Volume 28, Number 2, 2013
Volume 28, Number 2, Fall
Editors: Sofia Chaparro, Siwon Lee, and Miranda Weinberg
An Ecological View of Language Choice in a Bilingual Program: A Dynamic Model of Social Structures (PDF), Katherine O'Donnell Christoffersen
Salsa Remixed: Learning Language, Culture, and Identity in the Classroom (PDF), Laura L. Flippin
Undoing Truth in Language Teaching: Toward a Paradigm of Linguistic Aesthetics (PDF)
Foucault’s work has provided critical applied linguists many tools for deconstructing dominant understandings of language. However, his work has not been significantly engaged with by scholars who have attempted to develop alternative pedagogical approaches outside of these dominant understandings of language. Specifically, these alternative pedagogical approaches continue to be embedded within a discourse of truth that is antithetical to Foucault’s project. This recovering the linguistic truth paradigm of applied linguistics may be inadvertently complicit in the development of new regimes of truth aligned with newly emerging relations of power. A more thorough engagement with Foucault’s work related to developing an aesthetics of existence offers insights into developing a paradigm of linguistic aesthetics that is more aligned with Foucault’s conceptualization of truth and that is resistant to these newly emerging relations of power. A fictional classroom is described to demonstrate the characteristics of this paradigm of linguistic aesthetics.
Jula Ajami in Burkina Faso: A Grassroots Literacy in the Former Kong Empire (PDF)
Ajami (عجمي) is a term frequently used to refer to the use of the Arabic script to write sub-Saharan African languages. West African lingua francas such as Hausa, Wolof, and Fulani have a rather well-documented record of Ajami artifacts and use. In Eastern Manding varieties such as Bamanan and Jula, however, Ajami practices and texts have been viewed as rather limited in comparison. Recent 2012 fieldwork in Burkina Faso however suggests that Ajami practices in Jula have simply escaped the notice of the Western scholarly community. Drawing on ethnographic fieldnotes about production of Esoteric Islamic medicinal treatment recipes in addition to dialogues, descriptions and songs produced at my request, I explore Jula Ajami as a grassroots literacy existing alongside the Koranic schooling tradition. Turning to the texts themselves, I analyze the graphic system in use as well as the linguistic characteristics that suggest the enregisterment of Kong Jula as appropriate in Jula Ajami texts.
An Ecological View of Language Choice in a Bilingual Program: A Dynamic Model of Social Structures (PDF)
Katherine O'Donnell Christoffersen
The present paper proposes a Dynamic Model of Social Structures as a model of language choice which highlights and synthesizes two significant themes repeated throughout the history of language choice research: agency and function. This model stems from ecological frameworks advanced in the fields of language planning (Hornberger, 2002) and language learning (Lam, 2007). Central to the model is the notion of language as a social structure (Gafaranga, 2005) among infinite other social structures (e.g., broader society, social network, local context, and individual linguistic behaviors). The Dynamic Model of Social Structures integrates the concept of agency and function in demonstrating how social structures influence one another and how individuals enact social identities through the discursive functions of their individual language choices. Research from a primary school Spanish immersion program in Arizona illustrates the application of this model and its value as a framework especially suited for classroom language choice research.
Challenging the "Non-Native English Speaker" Identity in U.S. Higher Education: A Case of International Graduate Students (PDF)
The present study is grounded in the theoretical understanding of U.S. graduate- level classes as a community of practice and the poststructuralist understanding of language use and identity. In this study, I use a questionnaire and semi- structured interviews to explore how graduate students—both native and non- native English-speaking—perceive their own and others’ participation in class discussions. Also, with a focus on their identity negotiated during their class interactions, I examine possible unequal power relations in graduate classrooms. The results showed that the native students had negative attitudes toward non-native students’ participation, most participants felt that unequal power relations exist in classroom communities, and some non-native students felt marginalized in the classroom. Lastly, some suggestions are presented to bring about equal positioning and harmony in graduate classroom communities.
Salsa Remixed: Learning Language, Culture, and Identity in the Classroom (PDF)
Laura L. Flippin
In our increasingly globalized world, the notions of language, culture, community, and nation are more and more fluid. Considering the influence of globalization, new media, and current societal flux, sociolinguists have begun to examine how identity, language, and culture are negotiated through popular culture (Pennycook, 2010). Using a descriptive, interactional sociolinguistic approach, this paper explores this phenomenon by examining a small community of approximately 20-30 students who are members of a salsa club at a university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. First, this case study explores student motivation for joining this community of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Second, it considers the pedagogical practices within the classroom, which although informal in design, are traditional in style. Students learn how to move their bodies as well as interact on the dance floor. Finally, it will examine how gendered roles are defined and negotiated. The findings from this study suggest conflicting attitudes and ideologies about the agency each partner has (or does not have).