An Introduction

We (Suzane and Alanna) have spent the last year composing, thinking and talking about the intersection of multilingual learners and multimodality. Well, maybe not the whole, year, there were a couple of snowpocolypses, some tornados, and a lot of meals and beverages shared as well. This thinking is the result of our work on a chapter in Cindy Selfe, Louis Ullman, and Scott Lloyd DeWitt’s Stories that Speak to Us, which collects “curated exhibits” of literacy narratives from the Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives. Specifically, we explore what we call the “literacy landscapes” evident in the multimodal literacy narratives of multilingual contributors.

Today we want to share some of what we now strongly believe about what has come to be our working thesis: It is necessary to connect the way we think and what we think about MULITMODAL production/composing with they way we think and what we think about MULTILINGUAL production/composing.

  • We are convinced that putting these constructs in conversation with one another offers an ethical way to highlight the types of negotiation of meaning and strategies for communication that work successfully for multlingual and multimodal composers/writers separately and EVEN MORE SO when those negotiations and strategies are brought together.
  • We believe that the negotiations of multilingual and multimodal composers have much to offer our writing classrooms, the classrooms we so often imagine (mistakenly) to be monolingual (as well as monomodal) both as case studies and as a pedagogical framework for understanding and appreciating the linguistic and rhetorical versatility with which multilingual composers creatively navigate a variety of contexts, discourses, and modes of communication.
  • We think that this community, at Computers and Writing, is the ideal place to begin to work through these ideas.

So today, we offer more parts of our thinking through this increasingly complex connection: How are we being multilingually multimodal, in the case of Alanna’s participant Doreen, and and doing multilingual multimodality in the cases Suzanne offers of the crafted narrative?  We appreciate any comments you have to help us further our research.