A Multilingual And Multimodal Framework For Studying L2 .

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2012 年 10 月第 1 卷第 1 期英语写作教学与研究EFL Writing Teaching and ResearchOctober 2012Vol.1 No.1A Multilingual and Multimodal Framework for Studying L2 WritingSteve FraibergXiaoye YouMichigan State University; Pennsylvania State University, the USAbstract: Despite a multiliteracies turn to understanding L2 writing activities, most scholars inChina have continued to adopt a cognitive perspective to study Chinese students’ English composing.In this article, we argue that Chinese students have always composed English writing in amultilingual and multimodal fashion. Then, drawing on recent discussions in literacy andcomposition studies, we propose a multilingual and multimodal framework to study L2 composing,using both historical and practice-based approaches.Keywords: L2 composing; multilingual and multimodal framework, Chinese context1 IntroductionOne problem of monolingualism is theWriting teachers and researchers haveneglect among writing teachers and researcherslong been subjugated by the monolingualof the multiple languages, dialects, and mediamodernist ideology. Dictated by educationalthat are potentially involved in second languagemandates and state examinations, teachers have(L2) writing. First language has for a long timeto make sure that students can write to the levelbeen perceived as interference in one’s learningof certain bench marks in the national language.and use of L2. Only in recent years haveResearchers study the characteristics of studentscholars recognized the positive role that firstwriting and the needs of student writers withlanguage can play in the L2 composing processthe hope of helping them meet these bench(Liu, 2009; Roca de Larios, Murphy, &marks. In the United States, for example, underManchon, 1999; Wang & Wen, 2002; Wang,an English monolingual ideology, students are2005; Zhang, 1995). Still, influenced bysupposed to master Standard English, the demonolingualism, many teachers are reluctant tofacto national language, regardless of theiracknowledge that L2 writers draw on multiplelinguisticAnlanguages not only as the “means” but also asidealized linguistic system, Standard Englishthe “ends” of their writing. L2 writers employcodifies the modernist ideal that a nation ismultiple languages in their thinking anddefined by its national language and literaturecomposing processes; they could also use these(Edward, 1994). U.S. college writing classeslanguageshave been one of those places to inculcate thecode-switching and code-mashing, to signifymonolingual modernist ideology (Horner &their voices and identities (Buell, 2004;Trimbur, 2002; Matsuda, 2006). In countriesCanagarajah, 2011; You, 2011). In addition,where English is taught as a second or foreignencouraged by the wide availability of digitallanguage,andtechnologies, nowadays writers could also uselinguisticnon-linguistic representational systems, such ina,adoptteachersthestandards set in Anglo-American nations,absorbingelementsofthemonolingualideology into their work (You, 2004; 2010).intheirtexts,bymeansofimages, sounds, and s need to reorient their work to amultilingual and multimodal framework. In the

