Linguistics Translanguaging
Jerry Won Lee
  • LAST REVIEWED: 26 October 2023
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 October 2023
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199772810-0315


Translanguaging can be understood in a variety of senses, referring to (1) a type of language practice, (2) a theory of language, or (3) an orientation to language. As a type of language practice, it generally refers to the fluid use of language resources across linguistic boundaries. While conventional concepts such as code-switching and code-mixing are predominantly premised on the clear delineation of named language boundaries (e.g., movement between languages as “codes”), translanguaging generally attempts to conceptualize language irrespective of such boundaries. As a theory of language, it aims to understand and represent the lived realities of communication. In other words, translanguaging tries to understand how everyday people, particularly in linguistically and culturally diverse contexts, engage in a variety of communicative practices. This bibliography provides an overview of the preliminary descriptions of translanguaging. It afterwards surveys various cognate theorizations of the concept. It is followed by treatments of translanguaging as a form of communicative social interaction first generally and then specifically in educational contexts, digital contexts, in relation to language policy/planning, and then in the linguistic landscape. Next, it provides a survey of texts that describe methodological implications of translanguaging. Although it is undeniable that translanguaging has been most influential within applied linguistics, this entry also acknowledges and provides an overview of how translanguaging has been taken up in composition studies, where it has also been impactful. It concludes with a series of texts that represent critical approaches to translanguaging. Though there are a number of concepts related to translanguaging, in order to make this bibliography a useful resource for researchers, it does not include references that are closely related, including the wealth of texts on the theory and practice of translation, bilingualism, multilingualism, and bi-/multilingual literature.

Preliminary Descriptions of Translanguaging

This section introduces preliminary descriptions of translanguaging, including the dissertation Williams 1994, written in Welsh, that coins the term; Williams 2000, an article that introduces the concept to an English readership; and Baker 2001, a textbook, which has been instrumental in popularizing the concept. It is important to note that the concept of translanguaging has evolved considerably from Williams’s initial coinage, as will be evident in the other sections of this article.

  • Baker, C. 2001. Foundations of bilingual education and bilingualism. 3d ed. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.

    An influential textbook on bilingual education and bilingualism whose first edition was published in 1993. It provides, in its third edition, a thorough discussion of translanguaging and is often credited for providing greater exposure to the concept.

  • Williams, C. 1994. Arfarniad o ddulliau dysgu ac addysgu yng nghyd-destun addysg uwchradd ddwyieithog. Unpublished doctoral thesis, Univ. of Wales, Bangor.

    (An evaluation of teaching and learning methods in the context of bilingual secondary education). A doctoral thesis written in Welsh that coins the term trawsieithu, later translated as “translanguaging,” as a pedagogical strategy in bilingual education.

  • Williams, C. 2000. Bilingual teaching and language distribution at 16+. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 3.2: 129–148.

    DOI: 10.1080/13670050008667703

    The earliest known English language publication that uses the term “translanguaging.”

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