heritage language learners

Heritage Language Learners: 9 Crucial Facts Every Educator Should Know

heritage language

Are you teaching heritage language learners? Here are 9 crucial facts to help you understand and support their language journey.

Introduction: A different type of native speaker?

Shereen Marisol Meraji, co-host and senior producer of NPR’s Code Switch podcast, grapples with her linguistic identity. Born to a Spanish-speaking mother and a Persian-speaking father, Shereen’s first words were in her mother’s language. Yet, by kindergarten, she was already communicating in English. Her attempts to reconnect with her Spanish heritage have been fraught with setbacks and self-doubt. Undeterred, Shereen remains committed to her goal of bilingualism, as the loss of her family’s heritage languages in just one generation is a daunting reality she refuses to accept.

“In one generation, my multicultural, multilingual family will have lost both of its heritage languages.”

Shereen Marisol Meraji (How to learn a heritage language)

Shereen is not alone in her predicament. There is an estimated 68 million people who can possibly be identified as heritage speakers in the USA in 2019. The exact count of heritage speakers on a global scale remains unknown, though I am pretty confident that many of us would have encountered them in our classrooms.

Recognising and understanding the needs of heritage language learners would be critical for us in formulating the appropriate pedagogical approaches in formal education. I have come to appreciate the importance of understanding the distinct needs of heritage language learners, and it is our responsibility to create an inclusive and supportive environment for them. This is why I am presenting 9 essential facts that will help us better understand and cater to their needs.

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Who is a heritage language learner (or heritage speaker)?

Who is a heritage speaker
Photo by Envato Elements / Portrait of African teenage boy with backpack behind his back smiling at camera – can he be considered a heritage speaker?

Before we begin, it would be paramount to identify our heritage language speakers – beginning with knowing what heritage languages are.

A heritage language is a language other than the dominant language of a society with which an individual has a personal connection, often due to ancestry or cultural heritage. It can be spoken within a family, community, or religious context and may not necessarily be the speaker’s first language or the language spoken at home.

Heritage languages can be immigrant, indigenous, refugee, or ancestral languages, and they can encompass various levels of proficiency in the language, from basic to advanced (Benmamoun, Montrul & Polinsky, 2013; De Bot & Gorter, 2005; Kelleher, 2010; Montrul, 2012, 2023a; Polinsky & Kagan, 2007; Trifonas & Aravossitas, 2018; Van Deusen-Scholl, 2003).

In other words, a heritage language learner can be an individual who has been raised with a strong cultural connection to the particular language, usually through family interaction. However, subject to life’s circumstances, one may experience language attrition to a large degree and find his/her native-like competence eroding, as in the case of Shereen; or one may also find sufficient support to maintain the language and be able to use it to levels comparable to a proficient L1 user (or native speaker).

Given this premise, let us then explore the various critical facts about them that may influence our understanding of these learners and thus our practices in engaging them.

Fact 1. There are alternative definitions of heritage language learners for administrative purposes.

In the academic sense, we may articulate the definition of heritage language learners largely by learners with cultural and linguistic connection to a target language which is not a societal dominant language. Many of our learners may pass these criteria and be identified for research and professional purposes.

In practice, especially for the purposes of placement and resource allocation, we may also find heritage language learners defined administratively through other means, such as age, immigration status and country/place of birth. Such criteria may then determine whether an individual is eligible for heritage language programs or courses within a context, which are designed to support the development and maintenance of his/her linguistic and cultural heritage.

“It is typically those individuals born in the U.S. or who immigrated here before the age of 15 who are considered heritage learners, because part or all of their primary language-learning years took place in a majority English-speaking environment.”

Beaudrie, Ducar & Potowski, 2014 (Heritage Language Teaching: Research and Practice)

Another potential administrative definition we usually encounter may focus on an individual’s ethnic identity. In this scenario, an individual’s ethnic identity (or chosen ethnic identity) would determine the heritage language he/she learns, regardless of his/her linguistic background. For example, someone with Italian heritage could be enrolled in an Italian heritage language programme, even if he/she only speaks English or another prevalent language in the society of concern.

Fact 2. Heterogeneity of linguistic background and outcomes in the target language is to be expected (co-existence of various archetypes).