last decade, researchers started taking thisgrammarsperspective to examine both L2 composingdesigning (the act of transforming thoseprocesses and written products, using casesystems) and the redesigned (the transformedstudies, ethnography, and discourse sThiswritingsystems),broaderasonecontinued to adopt the cognitive psychologyresource within a wider rhetorical repertoireperspectiveEnglish(Selfe, 2009) and shifts frameworks forcomposing, using case studies. In this article,teaching and research towards a “designwe will first review a multiliteracies turn ingrammar” (Gee, 2003) that locates all signs,writing studies, pointing out the increasingsymbols, and objects within deeply cultural andattentionhistorical tounderstanding L2 writers’ deployment ofRecent research in writing studies hasmultilingual and multimodal resources. Then,increasingly paid attention to the multilingualwe propose a multilingual and multimodaland multimodal resources that L2 writers drawapproach to study L2 composing process in theon in their composing process (Blommaert,Chinese context, using both historical and2008; Fu, 1995, 2003; Fraiberg, 2010; Lee,practice-based approaches.2002, 2007a, 2007b; Shin & Cimasko, 2008; Yi,2010; You, 2007, 2011). These studies offer2 L2 writing as a situated multilingual andmultimodal practiceInwritingbetween languages and between modalitieshaveinvolved in the composing processes andincreasingly embraced the multiliteracies turn,written products. For example, in out-of-schoolpartly initiated by the New London Group. Thecontexts, Lee (2002) studied emails and instantgroup argues that traditional literacy pedagogymessaging (IM) texts produced by a group ofis inadequate in the post-Fordism era in whichyouths in Hong Kong. She identified bothcommunication channels and media haveCantonese-basedmultiplied and cultural and linguistic diversityEnglish and various grammatical “errors” as thehave increased. A pedagogy of multiliteracieskey feature of the youths’ online discourse.assumes that “language and other modes ofAfter analyzing chat texts, interviews, andmeaningrepresentationallogbooks collected from 19 college students inresources, constantly being remade by theirHong Kong, Lee (2007a, 2007b) further foundusers as they work to achieve their variousthat writing practices in IM are influenced bycultural purposes” (Cope & Kalantzis, p. 5).the students’ perceived affordances of the IMOne implication of the notion of multiliteraciestechnologyis that as writing researchers and teachers weresources. Yi (2010) reported a two-yearneed to attend to the diverse ways that writersethnographicdeploy the available representational resources,multilingual writer, focusing on her transitionsboth linguistic and non-linguistic, to constructbetween in-school and out-of-school writingmeaning. This is a shift towards a broadercontexts in the United States. Yi’s study revealsframework that the New London Groupthat the adolescent’s writing activities in theseidentifies as design, an activity that entails thecontexts influenced each other in the areas ofinterplaytopics, genres, and languages (English andarestudies,important insight into the complex nguisticadolescent

游晓晔24Korean). You (2011) studied Chinese college2004; Wang, 2005; Wen & Guo, 1998; Zhang,graduates’ creativity when they sought to1995). Different from their American peersrepresent themselves as a dislocated group ofusing a cognitive perspective, who had onlywhite collar workers on an electronic bulletinfocused on composing in English, Chineseboard. His analysis reveals that the collegeresearchers typically sought the differencesgraduates developed communicative/writingbetween students writing in both Chinese andstrategies by drawing on multiple languagesEnglish or the role played by Chinese in(Standard English, Standard Mandarin, ChineseEnglish composing process. An early study wasregional dialects, and Internet language) andconducted by Zhang (1995) involving sixteenthenon-English majors. Zhang asked the s.to think aloud when composing two writingThese studies have unveiled a major gaptasks, one in Chinese and the other in English.between L2 literacy practice and the teachingHe found that the composing processes in bothof L2 writing. Focusing on the standardlanguages were recursive and that all studentslinguistic code and academic genres, writingwent through the prewriting, writing, andteachers have not adequately attended to therevision phases. However, students revisedlinguistic and non-linguistic resources that aremore frequently on both the syntactic-lexicalavailable or should be made available to theirand semantic levels than on any other levelsstudents. Lee (2002, 2007a, 2007b), Yi (2010),when they were writing in English. Whenand You (2011) demonstrate convincingly thatcomposing in Chinese, they often used clausescontemporary young people actively utilizeor sentences when thinking aloud to approach atheir multilingual resources in out-of-schoolcomplete discourse, whereas they tended to useliteracy activities. In school contexts, Fu (1995,words or phrases to think aloud when2003), Gentil (2005), Kibler (2010), Zhangcomposing in English and often used Chinese(1995), and Wang & Wen (2002) show thatto guide their thoughts and to deliberate ondespite being expected to write in English only,word choices. Substitution and avoidance werestudents utilize their first language to guidetwo common strategies that students used whentheir thoughts, to deliberate word choices, andunsure of how to express an idea in English.tohaveFocusing on the use of Chinese in theencouraged L2 writing teachers and researcherscomposing process, Wang and Wen (2002)to bridge the gap between in-school andconducted another think-aloud study involvingout-of-school literacy practices.English majors who represented differentgenerateideas.ThesefindingsResearch in students’ L2 composingEnglish proficiency levels. They found thatprocesses in China has been enlightening tostudents tended to depend on Chinese whenbilingual writing practice; however, most of itmanaginghas continued to adopt a cognitive perspective.generating and organizing ideas but were moreForL1likely to use English when undertakingcomposing by Flower & Hayes (1981) and Perltask-examining and text-generating activities.(1979) and L2 composing by Zamel (1983),The use of Chinese declined as a student’sChinese scholars used think-aloud protocols toEnglish proficiency level increased. Bothtrace students’ mental activities and cognitivestudies confirmed findings about ESL writingstrategies (Wang & Wen, 2002; Wang & Wen,processes in other countries, such as nd

