Linguistic Attitudes of Heritage Language Learners

Document Type

Grant Proposal

Date Accepted

Summer 2006

Project Description/Abstract

A significant number of students who take Portuguese at Bridgewater State College are identified as Portuguese heritage language learners. They mostly belong to two groups: first, learners whose families immigrated from Portugal, Azores, or Madeira Island; second, Cape Verdeans, who speak Cape Verdean Creole and Portuguese. There are important sociolinguistic differences between these groups. Most importantly, the reasons for which they take the language are as diverse as their linguistic attitudes/reactions towards it. The goals of this project are to (1) identify the motivations and attitudes of Portuguese learners towards the language, (2) analyze comparative background information from traditional second language learners, and (3) prepare a scholarly article for submission to a peer-reviewed journal about the topic. This project is a continuation of sociolinguistic research into heritage language groups at BSC conducted in 2004. The results of this study will point to differences between learners and help inform the development of more appropriate pedagogical materials for heritage language learner classes.

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