Language and Culture in Society

Although there are psycholinguistic characteristics that all humans share, language learning and teaching is always embedded in cultural and social structures. Languages die out, their uses in a speech community shift over time, and new languages emerge. An individual may lose or gain fluency in a language, or several languages, over their lifetime.

These events are rarely because of conscious individual choice. Implicit or explicit language policies shape individual language use. The prestige or stigma attached to a particular language in a society will usually reflect power hierarchies in that society. Globalization creates demand for fluency in some of the dominant world languages, while at the same time it opens up opportunities for speakers of small languages to communicate easily over distances and use technologies to maintain or revitalize their languages

Resources, News, and Events

CAL Authors Research on Less Commonly Taught Languages & Needs for K-12 Instructors
CAL Tapped to Develop Career-Focused Resources for STARTALK Initiative
CAL Board Member Tackles Climate Change Discourse in New Book
CAL Celebrates its 60th Anniversary
In Memoriam: Olga Kagan
Handbook of Heritage, Community, and Native American Languages in the United States: Research, Policy, and Educational Practice
Handbook of Heritage, Community, and Native American Languages in the United States: Research, Policy, and Educational Practice

Edited by Terrence G. Wiley, Joy Kreeft Peyton, Donna Christian, Sarah Catherine K. Moore, Na Liu

Published by Routledge and the Center for Applied Linguistics

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Related Projects

Career Pathways for Heritage Language Learners: Developing Vision & Building Capacity
Career Pathways for Heritage Language Learners: Developing Vision & Building Capacity

Funder: Over the next few years, STARTALK, a federal critical-need language learning initiative, is piloting an expansion of its traditional summer-only instructional model to a program that focuses on year-round outreach, with ... Read more

Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages
Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages

Funder: Center for Applied Linguistics

Do You Speak American? Teacher Development Materials
Do You Speak American? Teacher Development Materials

Funder: Carnegie Corporation of New York, via subcontract from MacNeil Lehrer Productions

Ghana – Improved Quality and Access to Basic Education
Ghana – Improved Quality and Access to Basic Education

Funder: U.S. Agency for International Development, via subcontract from the Education Development Center

STARTALK
STARTALK

Funder: U.S. Department of Defense, via subcontract from the University of Maryland, National Foreign Language Center

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The Center for Applied Linguistics is a nonprofit organization promoting access, equity, and mutual understanding for linguistically and culturally diverse people around the world.