Translanguaging as a Communicative Method in Film-Audience Relationship—Case Study of the Film Wu Ming

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The film Wu Ming (Hidden Blade) is characterized by the heterogeneous usage of mixed idioms, namely, Shanghainese, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Japanese. The mixture of idioms restores the true historical complexity of Shanghai under the Japanese occupation from 1937 to 1945, which, in return, reflects the film-making aesthetics by inviting the audience to step into the embedded context with embodied experiences. The translanguaging-informed plots divert the audience’s attention from the pure linguistic content to an interpretative and emotional tone of what is seen: the audience’s full repertoire is mobilized for an inferential analysis when they are guided to immerse in the contextual multilingualism, catch up the suspense and symphonize with the sense-and meaning-making of the film. On one hand, the heterogeneous usage of mixed idioms maximizes the contextual effects of the film on its audience, underpinning the orchestration of diverse means of the Audiovisual texts (AVTs); on the other hand, in processing the informative heterogeneous usage of idioms, the audiences are given the lens of translanguaging to perceive the ongoing negotiation of powers, the dichotomies of doubts versus trust, and the ideological and attitudinal positions of protagonists. Thus, with translanguaging as a communicative method, the initially blurred identity of protagonists is revealed gradually by the film’s narration and equally by the audiences through their embodied processing and inferential efforts by mobilizing all their available repertoire. In addition, the film’s metaphorized name – Wu Ming (literal meaning, “nameless”), is aesthetically communicated to and demystified by the audience through their participatory agency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3135-3140
Number of pages6
JournalTheory and Practice in Language Studies
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023


  • Wu Ming (Hidden Blade)
  • embeddedness
  • embodiment
  • sense-and meaning-making
  • translanguaging


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