Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education



Lydiah Kananu Kiramba

Date of this Version



Published in International Multilingual Research Journal (2017). DOI: 10.1080/19313152.2016.1239457


Copyright © 2016 Taylor & Francis. Used by permission.


This article discusses the findings of an empirical study that investigated the writing practices in a multilingual, rural, fourth-grade classroom in Kenya. The study was undergirded by Bakhtin’s heteroglossia. Analysis of texts indicated that these emergent multilinguals used multiple semiotic resources to maximize the chances of meeting the communicative goals through translanguaging. However, the translanguaging process in writing was a tension-filled process in terms of language separation and correctness. The emergent multilingual writer went through tensions in the process of finding a balance between authorial intentions and the authoritarian single voicedness required by the school and the national curriculum. The author suggests that translanguaging in writing disrupts unequal voices and language hierarchies by transgressing standard ideologies in academic writing. It is recommended that educators consider multilingual resources as legitimate cognitive tools and resources for communication in school contexts to allow authentic voices and inclusive instruction.