Abstract The idea that there exist separate, enumerable languages has in the last decades been widely criticised, and it has led scholars to propose various new terms and concepts such as ‘polylingualism’, ‘metrolingualism’, and ‘translanguaging’, among others. As these terms are attracting considerable acclaim within the academy, this paper argues it is time to reflect on their occurrence, provenance and pertinence for future research and theorisation. We devote particular attention to the risk of confusion if newly proposed terms interchangeably serve descriptive, ontological, pedagogical and political purposes; to the continuing relevance of language separation outside as well as inside the academy; and to the purported transformative and critical potential of fluid language practices in education and beyond. We suggest a close consideration of each of these concerns is central to a sociolinguistics of rather than for particular linguistic practices.
Applied Linguistics Review – de Gruyter
Published: Sep 1, 2016