always greeted with a big smile (cut to a woman smiling) and a call of ((BULA)) the local greeting (to a street vendor) bula Vendor: bula bula John (JS continues walking past her stall. cheerfully) been learning that all day (giggles) thank you Throughout these types of mediatized instances of local language. In one of our favourite moments – and the last one we will present here – Extract 5 points again to the playful but very limited use of the local language (the one-word greeting “bula” in line 3) but is also a clear reminder that the use of local languages is invariably a theatrical prop for staging hospitality and reassuringly friendly local people. bula.

4. however. These are people freely traversing national boundaries but staying firmly rooted in their mutual identification as (American and British) nationals. we argue that the main aim in both cases (radio and TV) is to create for the listeners/viewers a pleasing sense of belonging to an imagined community of tourists and cosmopolitan global citizens. this is where the value of local languages lies. they often go a step further. flippant snatches of. Hannerz 1996). In this case. Ultimately. the shows and their style-setting presenters promote a regime of touristic and intercultural truth: this is what it means to be a tourist. in this case. transient crossings into local languages that these presenters position themselves as “cosmopolitans” – not in the sense of their being culturally engaged with or embracing local people (cf. The representation of local languages in guidebooks – indeed. To our mind. This is achieved largely through the presenters’ specific exploitation of the sociolinguistic resource known as crossing (see Rampton 1995) which is the use of a language (or variety) of a group of which the speaker cannot legitimately claim membership. Case study #2: “Language learning” in guidebook glossaries We turn now from our broadcast data to a different set of data: the glossaries of travel guidebooks as a quintessential genre in tourism and of what we like to call a “discourse on the move” (Thurlow and Jaworski 2010). It is through their playful. as powerful ideological mediators. Hill argues that playful. In this sense. the decision itself to include a section on the local language/s – is structured by a desire to produce authenticating markers of exoticity and cultural difference. it is in this way also that. of language learning and of human interaction in general. These highly condensed “crash courses” tucked away at the end of most guidebooks are also in the business of stylizing tourists and of commodifying local languages. the glossaries are no different from the kinds of playful linguascaping . much the same argument may be made for the use of “phrasebook” (see next section) expressions by presenter-tourists and the general linguascaping of tourist destinations. however.Tourism discourse: Languages and banal globalization 295 employed by non-native speakers as an important identity resource. it is the elevation and constitution ofAmericanness by Rick Steves and Britishness by the TV presenters which is at stake. serve to elevate the identities (or Whiteness) of Anglo-Americans. in her case. by purporting to offer workable scripts for intercultural contact between tourists and hosts. the exaggerated promise of contact produces a number of questionable ideas about the nature of language. as with the advertisement in Figure 2. but rather with respect to their appeals to the elite cachet of global citizenship. In fact. Spanish-language materials.

Not surprisingly. . “poetic” and “prolific” (Extract 6b). “private”. “poem”. .296 Crispin Thurlow and Adam Jaworski Figure 2. Mistakes made by visitors are kindly tolerated. in doing so. Chinese languages are rich in homonyms and much of their superstitious beliefs. The lingo has a laconic. staff at most tourist offices and hotels are fluent English speakers . Fortunately. d. Mexicans are delighted with foreigners who try to speak the language . of course. . Bauer and Trudgil 1998). poetic originality and a prolific profanity. This explains why Polish should be “fearsome” (Extract 6a) and Australian Strine is “laconic”. . . . . poetry and humour is based on this wealth. therefore. Polish is pretty fearsome for people outside the Slavonic circle . “corpse” and “teacher”. . many guidebooks begin with a metalinguistic commentary on the perceived oddity of the local language. From an expert point of view. . Extracts 6a to 6f a. b. . The promise of contact #2 we showed above. c. and even your most bumbling attempts [at Finnish] will be warmly appreciated. for example. how hard or different the language is. or how beautiful or ugly it is (cf. . e. The Cantonese word for “silk” sounds the same as the words for “lion”. they rehearse a number of common language myths about. . . f. these are always only ever matters of subjective or relative taste and of ideology. It is a matter of ideology (not linguistics) that the inclusion of a Strine glossary thereby also renders it equivalent to Polish or any other major (national) language typically covered in guidebooks.

For the most part. it is also true that beyond the ‘simple’ citation forms. As part of their wider Small Talk series of guides. would be rendered differentially as “poro. arrasar”. Book a room. therefore. and “aumento. Of course. Ultimately. pour” or “rain. rays. Make conversation”. poor. all the words listed in the second sentence of the extract are easily disambiguated in spoken Cantonese due to their bi-morphemic (two character) structure. respectively.Tourism discourse: Languages and banal globalization 297 In Extract 6a. which in Spanish. in the context of tourism. often reassuring readers that locals can manage English (e. Extract 6d) or even that locals are “delighted” or “warmly” appreciative of any attempts by the tourist to speak the local language (Extracts 6e and 6f). eat. The highly optimistic promise of a more conversational exchange (or “chat”) is intriguing and begs a closer look at the kind of conversational material on offer. an easy equivalent might be English homonyms like “pore. for example. ?” and so on). . and other morpho-syntactic features. rayos. raze”. (And this is not to mention the relative challenge of the idiosyncrasies of English spelling).g. implied exoticity. Meanwhile. “lluvia. . . reign. Once again. While it is true that Cantonese is rich in homonyms. This is why local languages are seldom presented as any real obstacle or necessity. What this description also overlooks – or downplays – is that the very same principles are true of most languages. alternatively. the real value in pointing to grammatical and phonetic characteristics such as these does not lie in their linguistic validity or significance. guidebooks assume English as the default language of exchange. ?”. “where can I find . reinado. of course. but rather in their perceived oddity and. Ask directions. pobre. “how much is . . The vocabularies on offer are clearly restricted to the functional requirements of service transactions (that is. popular stereotypes about Chinese/Cantonese are the focus of guidebook commentary. What is striking is not only the limited prescription of communicative topics but also assumptions made about the nature of the relationship between visitors and local people. verter”. they encourage a level of relational engagement that seldom ventures beyond the superficial . interactions between hosts and tourists are structured by the realities of economic-political exchange whereby the “burden of communication” (Lippi-Green 1997) always falls squarely with the host. presence of classifiers. the Lonely Planet promises to help tourists “Chat. rein” or “raise. say. shop and celebrate your way through the wonders of Northern Europe”. Buy a ticket. reinda”. language is given value (and attention) because of its symbolic rather than representational or interpersonal function. This relationship of inequality is articulated throughout the design and content of guidebook glossaries. DK Eyewitness’ 15-Minute Spanish claims to teach tourists how to “Order a meal. that language play and verbal taboo are frequent.

illness and all sorts of other mishaps could provide a useful script for any travel insurance company advert. “This is the first time I’ve . cross-lingual encounter with the Other which sits at the heart of tourism mythology and which the guidebooks themselves consistently imply.298 Crispin Thurlow and Adam Jaworski courtesies of greeting rituals (for example. getting a good night’s sleep (possibly in a room with a view). On close inspection. introduction and purchase – perhaps appropriate to the liminal. ”. ”). this goes some way towards contradicting the mythology of travel as being always safe and pleasurable. . “good morning”. ”. “hello”. . . . “I am from . . getting a good bargain in a shop or at a market. There is certainly little in these glossaries that might move visitors towards the kind of intercultural. extended exchange or conversation – even at the most basic level. The preponderance of words and phrases related to accidents. Almost never is there a vocabulary made available which might otherwise help facilitate a more substantial. . please? I’m ill I’m sick I’m injured I do not feel well I feel ill I have a headache I have a stomach ache I need to rest I have a fever I’m allergic to penicillin I’m allergic to antibiotics The child is/the children are sick We need a doctor I need a prescription for cold cough cut flu hayfever headache pills hospital nausea sore throat . Instead. finding a meal and a toilet. The following is a relatively unordered list of the English language phrases to be used in case of an emergency. . “I believe that . . . . Help! Watch out! Thief! Fire! Stop! Call a doctor! Call the police! Call an ambulance! Call the fire department! Where is the nearest hospital? I want to contact my embassy Could I use the telephone? Could you help me. “my name is . To some extent. the glossaries suggest to us that apart from the most phatic exchanges (greetings. of “I like my job because . fleeting nature of most host–tourist encounters. say. leave-takings. ” and so on. glossaries leave tourists stranded in a permanent state of greeting. ”. and so on) and the tourist-centred needs of getting to a specific location. the most likely situation in which the tourist will want to speak to a host is in an emergency. expressions of thanks.

