LINGUIST List 19.3345

Mon Nov 03 2008

Review: Applied Linguistics: Brinton, Kagan & Bauckus (2007)

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        1.    Laura Callahan, Heritage Language Education

Message 1: Heritage Language Education
Date: 03-Nov-2008
From: Laura Callahan <>
Subject: Heritage Language Education
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Announced at EDITORS: Brinton, Donna M.; Kagan, Olga; Bauckus, SusanTITLE: Heritage Language EducationSUBTITLE: A New Field EmergingPUBLISHER: Lawrence Erlbaum AssociatesYEAR: 2007

Laura Callahan, The City College of the City University of New York

SUMMARYThis volume contains twenty papers, plus a preface and index. Two of the papersserve as an introduction and conclusion, respectively. The remaining 18 aregrouped into three sections. Notes and references appear at the end of eacharticle. The languages discussed include Chinese, French, Gaelic, Japanese,Korean, Russian, and Spanish. The majority of the situations examined are in theUnited States or Canada.

Introduction. Nancy H. Hornberger and Shuhan C. Wang. Who Are Our HeritageLanguage Learners? Identity and Biliteracy in Heritage Language Education in theUnited States.Hornberger and Wang provide a literature review to set the scene for the volume.Major attention is given to the biliteracy continuum model (Hornberger 1989;Hornberger and Skilton-Sylvester 2000), which features four continua - context,content, media, and development - each of which in turn has three dimensions.The authors then use Rampton's (1995) notions of expertise and allegiance andRuiz's (1988) orientations toward language as problem, right, and resource to examine heritage language learners' positioning by self and society.

Part I: Heritage Speakers: Demographics, Policy, and Identity

G. Richard Tucker. Learning Other Languages: The Case for Promoting Bilingualismwithin our Educational System.Tucker reminds us of the United States' current shortcomings with respect tofostering the development of proficient second language speakers, and of thenegative consequences this has for participation in the global marketplace. Hereviews the benefits of additive bilingualism, wherein speakers who have beengiven the chance to develop cognitive/academic skills fully in the firstlanguage can transfer these skills to the second language. Tucker offerssuggestions to remedy the national linguistic shortfall, with special attentionto dual immersion programs in conjunction with electronic communication forconnecting speakers in different countries.

Joseph Lo Bianco. Policy Activity for Heritage Languages: Connections withRepresentation and Citizenship.Lo Bianco focuses on the impact policy discourses have on intergenerationalretention of heritage languages. He then traces language policy in Scotland andAustralia, and examines the criticisms of sedition and parochialism that affectefforts at heritage language maintenance.

Patricia A. Duff. Heritage Language Education in Canada.Duff traces the rich history of heritage language education in Canada, includinginformation on official definitions of what qualifies as a heritage language(languages other than indigenous ones, and other than the two official ones,English and French), learner demographics and linguistic profiles, research onheritage language education, language loss, maintenance, and identity. Sheconcludes with policies and pedagogical decisions in one province, British Columbia.

Terrence G. Wiley. Chinese ''Dialect'' Speakers as Heritage Language Learners: ACase Study.Wiley discusses the complex situation of the so-called Chinese dialects andtheir speakers, and the implications for Chinese heritage language education inthe United States. After presenting a case study of a Taiwanese-American man whohad an unsatisfactory experience with university level Mandarin instruction,Wiley advocates for ''teachers of Chinese dialect speaking students to be atleast minimally trained in contrastive analysis and sociolinguistics of themajor Chinese languages'' (p. 102). The author makes an apt comparison tocontrastive approaches in curricula designed for dialect speakers of otherlanguages in the U.S., such as English and Spanish.

Guadalupe Valdes, Sonia V. Gonzalez, Dania Lopez Garcia, and Patricio Marquez.Heritage Languages and Ideologies of Language: Unexamined Challenges.Valdes et al. examine the ideologies and categorizations concerning the Spanishspoken by people raised in Spain and Latin America (considered to be the truenative speakers), U.S. Latinos, and non-Latinos who have learned Spanish as aforeign language. Interviews with 43 members of a U.S. university Spanishdepartment - full and part-time faculty, and doctoral and masters students -expose a hierarchy in which the native speakers, as defined above, are rankedhighest, followed next by the foreign language speakers, and last by the U.S.Latinos. The authors' findings highlight the lack of acquaintance with basicsocio- and psycholinguistic notions that is not uncommon in such settings.

