Community and Heritage Languages Education
As the U.S. faces a shortage of adults with proficiency in languages other than English, the languages spoken in communities across the United States can be harnessed and developed to address this shortage. Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Vietnamese, Arabic, and Korean count among the largest language groups most commonly spoken in the home. Foreign language enrollment in U.S. schools is a poor reflection of heritage language communities in the country, and heritage language speakers in schools. However, the pool of students who enter schools with some degree of proficiency in another language present a tremendous resource if they can continue to develop their language skills.
For example, CAL and the National Foreign Language Center have joined forces in an effort to overcome the neglect of heritage languages in the United States and to help U.S. schools recognize and develop the heritage language resources of this country. Through the Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages, CAL raised the profile of heritage language concerns in the larger language learning discussion in the USA. The Alliance has collected a rich set of resources in the form of briefs, short papers, and documentation of languages and programs.
STARTALK was created in 2006 to provide learning opportunities in the critical languages for students (K-16) and professional development for teachers of the critical languages, mainly through programs offered during the summer.
CAL designed and manages English for Heritage Language Speakers (EHLS), an intensive program that enables adult native speakers of critical languages to develop the English proficiency they need to succeed in professional positions in the federal government. EHLS is funded by the National Security Education Program and is conducted in partnership with Georgetown University.
The NCLRC offered assessment tools, provided information on materials for teaching the less commonly taught languages, trained teachers, and provided learning materials in testing using multimedia.
The Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages advanced language development for heritage language speakers in the United States and was part of a larger effort to educate members of our society who can function professionally in English and in other languages.
The Center for Applied Linguistics supports the Linguistic Society of America and its Committee on Endangered Languages and their Preservation (CELP) to raise awareness within Congress about the importance of Native American Language Revitalization.
Handbook of Heritage, Community, and Native American Languages in the United States: Research, Policy, and Educational Practice
This timely and comprehensive publication provides a state-of-the-art overview of major issues related to heritage, community, and Native American languages in the United States, providing a foundational perspective on how these languages are learned and used in a variety of contexts and outlining the importance of drawing on these languages as valuable national resources.
This volume presents a multidisciplinary perspective on teaching heritage language learners. Contributors from theoretical and applied linguistics, sociolinguistics, psychology, educational policy, and pedagogy specialists explore policy and societal issues, present linguistic case studies, and discuss curricular issues, offering both research and hands-on innovation.
News & Events
STARTALK has awarded the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) with a multi-year grant to create publicly accessible web-based resources that highlight U.S. federal government career pathways for heritage language learners in high school through college.
CAL is saddened by the passing of our valued colleague and friend, Dr. Olga Kagan, one of the country's leading specialists on second language acquisition and heritage language teaching.