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Jeanine Treffers-Daller  Journal 1

Translanguaging is refers to read and discuss a topic in one language, and then to write about it in another language,
means that the subject matter has to be processed and “digested” (Baker, 2011, p. 289).
Translanguaging refers to using one’s idiolect, that is, one’s linguistic repertoire, without regard for socially and politically
defined language labels or boundaries. (Otheguy, Garcia & Reid, 2015).
Translanguaging as a theory of language:
“Translanguaging for me means transcending the traditional divides between linguistic and non-linguistic cognitive and
semiotic systems.” (Li Wei, 2017).
Code switching and Translanguaging:
The new term aimed to overturn the conceptualization of the two languages of bilinguals (which for us includes
multilinguals) as clearly distinct systems normally deployed separately, but occasionally deployed in close, alternating
succession under a practice known as code switching (Otheguy, Garcia & Reid, 2015).
Translanguaging and crossing are different from codeswitching not phenomenologically but theoretically in that
codeswitching grosso modo takes a structural perspective on bilingual text or talk whereas translanguaging focuses
primarily on what speakers actually do and achieve by drawing on elements from their repertoires in situated contexts
(Juffermans, Blommaert, Kroon & Li, 2014, p. 49)
Translanguaging underscores multi-linguals’ creativity—their abilities to push and break boundaries between named
language and between language varieties, and to flout norms of behaviour including linguistic behaviour…”
(Li Wei, 2017)
Mi Sun Park  Journal 2
Translanguaging means “the ability of multilingual speakers to shuttle between languages, treating the diverse languages
that form their repertoire as an integrated system”. (Canagarajah 2011:401)
Translanguaging is similar to code-switching in that it refers to multilingual speakers’ shuttling between languages in a
natural manner. However, it started as a pedagogical practice, where the language mode of input and output in Welsh
bilingual classrooms was deliberately switched (Williams, 2002).
Translanguaging differs from the notion of code-switching in that it refers not simply to a shift or a shuttle between two
languages, but to the speakers’ construction and use of original and complex interrelated discursive practices that cannot be
easily assigned to one or another traditional definition of language, but that make up the speakers’ complete language
repertoire.” (García & Wei 2014)
Annika Karlsson  Journal 3
In translanguaging practices, multilingual students use all of their languages in a dynamic and functionally integrated
manner to organize and mediate processes in understanding, speaking, literacy, and learning (Lewis, Jones, & Baker,
2012). For example, Kibler (2010) shows how multilingual students utilize their home language in secondary classrooms
and move between their first and second language in the interaction with peers and teachers during writing activities to
cognitively manage the tasks. García (2011) found that multilingual students who enter school used translanguaging for six
metafunctions: to mediate understanding among each other, to co-construct meaning of what others are saying, to construct
meaning within themselves, to include others, to exclude others, and to demonstrate knowledge. Another study shows how
emergent bilinguals tend to use translanguaging as a support, and sometimes to expand their understanding (dependent
translanguaging pattern), while more experienced bilinguals seem to use translanguaging more for their own enhancement
(independent translanguaging pattern) (García & Kano, 2014). In post-colonial contexts, scholars describe translanguaging
in form of code-switching as a norm in education.
The term code-switching commonly refers to a shift between two autonomous languages. Early definitions of bilingualism
meant that the bilinguals’ two languages constituted two different systems, with separate codes, that should be kept apart
(Weinreich, 1953/1974). García and Wei (2014) argue that bilingualism is beginning to shift from bilingual in dual to
bilingual as dynamic. They propose there are no two autonomous languages, no two separate systems that are added
(traditional bilingualism) or interdependent of each other (linguistic interdependence), only one dynamic language. In this
study, the concept of code-switching is used to describe how students switch between their first and second languages and
different modes of expressions in translanguaging science instruction contexts. Code-switching means that multilingual
speakers alternate between different use of language in a communicating situation (Gumperz, 1967; Park, 2004) and is a
common phenomenon among multilingual participants (Cromdal, 2000; Jørgensen, 2004). Code stands both for language
and variety (Cromdal, 2000), which means that code-switching not only concerns switching between different national
languages, but also switching between different modes of expression, such as everyday use of language and a more
subject-specific use of language. In this way, monolinguals also use translanguaging in the form of code-switching.