to minimize or at least mitigate contact with local people. What’s your name? My name is . for the most part. . . In fact. Can you please help me take a photo? Is it ok to take a photo? Goodbye. somewhat ironically in the e case of glossaries. promote the literal and denotative. thanks. . Take a look at our hypothetical compilation of a typical range of “conversational” phrases offered in the guidebooks we sampled: Welcome! Hello Glad to meet you. . the formulaic and reductive. Guidebook glossaries are prime examples of what we have elsewhere characterised as “codified. ? I like it very much I don’t like .Tourism discourse: Languages and banal globalization dentist doctor thermometer drug store medicine pills accident ambulance emergency police policeman foreign affairs police pickpocket rapist I’ve been robbed I’ve/we’ve been mugged They stole my . . Certainly. . . the messy. “unspoken” and unknown. I don’t want it. the complex. Where are you from? I’m from . the very raison d’ˆ tre of guidebooks is. . the DK Eyewitness promise made in Figure 2 of becoming somehow “indigenous” seems highly improbable if this is all the small talk one can muster. at the expense of the subtle. . . Do you like . May I? It doesn’t matter. How old are you? I’m 25 Are you married? How do you say . . It is in much the same way that Daniel Boorstin (1964: 91) commented some time ago on the effect travel agencies had in “insulating the tourist from the . fixed regimes of translated truth which . Any conversation based on this vocabulary would unavoidably be something of a one-way street. this is clearly not a vocabulary of exchange but merely of encounter whereby the local person (imagined in bold) remains. a close examination of the language information provided in tourist guidebooks shows that there is rarely sufficient information to conduct anything but the most rudimentary of conversations. I’m a tourist/student I’m from Europe. . the ‘lived”’ (Thurlow 2004: 83). . . the language instruction in glossaries centres on the transactional demands of service encounters rather than the interactional demands of a conversational relationship. . No (not so) Yes I want . I’m lost 299 For the most part. . No. Although tourists might be encouraged to believe they are becoming global communicators and acquiring a global linguistic repertoire of tourism by using the language sections. And yet. How are you? Very well. the focus on the practicalities of travel and transactional language contrasts with the common myth of travel broadening the mind.

In the rote learning tradition of the audio-lingual language learning methods and with the pretence of the “real-life” notional-functional method (see Pennycook 1989. however. therefore. the quintessential texts of the quintessential “culture industry of otherness” (Favero 2007). Glossaries function primarily to fulfil the ludic and identificational needs of tourists. language glossaries promote themselves as resources for cracking the code of the local and for crossing into alterity. with nothing of the attempted scope of dictionaries or language coursebooks. As generic practices in themselves. It is clear from the inclusion of language glossaries in the guidebooks that publishers feel that they need to cater for the eventuality of host–tourist interaction. the word/phrase listings included towards the end of virtually all guidebooks are fairly unique. Phipps 2007). . it is not only the local language that is reduced. they typically share the superficial. it is an almost narcissistic – which is not to say necessarily inconsiderate or maleficent – delight. which we talked about in more detail above. the local culture more generally. These are. however. Jack and Phipps 2003). As such. this is language instruction that stops well short of communicative competence and that seldom goes much further than a foreign-language translation of “Do you speak English?” (cf. incidental quality of glossaries. Ultimately. but on the other. the tourist linguascape presented in guidebook glossaries is one of language/s almost totally disembedded from the cultural context of any plausible. these presumed relationships (or interactions) are clearly predicated on (and work to reinscribe) an asymmetrical model of communication and thus the the host-tourist relations of power by which tourism is typically organized.300 Crispin Thurlow and Adam Jaworski travel world” (cf. after all. the mythologized desire of tourists to seek the otherwise illusive authenticity of a “real” connection or a “genuine” encounter with the “true” Other. and in this regard they are more than adequate. of course. In this way. packaged and glossed but also. On the one hand. There is inevitably a satisfying and enjoyable sense of mastery in both these processes. little of the relative detail in phrasebooks. the need for tourists to interact with hosts is reduced if they use a guidebook. in the process. As a whole. Language is. Bhattacharyya 1997. tourists carry glossaries to aid with host–tourist communication. To be fair. abstracted and rendered simultaneously representative of and autonomous from its cultural context. And herein lies the central contradiction of guidebooks. guidebooks usually play with the backstage frisson. Even then. for a critical review). tourists who want to go further can always turn to a phrase book or a language course. extended host–tourist relationship – even though the expectation (or promise) is that these linguacultural snippets might eventually be deployed in the service of intercultural exchange.

Auger 2002). recontextualized and commodified. In each case. though we surmise that most international tourists remain oblivious to these pragmatic subtleties. Once all the tourists are on board. “Hello/ Good Luck/ Good Health/ Thank You” (cf. Our final example is in fact an instance of a commodified greeting exchange (involving a hongi) between a Maori guide/coach driver and an American tourist en route for a night’s entertainment at Tamaki Maori Village at Rotorua. the guide/ driver welcomes everyone and announces that the tourists will not only experience Maori song. it is virtually impossible for a tourist to perform a hongi with a Maori person other than in the context of a paid performance. The “chiefs” become privileged participants in representing their “tribes” in the Vil- . Once again. In reality. a personalized online greeting from California’s Governor and First Lady. Jaworski and Thurlow 2010). greetings are everywhere in tourism. to be repeated in unison by the tourists following a prompt from the guides and other performers. The tourists are collected by several coaches from hotels in the area. postcard greetings from the eponymous “Aloha State” or the bore da from Wales. then. Each busload of tourists is branded as a “tribe” (iwi) with a “chief ” (rangatira) (“elected” from among the tourists. etc. New Zealand. greetings such as these are recontextualized and commodified in ways that violate their “normal” felicity conditions (Duranti 1997). Perhaps the quintessential marker of the hospitality underpinning the tourist–host contract. As with the kinds of scripted exchanges in guidebook glossaries.Tourism discourse: Languages and banal globalization 301 5. male. food. “boat”.. tourists can have a picture taken in a makeshift photographic studio of doing a hongi with an actor and images of Maori people performing a hongi can also be bought on postcards and posters (see Jaworski 2009. and the driver offers to “teach” the tourists some Maori language – typically just one phrase/ greeting formula Kia Ora. the chief seems to usually end up being white. which may be emically more significant than the category “greeting” usually implies. their designated bus (waka. therefore. Kia Ora is. a linguacultural snippet is taken up as a largely metacultural token or curiosity for authenticating a touristic spectacle of difference. any attempt by a tourist to initiate a hongi would be pragmatically fraught. Case study #3: The greeting game in guided tours We turn now to our final case example of a touristic genre where local languages are stylized. American). for example. The hongi. or the performance of the Maori hongi in New Zealand’s official branding of itself (see Figures 3 through 7). has become one of the key resources for “packaging” Maori heritage across New Zealand’s tourist landscape. but will also “become” Maori for the night. In Tamaki Maori Village in Rotorua. “vessel”). whether it is the cover of South African Airways’ inflight magazine Sawubona. dance.

The ubiquitous welcome of tourism .302 Crispin Thurlow and Adam Jaworski Figures 3–7.

) how-bout a big round= (applause 4 sec. and so on.(.) that’s our trade mark. cameras flash) kia ora: didn’t he do well (.) don’t kiss me.) kia ora (loud voices) kia ora T: G: T: G: T: G: K: T: G: T: G: T: . K= Kenny. we the Maori tribe here in Te Arawa are familiar to all this area of Rotorua and Bay of Plenty (. Kenny tilts his head backwards in a reflex) (light laughter) (2) and whatever you do: (.. T = Unidentified tourists 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 G: for all you people from different tribes (.) I’ll make the official welcome the challenge you’re gonna have a wonderful evening (. One of such privileges includes the performance of a hongi with the guide/ driver in front of all the other tourists on the bus before its departure for Tamaki Maori Village.) grab my right hand Kenny (. we press our noses together twice (.) nice and gentle (. the big chief Ken here to the entrance way (. “gift” presentation. he towers over the driver) (light laughter) (1) now go down on the step (Kenny goes one step down) (laughter) (2) ok we.) my people interpret the hongi like this when the two noses come together (.Tourism discourse: Languages and banal globalization 303 lage Welcome.) we’re now gonna pull out rangatira our big kahuna.) it’s the sharing of common breath creating a legion of friendship (1) as a point of interest for you. [ (inaudible speech to Guide) (continued laughter) (2) (Guide and Kenny perform a hongi.) we are the only Maori tribe in New Zealand that hongi twice (.) and then we say kia ora ok (. the “chief” tourist.) put your left hand on my shoulder Kenny (1) ok (.) all other tribes do it once (.) now what we do. loud female voice) yeeeahh =of applause for Kenny (.) this is how we the Maori people will usually greet each other (. (.) (off mike) stand up stand up (Kenny stands. various speeches throughout the night. as represented in the following extract: Extract 6: Didn’t he do well? G = Guide (Driver).) don’t go (thrusts his head forward quickly towards Kenny’s face.

