Spotlights on the ‘practiced language policy’ in the international university: a case study of multilingual interaction in higher education


Higher Educational institutions in the UK, and universities in particular, are often adopting ‘internationalisation strategies’ to adapt to the continuous transnational movements of their staff and students. As a result, multilingualism is now a key characteristic of higher education in the UK. However, UK universities being traditionally shaped by English monolingual discourses and English as a medium of instruction, little is known as to whether the ethnolinguistic diversity of staff and students is reflected in day to day teaching and learning activities.

This paper takes the case of two masters in a Russel Group University in the UK where there is a high percentage of international students, especially from mainland China. It aims to shed light on the translanguaging practices observed in a corpus of interactions audio-recorded in workshops as part of a larger project on the investigation of language policy in the multilingual university. A Conversation Analysis of the corpus shows that both English and Mandarin are used in classroom talk and legitimized by a ‘practiced language policy’ (Bonacina-Pugh, 2012, 2017) developed at the local level of the workshops. It is thus hoped that this paper will contribute to: a/ a better understanding of multilingual classroom interaction in higher education; b/ an emic perspective to the study of translanguaging in the classroom.

Joint-presentation delivered by Chen, Q., Bonacina-Pugh, F. and Barakos, E.

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