What it means to be proficient in a language has been contested in society at large as well as in research communities and communities of practice. While the defining of language proficiency has at times been looked upon as an academic exercise, it is a profoundly political act that cannot be separated from issues of power and equity. Arguments about what constitutes language proficiency must be viewed in relationship to current dialogues about the role of language and languages in our society. Dialogues about language proficiency take place within the context of social issues such as immigration, with Standard English language proficiency and performance becoming a proxy for national identity. The current definition of language proficiency—that of the performance of Standard English—does not take into ...

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