the guide’s control over this intercultural exchange is also manifested in his artful management of tourists’ “crossing” into Maori by his constant pronominal ingrouping/outgrouping. blatantly “Othering” (Jaworski and Coupland 2005) Kenny by adopting the key of teasing and ridicule. The guide also seems to intentionally frighten Kenny with his mock head-but only to elicit a reaction of slight panic from Kenny and more laughter from the other tourists. the guide’s display and “lesson” in Maori etiquette has an undercurrent of cultural subversion and resistance to dominant ideologies of tourism.) don’t go (thrusts his head forward. . )”. In lines 10–11.g. TV quizshows). “and whatever you do: don’t kiss me” (line 14). The guide does not unambiguously adopt a stance of a friendly. the guide teases Kenny. the latter unceremoniously orders Kenny to go one step down. he positions Kenny. The guide’s hyperbolic head-butt is clearly an exaggeration for comic effect as he cannot realistically expect Kenny to act in such a foolish manner. reminiscent of an adult disciplining a child. The guide then proceeds with the hongi (line 17) and again positions Kenny as a childlike figure who deserves a “round of applause” as a reward for his performance (another game show-like feature).co. the guide instructs him to adopt appropriate body posture. implying that he is likely to hongi inappropriately – “nice and gentle (. The driver uses unmitigated directives. visitors are reminded that they (“you people”) are outsiders merely playing at being Maori (“we”).nz/ Maori%20Village/Home). deferential and subservient host. When Kenny comes to the front of the coach and faces the guide. and this “bossing” Kenny around elicits outbursts of laughter from the onlookers on the coach.304 Crispin Thurlow and Adam Jaworski Although the hongi is framed as a typical Maori greeting (lines 1–2) and as a way of establishing “a legion of friendship” (line 22) between two people. a knowledgeable expert. . . the archetypal powerful and wealthy Westerner about to be exposed to “Pre-European lifestyle experience of customs and traditions” (http://www. Another ridiculing turn at Kenny’s expense is the guide’s teasing. “stand up stand up” (line 3). as well as a mocking director–choreographer of the scene.maoriculture. The guide then appears in total control of the situation. In order to “teach” Kenny the hongi ritual. to reduce the difference in their height – having their faces at the same level is more amenable to hongi and symbolically maintains a proxemic equilibrium between the two men. as a relatively powerless and ignorant “foreigner”. “now go down on the step” (line 6). Indeed. Under the guise of humour reminiscent of genres where mock-aggression and mild humiliation are part of the participation ritual (e. heteronormative joke.

Heller 2011). to use Bourdieu’s own terms) their privilege. These are also the most obvious areas of tourism-driven activity. belonging and authenticity.g. Coupland 2007) in which gathered (rather than simply co-present) participants overtly orient to the formal properties of code through metapragmatic commentary and the evaluation. In short. social or cultural formations (Le Page and Tabouret-Keller 1985. gain new value and become objects of intense scrutiny. In the context of tourism as a global cultural industry we find the role of local languages exemplifying a number of ways that Bourdieu’s critique rings true. but not as straightforward and clear-cut as might be assumed – there is no one-to-one correspondence between linguistic units and ethnic. . Kirshenbatt-Gimblett 1998. however. we start our conclusion with his extension of this idea. open-air museums. where language (and other semiotic codes) become vehicles of explicit staging (Edensor 2001) or “high performance” (N. how the value of symbolic resources like language is inextricably tied to the political/economic privilege (or not) of speakers. Following Bourdieu (also 1991). bilingualism) are put to new uses.g. as well as vehicles and sites of ideological struggle. even – those who benefit most from the inequalities of symbolic markets misunderstand (or “misrecognize”. under the new economic conditions of globalization. urban or industrial heritage through the (re-)invented narratives of group origins. the agents must not be entirely unaware of the truth of their exchanges. while at the same time they must refuse to know and above all to recognize it. conversely. culture. nationality. all linguistic exchanges are also economic exchanges. national and other subject positions. . everything takes place as if agents’ practice were organized exclusively with a view to concealing from themselves and from others the truth of their practice .Tourism discourse: Languages and banal globalization 305 Tourism discourse and/as banal globalization If the system is to work. Bruner 2005. The role of language in identity formation is crucial. then. festivals and spectacles laying out displays of ethnicity. In both cases. legitimation and authentication of ethnic. translation and labelling of linguistic items. contestation. and how easily – readily. (Bourdieu 1977: 6) We started this paper with one of Pierre Bourdieu’s well-known observations about the nature of symbolic power/privilege. playfulness and appropriation. existing language forms and configurations (e. . In the context of tourism. this is especially clear in the proliferation of theme parks. by pragmatic instrumentalism. history and present-day lives (e. and not infrequently by a mixture of all these positions dynamically and dialectically negotiated in the process of staged. Such performances are heavily marked by claims to ownership. we are reminded of the fundamental power of language in the contexts of everyday life. ritualized enactments and interactions. or.

but their projection and interpretations are always filtered through a plethora of objective and subjective dimensions of self. we see speakers deploying “old” linguistic resources in novel forms. or shifting between use-value and exchange-value. Associated predominantly with urban. make-believe greeting sequences. in the context of tourism. Likewise.and otherperception. jokey metapragmatic comments. involving verbal and nonverbal elements from two or more recognizable linguistic codes that cannot be easily juxtaposed as pre-figured. reference to N. Sociolinguistic items. ranging from low-level “play” with relatively little attention to the accountability to an audience (Bauman 2001 [1975]). introductions and service encounters. be they language codes or subtle phonological variants. following Maher’s 2005. Even though tourists may experience their encounters with hosts as singular. polylingual (Møller 2008). crossed (Rampton 1995). uptake. introductions and service encounters into humorous. playing with social norms and establishing new regimes of truth. “as-if ” status (Turner 1974) as a Maori novice in an initiation ritual. For example. self-reflexive (self-positioning) and dynamic (reframing). may be strategically deployed as indexes of specific identities. uptake and the political economy of difference (Heller 2003). together with laughter. traditional conceptions of what it is to be a native speaker break down when instrumental language use is separated from its symbolic value as a means of manifesting and asserting one’s ethnic or national allegiances or loyalties. transidiomatic (Jacquemet 2005). ludic and playful language use. 2010 notion of metroethnicity). White American and assumes a performed. Coupland.306 Crispin Thurlow and Adam Jaworski for discussion see N. interpretive frames and communicative goals. most tourist–host interactions are ritualized (Jaworski and Thurlow 2011). 3. styling self and other in new. All the same. Ken enacts a ritual hongi greeting with the guide in which he is symbolically stripped of his status as an adult. All of these strips of activity then are ritualized. often surprising ways. 4. such texts have been variously referred to as heteroglossic (after Bakhtin 1981). intentional and unintentional “mangling” of the target forms re-keys (Goffman 1974) these greeting sequences. for example. or metrolingual (Otsuji and Pennycook 2010. as observed by Rampton (1995). The performative nature of the exchanges in our Extracts 1. and unexpectedly conflating instrumental and emotive uses of language. In Extract 5. is certainly heightened by their mediated nature which accords the status of ratified audience to the radio listeners and TV viewers. performative. middle-class. the insertion of “foreign” languages into tourists’ talk. Coupland 2006). and 5. separate and discrete “languages”. In Pennycook’s characterization of metrolinguistic practice the idea of . through to “mundane” and “high” or “artful” performances (cf. or when language inheritance is separated from language allegiance and the degree of linguistic expertise. above).

tourist multilingual practices demonstrated by our data (or models for tourist multilingualism as offered by the guidebook glossaries) draw on their situated. to aesthetics. i. our emphasis). its focus is not on language systems but on languages as emergent from contexts of interaction” (2010: 85). only appropriating or approximating someone else’s language. Kramsch and Whiteside 2008). including manifestation of linguistic ideologies. culture. (Kramsch and Whiteside 2008: 668. which “are significant for social as well as linguistic analysis because they are not only about language. it is easy to interpret our data “merely” as allowing the tourists to step outside their “everyday” identities and slip into non-committal. enriching their own “communicative competence” (Hymes 1972) with additional resources freeing up new “embodied experiences.e. Rather. but only if the individual learns to see him/herself through his/her own embodied history and subjectivity and through the history and subjectivity of others. In this sense. ethnicity. emotional resonances. innocent and playful role-play of a cultural “Other”. Rather. it does not assume connections between language.Tourism discourse: Languages and banal globalization 307 playfulness resurfaces as one “in which people of different and mixed backgrounds use. However. nationality and geography. such ideologies envision and enact links of language to group and personal identity. as Kramsch observes. All communicative acts laden with a high dose of meta-cultural commentary or staging are rich sites of ideological work. but rituals and performances may be as much a source of enjoyable enhancement of experience as a fearsome act with the potential to subvert the status quo (cf. No doubt. No doubt. Trying out snippets of local languages by tourists may indeed be greeted by hosts with pleasure as acts of tourists’making an “effort” to engage. Our symbolic survival is contingent on framing reality in the way required by the moment. For this reason. show appreciation and involvement with the above). to morality. possibly. and to epistemology” (Woolard and Schieffelin 1994: 55–56). play with and negotiate identities through language. we may think of their multilingual competencies as “symbolic” (Kramsch 2006. but rather seeks to explore the contingencies of these categories. local knowledge of what constitutes (or not) the target language. the notion of symbolic competence is a late modern way of conceiving of both communicative and intercultural competence in multilingual settings. Bauman 2001 [1975]). . symbolic competence is not so much a set of identifiable linguistic skills. and on being able to enter the game with both full involvement and full detachment. although also. and moral imaginings” as part of the exchange of symbolic goods under globalization (Kramsch 2006: 251). it is a mindset that can create “relationships of possibility” or affordances (van Lier 2004: 105).

