Translingual practice and ELF

Authored by: Daisuke Kimura , Suresh Canagarajah

The Routledge Handbook of English as a Lingua Franca

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138855328
eBook ISBN: 9781315717173
Adobe ISBN:


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In this chapter, we trace the theoretical and research developments in both translingual practice and ELF to show their evolving convergence and remaining distinctions. Though ELF was initially focused on identifying the core linguistic features shared among multilingual speakers of English (e.g., Jenkins, 2000, 2002; Seidlhofer, 2001, 2004), it has adopted the position that ELF involves situated practices of constructing intersubjective norms that are always changing according to participants and contexts (Jenkins, Cogo, and Dewey, 2011; Hülmbaner and Seidlhofer 2013; Seidlhofer 2011). Translingual practice has similarly evolved from its focus on code-meshing in a product-oriented manner (Canagarajah, 2006) to consider the situated practices that lead to meaning making (Canagarajah, 2007). However, there are still some minor differences in theory and research focus between the two approaches. The understanding of community, the relationship between sharedness and diversity, the place of grammar in communication, and the connection between language and other multimodal resources suggest some differences. We discuss the strengths of both approaches in hopes that scholars of the two schools might learn from each other. ELF researchers have conducted empirical studies adopting analytical tools from conversation analysis (CA) and corpus research, which reveal the ways multilinguals negotiate English in their interactions. Translingual practice has focused more on issues of literacy, pragmatics, and pedagogy. These strengths can prove to be complementary as both approaches continue to research and theorize the diversity of English in a globalized and multilingual world.

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