Research and Resources

Books & Reports> General Heritage Language Issues

Bialystok, E. (2009). Bilingualism: The good, the bad, and the indifferent. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 12 , pp 3-11 doi:10.1017/S1366728908003477

The present paper summarizes research showing that bilingualism affects linguistic and cognitive performance across the lifespan. The effect on linguistic performance is generally seen as a deficit in which bilingual children control a smaller vocabulary than their monolingual peers and bilingual adults perform more poorly on rapid lexical retrieval tasks. The effect on cognitive performance is to enhance executive functioning and to protect against the decline of executive control in aging. These effects interact to produce a complex pattern regarding the effect of bilingualism on memory performance. Memory tasks based primarily on verbal recall are performed more poorly by bilinguals but memory tasks based primarily on executive control are performed better by bilinguals. Speculations regarding the mechanism responsible for these effects are described.

Brinton, D. M., Kagan, O., & Bauckus, S. (Eds.) (2008). Heritage langauge education: A new field emerging. New York: Routledge.

This volume presents a multidisciplinary perspective on teaching heritage language learners. Contributors from theoretical and applied linguistics, sociolinguistics, psychology, educational policy, and pedagogy specialists explore policy and societal issues, present linguistic case studies, and discuss curricular issues, offering both research and hands-on innovation.

The term "heritage language speaker" refers to an individual exposed to a language spoken at home but who is educated primarily in English. Research and curriculum design in heritage language education is just beginning. Heritage language pedagogy, including research associated with the attrition, maintenance, and growth of heritage language proficiency, is rapidly becoming a field in its own right within foreign language education. This book fills a current gap in both theory and pedagogy in this emerging field. It is a significant contribution to the goals of formulating theory, developing informed classroom practices, and creating enlightened programs for students who bring home-language knowledge into the classroom. Learn more about this publication.

Dowell, C., (Ed.) (2001). And still we speak... The story of communities sustaining and reclaiming their languages and cultures. Oakland, CA: California Tomorrow.

This book from California Tomorrow is filled with powerful voices and faces of youth, parents, community elders, and teachers speaking of their visions of a multicultural world, and of their work to ground and connect-or reconnect-young people to a language and cultural heritage at threat of being lost. Available from California Tomorrow. Learn more about this publication.

Fortune, T.W., & Tedick, D. J. (Eds.) (2008). Pathways to Multilingualism: Evolving Perspectives on Immersion Education. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

This volume focuses on the evolution of perspectives and practices within language immersion education and offers theoretical perspectives, research reviews and empirical studies on teaching, learning and language development in immersion programs. The collection of studies and discussions addresses three branches of immersion education, foreign language ("one-way"), bilingual ("two-way") and indigenous immersion programs. The volume's co-editors examine what can be learned from research and practices carried out in closely related immersion settings that experience similar challenges related to the balance between language and content. Learn more about this publication.

Freeman, R. (2004). Building on community bilingualism. Philadelphia: Caslon Publishing.

This book explains why and demonstrates how schools that serve bilingual communities can promote English language development, academic achievement, and expertise in other languages.

Hornberger, N. H., & Wang, S. C. (2008). Who are our heritage language learners? Identity and biliteracy in heritage language education in the United States (pp. 3-38). In D. M. Brinton & O. Kagan (Eds.), Heritage language acquisition: A new field emerging. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

King, K. A., Schilling-Estes, N., Fogle, L., Lou, J. J., & Soukup, B. (Eds.). (2008). Sustaining linguistic diversity: Endangered and minority languages and language varieties. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.

In the last three decades the field of endangered and minority languages has evolved rapidly, moving from the initial dire warnings of linguists to a swift increase in the number of organizations, funding programs, and community-based efforts dedicated to documentation, maintenance, and revitalization. This volume brings together cutting-edge theoretical and empirical work from leading researchers and practitioners in the field. Together, these contributions provide a state-of-the-art overview of current work in defining, documenting, and developing the world's smaller languages and language varieties.

The book begins by grappling with how we define endangerment—how languages and language varieties are best classified, what the implications of such classifications are, and who should have the final say in making them. The contributors then turn to the documentation and description of endangered languages and focus on best practices, methods and goals in documentation, and on current field reports from around the globe. The latter part of the book analyzes current practices in developing endangered languages and dialects and particular language revitalization efforts and outcomes in specific locations. Concluding with critical calls from leading researchers in the field to consider the human lives at stake, Sustaining Linguistic Diversity reminds scholars, researchers, practitioners, and educators that linguistic diversity can only be sustained in a world where diversity in all its forms is valued. Learn more about this publication.

Peyton, J. K., Ranard, D. A. & McGinnis, S. (Eds.) (2001). Heritage languages in America: Preserving a national resource. McHenry: Center for Applied Linguistics and Delta Systems.

Today, as this nation faces a critical shortage of adults with proficiency in languages other than English, we need to pay attention to our own rich linguistic resources, the more than 100 languages spoken in ethnic communities across the country.

This book describes the population of individuals who speak those languages-heritage language speakers. It outlines what needs to be done to help them develop their languages for use in academic and professional arenas. Addressing the challenges described will demand the attention and efforts of all who are involved in language education, research, and policy formation.

Written in clear, non-technical language, this book can be used by heritage community members, heritage and foreign language teachers and administrators, researchers, and policymakers to promote the maintenance and development of the languages in this country.

Valdés, G. (2006). Toward an ecological vision of languages for all: The place of heritage languages. 2005-2015: Realizing Our Vision of Languages for All. A. L. Heining-Boynton. Upper Saddle River, NJ, Pearson/Prentice Hall: 135-151.

Dr. Valdés outlines the history of foreign and heritage language education in the United States, describes current efforts to form a Heritage Languages Alliance, describes heritage language preservation and development projects in various communities, and identifies key steps that language educators can take to maintain and develop the languages spoken by members of immigrant and indigenous communities in the United States.

These steps include:
1. Advocating publicly for all languages.
2. Supporting community organizations that are engaged in formal language teaching endeavors.
3. Providing assistance to language communities in obtaining training and preparation for members engaged in the teaching of heritage languages.
4. Lobbying for the establishment of special teaching credentials in the teaching of heritage languages within school settings.
5. Establishing language programs in traditionally taught languages that are designed for students who have maintained a heritage language and are adding a third language.
6. Establishing research and training programs within colleges and universities that can prepare young scholars and teachers to focus on heritage languages.

Wong, L. F., (1991). When learning a second language means losing the first. Early Childhood Research Quarterly,6, 323-346.


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