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Hybrid Semiotic Practices of Multilingual Children and Teachers in Two-Way Immersion Programs


This qualitative study examines how multilingual children and multilingual teachers in Korean-English and Spanish-English two-way immersion programs utilize their linguistic, semiotics, and cultural resources to communicate, interact, and make meaning of the world. I build on previous studies on “translanguaging” (García, 2009) and “hybrid language practice” (Gort 2015; Gutiérrez et al., 1999; Martínez 2013) to include semiotics, such as gestures, sounds, and affective expressions, as well as sociocultural values that transfer and embed into the communicative practices.

In line with understanding “what [multilinguals] actually do with language, what language does to them, and what language means to them” (Blommaert, 2010, p. 188), this study presents multiple contextual and discourse evidence of how creative and strategic multilingual speakers are, as they purposefully use all their affordances and resources (linguistic, semiotic, and cultural), to effectively communicate their ideas, to show accommodation of other interlocutors’ language/speech, and to show agency/confidence in their own language practice(s) tied to their identity and culture. In addition, this study contributes to the expansion of the corpus of a linguistic variety, spoken by Korean Americans, who are part of the larger multilingual speaker group (Sun et al., forthcoming). Finally, this research sheds light on teacher education practices, in line with the TWI goal of “critical consciousness” to re-examine and take caution of ways that may create cultural misunderstandings and gaps, as their hybridized semiotic practices reflect ideologies, values, and norms that stem from their own complex linguistic training and cultural background.

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