Students’ Practiced Language Policies: A Linguistic Ethnographic Study
Abstract: Language policy research has traditionally focused on macro-level policies while language practices have been studied vis-à-vis macro policies to ascertain the success or failure of the policies. Policy as practice has only recently been conceptualized. This new strand of research argues that the real language policy of a community or institution resides in its practice. Language-in-education policies have traditionally advocated keeping learners’ first language separate from the target language fearing cross-contamination and hoping that this makes learning more effective. This “two solitudes” approach largely ignores what really happens in the classroom. Ethnographic research, however, shows that learners switch codes fluidly. The term “translanguaging” has been coined to describe such usual and normal practice of bilingualism without diglossic functional separation. Drawing upon the theories of practiced language policy and translanguaging, and adopting linguistic ethnography as method, I explored the “implicit and deducible” rules of language preference, that is, the practiced language policies of students in two language classes at the University of Dhaka. The findings show that students orient to a practiced language policy in which translanguaging is the norm and boundaries between languages become permeable.
Keywords: Practiced language policy, Translanguaging, Bilingualism, Linguistic ethnography
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Published in August 2019