Materializing ‘Competence’: Perspectives From International STEM Scholars

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Applied linguists have been exploring approaches to second language acquisition and competence that move beyond a prioritization of cognition and grammar that was derived from the foundational structuralist legacy in linguistics. Recently, for example, they have collaborated in putting together an integrated alternative model (Douglas Fir Group, 2016) to move theory and pedagogy forward. Shifting further yet toward the material locus and spatiotemporal conditioning of communication, this article reports on the communicative practices of international STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) scholars. Its data analysis uses a spatial orientation informed by schools such as new materialism, post-humanism, and actor network theory, influenced largely by scholars in material and spatial sciences. The article calls for a fuller materialization, embodiment, and performativity in theorizing language competence than currently conceptualized in applied linguistics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-291
Number of pages24
JournalModern Language Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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