Collage Of Happy Multiracial People Avatars On Various Backgrounds
Photo by Envato Elements / A montage of heritage speakers where everyone may belong a different archetype

And so, we may be teaching or working with learners of a specific heritage language in our practice. One thing we would have observed would be the diversity of linguistic backgrounds of the learners – even within the same classroom. This diversity can be categorised into at least six distinct archetypes, all of which may coexist within the group we are working with.

a) Similar to native speakers and using the heritage language as a L1

These are the individuals who may have been exposed to their heritage language from birth or early childhood and have had consistent and sufficient exposure and use of the language in question till its maturation. This is particularly true for those who might have grown up in their country of origin where the heritage language is the dominant language of that country (e.g. Spanish in Spain, Mandarin in China), or that they grew up in a supportive bilingual or multilingual environment where the heritage language is widely spoken and valued.

They possess a robust command of the heritage language, exhibit native-like pronunciation and a comprehensive vocabulary, and they navigate grammatical structures with ease. First-generation immigrants who have recently relocated to a new country with a different majority language are an example of this group.

b) Using the heritage language as a L1 but attritional effects surfacing

These are the learners who were once proficient in their heritage language (e.g. those of the previous group) but are experiencing language attrition either due to migration or changes in linguistic environment as they grow up. Their linguistic systems have undergone changes, making their language use different from fellow native speakers who continue to reside in their homeland or fellow L1 users who are still endowed with exposure to a rich linguistic environment. First-generation immigrants who have migrated for a longer term are an example of this group.

c) Sufficient linguistic support in pre-schooling years and using the heritage language as a strong L2

These are learners who generally grow up in a multilingual family where their heritage language is spoken at home (or limited contexts) but their education takes place primarily in the dominant language. In addition, their heritage language is also only used organically in limited contexts (e.g. Sheeren).  

Despite having a strong comprehension of their heritage language, their ability to communicate fluently, write, and comprehend it may not be as natural as a native speaker or proficient L1 user. They may have a more limited vocabulary, make grammatical errors, or struggle with certain pronunciation. Despite these limitations, they may still identify strongly with their heritage language and culture. A subset of second-generation immigrants are typical of this group.

d) Some exposure in pre-schooling years and using the heritage language as a typical or weak L2

These learners present a contrasting scenario to the preceding group. First, their family has experienced a language shift, leading to reduced usage of the heritage language at home. However, the heritage language retains a strong presence in their society, affording them many opportunities to use it naturally beyond the family (e.g. Mandarin and Cantonese in certain regions of Canada).

Consequently, they retain the ability to learn and maintain the heritage language to some extent, albeit with second language-like proficiency. That being said, the proficiency levels of this group of learners may differ significantly. The other subset of second-generation immigrants will make up this group.

e) Minimal or no exposure in early childhood; motivation to learn the heritage language

Individuals who belong to this category typically come from families which have undergone major language shift, such that the heritage language has been significantly displaced, if not entirely abandoned. For the majority of these learners, their initial exposure to the heritage language likely occurred within a school environment, where the quantity of input is inherently limited.

Despite so, these learners may still be motivated to learn the heritage language in the formal educational setting. Their motivation can stem from various factors, such as cultural interest or professional aspirations.

f) Minimal or no exposure in early childhood; heritage language more akin to a foreign language with little appeal

These learners, like the previous group, are not users of the heritage language in their daily lives and learn it in a formal setting. However, unlike the previous group, they lack motivation, which can impact their learning outcomes.

Considering the diverse nature of heritage language learners, it’s unsurprising that their trajectories in terms of heritage language learning outcomes can be varied to large extent, particularly those who are presently still in their formative years.

“For almost two decades now, we have been describing heritage speakers as bilinguals with a stronger command of the majority language than of the heritage language. In fact, one of the most distinctive features of heritage speakers is the wide range of functional proficiency they exhibit in their heritage language as adults, ranging from minimal to superior, depending, among other things, on their lifelong experience with the heritage language.”

Montrul, 2023b (Native Speakers, Interrupted: Differential Object Marking and Language Change in Heritage Languages)

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Fact 3. Heritage language learners typically lack literacy skills.

Literacy is an important skill for many reasons.
Photo by Envato Elements / Literacy is an important skill for many reasons

And so, we have established in the previous section that heritage language learners can be varied on a wide spectrum of language proficiency outcomes. However, even with that in mind, the majority of these individuals often possess minimal to no literacy skills, with the exception of those who have already acquired literacy in this language prior to being situated in an environment where it is considered a heritage language (Montrul, 2023b).

