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Conference Information

Full Title: Heritage Language Knowledge and Acquisition

Location: Leiden, Netherlands
Start Date: 14-Mar-2017 - 14-Mar-2017
Contact: Hamida Demirdache
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL:
Meeting Description: Heritage language bilinguals acquire a minority home/Heritage language (HL) from birth as well as a different Majority Language (ML) of the ambient society they grow up in. In their first years of life, heritage language users acquire their HL from their parents, siblings and larger family in a naturalistic way. Increased exposure to the ML typically means reduced input and unstable exposure to the HL. Moreover, the language input they receive may be different from that of monolingual speakers who grow up in a society where the language in question is the dominant language, e.g. because the parents are second- or third-generation immigrants with some attrition of their first language or because of changes due to language contact.

HL users do not fit into the dichotomy native vs. non-native, or L1 vs. L2 speakers. Unlike L2 speakers (but like native speakers), heritage speakers are exposed to the target language during the critical period. Just like L2 speakers, heritage speakers fail to converge on the target language, exhibiting variability in ultimate attainment. In particular, HL users can exhibit varying degrees of command of their first (heritage) language and their second (majority) language, ranging from mere receptive competence (so called passive or receptive bilingualism), to proficiency in the two languages, but with a strongly dominant majority language. [See seminal papers by Andersen 1982, Benmamoun, Montrul & Polinsky 2010, 2013 among many others].

Invited Speakers:

Silvina Montrul, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


Hamida Demirdache & Janet Grijzenhout
LLING, UMR 6310/University of Nantes & University of Konstanz
Linguistic Subfield: General Linguistics; Language Acquisition; Linguistic Theories; Psycholinguistics
LL Issue: 27.4581

This is a session of the following meeting:
40th Generative Linguistics in the Old World

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