the ideological force realized in – or generated by – the collective actions of tourists orienting to or displaying their symbolic competencies in the languages of their travel destinations lies in what we have been calling banal globalization (Thurlow and Jaworski 2010. J. so too do the mundane practices – embodied and mediated – of tourism turn out to be global in their reach and possibly also in their impact. And as we have noted above with reference to Jane Hill’s (2008) work. 2011) in parallel with Szerszynski and Urry’s (2002. at the level of “innocent” texts and “harmless” (inter)actions that globalization is actually realized. bird’s-eye-views of generic “global” environments. and so on. Szerszynski and Urry (2002) find examples of “globalizing” imagery in everyday. above) to turn the tables on the tourists and humorously but pointedly reverse the power dynamic through play and deploy their cultural and linguistic heritage as an instrument of power/knowledge. Coupland 2000) and just as reiterative performances of gender solidify and naturalize the “heteronormative matrix” (Butler 1990). global inequalities and privilege. Just as “small talk” is always pragmatically speaking “big talk” (cf. and following the ideas of Mike Billig (1995. for us.308 Crispin Thurlow and Adam Jaworski However. Unless. We also thank Panama . we suggest. Acknowledgements We are grateful to Giorgia Aiello for her help with thinking through the pragmalinguistic implications of Rick Steves’ use of Italian in Extract 1 and also the confusing (even to a native speaker) Italian in Extract 3. on “banal cosmopolitanism”). the seemingly innocent here-and-now of tourist–host interactions is rooted in broader historical trajectories of travel. hosts use precisely the same strips of activity (cf. 2006) term “banal globalism”. We choose to invoke the notion of banality for framing and understanding tourism discourse as being rooted in everyday communicative actions and textual practices – including those mediatized moments in popular culture (e. images of the “exotic” Others consuming global brands and products. At a more general level. colonization. on “banal nationalism”) and Ulrich Beck (2006.g. however. the broadcast media). as noted above. recurring TV imagery which includes globes. children standing for the globe in charitable appeals. For example. taking on tourist languages and identities as material for humorous transformations of tourist identities has a more profound. It is. that is. These discursive practices may well be trite but they are far from trivial. language ideological effect of re-asserting the tourist as having the upper hand in their dealings with hosts. Extract 6. By “everyday” we do not mean to say that these actions/practices are either foolish or inconsequential: on the contrary. which reminds us of Blommaert’s (2005: 131) argument that “[t]he synchronicity of discourse is an illusion that masks the densely layered historicity of discourse”.

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London: Palgrave MacMillan. 2007. 2011. Rampton.). Crispin and Adam Jaworski. 209–228. Victor. Schieffelin.312 Crispin Thurlow and Adam Jaworski Phipps. 57. In Crispin Thurlow and Kristine Mroczek (eds. John. 4. UK). Visuality. London: Longman. life. Thurlow. Szerszynski. 2002. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic. 2010. Clevedon: Channel View. Thurlow. Language and Intercultural Communication. 1995. thurlow@uw. In Adam Jaworski and Crispin Thurlow (eds. Semiotic Landscapes: Language. Learning the arts of linguistic survival: Languaging. Bronislaw and John Urry. Adam is also co-editor of the book series Oxford Studies in Sociolinguistics. Palgrave Macmillan) and Digital Discourse: Language in the New Media (with Kristine Mroczek. Thurlow. Mobilities. Ben. 1974. 2010. Urry. Crispin 2004. 2011. 2007. Communication and Tourism (with Annette Pritchard. 2006. linguascaping and “anti-communication” in luxury tourism. and metaphors: Symbolic action in human society. Tourism discourse: Language and global mobility. 187–218. Oxford University Press). 113–131. 23. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Language ideology. Banal globalization? Embodied actions and mediated practices in tourists’ online photo-sharing. Digital discourse: Language in the new media. Space. Crispin Thurlow. His books include Semiotic Landscapes: Language. Alison. Crispin and Adam Jaworski. . London: Continuum. A sociocultural perspective. 1994. fields. Space (with Crispin Thurlow. accounting for our selves: The autobiographical imperative in teaching about difference. is Professor of Language and Communication at Cardiff University (Wales. Image. Image. London: Sage. Thurlow. 55–82. John. Dramas. mobility and the cosmopolitan: Inhabiting the world from afar. The Tourist Gaze [2nd ed. Continuum) and The ecology and semiotics of language learning. His recent books include Tourism Discourse: Language and Global Mobility (with Adam Jaworski. 2010. Urry. Cambridge: Polity. and Bambi B. Kathryn A. 2010. Silence is golden: Elitism. 2005. Van Lier. Adam Jaworski. tourism. Anthropology and Communication. Annual Review of Anthropology. Woolard. Leo.).]. Crispin and Adam Jaworski. Channel View). New York: Oxford University Press. The British Journal of Sociology. Crossing: Language and ethnicity among is Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences at the University of Washington (USA) where he also holds adjunct positions in Linguistics. 2004. Turner. Relating to our work.

linguistic ethnography 1. such as surgery and nursing. We tease out the strategies that nurses and surgeons deploy to deal with this ambiguity and explore ways to deal with instability and diversity in professional communication. GUNTHER KRESS and ROGER KNEEBONE Abstract This paper discusses language use at a workplace in a context of instability and diversity. medical discourse. In the operating theatre health care professionals gather to work on the recurring task of surgical operations. social. Its focus is on the operating theatre. and. impacting on patient-safety.“Do you have another Johan?” Negotiating meaning in the operating theatre* JEFF BEZEMER. intercultural communication. The paper shows how this instability and diversity which is so characteristic of contemporary society plays out in the moment-by-moment use of language at the operating table. staff well-being and overall quality of health care. collaborative tasks. where communication is an integral part of complex. On the basis of prolonged fieldwork in a London hospital and a unique set of audio. Introduction A key challenge for the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom (UK) and other major organizations across the world in the years to come is to . in teams that exist only for the duration or parts of the task. crucially. the surgeon’s ‘idiolect’. We analyze instances where this process of disambiguation is highly successful. Not only do the members of these unstable teams have different professional backgrounds. Keywords: professional interaction. ALEXANDRA COPE. cultural and linguistic resources. as well as examples where it is not.and video-recordings we show how surgeons formulate requests and how nurses and surgical trainees disambiguate these requests on the basis of their prior experiences with surgical instruments and equipment. they also draw on different. the surgical procedure.

crucially. the surgeon’s ‘idiolect’.g. or even only for parts of it. Contingencies inherent in health care (e. the European Working Time Directive) and demands of the workforce (e. cultural and linguistic backgrounds who work on recurring tasks..g. such as surgical operations. raising the need for opportunities to produce and retain shared understandings. Gunther Kress and Roger Kneebone deal with professional communication in unstable and diverse teams – that is.g. and the overall quality of healthcare (Lingard et al. Now. and.. emergencies). Alexandra Cope. and there are limited opportunities for developing shared frames of reference. they bring different. both in the social and the medical sciences. e. as well as examples where it is not. social. naming instruments. 2007). ultimately. Following that we discuss the key features of communication in the operating theatre. linguistic-ethnographic approach. Previously members of an operating team developed. The paper explores this tension through detailed analysis of audio and video recorded operations at a major teaching hospital in London. in teams that exist only for the duration of the task. socially and culturally shaped professional experiences to the team. focusing on how surgeons formulate requests for instruments and how nurses and surgical trainees disambiguate these requests on the basis of their prior experience with surgical instruments and equipment. About 25 per cent of London based nurses are trained overseas (Buchan et al. Thus while there is more diversity in human resources. participating in the performance of complex tasks. 2004. We begin by reviewing the research that has been done in this area. the surgical procedure. Williams et al. Health care services are increasingly delivered by such transient teams (Finn and Waring 2006). seizing a unique opportunity to study communication in a site where it has real consequences for patient-safety. Nestel and Kidd 2006. working part-time) all contribute to the promotion of flexible and transient team work. often with colleagues whom they have never met before. The NHS faces an annual turnover of clinical staff of over 20 per cent (Hutt and Buchan 2005).g. and set out our own. on public service delivery.. staff well-being. articulating requests and announcing the next step in an operation. high workloads and reliance on temporary staff.314 Jeff Bezemer. We discuss examples of instances where this process of disambiguation is highly successful. while 35 per cent of all NHS medical staff did their undergraduate training outside the UK (Hutt and Buchan 2005). over the years. Significant parts of this workforce have been trained overseas. there are far fewer opportunities to develop a shared language and pass on essential knowledge and expertise to new employees. regulatory caps on working hours (e. a shared language for. 2005). communication between people with diverse professional. Thus these professionals step in and out of newly formed teams. The paper discusses how these changing social and economic contexts impact on professional communication and. We tease out the strategies that nurses and surgeons deploy to deal with this am- .

