CFP Translanguaging and Repertoires across Signed and Spoken Languages (Germany)

“Translanguaging and repertoires across signed and spoken languages: Insights from linguistic ethnographies in (super)diverse contexts”
20-21 June 2016
Göttingen (Germany)
Deadline for abstracts: 31 December 2015

Admission is free but registration is necessary

Confirmed presentations:
Alastair Pennycook, University of Technology Sydney
Adrian Blackledge, University of Birmingham
Angela Creese, University of Birmingham
Ulrike Zeshan, University of Central Lancashire
Annelies Kusters, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Ethnic and Religious Diversity
Massimiliano Spotti, Tilburg University
Ruth Swanwick, University of Leeds

The aim of this symposium is to foreground contributions based on linguistic ethnographies which were undertaken in educational settings and public/private/parochial settings in which people engage in the practice of translanguaging. With translanguaging we mean the linguistic practices in which people with diverse and multilingual backgrounds engage in order to make themselves understood by others. When doing so, they do not make use of separated languages but use elements/lexicon/grammar of (what might be regarded as) two or more different languages, hence the term ‘translanguaging’. In the process of translanguaging, people typically make use of a variety of channels or modalities: they may speak, point, gesture, sign, write, in a variety of combinations – ie multimodality.

When translanguaging, people draw upon linguistic repertoires, a term which denotes that people learn and use to speak, sign, write, read (parts of) different languages throughout their lives. Linguistic repertoires are typically multimodal, for example gestures are inherent part of spoken language production and mouthings are inherent part of many signed languages. In addition to biographic linguistic repertoires, there are spatial repertoires, linked to specific locations such as markets and repertoires linked with a certain culture and/or religion. Importantly, translanguaging not only draws on but also transforms repertoire.

Current works into spoken languages translanguaging include Angela Creese and Adrian Blackledge’s ongoing AHRC project “Translation and Translanguaging: Investigating Linguistic and Cultural Transformations in Superdiverse Wards in Four UK Cities” (2014-2018). Alastair Pennycook is (with Emi Otsuji) the author of the recently published book “Metrolingualism: Language in the City”, which sheds light on the ordinariness of linguistic diversity as people go about their daily lives in the city and make use of diverse linguistic resources. Massimiliano Spotti’s research focuses on asylum seeking 2.0 where identity negotiation in spoken interaction is supplemented with online evidence that corroborates the discourse of suspicion used as standard by the authorities.

Current works into multilingualism/translanguaging in relation to signed languages and/or gesture include Ulrike Zeshan’s ongoing ERC (2011-2016) project “Multilingual Behaviours in Sign Language Users, focusing on “cross-signing”, “sign-speaking”, and “sign-switching”, breaking new ground with respect to a field of research that can be called “Sign Multilingualism Studies”. Ruth Swanwick’s British Academy project is titled “Deafness and bimodal bilingualism: A plurilingual language framework for education”. Annelies Kusters focuses on gestural interactions and multimodality between fluent deaf signers and hearing non-signers in customer interactions and public transport in Mumbai.

We invite/include contributions that are based on the study of translanguaging in practice: how do people make use of different languages and different modalities (signed/gestured, spoken, written) when drawing on different repertoires in order to make themselves understood? The fact that contributions about the full spectrum of human language use (including signed/gestured/spoken/written) are invited, exploring a common theme, is innovative because the study of signed and spoken languages sociolinguistics have developed rather separately from each other. The focus on language use in practice (in which gesture is an inherent element of spoken languages production and mouthed/spoken/written/fingerspelled language is used by people who use signed languages) will be instrumental in bridging these separate strands, which is a much needed development in order to understand human language production in general. The study of gesture has brought signed and spoken language researchers of theoretical linguistics together, but a parallel bridge has not yet been built in sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology. Thus the symposium and the special issue will be cutting edge and highly competitive, as they extend concepts of translanguaging because of the unique ways in which signed and spoken languages are be used together. In short, the goal of the symposium is to create new knowledge, dialogue or transactions between studies of sign and spoken language diversity and plurality.

The languages of presentation will be International Sign and English, and English-IS interpretation will be organized.

Author: Center for Intercultural Dialogue

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, the Director of the Center for Intercultural Dialogue, manages this website.

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