Linguistic distance and translanguaging: Teaching Malay-English bilingual learners
Viniti Vaish. (2021). Linguistic distance and translanguaging: Teaching Malay-English bilingual learners. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 41(4), 673-684. https://doi.org/10.1080/02188791.2021.1997708
This paper applies the theories of linguistic distance and translanguaging to analyse the pedagogy of teaching vocabulary and grammar in English to Malay-English bilinguals who are struggling to read in English. More specifically the paper explores how the teacher tried to create cross-linguistic transfer and how the students display metalinguistic awareness while responding to the teacher’s translanguaging stance, design and shifts. Transcripts from two classes of approximately half an hour each, in which the text being taught was The Big Hungry Bear, are analysed. The two classes are from the Learning Support Programme, which is an early intervention programme to support children who are struggling to read in English. The teacher looked for cues or junctures where she could create shifts and goes beyond merely translating to teach vocabulary. She made explicit connections between the grammar of Malay and English through a translanguaging stance demonstrating a strong version of translanguaging. The students adopted the teacher’s translanguaging shifts to demonstrate learning of vocabulary and display metalinguistic awareness. The paper ends with reflections on combining the theories of linguistic distance and translanguaging along with thoughts on the directionality of transfer between the languages of a bilingual.
Asia Pacific Journal of Education
Ministry of Education, Singapore