In other words, it is not uncommon for us to see learners who have grown up speaking their heritage language fluently but struggles to read or write in that same language. The disparity in heritage language proficiency in our learners can be primarily attributed to the limited exposure to the language in academic environments, although other factors such as the heritage language curriculum design and practical constraints (e.g. scarcity of reading materials, insufficient curriculum time) also contribute to this issue.

Yet, literacy is such an important skill that helps to bolster our learners’ resilience against language attrition. This is particularly crucial upon leaving the education system, where the onus is on the individual to maintain their heritage language.

That being said, we should remain mindful not to place unrealistic academic burdens on heritage language learners (i.e. to acquire literacy levels akin to L1 users). Such undue pressure can be counter-productive and hinder their language development instead. At the end of the day, their language development should always be tailored to their specific needs and requirements, which involves co-construction with our stakeholders (e.g. community, parents, learners).

Fact 4. The sources of “heritage” are identified within the sociopolitical spectrum which also implies different levels of support.

Montage of sources of heritage
Image generated by Bing Image Creator / Literacy is an important skill for many reasons

Thus far, we have been using “heritage language” in the sense that the “heritage” comes from the country of origin in the case of immigrants. The truth is slightly different. Academics have at identified three types of heritage languages based on the different sources of heritage: immigrant, indigenous, and colonial (Seals & Shah, 2018).

Immigrant heritage languages are spoken by immigrants or their descendants who have settled in a new country, such as Spanish in the United States; indigenous heritage languages are the original languages of the peoples native to a region, like Navajo in the United States; while colonial heritage languages are the languages of the colonial powers that once ruled a region, such as Portuguese in Malaysia or French in Indochina. 

The level of support given to learning and maintaining a heritage language can depend on its source:

  • Colonial heritage languages are also usually international languages which may receive more support due to their widespread use and economic importance.
  • Immigrant heritage languages may be less homogeneous in this sense, with more support for languages from those that have strong economic significance to the country.
  • Indigenous heritage languages, on the other hand, may typically face challenges in terms of support and maintenance due to historical marginalisation and language shifts even within the indigenous communities.

For us, we do need to be mindful of the perception of our learners as they navigate heritage language learning beyond our classrooms. The socio-political landscape and policies of a country at a point in time can significantly impact their language learning journey.

“While some governments institute policies to protect heritage languages, other governments impose policies meant to restrict or eliminate heritage languages. Some policies focus only on Indigenous languages, some focus only on immigrant/diaspora languages, and others focus on the two. Additionally, some governments have no explicit language policies at all. These policies also change across time even within the same context, as new parties come into power.”

Seals & Shah, 2018 (Introduction: a focus on heritage language policy in Heritage Language Policies around the World)

As educators, it is our responsibility to be aware of the perception of our learners and create an inclusive and supportive learning environment. While linguistic proficiency is a key aspect of heritage language learning, it is not the only factor that should be considered. Motivating learners to enjoy the language and fostering a sense of identity are equally important, especially when the heritage language is in a position of disadvantage.

Fact 5. Not all heritage speakers are happy with the term “heritage”.

We have been discussing this issue as though “heritage language” is an unequivocal term that is unanimous amongst all that use it. Far from that, scholars argue over its use, and heritage speakers can also contest against the label implied by “heritage”.

For this sizeable group, the word “heritage” evokes the sense of a language that is left behind, a keepsake of the past, rather than a language that is actively used in the present and future. Critics argue that the term “bilingual” would be a more suitable descriptor, emphasising the language’s significance and use in the present and future.

“Positioning languages other than English in the United States as heritage languages clearly is rear-viewing. It speaks to what was left behind in remote lands, what is in one’s past. By leaving the languages in the past, the term heritage languages connotes something that one holds onto vaguely as one’s remembrances, but certainly not something that is used in the present or that can be projected into the future.”

García, 2005 (Positioning Heritage Languages in the United States)

Notwithstanding such, “heritage language” retains its traction to be widely used in academic circles and formal policies as it captures more details within the concept. When we talk about “heritage language learners” specifically, we are acknowledging the more nuanced understanding of the linguistic backgrounds and needs of this group of learners. They have various archetypes and may be on a wider spectrum in terms of language background and current proficiency. Most importantly, they have a cultural connection to the target language.

