Demographic Realities, Challenges, and Opportunities

Authored by: Molly Fee , Nancy C. Rhodes , Terrence G. Wiley

Handbook of Heritage, Community, and Native American Languages in the United States

Print publication date:  January  2014
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415520669
eBook ISBN: 9780203122419
Adobe ISBN: 9781136332494


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This chapter provides an overview of demographic information related to language diversity and shift among heritage and community language speakers in the United States. It references important surveys of national school and enrollment data for instruction in languages other than English and reviews U.S. Census American Community Survey data related to language diversity in American families. The chapter notes the importance of drawing on family and community linguistic resources that exist within the population and the need to connect heritage and community languages with the effort to promote language instruction more broadly. Demographic studies using U.S. Census data show that the languages spoken in heritage language communities in the United States are very different from those taught in public and private schools. Analysis of community-based schools outside the public sector shows that these programs represent the languages spoken in heritage language communities.

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