On being translingual and transnational in a Japanese university: Two case studies
The field of TESOL has been criticized because it “has traditionally given more attention to the process of [language] acquisition than to the ﬂesh-and-blood individuals who are doing the learning” (Kramsch, 2009, p. 2). At times, the discipline has been critiqued as suffering from the monolingual bias (May, 2014; Meier & Conteh, 2014). The goal of the current case study is to contribute to the research on the flesh-and-blood learners and their translingual, transnational identities. The participants are two international female students enrolled in a private university in Japan. Both students come from South Korea and use English, Japanese, and Korean regularly. Having also lived in an English-speaking country and Japan, the participants are transnational individuals. In the study, I explore the participants’ life trajectories but concentrate on their experiences in the university classroom in Japan. The main focus is on their linguistic practices, interactions with peers, teachers, and how their translingual and transnational identity affects their education in Japan. I also investigate how the students’ investment in the language (Norton, 1995, 2013) shapes their overall experience with the English language in an Expanding Circle environment. For triangulation purposes, two former teachers who taught the core participants have also been interviewed.