The term distinguishes this group from second language learners (or rather foreign language learners) who start learning a language in a formal setting. In a sense, we will not want to assign heritage speakers to foreign language classrooms, especially for those who already have some foundation in the language – such is the problem of LOTE classrooms in Australia where there can be many heritage speakers learning alongside local monolingual counterparts. It is not beneficial for the heritage speakers (having to learn below what they can achieve) and introduces unfair competition to the local students (in major placement examinations where LOTE grades matter).

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Fact 6. Many heritage language learners need to acquire the proficiency of the dominant language for integration, sometimes at the expense of the heritage language.

A stressed heritage language learner trying to balance demands of both languages
Photo from Envato Elements / A stressed heritage language learner trying to balance demands of both languages

Heritage language learners face a unique challenge compared to their peers who are either learning a foreign language to become bilingual or those who are immersed in a society where the language is dominant (e.g. Spanish in Latin American countries vs Spanish in USA). These learners must navigate the need to acquire proficiency in the majority language while maintaining or improving their heritage language. This balancing act can be especially challenging for learners who prioritise integration needs over their heritage language, as they must reconcile their linguistic identity with their societal integration.

Consider the case of a young person from Vietnam who speaks a heritage language at home but is primarily required to use English in his daily life in the USA. This individual may struggle to maintain his heritage language skills while also developing proficiency in English, which is essential for success in many aspects of US society. The pressure to conform to English can lead to a decline in Vietnamese proficiency, which can have significant cultural and personal consequences (e.g. a loss of cultural identity and a disconnection from his community).

On the flip side, let’s not assume that the Vietnamese can maintain his heritage language at all costs – he would not be able to survive in the USA if so. To contextualise this dilemma for us: if we are working with heritage language learners, we have to be mindful of the tension in the linguistic demands placed on our learners, and how we should position ourselves accordingly – regardless of whether we are teaching the dominant societal language (e.g. English) or the heritage language.

Fact 7. Intergenerational Transmission of heritage languages is often an immense challenge.

Grandparents finding it difficult to communicate with grandchildren due to no common language
Photo from Envato Elements / Grandparents finding it difficult to communicate with grandchildren due to no common language

We would all probably recognise the importance of heritage language maintenance across generations. Fundamentally, it helps to preserve cultural identities of specific communities and maintains a healthy diversity of languages within a society.

Still, we are flooded with cases of language shifts in heritage speakers’ families. Sheeren’s family is but one case that we might have heard of. Researchers have observed a typical three-generation shift to the dominant societal language in heritage language families (Campbell & Christian, 2003), such as the following scenario which can take place in the USA or Canada (or any English-speaking region): the first generation typically gains some English proficiency while retaining a strong command of the heritage language; the second generation becomes the ideal bilinguals, with the heritage language and English (with enhanced literacy abilities due to education), while the third generation generally shifts towards English monolingualism, with minimal to no knowledge of their grandparents’ language.

“Heritage languages belong to a heritage culture and are used and preserved mostly by families, community members, or heritage language schools. The disparity between authoritative discourse and heritage discourse is what constantly constrains heritage language speakers.”

Val & Vinogradova, 2010 (What is the identity of a heritage language speaker?)

The gradual erosion of heritage languages within families and communities can result in a significant problematic inter-generational communication (mostly grandparents and grandchildren). Such experiences can influence children’s development and behaviour negatively, diminishing their connection to their linguistic and cultural heritage. For all we know, these may be the prior experiences of our learners before they join our classrooms.

Fact 8. Heritage language learners can also be instrumental in language revitalisation efforts.

Ok, maybe I have presented things to be a bit gloomy for the last few facts. We can be assured that the current fact is a positive one – and can be our aspiration as we address the challenge raised in the preceding fact of intergenerational transmission.

Upfront first, the role of heritage language learners in language revitalisation is often underestimated. By this, I am not referring to the heritage language learners who are still proficient, but more of those who may be linguistically distanced from the heritage language (e.g. lack of environment to learn and use) but still maintain a strong motivation to learn it and identify with it. These individuals, who might have grown up speaking a different language in their homes, can be key contributors in preserving and advancing their heritage language.

