What is a heritage language learner?

I regularly read about heritage language learners in North America. Who are they?

Dos this term refer to someone whose parents speak another language at home, or also someone who comes from a home where one of the parents speaks another language? What about someone whose grandparents spoke another language at home, but whose parents speak English at home? What about someone whose ancestry is, for example, Japanese, but whose parents came from Brazil and are Portuguese speaking , is the heritage Japanese or Brazilian? Just wondering.

5 thoughts on “What is a heritage language learner?

  1. Hi! In America, when we speak of heritage languages we refer to native languages, from the indigenous people, the first inhabitants of these lands. There are many international organizations, like the International Labour Organization, which have proclaimed about the social and cultural rights due to indigenous People in documents such as the Agreement 169 of the ILO. Those countries which have signed the agreement will have to fulfill with certain educational, legal, cultural and linguistic policies in order to improve the well being of the indigenous population, which should be aknowledge the right to be treated as People with their own way of organization.That is the main difference with immigrants from other countries. Human Rights organizations conceptualize them in different ways.I like your posts very much, and so do my students from the teachers training college. We enjoy your arguing about how to learn languages.

  2. Thanks for the comment Liliam, and glad you enjoy the blog.<br><br>Steve<br><br><span style="color: black;"><div dir="ltr"><div><br><br> <a href="http://www.lingq.com/?referral=steve"><img src="http://www.lingq.com/goodies/ru/steve/badge/blue.jpg?width=160&quot; border="0"></a> <a href="http://www.lingq.com/?referral=steve"><img src="http://www.lingq.com/goodies/pt/steve/badge/green.jpg?width=160&quot; border="0"></a></div><br><div dir="ltr" style="font-size: 10px;"><span style="color: gray;">— @ <a href="http://my.wisestamp.com/link?u=ckktr4xvyc8htpsy&amp;site=www.wisestamp.com/email-install&quot; style="color: gray; text-decoration: none;">WiseStamp Signature</a></span>. <a href="http://my.wisestamp.com/link?u=ckktr4xvyc8htpsy&amp;site=www.wisestamp.com/email-install">Get it now</a></div> </div></span>

  3. At my university in Canada the term "heritage language learner"has real consequences. Students labelled so aren’t allowed to take beginner-level language classes. The administrators have good intentions I suppose but unfortunately lots of true beginners are barred from accessing the resources they need. This happened to my ex-girlfriend.

  4. At least that confirms that the term refers to people who grew up with the language. I do not like the term. People should just state their level of knowledge of a language, regardless of their ancestry.

  5. <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/06/bill-gates-education/#comment-1190576">Bill Gates thinks the Internet</a> will be a better place to get your university education than &quot;place&quot; based institutions within five years. He does not see the same changes in the K-12 sector.<br> <br>I believe that he is right in terms of direction but underestimates the resistance of the established education industry/bureaucracy. It will take longer.?? However, the trend is inevitable. It is not only online lectures, but also more structure and social support like LingQ Lang * and other sites provide. First thing that has to happen is to take away the credential granting authority from the schools. You should be able to get your education wherever you want, and go to specialized institutions to be tested for your credentials. The present system is like doctors selling pharmaceuticals.

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