“No, I’m Not Reading”: How Two Language Learners Enact Their Investments by Crossing and Blurring the Boundaries of Literacy and Orality

  • Johanna Ennser-KananenEmail author
Part of the Educational Linguistics book series (EDUL, volume 39)


This chapter makes an argument for bridging the gap between Second Language Acquisition (SLA) and Literacy Studies from the perspective of so-called transmodalities, i.e. ways of using language that merge and blur the modalities of writing, speaking, listening, and reading. This argument is based on data from a qualitative case study that describes the transmodal practices of two trilingual high school students in a German classroom in the Midwestern US. More precisely, the study investigated how the high school students Jana and Karina (both pseudonyms), users of English, Latvian, and German, engaged in activities that mixed and blurred oral and literacy modalities in their German classroom. In addition, their multiple investments as language learners were examined. Findings showed that it was common for the two students to transgress and blur the boundaries of modalities, especially between writing and oral modes (“writing-speaking”). This helped them enact and display their investment in swift and accurate task completion as part of their good student identities, but could at times also threaten these investments. Transmodalities further played an important role in students’ navigating of their investments in their social standing and peer relationships.


Modalities Transmodalities Investment Language learning Foreign language High school Qualitative case study 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Language and Communication StudiesUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland

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