Prime examples of such learners are as follows:

  • Māori language in New Zealand: Despite the language’s decline in the late 20th century, a strong community movement led by Māori leaders emerged, leading to the implementation of Māori language education in schools and the integration of the language into various aspects of daily life. The new generation of Māori heritage speakers played a pivotal role in the resurgence of their language, thanks to the unwavering support from their community.
  • Welsh in Wales: From the late 19th century to the end of the 20th century, Welsh was facing a substantial decline in the proportion of the population speaking the language, with fewer than 20% of the population speaking it by the 1990s. However, a robust language revitalisation movement, driven in part by heritage language learners, led to a resurgence in the language’s popularity. Today, Welsh language is widely spoken in schools, businesses, and communities, and it is recognised as an official language of Wales.
  • Hawaiian in Hawaii, USA: By the mid-20th century, Hawaiian was on the verge of disappearing, with only a handful of native speakers remaining. However, a strong community movement, supported by heritage language learners, led to the establishment of Hawaiian language immersion schools and the integration of the language into various aspects of daily life. Today, Hawaiian is widely spoken in schools, communities, and cultural events, and it is recognised as an official language of Hawaii. This success story demonstrates the potential of heritage language learners to contribute to language revitalisation, even in the face of significant challenges.

When considering the potential endangerment of heritage languages, particularly those that are used by our learners or that we are teaching these languages, do we see ourselves as active agents to support a revitalisation effort? Of course, I do not want to assume that we can all be leaders in the movement. However, we can certainly cultivate a sense of agency in our learners. Drawing from the success stories mentioned here, let’s not underestimate this possibility but strive towards it as an aspirational pursuit.

Fact 9. Heritage language learners are assets for the country.

heritage language learners are a country's assets
Photo from Envato Elements / Heritage speakers can be integral to the overall development of a country

The current state of heritage language education is a matter of concern for many of us, particularly in regions where policies prioritise assimilation over bilingualism. This approach not only undermines the value of heritage languages but also impedes the development of bilingual skills in heritage language learners. It’s disheartening to see countries adopting such short-sighted policies, disregarding the potential benefits of bilingualism.

“At a time when most countries are turning increasingly outward — economically, politically, and culturally — tapping into the benefits of our own population of bilinguals is essential. Heritage speakers are an underdeveloped resource among bilinguals, and they should be encouraged by today’s globalized state to develop their language skills.”

Polinsky, 2015 (Heritage languages and their speakers: State of the field, challenges, perspectives for future work, and methodologies)

Heritage language learners are a valuable resource for any nation. By developing them bilingually, they contribute to the preservation and vitality of linguistic and cultural diversity within the nation. This cultural richness can, in turn, foster social cohesion and inter-group understanding, enhancing the country’s social and linguistic capital. Beyond that, linguistic diversity can stimulate creativity and innovation. Different languages offer unique ways of seeing the world, which can inspire new ideas and perspectives.

Also, research suggests that individuals who learn a language as part of their heritage are more likely to attain proficiency than those who acquire it as a second or foreign language (Polinsky, 2015). Therefore, it is more effective and efficient for a country to capitalise on heritage language learners to meet national linguistic demands than to try developing bilingualism in individuals who do not have an organic relationship with the target languages.

As globalisation continues to reshape our world, there is an escalating requirement for an extensive range of languages within a country’s linguistic repertoire. This demand transcends mere convenience and extends into the realm of existential security issues related to language (e.g. think about the ongoing wars and the potential threats if we do not understand the language of intercepted messages). Instead of aimlessly trying to enhance these capabilities, we should shift our attention towards leveraging the existing abilities of our multilingual heritage learners.

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Conclusion: Navigating the space in heritage language learning (plus resources for educators)

Heritage language learners face unique challenges when learning the language of their parents. Often growing up hearing the language but not speaking it fluently, they can feel like failures before even trying. However, with the right tools and mindset, learning a heritage language can be a fun and fulfilling experience. It’s important for those among us who are teaching heritage language learners to acknowledge existing skills, set realistic goals, and help our learners find joy in the learning process. By doing so, our learners can have a better chance of developing proficiency in their heritage languages and stay connected with their cultural roots.

For those among us seeking additional resources related to the instruction of heritage languages, below are some recommendations:

Also, do check out our other articles related to heritage language below:

Thank you for reading! If you like what you are reading, do subscribe to our mailing list to receive updated resources and tips for language educators. Please also feel free to provide us any feedback or suggestions on content that you would like covered.

References

Beaudrie, S., Ducar, C., & Potowski, K. (2014). Heritage Language Teaching: Research and Practice. New York USA: McGraw-Hill Education Create.