Garcia, Ofelia and Li Wei  Journal 4


Williams (2002) further clarifies that translanguaging in education refers to using one language to reinforce the other in order
to increase understanding and in order to augment the pupil’s activity in both languages (as cited in Lewis, Jones and
Baker, 2012b: 40, our emphasis). Translanguaging, as used by Williams, refers to a pedagogic theory that involves
students’ learning of two languages through a process of deep cognitive bilingual engagement. Williams (2002) further
clarifies that translanguaging in education refers to using one language to reinforce the other in order to increase
understanding and in order to augment the pupil’s activity in both languages (as cited in Lewis, Jones and Baker, 2012b:
40, our emphasis). Translanguaging, as used by Williams, refers to a pedagogic theory that involves students’ learning of
two languages through a process of deep cognitive bilingual engagement.

Thoko Batyi  Journal 5


Translanguaging is regarded as a naturally occurring phenomenon amongst multilinguals, particularly in informal contexts.
Canagarajah uses the term translanguaging for the general communicative competence of multilinguals and ‘code meshing’
for translanguaging in texts (Canagarajah, 2011: 403).
Code meshing (Canagarajah, 2007a) differs from code-switching, as it goes beyond mixing languages and varieties of
languages. In code meshing all discourses are active and integrated into a coherent sociolinguistic space. Bilingual students
use their languages or varieties at the same time. There is no rule to change languages at lexical or syntactic level. The
code-meshed languages form one structure, which may only be acceptable in certain spaces (for example, informal
academic spaces like tutorials). Code meshing can be seen as the transfer to academic environments (specifically writing)
of language alternation. This often happens intuitively with multilinguals, when they negotiate meanings and identities in
informal spaces, and is ‘used surreptitiously behind the backs of the teachers in classes that proscribe language mixing’
Canagarajah (2011: 401).
The term code meshing, can also be applied to combining local, vernacular, colloquial, world dialects of English with
standard written English in formal assignments and in everyday conversation in an attempt to embrace our globalised and
diverse world (Canagarajah, 2006: 586).
Canagarajah (2011: 403) believes that code-switching treats language alternation as a bilingual competence that implies
switching between two different systems, while code meshing and translanguaging treat languages as part of a single
integrated system. In code meshing, communicative modes and diverse symbol systems can be mixed. Hence, the three
phenomena (code-switching, translanguaging and code meshing) can function differently in different contexts.

Translanguaging, according to Lewis, Jones & Baker (2011:641), is defined as the process of making meaning, shaping
experiences and gaining deeper understandings and knowledge of the languages in use. The difference in the notions of
code-switching and translanguaging, according to Garcia and Wei (2014:22), is that translanguaging is not merely a shift or
shuttle between two languages, but refers to the speaker’s construction and use of original and complex inter-related
discursive practices that cannot be easily assigned to one or another traditional definition of a language, but that make up
the speaker’s complete language repertoire.

The sociolinguists or people studying a language must be familiar with a code. A code is a symbol of nationalism that is
used by people to speak or communicate in a particular language – a dialect, a register, an accent or a style on different
occasions and for different purposes. A code is divided into code-mixing and code-switching (Stockwell, 2002). Code-mixing
occurs when people mix two languages between mother tongue and English. Nababan (1993) said that code-mixing is
found mainly in informal interactions. There are some reasons why people make code-mixing. Firstly, in code-mixing,
bilingual speakers seem to apply some words or phrases from foreign language (pieces of one language smaller than
clause), while the other language (code) functions as the base language. Secondly, bilingual speakers mix codes when
there is no topic that changes, nor does the situation (Gumperz, 1982).