2003. Clyne 1994. 2001. 2007) or in surveys (Bourhis et al. House et al. Only Lorelei Lingard c. These findings are based on structured observations of a large number of operations to allow for descriptive statistics of the occurrence of ‘communication failures’. Snelgrove and Hughes 2000. having observed the operations that a range of trainees reported on over time.s. there has been very little cross-over between medical and social/ linguistic studies of the operating theatre. In all medically oriented studies problems of communication were reported. yet only in Svensson’s work has the interaction between surgeon and nurse been explored. 1989. Koschmann et al. 2002. forthcoming). Manojlovich and DeCicco 2007). Di Luzio et al. Nestel and Kidd 2006. MacKay et al. Williams et al. Researching communication in the operating theatre Communication at the workplace is a key concern of applied linguistics (Gumperz 1982.“Do you have another Johan?” Negotiating meaning in the operating theatre 315 biguity and explore ways to deal with instability and diversity in professional communication. Stubbe et al. Indeed many such problems initially go unnoticed. Svensson et al. Much of what nurses and surgeons do is instantiated in the subtle and fine grained detail of body movements such as the positioning . He analyzes how the timely exchange of instruments between nurse and surgeon is achieved in verbal and non-verbal communication. 2003). yet few applied linguists and conversation analysts have gained access to the operating theatre. Cicourel 2003. Gjerberg and Kjølsrød 2001. 2. Bremer et al. Catherine Pettinari (1988) researched ‘text and talk’ in operating theatres. The majority of studies on communication in the operating theatre published in medical journals are based not on observations and audio and video recordings but on what nurses and surgeons themselves report. Hojat et al. 1986. Lingard et al. A small number of CA studies are based on audio and video recordings of communication in the operating theatre (Mondada 2007. while medical researchers have had limited access to (and appreciation of) the more fine grained analytical apparatus offered by applied linguistics and conversation analysis to study communication. 2001. Linguists and conversation analysts have only had limited access to the operating theatre as a research site. did observational work on communication in the operating theatre and published her findings in journals for medics and nurses (Espin and Lingard 2001. 1996. Gjerberg and Kjølsrød 2001. She looked at how surgical trainees learn to write operation reports. 1991. Lingard et al. Indeed. yet the data collection techniques did not capture any of the details of the interaction within which the problems arose. in interviews (Keddy et al. Svensson 1996. especially by the surgeons and nurses themselves. 2004). 2007.

10 medical students. 5 surgical registrars. Gunther Kress and Roger Kneebone of a retractor. discussing small clips of video recordings of teaching and learning. Iedema et al. when often opportunities arose to talk to staff and students.316 Jeff Bezemer. We keep field notes of all operations observed. The analysis is focused on a) the participants of situated encounters in the operating . lasting between 45 minutes and 6 hours. using a wireless microphone worn by one of the surgeons. Access was gained to a major teaching hospital in London. Fieldwork took place between June 2009 and July 2010. The operations cover different general surgical procedures. Staff were also seen in coffee rooms and departmental meetings. In the second phase data was collected jointly by the ethnographic researcher and a surgeon (Cope). and the anaesthetic room. bringing together close analysis of multimodal communication with ethnographically informed analysis of the wider context. We hold regular ‘data sessions’ with one more surgeon (Kneebone) and a semiotician (Kress). We also record the view that is created by the laparoscope (a camera that is inserted into body cavities). covering not only the actual operations but also the preparations and cleaning up in the operating theatre and its adjacent rooms: the prep room. Ethical approval was granted by the NHS Research Ethics Committee. The overall time spent observing in theatres exceeds that. We have collected audio and video recordings of 10 cases. The study is based on close collaboration between clinicians and ethnographers. and in-built video cameras in the handle of the operating lamp to capture the operative field. All staff in theatre and all patients involved have given informed consent to collect these data. or what can be recollected and re-articulated in interviews with the participants after the observed event. or a shift in gaze from operative field to scrub nurse. where nurses sort the instruments. In the first phase of data collection observations were carried out by an ethnographic researcher (Bezemer). 2003. Wass et al. The paper uses descriptive and analytic procedures from applied linguistics. Kissmann 2009. Thus video analysis produces a much richer and nuanced account of communication than what can be captured on-the-spot and in field notes by researchers. We observed 40 operations. Our study adopts a linguistic-ethnographic approach. Heath et al. Roberts et al. involving 5 consultant-surgeons. 2010). 2000. where the anaesthetist puts the patient asleep. Bezemer and Jewitt 2009. including the 10 cases which were recorded and jointly observed. totalling approximately 70 hours. Many hours were spent between cases. 2006. 5 (senior) house officers. 2003. Alexandra Cope. social semiotics and ethnography for investigating the temporal unfolding of multimodal communication and its associated social processes in situated encounters (Roberts et al. 25 nurses and operation department practitioners and 5 anaesthetists. producing two different sets of field notes.

and their socially and culturally shaped repertoires of communicative resources. who stands at the operating table to pass instruments from a trolley to the surgeons (see Figure 1). 3. Most operations involve a team of surgical trainees led by a consultant-surgeon. their embodied interaction. Field notes were selected in which observations were reported on communication between nurses and surgeons. Bezemer et al. develop preliminary analyses and identify phenomena worthy of more detailed analysis (Heath et al. c) the institutional context of the operating theatre and the policies. and ideologies that shape it (Rampton 2007). 2002. interviews with the nurses involved on the following day. Through iterative viewing of the audio and video data instances of communication were selected for close analysis which exemplified emerging themes. b) the types of activities in which they engage. “Clip please”. field notes and photographs of what happened around the operating table. 2010). and a team of specialized theatre nurses usually led by the ‘scrub nurse’. 61).g. Lingard et al. The scrub nurse also communicates with circulating nurses. e. using the key incident as a concrete instance of the workings of abstract principles of social organization” (p. and the physical surroundings.“Do you have another Johan?” Negotiating meaning in the operating theatre 317 theatre. documents circulating in the operating theatre. Typically. in which we checked key aspects of the analysis presented here. held several months after the operation. The scrub nurse then responds to this request by passing the requested instrument. and does not use speech in this interactional exchange at all. nurses and surgeons. that is. and identities. communication between nurses and surgeons involves a consultantsurgeon making a request to the scrub nurse. such as forms and reports. We then proceeded to describe ‘key incidents’ (Erickson 1977) and place them “in some relations to the wider social context. 2004. discourses. Often the request is not . forthcoming).. expectations. The analysis proceeded through a sequence of steps. and a short interview with the consultant. a video clip of ‘communication inside the patient’s body’. their habitual practices. The ‘key incident’ we reconstruct in this paper is based on detailed analysis of an audio clip capturing what was said by nurses and surgeons during an operation. involving hand movements and handling of instruments by the consultant and his assistants. the objects they use. who bring materials from stock rooms and set up technical equipment around the operating table. Data sessions provided opportunities to examine video clips with a multidisciplinary research team. Communication in the operating theatre The operating theatre is a complex site of communication (Lingard et al.