Benmamoun, E., Montrul, S., & Polinsky, M. (2013). Heritage languages and their speakers: Opportunities and challenges for linguistics. Theoretical Linguistics, 39(3-4), 129-181.

Campbell, R.N., & Christian, D. (2003). Directions in Research: Intergenerational Transmission of Heritage Languages. UCLA: African Studies Center.

Davies, A. (2003). The Native Speaker: Myth and Reality. Clevedon UK: Multilingual Matters Ltd.

Davies, A. (2004). The Native Speaker in Applied Linguistics. In Davies, A., and Elder, C. (Eds.), The Handbook of Applied Linguistics (pp. 431 – 450). Oxford UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

De Bot, K., & Gorter, D. (2005). A European Perspective on Heritage Languages. The Modern Language Journal, 89(4), 612-616.

García, O. (2005). Positioning Heritage Languages in the United States. Modern Language Journal, 89(4), 601-605.

Hornberger, N.H. (2005). Opening and Filling up Implementational and Ideological Spaces in Heritage Language Education. The Modern Language Journal, 89(4), 605-609.

Kelleher, A. (2010). Who is a heritage language learner?. Heritage Briefs. Center for Applied Linguistics. Retrieved 7 Dec 2023, from: https://www.cal.org/heritage/pdfs/briefs/Who-is-a-Heritage-Language-Learner.pdf.

Kelleher, A., Haynes, E., & Moore, S. (2010). What are the similarities and differences among English language, foreign language, and heritage language education in the United States?. Heritage Briefs. Center for Applied Linguistics. Retrieved 7 Dec 2023, from: https://www.cal.org/heritage/pdfs/briefs/what-are-similaries-and-differences-among-english-language-foreign-language-and-heritage-language-education-in-the-united-states.pdf.

Kroon, S. (2003). Mother Tongue and Mother Tongue Education. In Bourne, J., and Reid, E. (Eds.), Language Education (World Yearbook of Education 2003) (pp. 35 – 48). London UK: Kogan Page.

Lee, J.S., & Wright, W.E. (2014). The Rediscovery of Heritage and Community Language Education in the United States. Review of Research in Education, 38, 137-165.

Leeman, J. (2015). Heritage Language Education and Identity in the United States. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 35, 100-119. DOI: 10.1017/S0267190514000245.

Montrul, S. (2012). Is the heritage language like a second language?. EUROSLA Yearbook, 12, 1 – 29.

Montrul, S. (2023a). Heritage Languages: Language Acquired, Language Lost, Language Regained. Annual Review of Linguistics, 9, 399-418. DOI: 10.1146/annurev-linguistics-030521-050236.

Montrul, S. (2023b). Native Speakers, Interrupted: Differential Object Marking and Language Change in Heritage Languages. New York USA: Cambridge University Press.

Polinsky, M. (2015). Heritage languages and their speakers: State of the field, challenges, perspectives for future work, and methodologies. Zeitschrift fuer Fremdsprachwissenschaft, 26, 7-27.

Polinsky, M., & Kagan, O. (2007). Heritage languages: In the “wild” and in the classroom. Language and Linguistics Compass, 1(5), 368-395.

Seals, C.A., & Shah, S. (2018). Introduction: a focus on heritage language policy. In Seals, C.A., & Shah, S. (Eds.), Heritage Language Policies around the World (pp. 1-10). Abingdon UK: Routledge.

Trifonas, P.P., & Aravossitas, T. (2018). Heritage and Language: Cultural Diversity and Education. In Trifonas, P.P., & Aravossitas, T. (Eds.), Handbook of Research and Practice in Heritage Language Education (pp. 3-26). Cham Switzerland: Springer.

Val, A., & Vinogradova, P. (2010). What is the identity of a heritage language speaker?. Heritage Briefs. Center for Applied Linguistics. Retrieved 7 Dec 2023, from https://www.cal.org/heritage/pdfs/briefs/what-is-the-identity-of-a-heritage-language-speaker.pdf.

Van Deusen-Scholl, N. (2003). Toward a Definition of Heritage Language: Sociopolitical and Pedagogical Considerations. Journal of Language, Identity and Education, 2(3), 211 – 230.

Wiley, T.G. (2007). Heritage and Community Languages in the National Language Debate. The Modern Language Journal, 91(2), 252-255.

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