Mary McGroarty and Alfredo Urzua. The Relevance of Bilingual Proficiency in U.S.Corporate Settings.McGroarty and Urzua present a case study of three professionals from Mexicoworking in corporations within the United States. The authors find that each ofthe three uses Spanish in his or her workplace to a greater or lesser degree,although this linguistic expertise is not a formal part of their job descriptionand thus is subject to neither official assessment nor extra compensation.McGroarty and Urzua conclude that language and occupational identity are dynamicand idiosyncratic.

Part II: Heritage Speaker Profiles and Needs Analysis

Maria Polinsky. Heritage Language Narratives.Using pictures depicting a boy and his pet frog to elicit narratives, Polinskycompared the abilities of a child and adult heritage speaker of AmericanRussian. Differences, especially in tense and case, were found between thenarratives of the child and the adult, as well as between these heritagespeakers' narratives and those of two Russian native speakers.

Kazue Kanno, Tomomi Hasegawa, Keiko Ikeda, Yasuko Ito, and Michael H. Long.Prior Language-Learning Experience and Variation in the Linguistic Profiles ofAdvanced English-Speaking Learners of Japanese.Kanno et al. divided (for the purposes of analysis) 15 English-speaking studentsof Japanese into heritage vs. non-heritage, and each of these two types wasfurther divided into two subgroups. Of the non-heritage speakers, naturalisticlearners were separated from classroom learners, and the heritage speakers weregrouped into those who had attended a hoshuukoo (a special auxiliary school forchildren of Japanese citizens in residence outside Japan) vs. those with noschool experience in the language. The heritage speakers with hoshuukooexperience ''outperformed all other groups with respect to accuracy andcomplexity'' (p. 177).

Debra Friedman and Olga Kagan. Academic Writing Proficiency of Russian HeritageSpeakers: A Comparative Study. Friedman and Kagan did a three way comparisonbetween academic essays written in Russian by heritage speakers with variousages of emigration to the U.S., traditional foreign language students of Russianin the U.S., and high school students in Russia. The heritage speakers andforeign language learners were enrolled in a university course entitled ''Russianfor Native and Near Native Speakers: Literature and Film.'' The heritagespeakers' writing was also compared to their work in English. The findings wereinconclusive due to the small number of participants, but an interesting resultwas the lack of a positive correlation between age of emigration and ability inwritten academic Russian.

Claudia Parodi. Stigmatized Spanish Inside the Classroom and Out: A Model ofLanguage Teaching to Heritage Speakers.Parodi outlines the origins and features of the vernacular Spanish of LosAngeles. She cites differences between Mexicans (in Mexico) and Chicanos withrespect to linguistic features as well as cultural practices. The author offersseveral suggestions for the teaching of Spanish to heritage speakers, includingthe incorporation of some sociolinguistic science, with instruction inregisters, contact phenomena, diglossia, and more.

Masako O. Douglas. A Profile of Japanese Heritage Learners and IndividualizedCurriculum.Using data from students in intermediate Japanese for heritage speaker classes,Douglas proposes an individualized curriculum, in which students can developstrategies for autonomous learning once the course is over. An importantcomponent of the curriculum is training students to be aware of their ownlearning characteristics. Douglas finds evidence that ''if instruction isindividualized so that the learners can focus on areas needing improvement, thenlearning occurs effectively but differently for each student'' (p. 223).

Part III: Program Development and Evaluation

Scott McGinnis. From Mirror to Compass: The Chinese Heritage Language EducationSector in the United States.McGinnis traces the evolution of Chinese language education, from privateheritage language schools that imitated models in their directors' homecountries, to organizations that are now charting new courses within the system. Still on the agenda is the creation of an AP (Advanced Placement,for high school students) curriculum and more professional developmentopportunities for heritage language school teachers. One recent development isthe emergence of programs serving ''Families with Children from China'' (FCC),with classes for children adopted from China as well as for their non-Chineseparents.

Joy Kreeft Peyton. Spanish for Native Speakers Education: The State of the Field.This chapter reports the reflections and recommendations of participants in a1999 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) summer institute for teachersof Spanish to Spanish speakers (SNS). Topics considered include the benefits andchallenges of SNS education, the characteristics of heritage speakers ofSpanish, SNS teacher qualifications and training, SNS programs and instruction,and assessment of SNS students.

