An Investigation into Public and Community Heritage Language Programming in Canada

By Naghmeh Babaee.

Published by The International Journal of Communication and Linguistic Studies

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

Immigrant children who speak languages other than English or French as a first language can learn their heritage languages (HLs) at public and community schools in Canada. HLs refer to immigrants’ first (parental) languages and in cases where immigrants do not speak their parental languages, HLs include their ancestors’ first languages. HL programs play an important role in immigrant children’s language maintenance, which refers to the ability to use or continue using their HLs. However, these programs face potential challenges such as a lack of funding (Cummins 2005) and well-developed instructional materials (Feuerverger 1997). In this paper, first, the importance of HL maintenance will be overviewed, followed by a discussion of HL programming in Canadian public schools. Second, HL programming at community schools are overviewed, followed by the challenges faced by a community school in a major Canadian city. Conclusion and recommendations for improving HL programs are presented in the end.

Keywords: Language Maintenance, Public Schools, Community-Based Heritage Language Schools, Canada

The International Journal of Communication and Linguistic Studies, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp.63-81. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 494.050KB).

Naghmeh Babaee

PhD Candidate in Second Language Education, Department of PhD in Education, University of Manitoba, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Naghmeh Babaee is currently a Ph. D. candidate at the University of Manitoba, Canada. Her research interests include language maintenance and loss, socio-cultural perspectives on second and heritage language learning, and identity.