7. Bilingualism and the Heritage Language Speaker

  1. Tej K. Bhatia and
  2. William C. Ritchie
  1. Silvina Montrul

Published Online: 3 OCT 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118332382.ch7

The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism, Second Edition

The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism, Second Edition

How to Cite

Montrul, S. (2012) Bilingualism and the Heritage Language Speaker, in The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism, Second Edition (eds T. K. Bhatia and W. C. Ritchie), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118332382.ch7

Editor Information

  1. Syracuse University, USA

Author Information

  1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 3 OCT 2012
  2. Published Print: 7 NOV 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444334906

Online ISBN: 9781118332382

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Keywords:

  • bilingualism;
  • heritage language grammar;
  • heritage language speaker;
  • language acquisition research;
  • linguistic competence

Summary

The sociopolitical status of the two languages (primary and secondary languages) plays a fundamental role in language use, degree of acquisition, and eventual linguistic dominance. This chapter discusses recent research within formal linguistic and psycholinguistic approaches to bilingualism, and discusses how the study of heritage language speakers and learners contributes to both theoretical debates about the nature of language and language learning, bilingual acquisition, representation, and use in bilingualism and pedagogical interventions. Since many heritage speakers do not typically reach full linguistic competence in their heritage language, many college-age heritage speakers want to acquire, reacquire, or expand their knowledge of the heritage language in a classroom setting. Linguistic and psycholinguistic studies of heritage speakers focus on describing the grammatical system of bilingual grammars and on identifying potential gaps in linguistic knowledge and processing.