Attendees in conference room

Presenter at the 15th Annual Heritage Language InstituteFrom June 10-13, more than 70 researchers representing 44 international universities took part in the 15th Annual Heritage Language Research Institute. Hosted at UC Irvine and co-led by UCLA, the event brought together scholars, practitioners, and graduate students for presentations and discussions around current developments in the field of heritage language studies. Starting from the observation that many instances of bilingualism involve heritage speakers, the four-day event placed special focus on broader real-world bi/multilingual contexts.

“The Institute serves as a venue for educators, language scientists, and experts on various languages to come together in service of expanding the research base upon which to build effective pedagogical approaches to teaching heritage and community languages – typically minoritized languages in an immigrant setting (e.g., Spanish in the U.S.),” says Gregory Scontras, UCI language science associate professor who organized this year’s conference in concert with Julio Torres, UCI Spanish and Portuguese professor. “Our theme this year, heritage speakers as real-world bilinguals, places special focus on the reality that most instances of bilingualism in the U.S. context involve folks who learned their other language at home.”

Heritage Language conference attendeesThe conference featured an impressive lineup of faculty and graduate student research panels and discussions. Topics spanned AI, pedagogy and teaching, social justice, research methods, and bilingualism and children, in addition to poster presentations focused on global heritage languages.

“Given the rich linguistic diversity of UCI and the surrounding area, together with the fact that UCI has become a hub for research on bilingualism, it’s no surprise that the Institute was of great interest to members of our community,” says Torres. “Many faculty, instructors, and students at UCI benefited from, as well as contributed to, the intellectual goals of the Institute.”

Co-sponsors of this event included the UCLA National Heritage Language Resource Center, UCLA Center for World Languages, UCLA Asia Pacific Center, UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies, UCI Department of Spanish and Portuguese, UCI Department of Language Science, UCI Humanities Center, UCI School of Humanities, UCI School of Social Sciences, UCI School of Education, UCI Department of European Languages & Studies, UCI Department of East Asian Studies, UCI Program in Global Languages & Communication, and UCI International Center for Writing & Translation.

The date, location and theme of the 16th Annual Heritage Language Research Institute will be announced at a later time at To learn more or to get involved, please contact Gregory Scontras,

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