Chapter published in:Foreign Language Education in Multilingual Classrooms
Edited by Andreas Bonnet and Peter Siemund
[Hamburg Studies on Linguistic Diversity 7] 2018
► pp. 77–98
Language policy, language study, and heritage language education in the U.S.
Language policy and language study in the U.S. have long been defined by three trends: an absence of national-level language policy; a highly multilingual history characterized by overwhelming shift towards English; and a tendency for educational policy to shift students rapidly towards English monolingualism, with students later needing to relearn these same, now ‘foreign’ languages in high school or university, resulting in dismally low proficiency levels. This chapter briefly considers these contradictions, all of which rest on pervasive ideologies of monolingualism and result in the tremendous squandering of linguistic riches. The chapter then offers examples of how language policy and language study play out in three very different heritage language learning contexts in the U.S., each focusing on a different type of language learner, language, and language policy. These include assessment and learning of Spanish among heritage speakers; language revitalization of Indigenous languages, and the teaching and learning in Chinese in community school contexts. We close by considering ongoing challenges to language study in the U.S., including teacher training and curriculum development.
Keywords: Chinese, immigration, indigenous languages, monolingualism, multilingualism, Spanish
Published online: 24 October 2018
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