Volume 34, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1461-0213
  • E-ISSN: 1570-5595
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



CLIL focuses on the integration of content learning and additional language learning. However, it is increasingly recognized that the re/presentation and communication of discipline-specific content involve not only language, but also other semiotic modes (such as visuals and gestures). This is accelerated by the advancement of digital technologies and multiplicity of communication channels in recent years. This article points out the urgent need to revisit and reconceptualize the roles of “language” in CLIL. It argues that, to prepare students for the multimodal communication landscape in today’s societies and to truly value their linguistic and semiotic diversity in learning, the “language” dimension in CLIL needs to be reconceptualized as a multimodal dimension, and CLIL classroom practices need to adopt an updated pedagogy of multiliteracies (New London Group, 1996) rather than focusing on “mere language” practice. The article reviews the recent development of theories and studies of multimodality and trans-semiotics and discusses their implications for what to teach and how to teach in today’s CLIL classrooms. It proposes the notions of translanguaging and trans-semiotizing to emphasize a dynamic and dialogic process of meaning (co)making process drawing on multiple linguistic and semiotic resources to enable students to both gain access to and critically engage in meaning/knowledge co-making/co-design. Ultimately, it aims at reconceiving CLIL to contribute to a more equitable school and classroom culture.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Bezemer, J., & Kress, G.
    (2008) Writing in multimodal texts: A social semiotic account of designs for learning. Written Communication, 25(2), 166–195. doi:  10.1177/0741088307313177
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0741088307313177 [Google Scholar]
  2. (2010) Changing text: A social semiotic analysis of textbooks. Designs for Learning, 3, 10–29. doi:  10.16993/dfl.26
    https://doi.org/10.16993/dfl.26 [Google Scholar]
  3. Cenoz, J., Genesee, F., & Gorter, D.
    (2014) Critical analysis of CLIL: Taking stock and looking forward. Applied Linguistics, 35(3), 243–262. doi:  10.1093/applin/amt011
    https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amt011 [Google Scholar]
  4. Cope, B., & Kalantzis, M.
    (2015) A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Learning by design. Palgrave Macmillan. doi:  10.1057/9781137539724
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137539724 [Google Scholar]
  5. Coyle, D., Hood, P., & Marsh, D.
    (2010) CLIL: Content and language integrated learning. Cambridge University Press. doi:  10.1017/9781009024549
    https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009024549 [Google Scholar]
  6. Dalton-Puffer, C.
    (2007) Discourse in content-and-language-integrated learning (CLIL) class-rooms. John Benjamins. doi:  10.1075/lllt.20
    https://doi.org/10.1075/lllt.20 [Google Scholar]
  7. (2013) A construct of cognitive discourse functions for conceptualising content-language integration in CLIL and multilingual education. European Journal of Applied Linguistics, 1(2), 216–253. doi:  10.1515/eujal‑2013‑0011
    https://doi.org/10.1515/eujal-2013-0011 [Google Scholar]
  8. Dalton-Puffer, C., Llinares, A., Lorenzo, F., & Nikula, T.
    (2014) “You can stand under my Umbrella”: Immersion, CLIL and bilingual education. A response to Cenoz, Genesee, & Gorter (2013). Applied Linguistics, 35(2), 213–218. doi:  10.1093/applin/amu010
    https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amu010 [Google Scholar]
  9. Donnelly, D.
    (2018) Contemporary multi-modal historical representations and the teaching of disciplinary understandings in history. Journal of International Social Studies, 8(1), 113–132.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. García, O.
    (2009) Bilingual education in the 21st century: A global perspective. Wiley Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. García, O., & Li, W.
    (2014) Translanguaging: Language, bilingualism and education. Palgrave Macmillan. doi:  10.1057/9781137385765
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137385765 [Google Scholar]
  12. Guo, L.
    (2004) Multimodality in a biology textbook. InK. O’Halloran (Ed.), Multimodal discourse analysis: Systemic functional perspectives (pp.196–219). Continuum.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Gupta, K. C. L.
