Linguistic superdiversity: panacea or nostrum?

tlang blog

By Caroline Tagg, Open University 

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Clearly jet-lagged and yet still impressively articulate, Professor Stephen May of the University of Auckland, New Zealand, delivered a thought-provoking talk on on 3rd February 2016 at the University of Birmingham. The talk was organised by University’s MOSAIC Centre for Research on Multilingualism, and was titled: ‘Linguistic superdiversity as a “new” theoretical framework in applied linguistics: panacea or nostrum?’ It was a useful reminder not to stop critically reflecting on the paradigms and theoretical concepts with which we align ourselves.

Stephen was keen to stress his support for a superdiversity lens and for reconceptualisations of language that are now often associated with superdiversity: translanguaging, flexible bilingualism, metrolingualism, and so on. However, he raised questions about the role that a superdiversity approach could play when it came to language rights and revitalisation, and minority language education. These questions were underpinned by oft-cited criticisms of superdiversity: namely…

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Author: jmeblommaert

Taalkundig antropoloog-sociolinguist, hoogleraar Taal, Cultuur en Globalisering aan Tilburg University. Politiek publicist.

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