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Translanguaging outside the Academy

Negotiating Rhetoric and Healthcare in the Spanish Caribbean

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Moving outside of classroom-based and English-dominant contexts, Rachel Bloom-Pojar draws from an ethnographic study of a summer health program in the Dominican Republic to examine what exactly rhetorical translanguaging might look like, arguing for a rhetorical approach that accounts for stigma, race, and institutional constraints. Within a context where the variety of Spanish spoken by the local community is stigmatized, Bloom-Pojar examines how raciolinguistic ideologies inform notions of stigma in this region of the Dominican Republic, and then demonstrates how participants and patients in this study “flip the script” to view “professional” or formal Spanish as language in need of translation, privileging patients’ discourses of Spanish and health. This framework for the rhetoric of translanguaging (1) complicates language ideologies to challenge linguistic inequality; (2) cultivates translation spaces across modes, languages, and discourses; (3) draws from collective resources through relationship building; and (4) critically reinvents discourse between institutions and communities. Ultimately, the study emphasizes how a focus on collective linguistic resources can enhance translanguaging practices between institutional and community contexts. The ILP offers both the freedom and the structure to guide students to success. Yes, letting go can be scary—but the results speak for themselves.

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