The Application of Translingualism to Language Revitalisation in Taiwan

  •  Huang Tung-Chiou    


Translingualism is a term from Steven G. Kellman (2000) and David Schwarzer et al. (2006), who see teaching an L2 as bridge building between languages that allow one to retain a unified mind and not be cloven into two for the sake of being multilingual. Thus, in contrast to multilingualism, translingualism stresses the process and not the goal. Classrooms where students come from two or more different language communities are established feature of schools in many countries. When multilingual word processing enables ethnolinguistic communities and students to express the funds of knowledge they possess, the school is truly preparing students to thrive in a global community characterized by rapid cultural and technological change. If translingualism is the process, then Action research (AR) is its method. This study explores the sociolinguistics of translingual forces: (1) how classroom experience or actual personal contact with elders in villages causes students of different cultural backgrounds to value other languages, and (2) how students’ phonetic knowledge, literacy, as well as content knowledge in English may transfer to acquiring ethnic languages in a collaborative classroom. It mostly examines how the students in a community of Taiwan hailing from different cultural backgrounds and attending multilingual classrooms that promoted bi/multilingualism can come to value all languages spoken in a community.

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