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A heritage language is the term given to a language spoken at home by bilingual children of immigrant parents. Written by a leading figure in the field, this pioneering, in-depth study brings together three heritage languages – Hindu, Spanish and Romanian - spoken in the United States. It demonstrates how heritage speakers drive morphosyntactic change when certain environmental characteristics are met, and considers the relationship between social and cognitive factors and timing in language acquisition, bilingualism, and language change. It also discusses the implications of the findings for the language education of heritage speakers in the USA and considers how the heritage language can be maintained in the English-speaking school system. Advancing our understanding of heritage language development and change, this book is essential reading for students and researchers of linguistics and multilingualism, immigration, education studies and language policy, as well as educators and policy makers.
Differential object marking (DOM) is an area of vulnerability in adult heritage speakers. This study traces such vulnerability to childhood by examining Turkish DOM in child Turkish heritage speakers in the U.S and the parental generation, who are the main input providers. Twenty first-generation immigrants, 20 adult and 20 child (aged 7–14) Turkish heritage speakers, and the monolingual group including 20 Turkish-speaking adults, 20 7–14-year-old and 20 3–6-year-old Turkish-speaking children in Turkey completed a story retelling task and a picture selection task. Results showed that the first-generation immigrants patterned with the monolingual adults. However, the heritage speakers (children and adults) omitted DOM in both tasks, showing more variable performance than the monolingual groups. These findings suggest that instability of DOM in heritage grammars is more likely due to insufficient input in the early years of heritage language development than to changes in parental input or attrition in later years.
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).
Heritage languages are minority languages learned in a bilingual environment. These include immigrant languages, aboriginal or indigenous languages and historical minority languages. In the last two decades, heritage languages have become central to many areas of linguistic research, from bilingual language acquisition, education and language policies, to theoretical linguistics. Bringing together contributions from a team of internationally renowned experts, this Handbook provides a state-of-the-art overview of this emerging area of study from a number of different perspectives, ranging from theoretical linguistics to language education and pedagogy. Presenting comprehensive data on heritage languages from around the world, it covers issues ranging from individual aspects of heritage language knowledge to broader societal, educational, and policy concerns in local, global and international contexts. Surveying the most current issues and trends in this exciting field, it is essential reading for graduate students and researchers, as well as language practitioners and other language professionals.
Spanish monolingual speakers often produce recipient (Pedro le da un lápiz a María) and nonrecipient constructions (Antonio le lava la camiseta a Carmen) doubled by a dative clitic. Second language speakers and heritage speakers usually avoid clitics. This study examined whether structural priming could effectively increase the production of clitics in monolingual speakers (N = 23), L2 speakers (N = 28), and heritage speakers (N = 24). Participants completed a baseline study that measured the use of clitics in a picture description task, followed by a priming treatment, an immediate posttest, and a posttest a week later. Results showed that priming increased clitic production for all groups, and that the increase was still significant a week later in L2 speakers and heritage speakers. These findings support the view that structural priming may implicate implicit language learning and considers its pedagogical implications.