Translingual Practice as Spatial Repertoires: Expanding the Paradigm beyond Structuralist Orientations

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The expanding orientations to translingualism are motivated by a gradual shift from the structuralist paradigm that has been treated as foundational in modern linguistics. Structuralism encouraged scholars to consider language, like other social constructs, as organized as a self-defining and closed structure, set apart from spatiotemporal 'context' (which included diverse considerations such as history, geography, politics, and society). Translingualism calls for a shift from these structuralist assumptions to consider more mobile, expansive, situated, and holistic practices. In this article, I articulate how a poststructuralist paradigm might help us theorize and practice translingualism according to a spatial orientation that embeds communication in space and time, considering all resources as working together as an assemblage in shaping meaning. I illustrate from my ongoing research with international STEM scholars in a Midwestern American university to theorize how translingualism will redefine the role of constructs such as language, non-verbal artifacts, and context in communicative proficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-54
Number of pages24
JournalApplied Linguistics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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