Culture: A Mode of Translingual Practice-Abstract
In Avantika’s narrative, she talks about her first experience at boarding school. Her roommate is Itamar, a Mexican girl, who does not share the same mother tongue with Avantika, Avantika speaking Hindi and Itamar speaking Spanish. At first, Avantika is nervous because she worries that she will not be able to communicate with her roommate because of the language barrier, but by the time the term is coming to an end, Avantika feels extremely close to her roommate despite the language barrier. According to Canagarajah’s article, he challenges this preconceived notion that most people have “that for communication to be efficient and successful we should employ a common language with shared terms.”(Canagarajah 1) Perhaps society holds onto this notion because there is an assumption that sharing a language with someone often implies that the two people share a similar culture or have an overlapping background. In efforts to bond with her roommate, Avantika does not sit down and learn Spanish nor does her roommate, Itamar, sit and perfect her English or learn Hindi. While both Avantika and Itamar gravitate towards friends that share a common language with them, Avantika, however, does not have the same notion with her roommate. Instead of working through each the language barrier and aiming to make communication more easeful, Avantika tries to bond with her roommate through common their common language of English but also by finding differences in their culture to have a greater understanding of where they both come from. Avantika’s narrative, like Canagarajah’s, completely challenges the notion that people can effectively communicate when they share the same language. At first, Avantika and Itamar do not communicate much and spend most of their time with their respective friends who share their language and their culture, because it is easier. While sharing a common language may facilitate communication, Avantika, through her experience with Itamar, proves that sharing a common language is not the only way to communicate with someone, but we can also build connections in other ways. Furthermore, Avantika’s narrative suggests that addressing the difference in cultures could break the barrier between two people and allow them to communicate more effectively and efficiently. In a way, Avantika and her roommate do achieve some form of Translingual practice by talking about culture because they could find commonalities that would unite them but they would also just learn more through talking to each other.