Seventh Heritage Language Research Institute

Heritage Speakers and the Advantages of Bilingualism


June 17 - 21, 2013
University of Illinois at Chicago

Directed by: Professor Maria Polinsky (Harvard)

The cornerstone project for the National Heritage Language Resource Center is an annual research institute, established to support the Center's principal mission of developing the research base for heritage language education. In 2013 we will host our seventh institute, which will focus on the advantages that heritage speakers possess.

It goes without saying that heritage speakers are bilinguals and as such, they enjoy linguistic, cognitive, and sociocultural advantages that have been the focus of intensive research in recent years. Building upon the bilingual advantage is an important goal of educators working with heritage speakers, and the Institute will include ways of maintaining and enhancing this advantage in the classroom.

In keeping with the theme of prior institutes, the 2013 Institute will also include a series of discussions on ways to explore experimental methodologies in language sciences. Sociolinguistic aspects pertaining to heritage language speakers will also be highlighted, in particular understanding their bilingual communication through conversational and discourse analysis.

In addition to the NHLRC, this year the institute is being supported by several co-sponsors from the University of Illinois at Chicago: The Department of Latino and Latin American Studies, the Department of Linguistics, the Latino Cultural Center, the School of Literatures, Cultural Studies, and Linguistics, and the Department of Slavic and Baltic Languages.