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Introduction

Heritage Languages, Heritage Speakers, Heritage Linguistics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 November 2021

Silvina Montrul
Affiliation:
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Maria Polinsky
Affiliation:
University of Maryland, College Park
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Summary

Heritage languages are minority languages learned in a bilingual or multilingual environment.1 They include languages in diaspora spoken by immigrants and their children, aboriginal or indigenous languages whose role has been diminished by colonizing languages, and historical minority languages that coexist with other standard languages in diverse territories. All these examples indicate that in any given context a heritage language instantiates one of the languages in a bilingual society; thus, heritage languages fall under the rubric of bilingualism. Bilingualism is not a new phenomenon, socially, demographically, or linguistically, but attention to heritage languages has been relatively new in bilingualism research, with first mentions of heritage speakers in English research studies dating back to the 1990s (Cummins 1991).

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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References

Cummins, J. 1991. Heritage Languages. Canadian Modern Language Review 47(4), 635641.Google Scholar
Fishman, J. 2001. 300-plus Years of Heritage Language Education in the United States. In Ranard, J. K. and McGinnis, S. (eds.), Heritage Languages in America: Preserving a National Resource. Washington, DC: Delta Systems; and McHenry, IL: Center for Applied Linguistics, 8198.Google Scholar
Kupisch, T. and Rothman, J.. 2018. Terminology Matters! Why Difference Is Not Incompleteness and How Early Child Bilinguals Are Heritage SpeakersInternational Journal of Bilingualism 22(5), 564582.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Montrul, S. 2008. Incomplete Acquisition in Bilingualism: Reexamining the Age Factor. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Polinsky, M. 2018. Heritage Languages and Their Speakers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Polinsky, M. and Kagan, O.. 2007. Heritage Languages: In the “Wild” and in the Classroom. Language and Linguistics Compass 1, 368395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rodríguez-Ordóñez, I. 2016. Differential Object Marking in Basque: Grammaticalization, Attitudes and Ideological Representations. Unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.Google Scholar
Rothman, J. 2009. Understanding the Nature and Outcomes of Early Bilingualism: Romance Languages as Heritage LanguagesInternational Journal of Bilingualism 13(2), 155163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Takanishi, R. and Le Menestrel, S. (eds.) 2017. Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English. National Academy of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine 2017. Washington, DC: The National Academy Press.Google Scholar

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