Bilingualism Assignment

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Assessment Type


Word Count

3500 – 4000 words




2 Days

Assignment Criteria

The first two pair of papers represent on-going debates in the field.  Read the papers,  explain the position of the authors in the first paper, and read the reaction in the second  paper.  Do you feel both papers make valid points (which?) and after a critical reading, who  would you agree with most? 

1) Blommaert, J. & Rampton, B. (2011) Language and Superdiversity. Diversités 13 (2),  1-22. (download on 

2) Pavlenko, A. (forthcoming) Superdiversity and why it isn't. Sloganizations in  Language Education Discourse (download on 

1) Turnbull, B. (2016) Reframing foreign language learning as bilingual education:  epistemological changes towards the emergent bilingual. International Journal of  Bilingual Education and Bilingualism (online first) 

2) García, O. (2017) Reflections on Turnbull's reframing of foreign language education:  bilingual epistemologies. International Journal of Bilingual Education and  Bilingualism (online first) 

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Assignment Solution

1. Introduction

This paper attempts to cover an on-going debate in the field of sociolinguistics which deals with multilingualism and “super-diversity”. This paper offers a critical review of two papers namely, “Language and super-diversity” by Blommaert, J. & Rompton, B (2011) and “Superdiversity and why it isn’t” by Pavlenko, A (2016). These papers offer an insight into the linguistic diversity which has been changed by globalization due to the inflow of migration. This linguistic phenomenon was earlier known as multiculturalism in which ethnic minorities had played an important role; however, Vertovec (2007) comes up with a term to describe this phenomenon as ‘super-diversity’. Vertovec (2010) offers detailed characteristics of the phenomenon, “super-diversity is characterized by a tremendous increase in the categories of migrants, not only in terms of nationality, ethnicity, language, and religion, but also in terms of motives, patterns, and itineraries of migration, processes of insertions into labour and housing markets of the host societies and so on” (cited in Blommaert and Rompton ibid). The term “super-diversity” refers to diversities in diversity which can be distinguished by a dynamic interplay of variables. However, the term and the treatment of this phenomenon in the field of sociolinguistics has been under the critical lens of Pavlenko (2016) who questions the legitimacy of this hyper-treatment and questions the term ‘super-diversity’.  Blommaert and Rompton’s paper offers an insight into the opportunity that “super-diversity” offers to engage with the contemporary social change in the field of sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology while Pavlenko’s paper highlights how this phenomenon becomes effective rhetoric which is more suited for advertising than academia.  The paper has been divided into the following ways: first, it makes a summary of both the papers; second, the position of the authors is discussed; third, a critical reading of the claims; fourth, the judgment of the claims; and finally, a conclusion.

 2. Summary of the papers

The first paper by Blommaert and Rompton (ibid) broadens the area of research on language in the light of “super-diversity” which is based on a prolonged process of a paradigm shift in the field of sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology. The paper has been distributed into three sections. Section 1 introduces the term “Superdiversity” while section 2 elaborates the on-going shifts in the paradigm that should be the focus of the research in language and society. In the introduction, the authors explain the phenomenon of “super-diversity” and stress the need why it is important to understand and acknowledge this dynamic site of enquiry. It also familiarises to the fact that due to the ever-growing presence of new media with the help technologies of communication and information circulations, which includes the advent of the internet and mobile phones. The authors find it essential to comprehend the knowledge that social transformation through communicative phenomenon provides and at the same time to approach them with a toolkit which can address these phenomena.  

The authors recognize the developments in the field of language and society. They draw the outline in which the key developments in terms of theoretical and methodological frameworks in language study. The concentrations on the mobility of the population, mixing of the global workforce with the local labour market, which has changed the political equations in historical embedding have generated new vigour of analysis. This is quite different from the notion of homogeneity, stability, and boundedness which have been the starting assumption of enquiry. According to the authors, the latest theoretical and methodological developments in sociolinguistics can engage the changing social, linguistic realities with the help of “superdiversity”. Next, the authors bring out research agenda for “superdiversity” and language of which ethnography is the base. They suggest two tracks in which research can enrich the understanding of social change. It is suggested that linguistic ethnography can be added as a supplementary perspective to linguistic study, while language and communication can be viewed as the centre of the discipline. The authors propose the combination of linguistics and ethnography can provide an understanding of activity and ideology, which is powerful and exceptionally different. 

The author in paper B offers a criticism of the approach of “superdiversity” in language education discourse which questions the processing features that distinguish academic slogans from genuine academic terms. The author further examines the branding strategies used for making “superdiversity” a recognizable subject of enquiry in sociolinguistics. This paper explores “many meanings” of “superdiversity” in which the author argues that referential indeterminacy renders the argument in favour of “superdiversity” and makes the sloganisation of superdiversity invulnerable to any criticism. However, the critique of Eurocentric biases based on historic premises reveals that “superdiversity” is a new slogan in the guise of “Emperor’s new cloth”. This new slogan works as a valuable tool for branding, which leads to the creation of a new academic hierarchy and a new elite.

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