Teaching the Speakers: Heritage Language Learners and the Classroom Texas Language Center Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies The University of Texas at Austin Saturday, April 9 th , 2011.
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Teaching the Speakers: Heritage Language Learners and the ClassroomTexas Language Center Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian StudiesThe University of Texas at AustinSaturday, April 9th, 2011
Teaching Heritage Speakers in the Foreign Language Classroom – Focusing on the Least Commonly Taught Languages
Maggie Harrison, Ph.D.
“Individuals who speak their first language, which is not English, in the home, or are foreign-born” – this definition links individuals to their home language and includes both native and foreign born. /Campbell & Peyton, 1998, p. 38/
“… someone who has had exposure to a non-English language outside the formal education system. It most often refers to someone with a home background in the language, but may refer to anyone who has had in-depth exposure to another language. Other terms used to describe this population include ‘native speaker,’ ‘bilingual,’ and ‘home background.’ While these terms are often used interchangeably, they can have very different interpretations.” /Draper and Hicks, 2000, p. 19/
1) Simultaneousbilinguals who speak a family and a societal majority languages well as adults (maybe even better)
2) Simultaneous bilinguals who are clearly dominant in the majority language, but have some (maybe good) knowledge of the family language
3) Simultaneous / earlysequential bilinguals who speak a minority community language (not from their family) to some degree (perhaps well) and are natives of the majority language
4 ) Sequential bilinguals who acquire the majority language L2 as young children, retaining their L1 well and speaking the L2 well
5) Sequential bilinguals who acquire the majority language L2 as young children, losing most of their L1 (perhaps entirely), but speak the L2 well
6) Sequential bilinguals who acquire the majority language L2 as adolescent/young adults, retaining their L1 well and speaking the L2 well
7) Sequential bilinguals who acquire the majority language L2 as adolescent/young adults, retaining their L1 well and speaking their L2 okay
8) Sequential bilinguals who acquire the majority language L2 as adolescent/young adults, losing some proficiency in their L1 and speaking the L2 well
9) Monolingual child acquirers of the majority language who have parents or grandparents who are speakers of a heritage language and they have strong cultural/emotional ties to the family language, but do not speak the family language at all
10) Monolingual child acquirers of the majority language who have parents or grandparents who are speakers of a heritage language, but they have little (perhaps no) overt connections to the heritage language/culture
Given the heterogeneous nature of the HL speaker population and the resulting difficulty
establishing one clear definition for heritage language, a simple dichotomous comparison of HL
versus FL students is not appropriate for comparing the language use and skills of these
Therefore, the primary purpose of Kondo-Brown’s (2005) study was to explore which subgroups
within the HL population demonstrated language behaviors that are distinctively different from
any of the remaining groups. Results of the study suggested that only students with at least one
parent speaking the HL were significantly different from any of the remaining groups.
5) They have learned and adopted many of the customs, values, and traditions (collectively “culture”) that define the ethnolinguistic community into which they were born.
6) They rarely have opportunities – Saturday and after-school programs notwithstanding – to gain literacy skills in their ancestral languages.
7) They present a wide range of reasons for wanting to study their ancestral languages.
/Campbell & Rosenthal, 2000, p. 167-168/
Heritage Language Speakers
Their Impact on Classroom Instruction in a Foreign Language Classroom
Making the Best of What We Have & How to Go About It:
The Importance of Collaboration Among Instructors Teaching Heritage Language Speakers
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