We are pleased to announce the International Conference on Heritage Languages around the world, which will take place at the University of Lisbon as a joint initiative of the Centro de Linguística da Universidade de Lisboa, Centro de Estudos Humanísticos da Universidade do Minho, the Portuguese Program and the Heritage Language Research Group at UMass Amherst. This initiative is also supported by Camões. Instituto da Coperação e da Língua and the recently created European Heritage Language Consortium.

In the last two decades, Heritage Languages have received growing attention, both in the field of bilingualism studies and in research concerned with the preservation and revitalization of endangered languages. They have been under the scrutiny of linguists, especially of those working on bilingual language acquisition and on sociolinguistics, as well as language policy makers, language activists, and researchers in education. For linguists interested in bilingualism, heritage speakers represent not only a large part of the bilingual population, but also a case in which it is possible to study the effects of different amounts of exposure and of crosslinguistic influence on a population in which birth is maintained as the age of onset for the heritage language. From the viewpoint of sociolinguistics, heritage languages raise several questions, including which conditions determine linguistic preservation or attrition, or the significance of the fact that heritage speakers are often exposed to only a non-standard variety of the heritage language. Finally, in the area of studies on endangered languages, an important focus has been placed on strategies for the revitalization of heritage languages as a means to preserve linguistic diversity.

The recognition of the specificities of heritage speakers and heritage languages in multilingual societies is what justifies the relevance of the topic for policy makers and for researchers interested in language education and language policies.

The main goal of this conference is to bring together various research perspectives on heritage languages in order to contribute to a better understanding of the effects of language development and education in immigrant and minority language communities around the world.

We welcome submissions on the following topics:

1) Linguistic properties of heritage languages in child and adult bilinguals
2) The role of input and cross-linguistic influence in heritage language acquisition
3) Research methods in heritage language development
4) Understudied heritage languages (e.g. Native American, African and Asian languages)
5) New trends in heritage language education
6) Heritage language policies
7) Attitudes and identity in heritage languages
8) Heritage languages and the preservation of linguistic diversity

Keynote speakers:

- Peter Austin (University of London) [CV]
Issues and challenges in language endangerment and heritage languages: some Australian examples
- Sílvia Melo-Pfeifer (University of Hamburg) [CV]
At the interface of heritage language learning and teacher education: motorways, short-cuts and no-go areas
- Naomi Nagy (University of Toronto) [CV]
Promoting linguistic and cultural diversity through Heritage Language Sociolinguistics
- Jason Rothman (University of Tromso) [CV]
Theoretical Epistemology and Methodology in Heritage Language Bilingualism

Abstracts for a 20-minute oral presentation or a poster presentation on any subject relating to the topics listed above will be accepted from May 15 to October 15, 2019. Abstracts should be written in English, should be a maximum of 5000 characters (including references) and anonymized to exclude any identifiable information. Authors may submit a total of two abstracts, one individual and one joint (or two joint).

Organizing Committee

Ana Lúcia Santos (ULisboa)

Cristina Flores (UMinho)

Luiz Amaral (UMass Amherst)

Hugo Cardoso (ULisboa)

Center for Humanistic Studies of the University of Minho

Centro de Linguística da Universidade de Lisboa

Portuguese Program at UMass Amherst

This conference has a partnership with the MDPI journal 'Languages':

Languages is an international, peer-reviewed open access journal on interdisciplinary studies of languages and linguistics, indexed in ERIH Plus. The journal welcomes contributions within any theoretical, experimental or applied approach.



Important dates

Call Deadline: 15-Oct-2019

Notification of acceptance: 15-Dec-2019

Early Bird Registration: 15-Feb-2020

Conference: 20-22-May-2020

Registration fees:

100€ students, early bird
130€ students, late bird
160€ other, early bird
190€ other, late bird

Registration fees include coffee breaks and lunch for the two days of the conference.


University of Lisbon.


Abstract Submission

*All fields are mandatory.




Programme: to be announced.