Ecologies of Heritage Language Learning in a Multilingual Swedish School

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The field of heritage language (HL) education is a rapidly growing area of educational linguistics research and pedagogy. While considerable research has looked at identity in relation to HL learning in adolescents and adults, this article focuses on the identities and language attitudes of young HL learners of Arabic and Somali at an elementary school in Sweden. Analyzed through an ecology of language framework, data reveal that students regard HL as a tool to foster belonging within their multilingual communities, and resist pressures to assimilate within the context of immigration. Findings also suggest that learners’ agency and language use influenced classroom pedagogies, and indicate the promise of a dynamic conception of HL education that affirms the creative use of language to support students’ linguistic and cognitive growth. This article fills a gap in theory and pedagogy, addressing the role of HL learning for the learner, the family, and the local and global community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-407
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Language, Identity and Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2 2017


  • Ethnic identities
  • heritage language education
  • identity
  • immigration
  • language attitudes
  • language use
  • multilingualism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'Ecologies of Heritage Language Learning in a Multilingual Swedish School'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this