Rush Hour Research: Translanguaging in Everyday Practice

University of Birmingham School (School Hall), Weoley Park Road
Social Sciences
Tuesday 10th October 2017 (16:30-18:00)
Download the date to your calendar (.ics file)

Ann Evans

You're invited to join the Rush Hour Research series at the University of Birmingham School where academics from the School of Education will share their current research. Light refreshments will be provided.

This presentation, from Professor Angela Creese, will report on the initial outcomes of a research project which investigates how people communicate when they bring into contact different biographies, histories, and trajectories. The Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project, Translation and Translanguaging (TLang)generates new knowledge about communication in superdiverse cities. The research team has conducted detailed linguistic ethnographic studies in sixteen public settings across four cities, and built up a comprehensive account of the means by which people make meaning in migration and post-migration contexts.

Research sites included a busy city market, cosmopolitan corner shops, public libraries, community centres, advice and advocacy offices, and sports clubs. Over two years researchers wrote field notes, audio-recorded and video-recorded participants in interaction, took photographs, collected digital and online posts, conducted interviews, and made recordings in domestic and social settings. Analysis of data demonstrated that when people bring into interaction different biographies, histories, and trajectories, they often ‘translanguage’. That is, they deploy whatever resources are available to them in that time and space, making the most of their communicative repertoires. In many instances translanguaging was creative and transformative. Interactions were creative as people communicated multi-semiotically, and across ‘languages’. They were transformative as potentially miscommunicative encounters were stabilized and changed through participants’ openness to difference and diversity.

In this presentation examples of encounters between people in migration settings illustrate and exemplify translanguaging in practice. In these encounters people learn to live with difference and change, making social and linguistic diversity a resource for communication and conviviality.