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Translanguaging and the Transdisciplinary Framework for Language Teaching and Learning in a Multilingual World

Constant Leung
The Modern Language Journal

Our goal in writing this article is to build on the theme of the centennial volume by engaging in the examination and study of translanguaging, a rapidly expanding conceptual‐cum‐theoretical, analytical, and pedagogical lens that directly draws from contemporary perspectives on bi/multilingualism and that in many ways both informs and challenges existing theoretical positions and pedagogical practices on which much of the work of modern languages scholars and MLJ readers has been based. It is our purpose to provide MLJ readers with an overview of translanguaging that allows them to engage in informed discussions as the profession responds to the changing needs of additional language users across diverse instructional settings in various types of globalized and transnational contexts. We agree with Hawkins and Mori (2018) that the “trans‐” prefix as seen in transnationaltransculturaltranslocaltranspatialtransmodaltranslanguaging, and translingual forces us to grapple with change, with movement, with fluidity, and perhaps with conflict. In most cases, the “trans‐” turn challenges established orthodoxies and understandings and creates intense debates and disagreements. As we intend to suggest here, however, the “trans‐” turn also has the potential of providing us with new directions and new answers to important questions that have engaged both scholars and practitioners in the field of SLA. For reasons of scope and scale, the arguments and observations made in this article are primarily informed by the authors’ academic sensibilities and professional experiences associated with the United Kingdom and the United States, although we believe that the issues we address here resonate with additional language educators in many other world locations.