The idea of Translanguaging and its implications for the neuroscience of bilingualism

Thematic Section: Synergies & confrontations: socio- and psycholinguistic, cognitive and neuroscientific approaches to bilingualism

history of ideas, neuroplasticity, adaptation, translanguaging, code switching

Li Wei, University College London (UCL)

Translanguaging has emerged as an alternative conceptualisation of bilingualism where the language users engage in dynamic linguistic practices for meaning-making without regard to named languages and where named languages are deemed as political and ideological constructs rather than linguistic facts or psychological realities. What does it mean for the 'bilingual brain'? How do politically constructed named languages get 'represented' cognitively? These are the questions that will be explored in this presentation. It will also discuss the methodological implications with regard to the research design. In particular, I will argue that the ability to separate and discriminate different languages should not be used as the measure of bilingual competence, and comparisons between bilinguals and monolinguals do not contribute to any real understanding of bilingualism.