Translanguaging multimodally: Insights from linguistic ethnography in a superdiverse city

Monday 20 June (00:00) - Tuesday 21 June 2016 (00:00)

Speakers: Professor Angela Creese & Professor Adrian Blackledge, University of Birmingham, UK

Venue: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Ethnic and Religious Diversity


This presentation reports emergent findings from a research project which investigates how people communicate when they bring different histories, biographies, and trajectories to interaction in contexts of superdiversity. The talk focuses on interactions in three city centre sites: a busy meat and fish market, a new, state-of-the-art public library, and a volleyball club. Data were collected through a linguistic ethnographic approach, in which teams of researchers spent substantial, repeated periods engaged in observation of people as they went about their daily business. As we observed we wrote field notes, audio-recorded key participants, took photographs, made video-recordings, and conducted interviews. We found that in each of the sites people communicate multimodally. That is, their repertoires are not limited to the spoken word, but include other;ritual interactions such as gesture and signing. In each setting people make what they can of available multimodal resources, translanguaging as they transform potentially miscommunicative interactions. In each space people in interaction found creative ways to communicatively overlap, for example by trying out resources from each others’ repertoires, and in the process expanding their own. Translanguaging was a means by which difference (linguistic, semiotic and otherwise) became a resource, and people in the superdiverse city were able to engage convivially. With reference to Goffman’s discussion of interaction ritual, and Bakhtin’s notion of becoming, we present new insights from linguistic ethnography in superdiverse contexts. 

Find out more about the Translanguaging and repertoires across signed and spoken languages: Insights from linguistic ethnographies in (super) diverse contexts event. 

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