2011 Sep – Colloquium @ BAAL Annual Meeting

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The Doing Research Multilingually (DRM) colloquium was framed by the following text:

Social researchers in differing applied settings have questioned the apparent neglect of the challenges raised by researching in contexts of linguistic and cultural diversity (Bradby 2002; Kamler & Threadgold 2003; Temple & Edwards, 2002). In applied linguistics, researchers have investigated the discourse of various multilingual contexts such as healthcare (Sarangi 2005, Candlin 2005), legal settings such as asylum interviews (Inghilleri, 2004) and, notably, currently in education by the Mosaic research team (Blackledge et al 2010-2013). In this colloquium we bring together researchers from diverse linguistic backgrounds (Arabic, Bulgarian, Mandarin and English) and disciplines (intercultural communication, mainstream and language education) to interrogate their practices in generating, analysing and presenting data multilingually. By bringing together these papers we seek to make transparent challenges faced by researchers and contribute to research practices in applied linguistics and beyond.

Paper 1 presents accounts of the complexities of a bilingual research process (Mandarin/English) as located in a monolingual supervisory/examination context e.g. the way in which supervisory conversations were negotiated when data were produced in a language which was not shared by the supervisor. Paper 2 addresses the challenges of researching both on-site and virtual professional communities where Arabic and English are used. Roles of researcher and supervisor within multilingual projects are problematised. Paper 3 discusses data extracts produced as part of a project researching learning in multilingual children’s homes in which an interpreter was employed to support the data gathering process. Translated and interpreted data extracts are compared and the consequences for research validity are examined. Paper 4 presents an ongoing narrative study of the perceptions of Sephardic Jews in Bulgaria regarding the language often referred to as Ladino but which they tend to term Judesmo. Reflections on linguistic backgrounds, insider/outsider statuses with regard to research participants are forefronted.

  • Xiaowei Zhou and Richard Fay — “A Case of Chinese Whispers: Some researcher-supervisor dynamics when working between Chinese and English”. [Paper 1 of the Colloquium]  Abstract ppt
  • Mariam Attia — “Reflective practice in research undertaken multilingually”. [Paper 2 of the Colloquium] Abstract  ppt
  • Jane Andrews — “Lost in translation? Working with an interpreter in interview research”. [Paper 3 of the Colloquium] ppt
  • Richard Fay and Leah Davcheva — “Ladino and Sephardic Jews in Bulgaria: Focus on one language (Ladino), fieldwork in another (Bulgarian), and analysis and presentation in a third (English)”. [Paper 4 of the Colloquium] Abstract  ppt