    (2020) Researcher-teacher collaboration in adopting critical content and language integrated learning (CLIL): Processes, challenges and outcomes. Trabalhos em Linguística Aplicada, 59(1), 42–77. doi:  10.1590/010318136014125912020
    https://doi.org/10.1590/010318136014125912020 [Google Scholar]
  14. Halliday, M. A. K.
    (1978) Language as social semiotic: The social interpretation of language and meaning. Edward Arnold.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. (1985) An introduction to functional grammar. Edward Arnold.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. (2004) The language of science. InJ. J. Webster (Ed.), The collected works of M.A.K. Halliday (Vol.5). Continuum.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. (2013) Languages, and language, in today’s changing world. Research seminar given at TheUniversity of Hong Kong, 23 October.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Halliday, M. A. K., & Hasan, R.
    (1989) Language, context and text: Aspects of language in a social-semiotic perspective. Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Harwood, N., & Hadley
    (2004) Demystifying institutional practices: Critical pragmatism and the teaching of academic writing. English for Specific Purposes, 23(4), 355–377. doi:  10.1016/j.esp.2003.08.001
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esp.2003.08.001 [Google Scholar]
  20. He, P., & Lin, A. M. Y.
    (2019) Co-developing science literacy and foreign language literacy through “concept + language mapping”. Journal of Immersion and Content-Based Language Education, 7(2), 261–288. doi:  10.1075/jicb.18033.he
    https://doi.org/10.1075/jicb.18033.he [Google Scholar]
  21. Ho, C., Wong, J. K. Y., & Rappa, N. A.
    (2019) Supporting students’ content learning in Biology through teachers’ use of classroom talk drawing on concept sketches. Journal of Immersion and Content-Based Language Education, 7(2), 233–260. doi:  10.1075/jicb.18020.ho
    https://doi.org/10.1075/jicb.18020.ho [Google Scholar]
  22. Jewitt, C.
    (2008) Multimodality and literacy in school classrooms. Review of Research in Education, 32(1), 241–267. doi:  10.3102/0091732X07310586
    https://doi.org/10.3102/0091732X07310586 [Google Scholar]
  23. (Ed.) (2014) The Routledge handbook of multimodal analysis (2nd ed.). Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Kress, G.
    (2010) Multimodality: A social semiotic approach to contemporary communication. Routledge. doi:  10.4324/9780203970034
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203970034 [Google Scholar]
  25. Kress, G., Jewitt, C., Bourne, J., Franks, A., Hardcastle, J., Jones, K., & Reid, E.
    (2005) English in urban classrooms: A multimodal perspective on teaching and learning. Routledge. doi:  10.4324/9780203397305
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203397305 [Google Scholar]
  26. Kress, G., Jewitt, C., Ogborn, J., & Tsatsarelis, C.
    (2001) Multimodal teaching and learning: The rhetorics of the science classroom. London: Continuum.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. (2014) Multimodal teaching and learning: The rhetorics of the science classroom (2nd ed.). New York: Bloomsbury Academic.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Kress, G., & van Leeuwen, T.
    (1996) Reading images: The grammar of visual design. Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Lemke, J. L.
    (1990) Talking science: Language, learning, and values. Ablex.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. (2003) Mathematics in the middle: Measure, picture, gesture, sign, and word. InM. Anderson (Ed.), Educational perspectives on mathematics as semiosis: From thinking to interpreting to knowing (pp.215–234). Legas.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. (2004) The literacies of science. InE. W. Saul (Ed.), Crossing borders in literacy and science instruction: Perspectives on theory and practice (pp.33–47). International Reading Association. 10.1598/0872075192.2
    https://doi.org/10.1598/0872075192.2 [Google Scholar]
  32. (2016) Translanguaging and flows. Unpublished research manuscript.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. (2021) Foreword by Jay Lemke. InK. S. Tang (2021) Discourse strategies for science teaching and learning: Research and practice (pp.x–xii). Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Lim, F. V.
    (2020) Designing learning with embodied teaching: Perspectives from multimodality. Routledge. doi:  10.4324/9780429353178
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429353178 [Google Scholar]
  35. (2021) Towards education 4.0: An agenda for teaching multiliteracies in the English language classroom. InF. A. Hamied (Ed.), Literacies, culture, and society towards industrial revolution 4.0: Reviewing policies, expanding research, enriching practices in Asia (pp.11–30). Nova Science.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. (forthcoming). The multimodal turn in higher education. InV. Beltrán- Palanques & E. Bernad-Mechó Eds. Current trends in EMI and multimodality in higher education (tentative title). Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Lim, F. V., & Toh, W.
