What does translanguaging-for-equity really involve? An interactional analysis of a 9th grade English class

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While much research on translanguaging is in bilingual and heritage language classrooms, it is under-researched in K-12 English-medium education. To better understand translanguaging in this context, this study applied interactional sociolinguistics, including analytical categories adapted from Conversation-for-Learning (Kasper and Kim, 2015; Kim, 2019), to a ninth grade English class in Honolulu with students from diverse linguistic backgrounds. The study examined interactional sequences as students did literary analysis of novels and poetry over 13 weeks. These sequences involved appropriation of others' lexical phrases, collaborative word searches, miscommunication repair, and knowledge checks. Translanguaging, when it occurred, indicated joint meaning-making across linguistic asymmetries, and was not only a means of thinking aloud using an integrated language repertoire, but a form of helping peers as students signaled to each other to adopt language, teach them something, or work through a problem together, creating opportunities to learn. These findings suggest that equity hinges not only on allowing students to learn using their whole linguistic repertoires but on social and ethical dispositions made apparent through interactional analyses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1055-1075
Number of pages21
JournalApplied Linguistics Review
Issue number6
Early online dateJul 13 2020
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • bi/multilingual education
  • interactional sociolinguistics
  • plurilingualism
  • translanguaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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