Donna Christian. School-Based Programs for Heritage Language Learners: Two-WayImmersion.Christian provides a brief overview of heritage language programs in the U.S.public school system, before going on to focus more in depth on the variousmodels of dual immersion programs.

Sung-Ock S. Sohn and Craig C. Merrill. The Korean/English Dual Language Programin the Los Angeles Unified School District.Sohn and Merrill studied three types of programs for Korean English languagelearners in the Los Angeles Unified School District: English only, modifiedbilingual, and Korean/English dual language. The authors conclude that studentsachieve the most academic and language development in the dual language program.

Andrew D. Cohen and Tania Gomez. Enhancing Academic Language Proficiency in aSpanish Immersion Classroom.Cohen and Gomez examined how development of the L2 inner voice can improveimmersion students' oral scientific academic language performance. When definingscientific terms, fifth grade students (ages 10 and 11) were at first ''unable togive a precise and comprehensible definition'' and would often give examplesrather than a definition (p. 296). (It bears noting that such a task alsopresents difficulties to many adults in their L1.) The authors conclude thatinstruction in learning strategies for the acquisition of specific proficienciesassociated with academic language can have positive consequences.

Merrill Swain and Sharon Lapkin. ''Oh, I Get It Now!'' From Production toComprehension in Second Language Learning.Swain and Lapkin studied the listening comprehension of French immersionstudents, and examined how production mediates comprehension. Students spenttime noticing and verbalizing differences between their own and reformulateddrafts of a story written in their L2, in the process coming to understand wordsand sentences that they had earlier produced without comprehension.

Brian K. Lynch. Locating and Utilizing Heritage Language Resources in theCommunity: An Asset-Based Approach to Program Design and Evaluation.Lynch challenges heritage language educators to design programs that not onlyinvolve the heritage language community but also use as a point of departure thecommunity's resources rather than its lacunae.

Conclusion. Terry Kit-Fong Au. Salvaging Heritage Languages.Au compared adult heritage language students of Spanish and Korean who had hadearly childhood experience with hearing or speaking the language to studentswithout such experience, as well as to native speakers. Her research indicatesthat early exposure, even when followed by several years out of contact with thelanguage, gives adults some advantage in the development of native-likepronunciation. It seems to have no effect on the acquisition of morphosyntax,however.

EVALUATIONThis book will serve a wide audience, including readers with an interest inlanguage policy, the teaching of heritage and second languages, and heritagelanguage maintenance. It features a good mix between papers presenting newresearch and survey articles covering a more general spectrum. Each chapter iswell-written and comprehensive, with a thorough yet concise exposition ofbackground information and, where applicable, the particular study done. Thebook is suitable for use in a doctoral level course and will help introduce thepan-linguistic nature of the discipline to students who may be acquainted withthe situation of just one language.

Although any one of the chapters in this volume can be read alone, when perusedfrom cover to cover the book invites one to ponder the similarities anddifferences between the situations of various heritage languages and theirlearners, as well as to examine or re-examine certain issues. These includematters such as, for example, which languages are considered to be heritagelanguages and who is considered to be a heritage language speaker, thesimilarities and differences between heritage and non-heritage learners of alanguage and under what circumstances both types of student can study together(see, for example, Friedman and Kagan, this volume, p. 197), and what solutionsmight be available to bridge differences between the feasible and the idealwithin the constraints of the U.S. public education system from kindergartenthrough college level.

REFERENCESHornberger, N. H. (1989). Continua of biliteracy. _Review of EducationalResearch_. 59(3), 271-296.

Hornberger, N. H. and Skilton-Sylvester, E. (2000). Revisiting the continua ofbiliteracy: International and critical perspectives. _Language and Education: AnInternational Journal_, 14(2), 96-122.

Rampton, M. B. H. (1995). _Crossing: Language and Ethnicity among Adolescents_.London: Longman.

Ruiz, R. (1988). Orientation in language planning. In S. L. McKay and S. C. Wong(eds.), _Language Diversity: Problem or Resource?_ (pp. 3-25). Boston: Heinleand Heinle.

ABOUT THE REVIEWERLaura Callahan is Associate Professor of Hispanic Linguistics at the CityCollege and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), andResearch Fellow at the Research Institute for the Study of Language in UrbanSociety (RISLUS), at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Her research interests includeheritage language maintenance, intercultural communication, and codeswitching.Some of her recent work examines the use of written Spanish in the United States.