Adolescent heritage speakers of less commonly taught languages in the United States

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Research has demonstrated that heritage language maintenance can positively contribute to the academic and social lives of immigrant youth in the United States. This review examines the literature regarding adolescent heritage speakers of less commonly taught languages (LCTL). I focus on factors of ethnic identity and family relations and how they interact with language learning opportunities and outcomes for adolescent LCTL heritage learners. Heritage language development can lead to students' stronger sense of ethnic identity which may serve as an important buffer from discrimination in schools and larger society. Heritage language development can also serve as a supportive mechanism for higher quality adult-child interactions and fewer acculturation-related conflicts, particularly during adolescence. In short, researchers and educators must consider how heritage language learning opportunities matter for adolescent LCTL heritage speakers and all diverse students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)666-676
Number of pages11
JournalLinguistics and Language Compass
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2011


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