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Share your research: Multilingualism and Translanguaging in Higher Education Institutions

The nexus between Englishes, and other languages including English, January 2020

Abstract Deadline: 5 August 2019

Universities in South Africa and the world are admitting large numbers of linguistically diverse students. The tensions and contradictions between English monolingualism and the implementation of multilingual policies in universities around the country remain contentious for both decolonization and transformation. Although some Higher Education Institutions have language policies favoring multilingualism, research has demonstrated that they are out of touch with contemporary views of language as a social practice. Multilingualism and translanguaging are drawing attention from many researchers concerned with language and education (e.g. Makalela, 2018. Multilingualism and translanguaging are associated with transformation in higher education (see, for example, Garcia, & Li Wei (2014), and Stroud & Kerfoot, 2013, Nomlomo, & Katiya, 2018). Especially in the context of achieving social justice and decolonization, (Hurst & Mona, 2017).

In the ever-evolving and ever-increasing global linguistic landscape in the Global South, there has been a growing need to embrace multilingualism and translanguaging in social contexts in which diverse societies and different language groups co-exist. While multilingualism has been in existence for much longer, this may not be the case with translanguaging. The latter seems to be understood and applied slightly differently in given contexts, for example, in the Global North and the Global South (Heugh, 2015). However, its putative value as a language practice and as a pedagogic approach, especially in teaching and learning contexts such as HEIs cannot be ignored nor can it be dismissed. More research is needed on the value of translanguaging against other phenomena of language contact, such as borrowing, codeswitching, codemixing and codemeshing.

As a result, there is a burgeoning research interest in applying translanguaging not only in multilingual schools, but also in multilingual HEIs (see, for example, Canagarajah, 2011; Carroll & Van den Hoven, 2016; García & Kleyn, 2016; Heugh, Li & Song, 2017; Hurst & Mona, 2017). However, in relation to HEIs, more research that focuses on case studies and projects dealing with multilingualism and translanguaging within multilingual HEI settings is still needed so as to share best practices in this regard. Additionally, scholarly work that interrogates the nuances of translanguaging as a theory and approach informing module/curriculum design and that underpins pedagogies is needed to help academics understand such nuances, and to share best practices with other academics.

Coverage areas

We invite scholarly papers that deal with the intersection, or interconnectedness between the three concepts, Multilingualism, Translanguaging, and Decolonization in the context of English Sudies in Higher Education. We are particularly interested in voices from the Global South, but welcome dialogues and conversations with the Global North. These papers are to be published in a Special Issue of the Journal Scrutiny 2.

In view of the above, papers that cover the following research questions (but not limited to them) are solicited:

  • How do English varieties interact with multilingualism and what is the impact on proficiency in English?
  • How is proficiency and literacy in English taught to multilingual speakers?
  • How do multiple linguistic resources (how does translanguaging)  intersect with the  English Language?
  • How can English studies benefit from multilingualism and translanguaging?
  • How would decolonisation apply to the English Language and English literature?
  • How can literary studies engage with ‘translations’, both culturally and linguistically?

This is the first issue of the Journal that focuses on the role of English Language in Higher Education in more than 20 years of its existence. The issue is targeting eight articles and two book reviews in the field of Applied English Language Studies and English Education.

Submission Guidelines

Abstracts (max 250 words) together with short biographical notes (100 words) should be sent before 5th August 2019, to S. C. Ndlangamandla at CNdlanga@unisa.ac.za (NB: Please ensure that you copy Chaka Chaka at chakachaka8@gmail.com). After review, the special issue editors will invite authors of successful abstracts to submit their full papers.

  • Notification of invitation for full papers on or before: 15th August 2019
  • Deadline for full papers (max. 6000 words incl. references): 15th October 2019
  • Reviews from blind reviewers: 20th November 2019
  • Revised final papers (max. 6000 words): 15th December 2019
  • Publication Special Issue: January 2020


Canagarajah, S. 2011. Translanguaging in the classroom: Emerging issues for research and pedagogy. Applied Linguistics Review (2), 1–28.

Carroll, K. S., & Van den Hoven, M. 2016. Translanguaging within higher education in the United Arab Emirates.  In: Mazak, C. M. & Carroll, K. S. (eds) Translanguaging in higher education; Beyond monolingual ideologies (pp. 139–154). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

García, O., & Kleyn, T. 2016. Translanguaging with multilingual students: Learning from classroom moments. New York:Routledge.

Garcia, O., & Li Wei. (2014). Translanguaging: Language, bilingualism and education. London: Palgrave Macmillan

Heugh, K., Li, X., & Song, Y. 2017. Multilingualism and translanguaging in the teaching of and through English: rethinking linguistic boundaries in an Australian university. In: Fenton-Smith, B., Humphreys, P. & Walkinshaw, I. (eds) English Medium Instruction in Higher Education in Asia-Pacific: Multilingual Education, vol 21. Cham: Springer.

Heugh, K. 2015. Epistemologies in multilingual education: translanguaging and genre –companions in conversation with policy and practice, Language and Education, 29:3, 280 – 285

Hurst, E., & Mona, M. 2017. “Translanguaging” as a socially just pedagogy. Education as Change 21(2), 126–148.

Jenkins, J. 2015. Repositioning English and multilingualism in English as a Lingua Franca. Englishes in Practice 2(2), 49 - 85

Makalela L. 2018. “Our academics are intellectually colonised”: Multi-languaging and fees must fall. Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, 38(1), 1–11.

Nomlomo, V. & Katiya, M. 2018. Multilingualism and (Bi)literacy Development for Epistemological Access: Exploring Students Experience in the Use of Multilingual Glossaries at a South African University, Educational Research for Social Change, 7(1): 77 – 93

Stroud, C. & Kerfoot, C. 2013. Towards rethinking multilingualism and language policy for academic literacies, Linguistics and Education, 24: 396 – 405

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Editorial Information

Guest Editors:
Sibusiso Clifford Ndlangamandla
Chaka Chaka

Managing Editors:
Deirdre Byrne
Gregory Graham-Smith

Associate Editors:
Eileen Donaldson
Lida Kruger
Damazio Mfune

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