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Special Issue "Contemporary Advances in Linguistic Research on Heritage Spanish"
A special issue of Languages (ISSN 2226-471X).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2020) | Viewed by 29608
Special Issue Editor
Interests: bilingualism; information structure; code-switching; linguistic theory; heritage languages; language acquisition
Special Issue Information
In the last decade, research on heritage languages has enjoyed unprecedented prominence. Researchers from across linguistics and related fields have increasingly agreed that data from heritage speakers are crucial for understanding bilinguals and bilingualism more generally, providing key insights for linguistic theory, language acquisition, and psycholinguistics alike.
Within this work, research on Spanish has played a special role. Given the preeminent position of Spanish among minority languages in the United States as well as its global presence, heritage Spanish is among the most well-studied heritage languages. Many insights into the nature of heritage language grammars have emerged from studies of Spanish (including seminal work by Montrul, Rothman, and others), and Spanish will continue to be central to understanding heritage languages and their acquisition.
As research on heritage languages has expanded, the field has arrived at a pivotal moment: time to take stock, consolidate what we know, and identify what remains to be done. To that end, several recent publications (e.g., Montrul, 2016; Polinsky, 2018; Polinsky and Scontras, 2019, 2020; Potowski, 2018) have reviewed the state of the science and outlined future avenues for research. In this landscape, the time is right to consider how new research on Spanish as a heritage language can take those next steps.
The purpose of this Special Issue is to bring together innovative work on Spanish as a heritage language, with the aim of contributing to the next phase of research on heritage languages and their acquisition. Of course, we acknowledge the long history of innovation in this field; the topics highlighted below are not meant to imply that no such previous work exists but rather to identify areas we view as particularly ripe for additional contributions based on calls in the literature. With this in mind, we especially welcome papers that address one or more of the following topics with data from Spanish.
- The grammatical architecture of heritage languages
- Areas where heritage grammars are resilient and their implications. That is, what do heritage speakers maintain from the baseline and why?
- Areas of divergence from the baseline. For example, what are the implications for understanding heritage language acquisition and competence of the fact that certain parts of the grammar (e.g., inflectional morphology, long-distance dependencies, or non-canonical word orders) are especially likely to diverge from the baseline?
- Constraints on sources of divergence from the baseline: For instance, what limits or promotes transfer or cross-linguistic influence between heritage speakers’ grammatical systems? What factors constrain acquisition of particular features?
- Connecting heritage languages to general models of knowledge and acquisition. What can comparing heritage speakers to other populations (L2 learners, adult sequential bilinguals undergoing attrition, monolingual speakers, child 2L1 acquisition, “returnees”) reveal about the nature of language representation and acquisition?
- Variation among heritage speakers and factors “leading to, arising from, and constraining variation” (Polinsky and Scontras, 2019, p. 51)
- Variation in the quality and quantity of input and its outcomes. We know heritage speakers are exposed to reduced and variable input; how can we trace the effects of the properties of the input to the eventual outcomes? What features are especially vulnerable to limitations in input?
- Thresholds for acquisition. For example, in a language minority situation in which input is limited and in competition with the majority language, how much input is necessary to acquire a given linguistic property in the heritage language as a child or maintain it as an adult? How do different linguistic properties vary in this regard? How frequent does something need to be in the input to be acquirable in heritage language contexts?
- Variation in the baseline (rather than the input). When Spanish is a minority language, the input to which heritage speakers are exposed may not only be limited in scope but may also include features of contact between different communities and other types of variation among the baseline speakers themselves. How does dialectal (or other) variation in the baseline affect heritage language acquisition? For example, how does the widespread dialect contact in Spanish in the United States affect acquisition of Spanish as a heritage language?
- New sources of data
- Data documenting the input that heritage speakers receive during development, including corpora of child-directed speech and studies that examine the frequency of linguistic structures in the input heritage speakers are exposed to.
- Data from both of heritage speakers’ languages (dominant and heritage), investigating bidirectional cross-linguistic influence.
- Data from heritage speakers across the lifespan, especially from older speakers.
- Longitudinal data tracing heritage language development or disentangling proposed causes of heritage language outcomes (such as attrition versus divergent acquisition).
- Data comparing heritage Spanish and heritage speakers of other languages on the same linguistic phenomena.
- Data from heritage speakers of Spanish in contexts other than the United States and with dominant languages other than English.
- Methodological innovations in studying heritage speaker grammars, including novel data elicitation techniques, measures of real-time language processing, and methodological triangulation across multiple tasks.
We welcome papers with data from heritage Spanish from a range of approaches—including those employing formal, experimental, variationist and/or other paradigms—addressing these and related topics within the context of recent overviews of heritage language competence and acquisition.
We request that interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of 400-600 words summarizing their intended contribution, prior to preparing their manuscripts. Abstracts will be reviewed by the guest editor and the journal's editorial team for the purposes of ensuring proper fit within the scope of the special issue, and then full manuscripts will be solicited. Please send the abstract to [email protected] and [email protected]
The deadline for abstract submission is 15 April 2020.
The deadline for manuscript submission is 31 August 2020.
Montrul, S. (2016). The acquisition of heritage languages. Cambridge University Press.
Polinsky, M. (2018). Heritage Languages and Their Speakers. Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781107252349
Polinsky, M., & Scontras, G. (2019). Understanding heritage languages. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1366728919000245
Polinsky, M., & Scontras, G. (2020). A roadmap for heritage language research. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 23(1), 50–55. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1366728919000555
Potowski, K. (Ed.). (2018). The Routledge handbook of Spanish as a heritage language. Routledge.
Dr. Bradley Hoot
Manuscript Submission Information
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- Spanish as a heritage language
- Heritage language acquisition
- Heritage language representation
- Architecture of heritage language grammars
- Divergence/convergence from the baseline
- Methodological innovation
- New sources of data