Vietnamese Students' Translanguaging in a Bilingual Context: Communications within a Student Organization at a US University

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Today linguistic hybridity is often conceptualized as translanguaging. The present study of translanguaging was a linguistic ethnography, which meant investigating cultural issues as well as linguistic practices. The focus was on bilingual speakers of Vietnamese and English, two "named" languages that differ considerably in morphology, syntax, and orthography. This study, conducted over four and a half months, was situated in the Vietnamese Student Organization of a U.S. university, and it included 37 participants. The research was intended to answer two questions: what forms of translanguaging did these bilinguals use? and what reasons did they provide for instances of translanguaging? In … continued below

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Nguyen, Dung Thi August 2018.

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  • Nguyen, Dung Thi

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Description

Today linguistic hybridity is often conceptualized as translanguaging. The present study of translanguaging was a linguistic ethnography, which meant investigating cultural issues as well as linguistic practices. The focus was on bilingual speakers of Vietnamese and English, two "named" languages that differ considerably in morphology, syntax, and orthography. This study, conducted over four and a half months, was situated in the Vietnamese Student Organization of a U.S. university, and it included 37 participants. The research was intended to answer two questions: what forms of translanguaging did these bilinguals use? and what reasons did they provide for instances of translanguaging? In capturing the language use of this community, my role was participant-observer, which entailed observing and audio-recording conversations in three kinds of settings: group meetings, social gatherings, and Facebook communications. Additional insights came from discourse-based interviews, focused on instances of translanguaging by 10 individuals.
In the group meetings and Facebook conversations, it was conventional for the major language to be English, whereas in the social gatherings it was Vietnamese. My attention in analyzing these interactions was on patterns of translanguaging that occurred within sentences and those occurring outside sentence boundaries. Overall, most translanguaging occurred intra-sententially, as single words from one language were segmented within a sentence being spoken or written in the other. As to extra-sentential forms, this translanguaging in the group meetings mainly took the form of Vietnamese honorifics, and Facebook conversations included some extra-sentential double postings. Participants provided reasons for translanguaging that included community factors, discourse-related factors, and individual-related factors. This inquiry provides further insights into the multi-competences of bilingual individuals. The Vietnamese-English bilinguals drew flexibly from their linguistic repertoires, merging two languages that are quite different. Use of hybridized language was conventional for them and was central to their practices. This linguistic hybridity was a mutuality—one of the ways in which these students were, in fact, a community.

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  • August 2018

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  • Sept. 26, 2018, 6:16 p.m.

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Nguyen, Dung Thi. Vietnamese Students' Translanguaging in a Bilingual Context: Communications within a Student Organization at a US University, dissertation, August 2018; Denton, Texas. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1248528/: accessed May 6, 2021), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; .

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