Tag Archives: English

FAQ: What is a heritage language?

FAQ3

A heritage language is a language learned the same way as a native language, but it is thought of as being learned in an incomplete manner. There are different degrees to which someone can be a heritage speaker. This can range from having only passive knowledge (understanding) to very advanced fluency (passive and active).

For example, a person can grow up in a house where his or her parents speak only Ukrainian, but outside the home everybody else speaks English. If the only Ukrainian input this person gets is from his or her parents then, this speaker will most likely become a heritage speaker of Ukrainian.

Linguistic Links: The Ukraine, but not la Ucrania

Altering the names of places from their native language into a form that is more natural to speakers of another language is nothing new. However, Linguism, in a post reflecting on an article by the Independent, discusses different anglicizations of nations around the world. Of particular interest is when to use definite articles with particular countries, i.e. Ukraine vs. the Ukraine. Check out what they have to say on the issue or just take a glance at this map that details of the intricacies of the phenomenon in Spanish:

Linguistic Link: Heavy ‘Medal’ Verb Debate

The competitive spirit of the Olympics is spreading even to linguistic levels. Apparently some are perturbed by the growing trend to use ‘medal’ as a verb now, as in Danell Leyva medalled in the men’s all-around, instead of saying that athletes ‘win medals’. A silly debate for sure as not only is this a very productive phenomenon in the English language (see also ‘friend’ instead of ‘add as friend’, ‘text’ instead of ‘send text message’, etc.), but even the Oxford English Dictionary has accepted it as a verb for years. Read more about it The National.

Linguistic Link: Bilingual Education in Puerto Rico

In Puerto Rico, where both Spanish and English are now co-official languages, the new school year has begun and with it comes the start of the commonwealth’s new bilingual education program. Starting yesterday, math and science in 32 different pilot schools will switch to being taught in English. Visit Hispanically Speaking News to find out why the switch is underway and why not everyone is in favor of the change.

Linguistic Link: Bilingual TV

NPR has an interesting report on the growing trend of producing bilingual Spanish/English television programs here in the US. Although they may be following in the footsteps of the successful bilingual children’s cartoon Dora the Explorer, this new trend is not just for children. Importantly, nor is it just for bilinguals, as they mention the programs are subtitled in both Spanish and English for those less dominant in one language or the other. Listen to the story and check it out for yourself.

UIC TiL: Cristina Sanz

This Wednesday, March 30th, Dr. Cristina Sanz of Georgetown University will be presenting a talk entitled, “Bilingualism, Cognitive Capacity & Pedagogical Conditions” (abstract below).

Join us at 3 PM in 1750 University Hall (601 S. Morgan St. Chicago, IL 60607) for the talk and as usual light refreshments will be provided.

Bilingualism, Cognitive Capacity & Pedagogical Conditions

This presentation will report on a series of studies on the interaction between external pedagogical conditions and individual variables, especially those related to bilingualism and cognition. The studies have been conducted within The Latin Project (TLP) paradigm (Sanz, Bowden, & Stafford, N=400+), and have until today looked at a combination of different L1s (English, Spanish, Mandarin) and L2s (Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish, English) using a mini-version of Latin as experimental language. Specifically, TLP operationalizes pedagogical conditions in terms of timing and amount of provision of explicit grammar rules in conjunction with task-essential, input-based practice (i.e. +/- explicit conditions) and includes a battery of cognitive measures (sentence span test, PSTM, (L1/L2), the MLAT, symbols/numbers test) to investigate the role of cognitive capacity in the interaction between conditions and variables associated with bilingualism, such as age, aging, proficiency, and strategy use.

In the presentation, I will focus on some of the patterns we have identified across studies: Input-based task essential practice is enough to promote language development; feedback with grammar is more effective for immediate performance, but gains made via interaction with meaningful input and right/wrong feedback may be more stable over time; higher L2 proficiency enhances L3 development; appearance of bilingual advantages depends on the complexity of the tasks performed both in terms of testing and of condition; aptitude is not a fixed trait and can be enhanced with experience in language learning.

These patterns will be discussed in light of what we know about language development under +/- explicit conditions (included in reviews, metanalyses in Norris & Ortega, 2000; Sanz & Morgan-Short, 2005; Spada & Tomita, 2010), the few studies on the role of cognition in moderating the effects of pedagogical conditions (e.g. Mackey, Adams, & Stafford, 2010), and on cognitive advantages of bilingualism, specially Bialystok’ most recent publications.