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Translanguaging spaces as safe space for psycho-social support in refugee settings in the Kurdistan region of Iraq

Capstick, T. and Ateek, M. (2021) Translanguaging spaces as safe space for psycho-social support in refugee settings in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. ISSN 1747-7557

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/01434632.2021.1899192


This paper investigates the linguistic and semiotic resources that NGO coaches draw on to create safe spaces in their English language lessons for psycho-social support in refugee settings. We do so by applying the rapidly developing concept of translanguaging, using data from a multi-site linguistic ethnography study in an NGO in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Interviews and classroom observations of six coaches were conducted in four different centres of the NGO across Erbil city. Detailed fieldnotes were recorded during the field visits and intensive observations of the translanguaging practices were made with follow-up interviews to ask about these practices. We analyse four discourse topics which are discussed through examples from the interviews and the video-recordings from the lessons. We argue that translanguaging spaces do not only create safe spaces but also generate new practices, while also providing opportunities to ensure positive identity and meaningful interaction within the English language classrooms we observed. The new practices in our data are the translanguaging practices which emerge every time the coaches and beneficiaries draw from their semiotic and linguistic repertoires. However, these were the outcome of unplanned translanguaging practices which were more often controlled by the coaches rather than the beneficiaries.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
ID Code:98582
Publisher:Taylor & Francis


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