    (2020) How to teach digital reading?Journal of Information Literacy, 14(2), 24–43. doi:  10.11645/14.2.2701
    https://doi.org/10.11645/14.2.2701 [Google Scholar]
  38. Lin, A. M. Y.
    (2015a) Conceptualising the potential role of L1 in CLIL. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 28(1), 74–89. doi:  10.1080/07908318.2014.1000926
    https://doi.org/10.1080/07908318.2014.1000926 [Google Scholar]
  39. (2015b) Egalitarian bi/multilingualism and trans-semiotizing in a global world. InW. E. Wright, S. Boun, & O. García (Eds.), The handbook of bilingual an multilingual education (pp.19–37). Wiley Blackwell. doi:  10.1002/9781118533406.ch2
    https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118533406.ch2 [Google Scholar]
  40. (2016) Language across the curriculum & CLIL in English as an additional language (EAL) contexts: Theory and practice. Springer. doi:  10.1007/978‑981‑10‑1802‑2
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-1802-2 [Google Scholar]
  41. (2019) Theories of trans/languaging and trans-semiotizing: Implications for content-based education classrooms. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 22(1), 5–16. doi:  10.1080/13670050.2018.1515175
    https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2018.1515175 [Google Scholar]
  42. Lin, A. M. Y., Wu, Y., & Lemke, J. L.
    (2020) ‘It takes a village to research a village’: Conversations between Angel Lin and Jay Lemke on contemporary issues in translanguaging. InS. M. C. Lau & S. Van Viegen Stille (Eds.), Plurilingual pedagogies: Critical and creative endeavors for equitable language in education (pp.47–74). Springer. doi:  10.1007/978‑3‑030‑36983‑5_3
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-36983-5_3 [Google Scholar]
  43. Liu, J. E., Lo, Y. Y., & Lin, A. M.
    (2020) Translanguaging pedagogy in teaching English for academic purposes: researcher-teacher collaboration as a professional development model. System, 92. doi:  10.1016/j.system.2020.102276
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2020.102276 [Google Scholar]
  44. Liu, J. E., Lo, Y. Y., & Lin, A. M. Y.
    (forthcoming). Strategic translanguaging and trans- semiotizing in an English for Academic Purposes class: A multimodal analysis. InV. Beltrán-Palanques & E. Bernad-Mechó Eds. Current trends in EMI and multimodality in higher education (tentative title). Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Liu, Y.
    (2020) Translanguaging and trans-semiotizing as planned systematic scaffolding: Examining feeling-meaning in CLIL classrooms. English Teaching & Learning, 44(2), 149–173. doi:  10.1007/s42321‑020‑00057‑z
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s42321-020-00057-z [Google Scholar]
  46. Llinares, A., Morton, T., & Whittaker, R.
    (2012) The roles of language in CLIL. Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  47. Lo, Y. Y.
    (2020) Professional development of CLIL teachers. Springer. doi:  10.1007/978‑981‑15‑2425‑7
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-2425-7 [Google Scholar]
  48. Lo, Y. Y., & Lin, A. M.
    (2015) Designing multilingual and multimodal CLIL frameworks for EFL students. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 18(3), 261–269. doi:  10.1080/13670050.2014.988111
    https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2014.988111 [Google Scholar]
  49. (2019) Teaching, learning and scaffolding in CLIL science classrooms. Journal of Immersion and Content-Based Language Education, 7(2), 151–165. doi:  10.1075/jicb.00006.lo
    https://doi.org/10.1075/jicb.00006.lo [Google Scholar]
  50. Martin, J. R. & Rose, D.
    (2008) Genre relations: Mapping culture. Equinox.
    [Google Scholar]
  51. Ministry of Education
    Ministry of Education (2018) English Language Syllabus 2020: Primary & Secondary (Express/ Normal [Academic]). Curriculum Planning and Development Division, Ministry of Education, Singapore.