tureofcomposingprocessesand25thesimilarities and differences in writers whencomposing in their first and second languages.3 A historical approach to studying L2writing practiceMore importantly, both studies show thatWhen students write in a second orChinese plays a positive, enabling role inforeign language, they cannot be completelystudents’ English writing processes.divorced from the influence of their firstIn the rest of the paper, taking alanguage, a phenomenon SLA scholars havemultilingual and multimodal framework, wetraditionally viewed as interference in L2will propose both historical and practice-basedlearning. Only recently have L2 writingapproaches to studying L2 writing. Bothresearchers uncovered the positive effects that aapproaches are grounded in an understanding offirst language can have in the L2 composinglanguage as deeply historical, or as Valentineprocess. In a particular socio-cultural context,Voloshinov argues, language “is a purelyL1 often sneaks in and forms a complexhistorical phenomenon” (p. 82). The historicalrelationship with L2. Archival research andapproach locates semiotic practices withinstudent narratives in Duffy (2007), Fu (1995,wider social, cultural, global, and contexts2003), Leki (2007), Shen (1989), Silva,methodologically drawing on archival researchReichelt,and oral histories. The practice-based approachVelze-Rendon, & Wood (2002), and Spackfocuses more squarely to the context of the(1998) have underscored the entanglement ofhere-and-now with more attention to real-timemultilingual and multicultural issues in ESLcomposing as it unfolds in an ongoing, dynamic,students’ learning of academic writing in theand emergent process co-constituted by aUnited States. Historical data shows that the L1dynamic array of actors, texts, and objects. Inand L2 relationship cannot simply be describedthis manner, the latter approach attends toas interference or facilitation, as multiplehistory-in-thecultural forces and writing technologies e)produced. This process is a dialogue orthrough the nexus of the two (or more than two)struggle with historically situated meanings thatlinguisticare materialized or embodied in an array ofrelations. Historically, L2 students composedsigns-symbols (historically) sedimented withtheir writing not only through the print mediumideologies, meanings, values, and orientationsbut also via electronic technologies and stagethat have accumulated through their use overperformance delivered in front of a viewingtime. In this manner, both historical andaudience (You, 2010, p. 157-161). Writing inpractice-basedtheEnglish as a second language is a process incomplex manner in which a range of semioticwhich one comes to terms with oftenpractices shape and are shaped by wider socialconflicting or competing cultural forces andstructures in an ongoing, dynamic process. Indiscourses.The complex language relations andcultural forces wedded in L2 writing can beillustrated in a confessional tale told in theChinese context. Established in 1879, St.John’s University (圣 约 翰 大 学 ) was oneof thirteen American mission colleges inapproachesforegroundthis manner, we argue that the field of L2writingneedstoconsiderabroaderrestructuring of its approach with a focus onsituated practices in which language is locatedas one resource within a wider rhetoricalrepertoire.systemsandcomplicatetheir

