Multilingual literacies in transnational digitally mediated contexts: An exploratory study of immigrant teens in the United States

Wan Shun Eva Lam*, Enid Rosario-Ramos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study explores the literacy practices that are involved in transnational social and information networking among youths of immigrant backgrounds in the United States. In particular, it investigates the ways in which young migrants of diverse national origins in the United States are utilising digital media to organise social relationships with friends and families, and engage with news and media products across the United States and their native countries. Based on results of interviews with 35 adolescents of diverse national origins, and survey data with a larger group of youths, this paper shows that digital media have become major tools and avenues for these young people to maintain and develop relations with people, media, and events across territorial boundaries. Within their digital networks, the youths mobilise multiple languages to conduct interpersonal relationships and seek out ideas and information from various sources in their 'home' and 'host' societies, and sometimes across a larger diaspora. We suggest that such literacy practices of a transnational scope provide a basis for re-assessing our understanding of multilingualism as both community and transnational resources and envisioning societal education that recognises and leverages such transnational resources in the literacy education of our young people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-190
Number of pages20
JournalLanguage and Education
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 22 2009

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Cultural diversity
  • Digital literacy
  • Language minority students
  • Minority language
  • Multilingual education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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