As the senior theatre nurse at the research site told us. Instead the scrub nurse relies on her ‘intercorporeal knowing’ (Hindmarsh and Pilnick 2007. et cetera mark a significant change in the definition of the situation. second assistant and consultant-surgeon (far right) at work. house officers. Inside the operating theatre: the scrub nurse (far left). i. nomination of addressees is usually implicit. Requests can also come from the consultant-surgeon’s trainees. Requests by surgeons usually take the form of imperatives and seldom identify a specific addressee (“Green lights off please”). s/he can only touch sterile materials such as the surgical instruments. Material or equip- . The consultant is usually assisted by two assistants.. thus anticipating upcoming requests. forthcoming). when topics of conversation. scrub nurses are expected to “watch” the operation carefully. Typically the registrar acts as ‘first assistant’. Bezemer et al. however. Assistants can be medical students. participant status. first assistant. that is. Alexandra Cope. The few exceptions we recorded (“Have you got some local anaesthetic Miranda?”) typically happened at the beginning or end of the operation. the scrub nurse is ‘scrubbed up’. turn-taking. Gunther Kress and Roger Kneebone Figure 1. The object of a request implies if the request is directed towards the scrub nurse or someone else in operating theatre. senior house officers (SHOs) or specialist registrars. During the operation.e. her ability to read and place subtle cues in the surgeon’s bodily expressions in the context of the unfolding operation. while an SHO acts as second assistant. articulated in speech either. Like the participating surgeons. in particular when they are given the chance to lead parts of the operation under the consultant’s supervision.318 Jeff Bezemer.

which impacts negatively on performance and ultimately compromises patient safety (Arora et al. but equally surgeons may be responsible for gas leaks or even obstructions: The surgeon was actually standing on the tube when he stated “There’s no suction. Early announcements of upcoming requests are also common. as well as the formulation that triggers them. Requests do not always result in the scrub nurse providing that which was requested (Williams et al. 2010). cannot be touched by the scrub nurse. “There’s no suction”. An important source of unsuccessful requests. There are an infinite number of different instruments. and also potentially harmful. Typically. directed at the circulating nurse(s). usually without saying anything. the wrong instrument may harm the patient. or light switches. and an infinite number of different names are used by surgeons and nurses to refer to them. suction machines. part of the surgeon’s ‘idiolect’ which nurses are expected to learn. lights. Screens. is a ‘metonym’. Unwanted responses from scrub nurses are equally face-threatening. and therefore a surgeon’s request for changing the set-up of such equipment is. but also a face-threatening acknowledgement of accountability. may lose face. The formulation. and they are expected to take the announcement of the activity as an (indirect) request. by saying something like. or passing the right instrument in the wrong way. Indeed a nurse may have failed to plug in the machine. by implication. the tools that this consultant prefers to work with. at the surgeon’s preferred time and place. 2010. For instance. not as a statement. The request ‘stands for’ a preferred sequence of coordinated activities. and runs the risk of being positioned as ‘incompetent’. Rather than asking for specific instruments or equipment the surgeon identifies an activity. if unnoticed by the surgeon. “I need a rectal washout in a minute” circulating nurses started wheeling in trolleys from the prep room with the necessary kit and a stool for the consultant to sit on. the nurses are expected to know which instruments are required for carrying out this activity. is the name of instruments. when a surgeon realizes that equipment is failing. such as suction machines. The meaning of any of the names used can only be understood in the context in which they appear. Nagpal et al.“Do you have another Johan?” Negotiating meaning in the operating theatre 319 ment which is not sterile.. and it is a recurring source of irritation. 2007). aimed at making available. when a consultant stated. the surgeon states it first. These implications have an important psychological knock-on effect: they cause stress among nurses and surgeons. There are hundreds of .” Circulating nurses respond to such requests checking the equipment. diathermy machines – all equipment fails to work from time to time. ‘I need a rectal washout’. i. when surgeons do not get what they asked for. A scrub nurse passing the wrong instrument. All of these activities.e. gas dispensers. This declarative is not only a request to fix it. vary from surgeon to surgeon.

Theatre staff members were more consistent and scored significantly higher marks than surgeons. reflecting the finding that 75% of theatre staff underwent specific teaching as opposed to 22. Cope et al. for instance. individual consultants and consequently their surgical trainees may operate in a specific subspecialty and may be familiar with a limited range of instruments.p) One may add to this analysis that as surgeons are in a much more powerful position than nurses they are also in a position to subvert certain linguistic norms. what the operation entailed.]. where ‘middle’ would refer to the size of the blade. Alexandra Cope.6% of surgeons. including scalpel blades. who do not belong to the dominant group (in their case the dominant language community) will increase their chances of symbolic gain and thus improve their position in the class when they accommodate to the norms of the linguistic market. and of the surgeon’s ‘idiolect’. . When the scrub nurse subsequently stared at the instrument trolley. Theatre staff work with a variety of consultants and have greater exposure to different surgical instruments.” The scrub nurse then picked up the retractor and handed it to the consultant. There are many different kinds of ‘blades’. and which instruments were used.This knowledge is reinforced daily with repeated instrument counting after each operation. A study which asked surgeons and theatre staff (i. first. The scrub nurse’s hesitation suggests that she had difficulty disambiguating the request. In the following sections we will analyze these naming and disambiguation practices in more detail. students who have been observed to openly question linguistic norms were the most proficient students in the class. where ‘middle’ refers to the relative position of the blade. one consultant-surgeon asked for a ‘middle blade’ during an operation. we will describe. in particular. “It’s there. look.320 Jeff Bezemer. Conversely. For instance. The variety in naming instruments is higher among surgeons than among nurses. . the surgeon referred to a particular type of abdominal retractor blade. Jaspaert and Ramaut (2000) argue that those students. for instance. the consultant pointed at one of the retractors and said. of the theatre they are in. In other settings such as classrooms. Gunther Kress and Roger Kneebone different ‘graspers’. who was involved. nurses and operation department practitioners) to name instruments depicted on photographs showed that as a group. In this context.e. surgeons’ results were more widely distributed [. Focusing on one operation. so that when surgeons ask for one nurses will need to disambiguate the request. 2008:n. . Following Bernstein (1971) and Bourdieu (1977). drawing on their knowledge of the procedure which is being performed. however. While not entirely idiosyncratic the use of the term ‘middle blade’ is not widespread. (Yeung. The consultant then verbally and non-verbally clarified which retractor he wanted.

who is a senior house officer (who is at least 2 years into his postgraduate surgical training). A camera is used to create a view of the abdominal cavity. This instrument is also placed by the consultant. and then handed over to the second assistant. and a second assistant. That means that only small incisions are made to reach into the abdominal cavity. Throughout the operation the consultant repeatedly repositions this instrument to provide the right retraction. A liver retractor is used to lift the liver. providing openings for five different instruments. while too much tension may cause bleeding. The splitting should decrease the muscle contraction and allow food to pass through the lower end of the oesophagus into the stomach. He is assisted by a first assistant. A grasping forceps or bowel clamp is used to create tension on the muscle which is separated. That is symptomatic of achalasia. can follow the same view on one of the screens within their sight (see Figure 1). based on his anticipation of what the consultant wants to see. while others follow from verbal or non-verbal instructions by the consultant. The operation is led by a consultant-surgeon. and verbally corrects the second assistant’s instrument handling. This is done by a laparoscopic or ‘key hole’ procedure. a condition leading to insufficient or uncoordinated relaxation of muscles in the lower oesophagus. a ‘Heller’s cardiomyotomy’. The surgeons look up at these screens as they are performing the operation. involves splitting the ring of muscles where the oesophagus joins the stomach (the so-called GEjunction). and others. 4. who constantly moves the camera around in order to provide the view required by the consultant. The second assistant stands on the left side of the operating table. The camera is held by the first assistant. using a camera or ‘laparoscope’ to create a magnified view on screens around the operating table. The operation proceeds through five key holes. and the consultant and first assistant are on the right side. with the consultant closest to the head of the patient. Once the consultant has placed the liver retractor he hands it over to the second assistant. Some of these movements are initiated by the first assistant himself. such as the scrub nurse.“Do you have another Johan?” Negotiating meaning in the operating theatre 321 Second. The operation. who holds it in this position with his left hand. for the duration of the operation. . He needs to hold the instrument in such a way that the right tension is created: too little tension will make the consultant’s job of splitting the muscle difficult. who is a specialist registrar (who is at least 5 years into his postgraduate surgical training). we will explore examples of ‘successful’ and ‘unsuccessful’ disambiguation. A surgical operation The patient has problems swallowing food. who holds it in his right hand.

He alternately uses three instruments for this task: the so-called ‘diathermy hook’. or he uses a type of instrument that is connected to the ‘diathermy machine’. allowing him to tear muscle fibre apart. the ‘Maryland’ and the ‘Ligasure’. ‘Maryland’ and ‘Johan’ too are names of a particular kind of grasping forceps and rule out any other grasper. but ‘grasper’ is a generic name that can refer to a range of different graspers. For instance. These two instruments are controlled by consultant. anaphora (‘the other’). The jaws of a ‘Johan’ are fenestrated. and ‘diathermy’. yet this time the . 8 minutes into the operation. In his right hand the consultant either uses another grasping forceps. Only seven minutes later the consultant asks for ‘a grasper’ again.322 Jeff Bezemer. and proper names (‘Maryland’. and only one of the two sides opens up (see Figure 2). Of the many different grasping forceps available on the surgical instruments market this surgeon prefers to use the ‘Johan’. allowing him to cut tissue and seal off blood vessels using electricity. ‘diathermy hook’. It shows that the diathermy hook is alternately referred to as ‘hook’. A ‘Johan’ grasping forceps 5. In spite of the ambiguity the scrub nurse provides the expected instrument in most cases. Figure 2. including the Maryland and the Johan. Alexandra Cope. Formulating instrument requests Table 1 lists all the surgeon’s requests for instruments from the scrub nurse during the first hour of the operation. While ‘diathermy hook’ is sufficiently specific to rule out any of the other instruments on the trolley ‘diathermy’ is not: there are at least three different instruments available that can be connected to the diathermy machine. Gunther Kress and Roger Kneebone The other two key holes are used to insert the two instruments that are actually used to split the muscle fibre. In response. ‘Johan’). he holds a grasping forceps to explore the focal area. while grasping forceps are referred to with generic names (‘grasper’). Indeed the meaning of these names is ambiguous. the scrub nurse provided a grasping forceps. the consultant asked for ‘a grasper’. In his left hand.