    [Google Scholar]
  52. New London Group
    New London Group (1996) A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. Harvard Educational Review, 66(1), 60–92. doi:  10.17763/haer.66.1.17370n67v22j160u
    https://doi.org/10.17763/haer.66.1.17370n67v22j160u [Google Scholar]
  53. O’Halloran, K. L.
    (Ed.) (2004) Multimodal discourse analysis: Systemic functional perspectives. Continuum.
    [Google Scholar]
  54. (2005) Mathematical discourse: Language, symbolism and visual images. Continuum.
    [Google Scholar]
  55. O’Halloran, K. L., & Lim, F. V.
    (2014) Systemic functional multimodal discourse analysis. InS. Norris & C. Maier (Eds.), Texts, images and interactions: A reader in multimodality (pp.135–154). De Gruyter. 10.1515/9781614511175.137
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9781614511175.137 [Google Scholar]
  56. O’Toole, M.
    (1994) The language of displayed art. Leicester University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  57. Rose, D., & Martin, J. R.
    (2012) Learning to write/reading to learn: Genre, knowledge and pedagogy in the Sydney School. Equinox.
    [Google Scholar]
  58. Roth, W. M., & Tobin, K.
    (1997) Cascades of inscriptions and the re-presentation of nature: How numbers, tables, graphs, and money come to re-present a rolling ball. International Journal of Science Education, 19(9), 1075–1091. 10.1080/0950069970190906
    https://doi.org/10.1080/0950069970190906 [Google Scholar]
  59. Schleppegrell, M.
    (2004) The language of schooling: A functional linguistics perspective. Routledge. doi:  10.4324/9781410610317
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781410610317 [Google Scholar]
  60. Simpson, Z., & Archer, A.
    (2019) Semiotic technologies: A case study of discipline-based practices and pedagogy. Social Semiotics, 29(4), 524–542. doi:  10.1080/10350330.2018.1487263
    https://doi.org/10.1080/10350330.2018.1487263 [Google Scholar]
  61. Tang, K. S.
    (2021) Discourse strategies for science teaching and learning: Research and practice. Routledge. doi:  10.4324/9780429352171
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429352171 [Google Scholar]
  62. Tang, K. S., & Danielsson, K.
    (Eds.) (2018) Global developments in literacy research for science education. Springer. doi:  10.1007/978‑3‑319‑69197‑8
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69197-8 [Google Scholar]
  63. Thibault, P. J.
    (2011) First-order languaging dynamics and second-order language: The distributed language view. Ecological Psychology, 23(3), 210–245. doi:  10.1080/10407413.2011.591274
    https://doi.org/10.1080/10407413.2011.591274 [Google Scholar]
  64. Turner, M., & Lin, A. M.
    (2017) Translanguaging and named languages: Productive tension and desire. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 23(4), 423–433. doi:  10.1080/13670050.2017.1360243
    https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2017.1360243 [Google Scholar]
  65. Unsworth, L.
    (2001) Teaching multiliteracies across the curriculum: Changing contexts of text and image in classroom practice. Open University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  66. (2007) Image/text relations and intersemiosis: Towards multimodal text description for multiliteracies education. InL. Barbara & T. Sardinha (Eds.), Proceedings of the 33rd International Systemic Functional Congress (pp.1165–1205). PUCSP.
    [Google Scholar]
  67. Wu, Y.
    (2021) Translanguaging (TL) and trans-semiotizing (TS) in the flow of knowledge co- making in a CLIL biology class: A classroom discourse analytic study (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). The University of Hong Kong.
  68. Wu, Y., & Lin, A. M.
    (2019) Translanguaging and trans-semiotizing in a CLIL biology class in Hong Kong: Whole-body sense-making in the flow of knowledge co-making. Classroom Discourse, 10(3–4), 252–273. doi:  10.1080/19463014.2019.1629322
    https://doi.org/10.1080/19463014.2019.1629322 [Google Scholar]
  69. Zhao, S., Djonov, E., & van Leeuwen, T.
    (2014) Semiotic technology and practice: A multimodal social semiotic approach to PowerPoint. Text & Talk, 34(3), 349–375. doi:  10.1515/text‑2014‑0005
    https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2014-0005 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error