September 2014
TESOL HOME Convention Jobs Book Store TESOL Community

Brief Reports
Todd Ruecker, Christina Ortmeier-Hooper, Deborah Crusan, Christine Tardy, Paul Kei Matsuda,; Dwight Atkinson & Steve Simpson

L2 writing is an international, transdisciplinary field of study whose members are active in a variety of organizations, including the U.S.-based Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC). Over the last few decades, members of the L2 writing community have worked to increase awareness of L2 writers at CCCC with the creation of the “CCCC Statement on Second Language Writing and Writers” (2001) as well as with a standing committee and interest section. Many members of the SLWIS at TESOL are also active at CCCC.

In recent years, interest in language diversity and internationalization among CCCC members has exploded, with the creation of a Transnational SIG at the conference and pieces like “Opinion: Language Difference in Writing: Toward a Translingual Approach” (Horner, Lu, Royster, & Trimbur, 2011) in flagship composition journals such as College English. As scholars traditionally involved in both communities, we have welcomed an increased interest in language diversity, something we have been working toward for decades.

However, we are concerned about the tendency to conflate L2 writing and translingual writing, and with the even more disturbing trend to view translingual writing as a replacement for L2 writing. For example, we are concerned about the confusion and degrees of uncertainty resulting from a proliferation of such terms as: translingual writing, translingual writers, and code-meshing. There are also concerns about how this conflation may impact hiring practices for L2 writing specialists at postsecondary institutions and the comments of editorial boards for articles under review. We acknowledge that this trend has been largely confined within the discussion of U.S. college composition, so many who work in other contexts may be less familiar with the controversy.

In order to help mitigate this increasing confusion in certain academic circles, publications, and institutions, we recently drafted a letter articulating the differences between L2 writing and translingualism, noting that “translingual writing is a particular orientation to how language is conceptualized and implicated in the study and teaching of writing. It emphasizes the fluidity, malleability and discriminatory potential of languages” but that it “has not widely taken up the task of helping L2 writers increase their proficiency in what might still be emerging L2s and develop and use their multiple language resources to serve their own purposes” (Atkinson et al., in press). We also noted some of our concerns, and during the process, we circulated the letter among a variety of scholars for feedback and support. After finalizing the letter in early September 2014, we began distributing it among editors, organizations, and doctoral program leaders in writing studies in order to raise awareness of this issue. Please look forward to a published version in the March 2015 issue of College English.


Atkinson, D. Crusan, D., Matsuda, P. K., Ortmeier-Hooper, C., Ruecker, T., Simpson, S. & Tardy, C. (in press). Clarifying the relationship between L2 writing and translingual writing: An open letter to writing studies editors and organization leaders. College English.

Conference on College Composition and Communication. (2001). CCCC statement on second language writing and writers (revised 2009). Retrieved from

Horner, B., Lu, M. Z., Royster, J. J., & Trimbur J. (2011) Opinion: Language difference in writing: Toward a translingual approach. College English, 73(3), 303–321.

Author affiliations and emails: Todd Ruecker, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA; Christina Ortmeier-Hooper, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, USA; Deborah Crusan, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio, USA; Christine Tardy, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA; Paul Kei Matsuda, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA; Dwight Atkinson, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA; Steve Simpson, New Mexico Tech, Socorro, New Mexico, USA

« Previous Newsletter Home Print Article Next »
In This Issue
Leadership Updates
Brief Reports
Book Reviews
Search Back Issues
Forward to a Friend
Print Issue
RSS Feed
Recent TESOL Press Releases
TESOL Supports Additional Flexibility for State Teacher Evaluation Systems

TESOL Launches New Bundled Resource Options to Academic Institutions 

New From TESOL Press