Translingualism in composition studies and second language writing: An uneasy alliance.

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Translingualism in composition studies and second language writing: An uneasy alliance.

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Title: Translingualism in composition studies and second language writing: An uneasy alliance.
Author: Williams, Julia
Abstract: Although some translingual advocates call for collaboration amongst composition studies, translingual, and second language writing theorists, current misinterpretations of translingual theory represent the field of second language writing in a negative light, making an alliance amongst the scholars of these fields unlikely. Translingualism is embedded in inclusive rhetorics, which, we demonstrate, equate difference with the ability to think divergently. From this perspective, linguistic difference is a catalyst for critical thinking, and linguistic standardization is discrimination. Although this view is accurate, translingual theorists are at risk of misinterpreting second language classrooms as sites of forced linguistic homogenization. The teaching of form and genre are particularly contentious as translingual theorists, who may be unaware of research in second language writing, believe that these elements are taught in second language classrooms without tolerance of linguistic variation. Because translingualism is deeply rooted in inclusive rhetorics, second language teachers are unable to object to this negative view of their field without affiliating themselves with exclusionary rhetorics. However, theorists such as Larsen-Freeman, Halliday, and Tardy write about form and genre using terms similar to those used by translingual theorists, suggesting that current second language writing theory recognizes linguistic variability and the interdependence of form/genre and context. Therefore, alliances amongst scholars in the fields of composition studies, translingualism, and second language writing would be possible if the negative view of second language writing implied by misinterpretations of translingual theory could be redressed.
URI: http://www.teslcanadajournal.ca/index.php/tesl/article/view/1234/1063
http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11895/297
Date: 2016


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