The Trajectory of a Multilingual Academic

Striving for Academic Literacy and Publication Success in a Mother Tongue


  • Caroline Payant Université du Québec à Montréal
  • Diane D. Belcher Georgia State University


French for research publication purposes, English for research publication purposes, literacy brokers, longitudinal case-study, writing for publication, dominance of English


Publishing in English-medium journals has become an expectation in academia for native and non-native writers; however, a number of multilingual scholars remain committed to the dissemination of knowledge in additional languages. This study, a longitudinal case study, examined the trajectory of one multilingual academic, Caroline, who after succeeding in English for research publication purposes attempted to publish in French, her mother tongue. Drawing on interview data, journal reflections, and multiple drafts of a research article, we found Caroline’s commitment to the development of advanced mother-tongue academic literacy to be mediated by personal and professional factors as well as her access to various literacy brokers. Findings also expose the challenges Caroline faced in reading French-medium publications and in writing in her mother tongue.  Highlighted in the discussion of findings are the coping strategies employed in this first and ultimately successful mother-tongue publication attempt, strategies that others may find supportive of their own similar efforts.

Author Biographies

Caroline Payant, Université du Québec à Montréal

Payant, associate professor in the Education Department at the Université du Québec à Montréal, examines the role of metalinguistic discussions with plurilingual learners during task-based interaction, L2 writing practices, and English-French for research publication purposes. Her work can be found in journals such as Foreign Language AnnalsLanguage Teaching Research, Modern Canadian Language Review, TESL Canada Journal, and her most recent publication, written in French, in the Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics.

Diane D. Belcher, Georgia State University

Belcher, professor and chair of Applied Linguistics and ESL at Georgia State University, has published a number of books, articles, and book chapters primarily about advanced academic literacy. Former co-editor of English for Specific Purposes and TESOL Quarterly, she currently co-edits the Michigan Series on Teaching Multilingual Writers. One of her most recent projects was the Teaching Reading/Teaching Writing volume of the TESOL Encyclopedia of English Language Teaching, for which she served as associate editor.