This article seeks to explore intercultural communication among a group of students with diverse linguistic and sociocultural backgrounds in an English-medium transnational university in China, focusing on multilingual students’ practices and perceptions of English as a lingua franca (ELF). Informed by an expanded understanding of translanguaging from a spatial perspective, this study explores multilingualism, multimodality, and spatiality in linguistic practices related to ELF in an international education context. Drawing upon multiple data sources including ethnographic observations, interviews facilitated by language portraits, recordings of interactions, and policy documents, findings of the study show that ELF communication was understood and practiced by multilingual students as a translanguaging act based on (partially) shared repertoires and beliefs about language and communication. It is also found that the monolithic and monolingual model of language policy in English-medium higher education ran counter to the students’ daily communicative practices and language development needs. Implications are suggested for how international universities can account for translanguaging in fostering linguistic diversity and preparing students for the practical realities of a multilingual world. Copyright © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
CitationOu, W. A., Gu, M. M., & Hult, F. M. (2020). Translanguaging for intercultural communication in international higher education: Transcending English as a lingua franca. International Journal of Multilingualism. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/14790718.2020.1856113
- Spatial repertoire
- English as a lingua franca
- intercultural communication
- Multilingual students