Theorizing Translanguaging and Multilingual Literacies Through Human Capital Theory

Patrick H. Smith, Luz A. Murillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this conceptual article we invite multilingual researchers to consider the concept of translanguaging through the lens of human capital theory. Our thinking about the interconnections among human capital, multilingualism, and translanguaging is motivated by our research in border colonias and other minoritized communities in South Texas, and we begin by describing these globalized Mexican diaspora communities located on the U.S.-Mexico border. We provide a brief overview of translanguaging by connecting this concept to similar terms used in related disciplines of interest to multilingualism research. We discuss how human capital has been used in educational research before outlining six forms of capital that offer potential for understanding how multilingualism can be fostered in and out of schools. We conclude with suggestions for empirical research on multilingual literacies and translanguaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-73
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Multilingual Research Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2015


  • U.S.-Mexico border
  • bilingual education
  • human capital theory
  • teacher preparation
  • translanguaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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