Ninth Heritage Language Research Institute

From bilingual children to adult heritage speakers

June 15- 18, 2016
University of Washington, Seattle

Title

Director: Maria Polinsky (University of Maryland, College Park)
Workshop Director: Maria Carreira (California State University, Long Beach)

Heritage languages are learned early in life, either simultaneously with the dominant language or prior to the acquisition of the dominant language of the country. Early childhood bilinguals are often fluent in both languages, their home language and the dominant societal language. Furthermore, both languages influence each other in early childhood bilinguals. Many of such bilinguals grow up to become adult heritage speakers who are typically stronger in the dominant language and whose knowledge of the home language is less strong.

How do bilingual children turn into adult heritage speakers? What are the vulnerable domains in the languages of both populations, what are their strengths, and where are the differences? And how can we preserve and maintain the relative stability of early childhood bilingualism? The Institute will bring together language scientists and language educators who will examine these issues from the standpoint of research, language planning, and linguistic training.