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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Theresa Austin

Second Advisor

Denise Ives

Third Advisor

Rhonda Tarr

Subject Categories

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education


Multilingual student populations in United States secondary schools are growing. These students enter a classroom with language learning experiences that span more than one language, and with cultural and community-based funds of knowledge- resources possessed by the multilinguals such as familiarity with multiple codes, ability to visualize as a speaker of a subsequent language, and active purposes for language learning - that may facilitate their learning of additional languages. These funds of knowledge may form the base for interaction between school and home cultures that may create points of learning negotiation known as Third Spaces. This study describes how the multilingual student’s funds of knowledge, community and home-based practices, and language skills affect the learning of an additional language in a classroom setting. This is a seven-month long ethnographic study of an urban secondary French class populated with heritage speakers of multiple languages. I collected data which were class assignments, interviews, field notes, and journals. I examined these using data and content analysis in a critical poststructural frame, specifically the process of critical discourse analysis (CDA), looking for the areas of tension between learners and their resources, learners and their peers, learners and the larger society that might shed light on the unique skills and challenges of the multilingual. Findings include the impact of social media culture as both a Third Space tool of negotiation of language and as an alienating factor for the student's home culture and language. The study concludes with a discussion of the funds of knowledge possessed by multilingual language learners and their implications for world language teachers I have reconceptualized funds of knowledge as dynamic, shifting and contextually based. Multilingual learners are able to: a) visualize themselves as speakers of a subsequent language; b) already possess relevant purposes for the subsequent language; c) use social media as a discursive practice in the context of language negotiation; d) use naming as a point of negotiation in language learning; and e) possibly be stalled in learning by a desire for correctness. This study offers new suggestions for pedagogical choices in language education especially in the case of truncated programming brought about by block scheduling or middle-level foreign language exploratory programs.