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The Heart of Heritage: Sociocultural Dimensions of Heritage Language Learning

  • Agnes Weiyun He

Abstract

The very notion of heritage language (HL) is a sociocultural one insofar as it is defined in terms of a group of people who speak it. Heritage languages also have a sociocultural function, both as a means of communication and as a way of identifying and transforming sociocultural groups. This article surveys two broad approaches to research on the sociocultural dimensions of HL learning. While both of these approaches acknowledge the close connection and mutual dependency between HL learning processes and sociocultural processes, they differ in that one of them takes a correlational perspective, and the other a social constructivist perspective. This article reviews a selective body of work conducted from each of the two perspectives and concludes with a discussion of the implications of the sociocultural complexity associated with HL learning for research and practice.

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The Heart of Heritage: Sociocultural Dimensions of Heritage Language Learning

  • Agnes Weiyun He

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