Tenth Heritage Language Research Institute

Heritage Language Education and Research: Crossing New Frontiers


May 22-25, 2017
University of Illinois Urbana Champaign


Heritage Languages: Crossing New Frontiers in Education and Research

Director: Masha Polinsky, (University of Maryland, College Park)

Co-Organizer: Silvina Montrul (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

For over a decade, research in the field of heritage languages (HLs) has focused on understanding the linguistic properties of HLs from childhood to adulthood. This understanding has informed best practices in HL education, helping heritage speakers develop higher proficiency through language programs that address their linguistic and identity needs.

However, still more needs to be done to understand the effects of language education, in particular during the school-age period, when the fate of the HL is often determined. At least for some linguistic groups, Spanish speakers in particular, academic achievement in school has been partly linked to their bilingualism. In the past, a belief that doing well in school necessitated the abandonment of the HL was prevalent. Today, we know that maintenance and support of the HL not only supports and enhances the development of the majority language, but also closes the academic achievement gap. This sentiment was recently discussed in a New York Times article by Héctor Tobar (Nov 15, 2016) in the wake of the overwhelming approval of a ballot measure in California that expanded bilingual education in public schools: “Being literate in the language of your immigrant ancestors (whether that language is Spanish, Korean, Mandarin or Armenian) makes you wiser and more powerful. I know this from experience.” Proposition 58 supersedes another ballot initiative that was approved by the voters in 1998, which undermined bilingual education. Could the political tides be changing? How can we, as researchers and educators, help to communicate the value and importance of supporting HLs throughout the school-age period?

Join us for this year’s Heritage Language Research Institute that will take place May 22-25, 2017, at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. It will feature presentations by scholars of HLs and a roundtable discussion with educators focusing on efforts to support HLs in schools with the aim of helping our heritage speakers succeed personally, linguistically, and academically.


The Institute will also host a workshop. Dates and title to follow shortly.

Registration Prices

$100 - Institute only

$125 - Institute and Workshop

$75 - Workshop only

Click Here to Register