Generation 1.5 Writing Center Practice: Problems with Multilingualism and Possibilities via Hybridity
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In much writing center theory and practice, conversations about multilingual writers have tended to involve L2 writers. Often international students, these writers speak at least one language other than English, but they perhaps speak more than just one other language despite their L2 designation. They do not speak English as their first language, and when they come to English-language-based institutions of higher education, they find themselves needing to learn and learning English. More recently, however, the field of writing center scholarship has recognized complexity in the category of multilingualism. Especially following the publication of Terese Thonus’s “Serving Generation 1.5 Learners in the University Writing Center,” Generation 1.5 or L1.5 writers have emerged as part and parcel of writing center practitioners’ and scholars’ conversations. Neither L1 speakers and writers nor L2 necessarily, Generation 1.5 writers exist in a linguistic liminal space. Although much variation exists among Generation 1.5 writers and although Generation 1.5 writers do not inherently represent a single, transitional generation in a family’s immigrant history,1 Linda Harklau, K. M. Losey, and Meryl Seigal define them as writers with “backgrounds in US culture and schooling” who sustain identities that are “distinct from international students or other newcomers who have been the subject of most ESL writing literature” (vii). They differ from English as a Second Language (ESL) students in that they “are primarily ear learners,” and they may “have lost, or are in the process of losing, their home language(s) without having learned their writing systems or academic registers” (Thonus 18). They are neither here nor there in terms of their linguistic identities. Or, perhaps, they are both here and there.