Perceptions of Translanguaging and Social Identity of Heritage Learners in an Arabic Classroom



heritage language learners, translanguaging practices, self-categorization, social identity


The field of Heritage Language (HL) education has recently gained more ground in applied linguistics and teaching (Dávila, 2017). A considerable amount of research focusing on Arabic Heritage Learners (HLLs) has raised conversations around translanguaging practices and their effects on language learning progress for heritage language learners (e.g., Abourehab & Azaz, 2020; Al Masaeed, 2020; Albirini & Chakrani, 2017). Other studies found value in HLLs’ sense of belonging to their heritage communities and how this may positively affect their learning process (e.g., Sehlaoui, 2008). This study investigates the effects of both translanguaging practices and social identity theory on the progress of Arabic HLLs in the classroom. Following a mixed-method design, ten participants were recruited for the study where two questionnaires on translanguaging and social identity were conducted followed by interviews. Contrary to previous research findings, results of this study indicate that Arabic HLLs hold negative perceptions of translanguaging practices, while they categorize themselves as members of their heritage communities.  

Author Biographies

Amr Rabie-Ahmed, Michigan State University

Amr Rabie-Ahmed gained his PhD in Second Language Studies from Michigan State University. His research focuses on L2 vocabulary acquisition, translanguaging practices in learning second languages, heritage language education, and social identity of second language learners.

Ayman Mohamed , Michigan State University

Ayman Mohamed is an assistant professor of Arabic at Michigan State University. His research interests include task-based learning and vocabulary acquisition from reading. His current work focuses on multidialectal competence in the Arabic classroom. He was awarded the MSU Excellence in Teaching Award for implementing inclusive pedagogy through open-source material in L2 Arabic.