The ‘transformative’ potential of translanguaging and other heteroglossic educational practices


  • M. Rafael Salaberry Rice University



Heteroglossia, Translanguaging, Spanish, Heritage Language


Over the last few decades, there has been an increased awareness about imprecise, inaccurate and, thus, unfair conceptualisations of language based on monoglossic views of language that delegitimise the linguistic repertoire of multilingual minorities as is the case of heritage speakers of Spanish in the US or speakers of Lingua Franca English worldwide. At the same time, there are theoretical and educational proposals that offer new conceptualisations of multilingualism focused on the concept of heteroglossia, which, in contrast with monoglossic views, focuses our attention on the fluid and full use of all linguistic resources available to language learners/users as they engage in the process of interacting with their interlocutors. In the present paper, I describe an important challenge that compromises the valuable agenda of heteroglossic approaches to develop multilingualism: the effect of listeners’ biases and reverse linguistic stereotyping. That is, educational programmes designed to counteract the negative effect of monoglossic approaches to second language learning in general cannot adopt a segregationist approach (neither in their theoretical design nor in their practical implementation). To place this challenge in context, I describe in detail the specific example of Spanish heritage second language learners at the tertiary level of education in the US setting and I also provide a broad outline of potential improvements in the curricular design of such programmes.

Author Biography

M. Rafael Salaberry, Rice University

M. Rafael Salaberry (PhD, Cornell University 1997) holds an appointment as Mary Gibbs Jones Professor of Humanities at Rice University. His main areas of research are Spanish Linguistics, Second Language Acquisition/Teaching, and Multilingualism/Bilingual Education.


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How to Cite

Salaberry, M. R. (2020). The ‘transformative’ potential of translanguaging and other heteroglossic educational practices. Journal of Multilingual Theories and Practices, 1(2), 266–289.