38 52. The scrub nurse anticipated that he needed to dissect using the Maryland very soon. Other instances of disambiguation however were not successful.55 40. XN for one of .00 8.45 55. The second request was made just after a request for a ‘tonsil swab’. In the transcript below ‘CS’stands for ‘consultantsurgeon’. The Maryland allows the surgeon to move the tonsil swab around and also to dissect using diathermy.12 8. a small cloth used to absorb blood. ‘SN’ for ‘scrub nurse’. ‘CN’ for ‘circulating nurse’.32 53.54 Request ‘liver retractor’ ‘grasper’ ‘hook’ ‘Johan’ ‘any grasper’ ‘Ligasure’ ‘hook’ ‘Maryland’ ‘the grasper’ ? ‘the other’ ‘hook’ ‘another Johan’ ‘bowel clamp’ ‘bowel clamp’ ‘a Johan’ ‘diathermy’ ‘the other Johan’ ‘hook diathermy’ Provision liver retractor grasping forceps diathermy hook grasping forceps Maryland Ligasure diathermy hook Maryland ? Ligasure grasping forceps diathermy hook not available ? bowel clamp grasping forceps diathermy hook grasping forceps diathermy hook scrub nurse provides a ‘Maryland’.25 17. she provided a Maryland. which cannot be used for dissection.22 30. Her knowledge of the context of the requests allowed her to disambiguate them. The first request was made just after the liver retractor had been placed.30 57.“Do you have another Johan?” Negotiating meaning in the operating theatre 323 Table 1.31 59.19 25.”). Consultant-surgeon’s requests for laparoscopic instruments during the first hour of the operation Time (hh:mm) 8. and before any other instrument had been inserted.25 39.58 56.13 1. and just before the consultant started dissecting.33 54.11. even though it was suggested that any grasper would do (“Grasper please.00 50. Any grasper.46 9. as in the episode we will focus on now.25 14. so instead of providing a grasping forceps such as a Johan. Indeed he requests for the Maryland to be connected to the diathermy machine immediately after he has used the tonsil swab.

CS Yeah. Can you just tell me. 29. CS No these are bowel clamps. 34. 11. 23. 9. So I can’t work in the same way. SR Puts camera back in. I can’t. CS Thank you. 33. SR Is it the right length? SN Offers jug with water. 7. 21. 8. 35. SN Offers Johan CS No is not bow. 17. Okay. 4. 19. and SR for ‘specialist registrar’. Gimme a. Johan please. CS SN CS SN CS SN CS CN 16. CS Okay. 31. Gimme the bowel clamp. 2.give me a Johan. CS Can you clean the camera? SR Hot water please. if I ask for anything. Do you have another Johan? Holds up an instrument? No – an – clears throat x We asked you about half an hour ago. SN Holds instruments up. we can use the stack for second case. Otherwise standard orthography is used. CS And what are we going to do with the next case? XN x. Gunther Kress and Roger Kneebone the nurses (unclear who). SR Can you use the erm endo grasper? CS No. We can open – the stack. CS Okay. And if you. 30. 26. 12. I did. 27. Because I assume that you get them.what is – Do you know what is a bowel clamp and what is a Johan? Show me the bowel clamps and show me the Johans. . 5. Okay? [silence of 21sec] CS Okay. 10. If I ask about them and you don’t answer. 13. 36.324 Jeff Bezemer. ‘x’ means we were unable to hear what was said. 22. SR You’ve got two yeah? CS Yeah but two different handles. So why did nobody get it? Maybe nobody answer. Extract 1: ‘Do you have another Johan?’ 1. for the next case. And you don’t have it. Alexandra Cope. Okay. 25. SN Passes bowel clamp. CN Two is not enough? CS No is enough but the handles are different. 20. I did mention it. Fresh hot water. bowel clamp now. 28. This is bowel clamp. SR dips camera in water. 24. Let’s show it me. 6. 3.

e. the circulating nurse and the registrar are all . all of which are negated by the consultant. three others are unsuccessful.” Second. and also between the consultant and the specialist registrar. in Line 25. There are three such exchanges. “Yeah but two different handles. Third. in Line 23. 38. “Is it the right length?”. When he asks for a bowel clamp in Line 29 he doesn’t get it. he gets a bowel clamp.g. the circulating nurse asks “two is not enough?”. requesting him to put the camera back in so he can proceed with the operation. and the consultant replies. “No I can’t”. In between. the scrub nurse or registrar providing what was requested. consisting of a) a request for clarification or confirmation. Second. So in a time span of one minute and ten seconds three requests for instruments/actions are successful. a sequence of exchanges unfolds between the consultant. Thank you. When he asks for a Johan in Line 1 he doesn’t get what he wants. in Line 12. First. Two clarification sequences are initiated by the consultant. and four requests for clarification/confirmation are made by the circulating nurse and registrar. he asks the scrub nurse if she knows the difference between a bowel clamp and a Johan. saying “Okay Okay”. and the consultant replies. to which the consultant does not reply. First. First. in Line 16. Some follow the typical pattern of a) the consultant requesting something. in Line 7. to which the consultant replies. So I can’t work in the same way. when the consultant asks for a bowel clamp in Line 18. Second. SN CS Offers Johan. “So why did nobody go and get it?” to which no one replies. when he asks the registrar to clean the camera the registrar cleans the camera (after asking for and receiving hot water from the scrub nurse allowing him to rinse the camera). when he asks for a Johan in Line 37 he gets a Johan. the registrar asks. he asks.” Fourth. 325 The episode starts and ends with the consultant-surgeon asking for a Johan. The unsuccessful exchanges cause increasing agitation on the side of the consultant. But the unsuccessful exchanges and negated requests for clarification also suggest that the scrub nurse. “Can you use erm the endo grasper?”. and the consultant acknowledging receipt. as evidenced. Third. A different type of exchange is also used. Three such exchanges are initiated by the circulating nurse and the registrar. in Line 27 where he intervenes in the registrar’s rinsing of the camera. the scrub nurse and one of the circulating nurses. and b) providing clarification. the registrar asks. and asks her to show him one of each (and she appears to have passed the test). the registrar asks. When one of the nurses offer bowel clamps he rejects them in Line 11. “No is enough but the handles are different.“Do you have another Johan?” Negotiating meaning in the operating theatre 37. “you’ve got two yeah”. But other exchanges do not follow this pattern.

as it requires constant opening and closing of the jaw to grasp different bits of the muscle. However the circulating nurse. From the laparoscopic camera record we know that when he is asking for “another Johan” he is indeed already holding one Johan is his left hand. but we do know that the consultant rejects what is offered and he subsequently appears to start repeating his original request (“No. and also the registrar. Thus the confusion about the availability of Johans is based on the ambiguity of the name ‘Johan’: as a name for a grasper. and “So I can’t work in the same way. Gunther Kress and Roger Kneebone having difficulty understanding what the consultant is up to. her recount of the event did indeed suggest that she is aware of this surgeon’s preferences for that. First the circulating nurse asks. An-[other Johan]”).” There are many different types of handles. after he’s asked for a Johan again and acknowledged its receipt (“thank you”. The following turns all seem to suggest that the Johan he wants is not available: The scrub nurse starts accounting for it not being available (“I did. And in both cases the consultant explains what the problem really is: the handles of the two available Johans are different. and are left wondering why the consultant does not . but two Johans with the same handles. It is not clear if the scrub nurse was unable to disambiguate the request for another Johan at the start. So why does he not get another Johan when he first asks for one in Line 1? We do not know what instrument the scrub nurse offers in response to that first request for another Johan. are unable to disambiguate the request. and a name for a grasper + handle. The camera record also shows that at the end of the episode.326 Jeff Bezemer. That means that there must have been at least two Johans from the start. Handles are delivered separately. so the ‘other Johan’ must be for his right hand. For the task at hand the handles without locking ‘ratchets’ seem most apt. When we asked her the following day. and how much of that is understood by his colleagues? At the start of the episode the surgeon is about to start tearing muscle apart. the consultant-surgeon and the scrub nurse are talking about how it could happen that they ended up with one Johan short despite the consultant’s early announcement. but her accounting for why it is not available does suggest that she understood that the consultant didn’t just need two Johans. “Two is not enough?” and second the registrar asks “You’ve got two yeah?”. relaying responsibility to the circulating nurses to whom she forwarded the consultant’s announcement right at the start of the operation that he needs two Johans for this procedure. He needs two graspers for that. He prefers to use two ‘Johans’. So exactly what is the consultant up to. That discrepancy causes confusion among the circulating nurse and the registrar. Line 38) he indeed holds two Johans in his hands. So while there must have been at least two Johans ready to be used. I did mention it”). and nurses attach them to the various graspers prior to the operation. Alexandra Cope.

