Colloquium Organizer: Peter De Costa
The Linguistic System Conundrum
Lionel Wee, National University of Singapore
I discuss the ‘linguistic system conundrum’: how references to distinct L1s and L2s (common in SLA) can be coherently related to sociolinguistic claims (increasingly common in WE) about the porosity of language categories. SLA arguments about the cognitive benefits of multilingualism are usually predicated on speakers’ ability to grapple with the demands distinct of L1s and L2s. In contrast, sociolinguists and applied linguists often argue that the expectations associated with strict linguistic boundaries are at odds with the fluid nature of multilingual social life. Addressing this conundrum is key if the two subfields are to beneficially converse with each other.
ELF - Dynamic and Complex
Anna Mauranen, University of Helsinki
English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) is a complex form of language contact, which can be viewed from three key perspectives: the cognitive, the micro-social /interactional, and the macro-social. Each contributes crucially to the whole, and each frame has its own dynamics, while feeding into the other levels. Each operates in its particular time scale, resulting in multiple synchronous and asynchronous processes of change. I will argue that in the macro-level perspective, ELF constitutes a complex ‘second-order language contact’, which results from contact between ‘similects’, parallel idiolects of L2 speakers, as well as between those and varieties of English as a Native Language.
Spatial Repertoires and English: The Competence of International
Suresh Canagarajah, Pennsylvania State University
The notion of “spatial repertoires” helps us consider how English aligns with other semiotic resources, objects, and social networks in accomplishing communicative activities in situated interactions. From this perspective, one might not need advanced grammatical competence in a specific language to be successful in communication. What is more important is the ability to align one’s semiotic resources with the other ecological affordances to communicate effectively and achieve one’s objectives. This orientation explains how Chinese STEM scholars in a Midwestern university in USA can claim that they have limited grammatical competence in English, but are successful in teaching, research, and publishing.
Bridging a Gap: Global Englishes and SLA in Teaching EFL
Ryuko Kubota, University of British Columbia
Contrasted with the normative and segregationist view of language in traditional SLA research, a pluralist and integrationist view from sociolinguistics has illuminated linguistic multiplicity, fluidity, and hybridity as seen in global Englishes. Nonetheless, language education policies and practices in EFL contexts continue to privilege normativity and homogeneity. This gap resonates with a tension between centrifugal and centripetal sociopolitical forces in contemporary society. Future research on SLA and global Englishes can generate strategies for knowledge mobilization by unpacking language ideologies and broader political forces behind the question of why teaching English, or any other languages, is so resistant to pluralistic perspectives.
Global Languages and Local Identities
Richard F. Young, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Recent research in SLA has presented personal identity in a poststructural frame. Identities are multiple: broadcast, altercast, and contested, though often coercively applied. Identities are experienced in flux as multilinguals move from language through language and from community to community. Although contact by speakers of local languages with a hegemonic language is sometimes seen as endangering local languages and threatening speakers’ identities, this an oversimplification. Study of persons-in-contact with global Englishes provides new insights into how personal identities are contested and how the durable dispositions of habitus are transposed in contact fields. I ground my study in the memories, sentiments, knowledge, and actions of multilinguals in Southeast Asia focusing on identity presentation online and multimodal analysis of face-to-face interaction.
Ontologies of Language, SLA, and Global Englishes
Lourdes Ortega, Georgetown University
What develops in L2 development? Different language ontologies provide different answers. Traditional SLA studies pursue L2 users’ strictly linguistic development undergirded by monolingual native speaker idealizations. This creates knowledge dead ends. Becoming multilingual later in life has transformative lifeworld consequences. Language learning inevitably draws on agency, identity, and power. Each new language opens up our human lived experience to new conventions, imaginations, and uncertainties. Hence, we need new SLA research that probes alternative standards of evidence for success or failure in multilingual learning. Despite challenges, insights from Global Englishes are already broadening SLA’s object of inquiry.
Kingsley Bolton, Nanyang Technological University
Susan Gass, Michigan State University