The Politics of Translingualism
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Translingualism refers to an orientation in scholarship that recognizes the fluidity of language boundaries and endorses a greater tolerance for the plurality of Englishes worldwide. However, it is possible that translingualism exacerbates the very problems it seeks to redress. This book seeks to destabilize underlying attitudes inherent in the narrowly conceptualized view of Englishes by pushing forward current theories of translingualism and integrating cutting-edge scholarship from sociolinguistics, critical theory, and composition studies. The Politics of Translingualism pays particular attention to the politics of evaluating language, including different Englishes, at a moment of unprecedented linguistic plurality worldwide. The book draws on analyses of a wide range of artifacts, from television commercials, social media comments, contemporary and canonical poetry, contemporary and historical English phrasebooks, commercial shop signs, and the writing of multilingual university students. The volume also looks outside the classroom, featuring interviews with recruiters in a number of professional fields to examine the ways in which language ideologies about Englishes can impact students entering the workforce. This book offers an innovative take on current debates on multilingualism and global Englishes, serving as an ideal resource for students and scholars in applied linguistics, sociolinguistics, composition studies, education, and cultural studies.
Table of Contents
1. Translingualism, Difference, and "Englishes as Cultural Fact"
2. Proficiency, Legitimacy, Elasticity
3. Theorizing Inscrutability
4. Wayward Englishes
5. The Inscrutability of Standardized English
6. The Inscrutability of Englishes in the "Real World"
7. Translingualism and the Politics of Pedagogy
8. After Englishes
Jerry Won Lee is Assistant Professor of English at the University of California, Irvine, where he is also faculty affiliate in the Department of Asian American Studies and the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures.
"Before translingualism goes through the familiar academic reduction into a monolithic, disciplined, representationalist construct, Jerry Lee troubles it with its own inscrutability, diversity, and subversiveness to preserve it as a strategic practice. This book will be sure to have a lasting impact on the study of translingualism and the globalization of English." - Suresh Canagarajah, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Applied Linguistics and English at Penn State University and author of Translingual Practice: Global Englishes and Cosmopolitan Relations (Routledge, 2013)
"Language has always been at the center of any and every system of domination and resistance. The European physical empires of yesterday survive as metaphysical empires of language and cultures of today. Lee’s book is a timely intervention in the necessary debate about the uses and abuses of contemporary empires of language." - Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine and author of Decolonising the Mind (Heinemann, 1986).
"A thought provoking and cutting edge study, taking the current wave of transgressive sociolinguistic tradition to a whole new level. A plethora of in-depth theoretical and documentary examples on the mystifying elements of translingualism, artfully yet powerfully executed by Jerry Lee." - Sender Dovchin, Associate Professor at the University of Aizu, Japan and co-author of Popular Culture, Voice and Linguistic Diversity; Young Adults Online and Offline (2017) and author of Language, Media and Globalization in the Periphery (forthcoming with Routledge).