listed under the heading ‘extras’. Meanwhile. Additional items are listed separately. which contains a range of instruments commonly used in key hole operations. surgeons expect that . It arrives about 15 minutes after the beginning of the episode. and pull out the Johan with the right handle in that pack. On the back of the typed-out card is a handwritten list. Ultimately the solution to the problem comes from the circulating nurse.“Do you have another Johan?” Negotiating meaning in the operating theatre 327 use the two Johans that are available. Out of the infinite variety of surgical instruments they will choose to work with specific instruments. ‘frenchie forcep’ (the ‘r’ in ‘frocep’ must have been a typo). see Figure 3). often in different social and cultural contexts. Codifying surgical preferences So how could this have happened? Why were there not two Johans with the right handle right at the disposal of the consultant at the start of the operation? The key to this question lies in the way surgeon’s preferences are ‘codified’ on their so-called ‘cards’ and how these codifications get translated when instruments are ordered through the hospital’s booking system. Surgeons’ cards are indicative of the variety in the way operations are performed. Whilst operating. they develop their own professional preferences. So on the surgeon’s card the name ‘Johan’becomes ‘frenchie’. They also come up with alternatives. which is probably an updated version. nor are the handles specified. 6. and they will choose to refer to those instruments using one of a range of possible names (‘Johan’). the consultant’s agitation has increased as he is struggling to perform the operation without his preferred instruments. The registrar suggests using an endo grasper – apparently missing the point of why the consultant needs two Johans with the same handles. The card for the procedure carried out in the episode includes a standard ‘laparoscopic set’. As surgeons work with different trainers in different hospitals. detailing. On neither side is it mentioned that two Johans are required. A senior scrub nurse at our research site explained to us that indeed ‘frenchie’ and ‘Johan’ refer to the same forceps. The consultant turns that suggestion down as it would create even more problems during the next case. The theatre nurses in this hospital (and indeed in many other hospitals) keep ‘cards’ for every consultantsurgeon they work with. for every procedure which the consultant performs. which happens to be the same procedure (Line 8). such as an item called “Frenchie frocep (YOHAN)” (sic. Here it says “frenchie”. who goes to get another Johan with the right handle from the private wing of the hospital. from the draping of the patient to the closing of the skin. and ‘Yohan’. The circulating nurse suggests to open the stack for the next case. which instruments he or she needs.

they will need to learn about those specifics: that Mr Peterson wants an extra Johan grasping forceps when he does a cardiomyotomy. Alexandra Cope.328 Jeff Bezemer. The cards they keep is one way in which ‘local knowledge’ of surgical practices in a hospital is maintained and passed on to newcomers. The circulating nurse has a longer history of collaboration with the consultant-surgeon. Excerpt of the consultant-surgeon’s preference card nurses are familiar with these preferences and that they will facilitate their work in line with those preferences. this consultant probably does no more than 5 such procedures a year. They also need to know how surgeons actually name their preferred instruments. The scrub nurse in the episode had not worked with the consultant for long. for instance. the consultant asked her for her name at the start of the operation. By that they mean that scrub nurses should know exactly what surgeons need. The episode shows that while it is increasingly difficult for nurses and others . Even when these newcomers are highly experienced nurses. and one that breaks with the widespread expectation of surgeons epitomized in the slogan well-know in the surgical community. but all communication in the operating theatre. Hence nurses are to make sure that the surgeons’ preferred instruments will be at their disposal. so much so that they should know when to ignore surgeons’ incidental requests for the wrong instrument. They also need to learn the specifics of the preferred instruments: how to assemble them or dismantle this particular make of this type of instrument. This is a major constraint for these teams. for instance. and that Mr James calls a certain retractor blade a ‘middle blade’. The episode shows that this history of collaboration affects not only the moment-by-moment communication between scrub nurse and consultant-surgeon. Nurses are well aware of the variation in surgical practices among the many surgeons they work with. Gunther Kress and Roger Kneebone Figure 3. “Give me what I want. not what I asked for”. Thus there is very little opportunity for this team of nurses and surgeons to develop a shared language for instruments. but the procedure (a cardiomyotomy) is a relatively uncommon one. so that they can pass on the right instrument upon surgeons’ requests.

Another nurse went into the prep room with a consultant asking questions about some of the instruments. the expectation that nurses are aware of all the surgeons’ ‘idiolects’ has remained unchanged. . like so many of society’s responses to multilingualism (cf. how do you . On several occasions we have observed them popping their head around the operating theatre when nurses are preparing for the operation on the patient who is being anaesthetized in the anaesthetic room next door and asking if certain instruments are available. 7. . One object sought in this work is to assist in securing a standard nomenclature for surgical instruments. The checklist was designed by the World Health Organization and was introduced in England in 2009. One of the questions on the checklist is. As early as 1899. . Mr Truax. . The Surgical Safety Checklist is an institutional response to instability and diversity based on a notion of standardization and homogeneity. . a US based surgeon. For instance. consultant-surgeons sometimes check if they are available some time (say. whereby surgeons do not have at their disposal the instruments they prefer to work with and nurses and registrars do not understand exactly what the surgeon is requesting? What can be done to improve the communication between nurses and surgeons? Just before the start of operations staff are now required to jointly go through the ‘Surgical Safety Checklist’. Bezemer and Kroon 2008). are you going to use. how do you want it . . when ‘special’ instruments are required. Dealing with instability and uncertainty So what can nurses and surgeons do to prevent the type of situation exemplified by the episode. which indeed are ‘cutting-edge’ and not yet widely used. “Are there any specific equipment requirements or special investigations?” And indeed. a periosteal elevator is often referred to or . or they ask their registrar to check this for them. . Nurses may also ask surgeons about the stuff they need in advance of the operation. Better still.“Do you have another Johan?” Negotiating meaning in the operating theatre 329 to disambiguate surgeons’ requests as a result of limited opportunities to work together on the entire range of procedures. writes. . ?” “Peter. ”). ” “Now Peter you have your way of . One nurse asked a registrar questions about how he wants things done (“Peter. but they then have at least some time before the operation starts to get the instruments from somewhere. The custom of calling the same instrument by various names is annoying and confusing. one hour) before the operation starts. we have observed consultants asking in that context about the availability of instruments (“You’ve got the pelvic set?”). Nurses cannot always confirm that the instruments are available. A similar response is often heard from clinicians when the names of instruments are discussed.

which would breach Grice’s conversational maxim of ‘quantity’ (imagine the consultant in our example asking for a “laparoscopic Johan grasping forceps. (Truax 1899: 8) More than a 100 years later the clinicians we talked to are still inclined to argue for more standardization to prevent confusion about the names of instruments. and even standard text-books sometimes refer to forceps for hemostatic purposes as ‘nippers’. division of professions by cross-disciplinary collaboration. 330mm long and 3mm diameter”). Old expectations which characterized an era of stability and continuity are now challenged–that colleagues know each other through . a tissue forceps etc. Instead of aiming for more ‘standardization’. Choosing a standard has. Gunther Kress and Roger Kneebone described as a levator. Standardization and codification are responses to diversity which have been well-documented in applied linguistics. participatory power structures.. but it also creates the suggestion that a name for an instrument is meaningful outside its context of use. while standardization is not workable nor desirable. elevator. a plain spring dressing forceps. so that the scrub nurse can accurately disambiguate requests. may be called a thumb forceps.330 Jeff Bezemer. It should be the responsibility of both the scrub nurse and the consultant to ensure both parties know ‘what is going on’. raspatory. The cases we discussed are indicative of attempts to come to grips with these changes. That was also the underlying assumption of the study we quoted earlier suggesting that theatre staff are ‘better’ and more consistent in naming instruments than surgeons. 8. Such a language policy seems neither feasible nor desirable. Alexandra Cope. Conclusion Our analysis shows how changes affecting the communicational landscape throughout society are dealt with at a clinical workplace. All of these shifts imply a move away from stability and predictability to instability and provisionality (Kress 2010). Social and economic changes are clearly visible in the operating theatre: continuity in teamwork is increasingly being replaced by ephemerality. Acknowledgement of diversity and negotiation of meaning – including seeking and providing clarification. a dissecting forceps. of course. and –less so in the operating theatre. Our observations show that. power implications. rather. a plain artery key to communication in the operating theatre. social and cultural homogeneity by diversity.hierarchical power structures by open. dry dissector or periosteotome. we would argue for ensuring that surgeons and nurses share a definition of the situation. the meaning of instrument names is entirely dependent on shared understandings of the situation and of each other.

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