Studying Heritage Languages with a Focus on Multilingualism

Sarah Sok

Abstract


In recent decades, the field of applied linguistics has witnessed a growth of interest in the study of multilingualism. A particular subset of studies in multilingualism is that of heritage languages (Montrul, 2010). A heritage language (HL) can be broadly defined as an ancestral language with which one feels a cultural connection (Van Deusen-Scholl, 2003), or more narrowly defined as a home language that a person is exposed to in early childhood before becoming socialized into the host country’s dominant language (Valdés, 2001).
The present discussion suggests a direction for future research for HLs. First, the various approaches through which HLs have been studied will be mentioned. Next, Cenoz and Gorter’s (2011) Focus on Multilingualism (FOM) approach will be presented and discussed in relation to its potential contributions to the study HLs.

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