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Heritage speakers' potential for high-level language proficiency

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Title:Heritage speakers' potential for high-level language proficiency
Authors:Kagan, Olga
Dillon, Kathleen
Date Issued:01 Jan 2003
Publisher:Thompson & Heinle
Citation:Kagan, O., Dillon, K. (2003). Heritage speakers' potential for high-level language proficiency. The American Association of University Supervisors, Coordinators and Directors of Foreign Languages Programs (AAUSC), 114-127.
Abstract:tThe paper examines the conditions under which heritage students of Russian might achieve advanced or higher proficiency within an undergraduate program. While the research reports on the needs of Russian heritage speakers,its conclusions are relevant for curriculum development in other less commonly taught languages. The proposed matrix for a heritage program in Russian includes the following components: proper placement; a multi-year sequence in an uninterrupted, comprehensive curriculum; heritage learner-specific instructional materials; instructors trained in heritage language acquisition; a home/community native speaker environment; and a metalinguistic framework that raises awareness of the importance of grammatical accuracy and register In discussing this matrix we analyze the prevailing/traditional attitudes of the teaching profession towards heritage learners and provide information about a number of studies that have suggested the proposed matrix.

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