From Performance to Multilingual Being in Foreign Language Pedagogy: Lessons from L2 Students Abroad


  • Glenn Levine University of California, Irvine


simulation, multilingualism, social media, study abroad


This essay addresses the question of how multilingualism can be simulated in the foreign-language classroom and offers a critical examination of communicative language teaching as well as proposals for rethinking language pedagogy in order to foster the development of translingual and transcultural competence as framed by the 2007 MLA ad hoc committee report. The pedagogical proposals derive from an analysis of three aspects of a group of students’ multilingual being while studying abroad in Germany: day-to-day language choice, uses of digital media, and participation in social networks. Insights from this multiple-case ethnographic study are brought to bear in formulating implications and proposals for foreign-language teaching in the U.S. university setting.

Author Biography

Glenn Levine, University of California, Irvine

The overarching goal of Levine's scholarly work is to explore and understand linguistic knowledge and development, and in particular, the nature and process of acculturation and socialization as part of second-language learning. Levine was trained in sociolinguistics, applied linguistics, general Germanic linguistics, and German Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and earned the PhD in 1997. His graduate research and first book dealt with language attrition and incomplete first-language acquisition of Yiddish in the US immigrant situation. Since coming to the University of California, Irvine in 1999, his research and publications have focused primarily on issues of adult second-language learning and teaching. In particular, he has sought to develop a nuanced model of second-language socialization that is theoretically sound, empirically robust, and pedagogically viable. He has also explored language learners' language use and experiences while studying and living abroad. And most recently, he has conducted qualitative field work in Germany, studying language teaching and learning for migrants, particularly refugees, at the secondary and adult education levels.