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CAL Year of Languages Home Page

CAL Language Policy Statements

Language Policy Quiz

CAL Press Release on Year of Languages

CAL Year of Languages Activities

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Learn more about CAL resources related to language and culture.

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CAL Activities

May 2005

In May, The Year of Languages highlights language advocacy—looking at ways to promote language learning, understanding, and use. Language advocacy is an essential part of CAL’s mission.


CAL is a member of the Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL), an organization that provides a forum for cooperation and discussion among language professionals. A primary aim of JNCL is to promote the teaching and learning of languages and the teaching and learning of international relations so that Americans are prepared to participate effectively in international commerce and politics. One way that JNCL does this is by disseminating information related to language policy and to federal funding for language education. JNCL has prepared a summary of National Language Activities and Policies in 2005.

The Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages

Based at CAL, the Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages consists of individuals and organizations committed to working together to promote the conservation and development of the heritage language resources of this country—that is, the languages spoken by our many immigrant and indigenous communities. It is part of a larger effort to provide an education that will allow more citizens to function professionally in both English and at least one other language. The alliance is compiling an online Collection of Profiles of Promising Heritage Language Programs as a resource to policy makers and educators for planning and implementing heritage language programs.

The Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages is compiling an online collection of profiles of heritage language programs and related resources within and beyond the formal education system.

If you work in a heritage language program that you think others should know about, or if you know about resources that others might find useful, please complete the Heritage Language Program Profile and submit it for possible posting to the Alliance Web site. Read about the work of the Heritage Languages Alliance and find out about important resources online.

For more information on the Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages, contact Joy Peyton at CAL.

Do You Speak American?

In early 2005, PBS aired Do You Speak American?, a 3-hour program looking at the varieties of English spoken across the United States. The program examines some of the regional and social complexities of language use in the United States. Host Robert MacNeil interviews dialect experts and speakers in various regions of the country. The interviews focus on popular questions about language, including how language changes and how people feel about the speech of different parts of the country and of different ethnic and age groups.

To encourage deeper exploration of the concepts introduced in Do You Speak American?, CAL developed a viewers guide and curriculum materials for high school and college learners. The viewers guide includes a program summary and discussion questions. The curriculum materials include a glossary of key terms, background information, discussion questions, student activities and assessments, and links to resources for further study on each of five topics:

  • African American English

  • Perspectives on written and spoken English

  • Major regional dialects

  • Spanish and Chicano English

  • Communicative choices and linguistic style

Materials for using the program for teacher professional development will be available on the PBS Web site soon.

For more information about Do You Speak American? materials, contact Carolyn Adger at CAL.

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Additional resources on language advocacy

University of Hawai’i at Manoa Language Documentation Center

Joint National Committee for Languages

Annual Stabilizing Indigenous Languages Symposium

CAL’s Color Brochures on the Importance of Learning and Valuing Other Languages

School/Community Partnerships to Support Language Minority Student Success



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