26游晓晔Republican China (1912-1949), and one of thefirst schools in the country to teach English. Itsstudent newspaper St. John’s Echo, founded asa bimonthly publication in 1890, claimed to be“the first paper published in the Orient byChinese youths in a tongue foreign to them andonly acquired after hard years of study”(“Greeting,” 1890, p. 1). Most articlespublished in the early years were originallywritten in English classes. Some students werefully engaged in the editorship. Writing andreasoning in English, however, was extremelychallenging. One of the student editors recalledthe amusing difficulty of having to negotiatewith both Chinese and English and theimposing colonial forces:To those who desired to makecontributions to The Echo and aspired tobecome editors, they made resort to the Librarya great deal in order to read current news fromthe English papers and also to read a largenumber of standard novels, especially those byScott, Lytton, Washington Irving and the like.Once a young editor was assigned the politicalsubject of the “Open Door Policy and theSpheres of Influence.” He worried for days andmumbled to himself their Chinese translation as“the way of opening a door and balls ofpowers.” He thought to himself the best [way]was to turn the knob in order to open the doorand that to develop balls of power, all that wasnecessary was to learn to pitch hard. (St. John’sUniversity, 1929, p. 49)The essay topic dealt with the fact thatafter the Second Opium War in 1862 theChinese market was forced open by Westernpowers who claimed exclusive trading rights incertain parts of the country, or “spheres ofinfluence.” The quite tragicomic acts of turningthe knob and pitching the ball ironically capturethe complexity of transculturation, the processwhereby the subordinated or marginalizedselect and invent from materials and discoursestransmitted by a metropolitan culture. “Opendoor policy” and “spheres of influence” wereboth political terms too foreign and complexfor the student to decode. For studentsstruggling with the basics of English, writingfor St. John’s Echo was a recursive process oftranslating between multiple cultural andlinguistic codes. They tried to understand anEnglish topic by translating it into their mothertongue; and they formulated ideas in Chineseand translated them into English.In the above case, the publication outletshad some positive bearing in the L2 composingprocess. The media’s potential reach to othercultures and peoples influenced the student’schoice of topics and language. The editorialswere composed for a magazine with acirculation not only in China but also inWestern nations. The magazine stated in itsfirst issue, “The West is still ignorant of manythings concerning the Chinese nation, itsliterature and customs, and we will strive to tellyou something about them in a simple andunpretentious way” (“Greeting,” 1890, p. 1). Toenlighten the West about China, the studentswere assigned to address issues that wouldpotentially engage a Western audience. Englishconjured up a sense of cosmopolitanism in thestudents, a sense of writing to a reader of ethnic,linguistic, and cultural differences. ESL andEFL writers are customarily told to address theso-called native speakers, although theirwritings are usually read by their teachers andpeers. The young St. John’s Echo writer,however, truly wrote for native speakers. Theattention to the circulation of the print media isa first step to consider multimodality in L2writing from a historical perspective.4 A practice-based approach to studying L2writing processesTodevelopatheoreticalandmethodological framework for studying writing

ocesses first and foremost necessitates mework adopts an ecological approach. ThisTraditionally more narrowly understood asis a move away from static and boundedsingle acts of inscription occurring in boundeddefinitions of language and towards one asmoments, scholars such as Prior (1998) anddynamic, changing, and co-constituted by theBlommaertparticipants.argueterm r,wemightrepresentations of writing are often toounderstand language as writers are situatedcompressed and mask a much wider, morewithin complex ecologies shaping and shapedcomplex process: “The complexity that isby their everyday practices. At the broadesthidden by the simple word ‘writing’ islevel, useful for understanding the manner intremendous, and many studies of writing havewhich writers are situated within widerbeen plagued by the legacies of this suggestiveinstitutional, cultural, and global contexts issimplicity, assuming a degree of homogeneitywhat Hawisher et. al. refer to as culturalin the practices of writing, and their productsecologies:and functions, which can no longer be“In both global and local contextssustained”complexthe relationships among digitalunderstanding necessitates a broader definitiontechnologies, language, literacy,of writing more widely conceived of as anand an array of opportunities areassemblage or constellation of practices. Forcomplexlyinstance, the writing of an article by a Chinesearticulated within a constellation ofscholar for an academic English languageexisting, social, cultural, economic,journal may involve an array of multilingualhistorical, and ideological factorsactivities: conversations in conferences or atthat constitute a cultural ecology ofdinner table (in Chinese), email exchanges (in aliteracy. These ecological systemsmixture of Chinese and English), readings andcontinually shape, and are shapedresearch across academic journals (in English),by people (Giddens)—at a varietyjottings and notes (in Chinese), comments fromofeditors (in English), instant messages, phoneways—as they live out their dailyconversations, internet searches, and an array oflives in technological and culturalother activities. Mapping out these activities issettings. (p. fnecessary to develop a more comprehensiveThe study of writing then requires attention tounderstanding of writers in multilingual andthe ways that literate activities (a term referringmultimodal (text, talk, image, gesture) contexts.to the practices surrounding writing

multilingual and multimodal resources. Then, we propose a multilingual and multimodal approach to study L2 composing process in the Chinese context, using both historical and practice-based approaches. 2 L2 writing as a situated multilingual and multimodal practice In writing studies, scho

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