Abstract

To date, the vast majority of research on the linguistic abilities of heritage speakers has focused on young adults whose heritage language is no longer developing. These adults began their journey as bilingual children acquiring the heritage language with the majority language simultaneously since birth or sequentially, as a second language. If longitudinal studies are not always feasible, linking research on the structural development of bilingual pre-school children with research on young adult heritage speakers adds a much needed perspective to understand the initial state and the end state of heritage language development. The purpose of this study is to connect the beginning of heritage language development with its ultimate attainment by comparing the expression of subjects in Spanish in 15 school-age bilingual children and 29 young adult heritage speakers, all of them simultaneous bilinguals with English as the dominant language and Spanish as the weaker language. The oral production of null and overt subjects by child and adult heritage speakers was compared to that of age-matched monolingual speakers in Mexico (20 children, 20 adults). To provide a wider context the study includes a group of 21 adult immigrants, who could also potentially influence the input to the heritage speakers. The results confirm that discourse pragmatic properties of subject expression in Spanish are vulnerable to incomplete acquisition and permanent optionality in child and adult bilingual grammars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)530-546
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Bilingualism
Volume22
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

Fingerprint

language
young adult
structural development
Heritage Speakers
Language Development
Heritage Language
preschool child
grammar
longitudinal study
pragmatics
Mexico
immigrant
Young Adults
linguistics
discourse
ability
Bilingual children
Language
school
Group

Keywords

  • attrition
  • incomplete acquisition
  • null/overt subjects
  • Spanish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

Heritage Language Development : Connecting the dots. / Montrul, Silvina Andrea.

In: International Journal of Bilingualism, Vol. 22, No. 5, 2016, p. 530-546.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{6f44c977ec304b57a8528ec1c4702f7b,
title = "Heritage Language Development: Connecting the dots",
abstract = "To date, the vast majority of research on the linguistic abilities of heritage speakers has focused on young adults whose heritage language is no longer developing. These adults began their journey as bilingual children acquiring the heritage language with the majority language simultaneously since birth or sequentially, as a second language. If longitudinal studies are not always feasible, linking research on the structural development of bilingual pre-school children with research on young adult heritage speakers adds a much needed perspective to understand the initial state and the end state of heritage language development. The purpose of this study is to connect the beginning of heritage language development with its ultimate attainment by comparing the expression of subjects in Spanish in 15 school-age bilingual children and 29 young adult heritage speakers, all of them simultaneous bilinguals with English as the dominant language and Spanish as the weaker language. The oral production of null and overt subjects by child and adult heritage speakers was compared to that of age-matched monolingual speakers in Mexico (20 children, 20 adults). To provide a wider context the study includes a group of 21 adult immigrants, who could also potentially influence the input to the heritage speakers. The results confirm that discourse pragmatic properties of subject expression in Spanish are vulnerable to incomplete acquisition and permanent optionality in child and adult bilingual grammars.",
keywords = "attrition, incomplete acquisition, null/overt subjects, Spanish",
author = "Montrul, {Silvina Andrea}",
year = "2016",
doi = "10.1177/1367006916654368",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "22",
pages = "530--546",
journal = "International Journal of Bilingualism",
issn = "1367-0069",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Ltd",
number = "5",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Heritage Language Development

T2 - Connecting the dots

AU - Montrul, Silvina Andrea

PY - 2016

Y1 - 2016

N2 - To date, the vast majority of research on the linguistic abilities of heritage speakers has focused on young adults whose heritage language is no longer developing. These adults began their journey as bilingual children acquiring the heritage language with the majority language simultaneously since birth or sequentially, as a second language. If longitudinal studies are not always feasible, linking research on the structural development of bilingual pre-school children with research on young adult heritage speakers adds a much needed perspective to understand the initial state and the end state of heritage language development. The purpose of this study is to connect the beginning of heritage language development with its ultimate attainment by comparing the expression of subjects in Spanish in 15 school-age bilingual children and 29 young adult heritage speakers, all of them simultaneous bilinguals with English as the dominant language and Spanish as the weaker language. The oral production of null and overt subjects by child and adult heritage speakers was compared to that of age-matched monolingual speakers in Mexico (20 children, 20 adults). To provide a wider context the study includes a group of 21 adult immigrants, who could also potentially influence the input to the heritage speakers. The results confirm that discourse pragmatic properties of subject expression in Spanish are vulnerable to incomplete acquisition and permanent optionality in child and adult bilingual grammars.

AB - To date, the vast majority of research on the linguistic abilities of heritage speakers has focused on young adults whose heritage language is no longer developing. These adults began their journey as bilingual children acquiring the heritage language with the majority language simultaneously since birth or sequentially, as a second language. If longitudinal studies are not always feasible, linking research on the structural development of bilingual pre-school children with research on young adult heritage speakers adds a much needed perspective to understand the initial state and the end state of heritage language development. The purpose of this study is to connect the beginning of heritage language development with its ultimate attainment by comparing the expression of subjects in Spanish in 15 school-age bilingual children and 29 young adult heritage speakers, all of them simultaneous bilinguals with English as the dominant language and Spanish as the weaker language. The oral production of null and overt subjects by child and adult heritage speakers was compared to that of age-matched monolingual speakers in Mexico (20 children, 20 adults). To provide a wider context the study includes a group of 21 adult immigrants, who could also potentially influence the input to the heritage speakers. The results confirm that discourse pragmatic properties of subject expression in Spanish are vulnerable to incomplete acquisition and permanent optionality in child and adult bilingual grammars.

KW - attrition

KW - incomplete acquisition

KW - null/overt subjects

KW - Spanish

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85054151509&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85054151509&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/1367006916654368

DO - 10.1177/1367006916654368

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85054151509

VL - 22

SP - 530

EP - 546

JO - International Journal of Bilingualism

JF - International Journal of Bilingualism

SN - 1367-0069

IS - 5

ER -