Heritage Languages Steering Committee

Learn more about the individuals guiding the work of the Alliance.


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Core Principles of the Alliance

1. The United States is rich in diverse languages and cultures. Heritage language speakers, who include immigrant, refugee, and indigenous groups, contribute to this richness. Heritage language speakers are those whose home or ancestral language is a language other than English, including Native Americans, immigrants, and those born in the U.S. whose family or ancestors came from another country, and speak a language other than English.

2. Individuals and communities use their languages for personal development and cultural connections. Maintaining heritage languages in conjunction with English proficiency is important for identity development, family connections, and community building.

3. At the national level, multilingualism benefits the United States by making this country better equipped to meet its language needs domestically, as a pluralistic society, and internationally.

4. The United States has a critical need in a broad range of fields for individuals who are highly proficient in English and other languages, including international diplomacy, foreign relations, and trade; business, marketing, media, and public relations; national security and defense; law; engineering; education; medical and health, environmental, and service professions; and community development.

5. To foster proficiency in a range of languages and in English, the United States must promote educational programs that equip all students linguistically and culturally to communicate successfully in a pluralistic American society and abroad. To achieve this goal, Americans who have a language other than English as their home language should maintain and develop that language as they acquire English; Americans who have English as their home language should study another language.

6. To promote societal multilingualism that will benefit individuals, communities, and the country as a whole, the United States needs effective policies, strategies, and resources that support heritage language development and maintenance as part of a comprehensive approach to language proficiency. The Alliance serves as one structure through which collaboration takes place to accomplish this goal.

The Alliance is dedicated to promoting these principles across various community, education, and professional sectors throughout the United States.

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