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Agnes He

Professor and Department Chair


Agnes He



  • Biography

     Agnes Weiyun He is Professor of Applied Linguistics, Founder and Director of the Center for Multilingual and Intercultural Communication (MIC), and currently Chair of the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies (AAAS) at SUNY-Stony Brook University.  She received her B.A. in English from Beijing Foreign Studies University, Diploma-in-Education from National Institute of Education in Singapore, M.A. in English as a Second Language from University of Arizona, and Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from UCLA.  

    Professor He’s research centers on the question of how language use is intricately motivated by contextual and co-textual contingencies and how everyday human interaction (re)constructs identities, communities and cultures on a moment-by-moment basis.  Her early work concerned discourse and pragmatics in the English language in institutional settings.  Since the late 1990s, much of her work has been devoted to understanding the socialization of Chinese as a heritage language across the lifespan. Her work has been funded by Spencer Foundation, National Academy of Education (US), US Department of Education, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the National Science Foundation (US).  Professor He was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2011.

    Professor He’s regular course offerings include intercultural communication, structure of Mandarin Chinese, and Chinese language and culture in the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies, where she has served as Director of China Studies (2004-2007), Director of Undergraduate Studies (2007-2011), Chair of ad hoc Graduate Program Committee (2012-2014), Interim Chair of the Department (2014-2015), and Chair of the Department (2015-present). Occasionally she also teaches senior seminar on qualitative research methods and global studies seminar on heritage languages in the U.S.

    Professor He has published extensively in the areas of discourse linguistics, educational linguistics and Chinese linguistics



    Chinese as a Heritage Language

    He, Agnes Weiyun & Xiao, Yun.  (Eds.) (2008). Chinese as a Heritage Language: Fostering Rooted World Citizenry.  Honolulu: NFLRC/University of Hawaii Press.


    Reconstructing Institutions

    He, Agnes Weiyun. (1998). Reconstructing Institutions:  Language Use in Academic Counseling Encounters.  Greenwich, CT and London, UK:  Greenwood.


      Talking and Testing

    Young, Richard & He, Agnes Weiyun.  (Eds.)  (1998). Talking and Testing:  Discourse Approaches to the Assessment of Oral Language Proficiency.  Philadelphia: Benjamins.

  • Selected Book Chapters
      Selected Book Chapters

    He, A. W. (2018).  A non-linear view on discourse and interaction: speaking Chinese as a heritage language . In C. Ke (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Chinese Second Language Acquisition (pp. 336-351). Routledge.

     He, A. W. (2017).  Discourse analysis.  In M. Aronoff and J. Rees-Miller (eds.) The Handbook of Linguistics, 2 nd edition (pp. 445-462).  Wiley-Blackwell.

     He, A. W. (2016).  Heritage Language Learning and Socialization.  In P.A. Duff & S. May (eds.),  Language Socialization, Encyclopedia of Language and Education. Springer.   doi:10.1007/978-3-319-02327-4_14-1

     He, A. W.  (2016).  Across generations and geographies: Communication in Chinese heritage language speaking households.  In Li Wei (ed.) Multilingualism in the Chinese Diaspora Worldwide (293-311).  New York: Routledge.

     He, A. W.  (2015).  Literacy, creativity, and continuity: A language socialization perspective on heritage language classroom interaction.  In Numa Markee (ed.) Handbook of Classroom Interaction (pp. 304-318), Wiley-Blackwell.

     He, A. W. (2015). Chinese as a heritage language.  In William Wang & Chaofen Sun (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Chinese Linguistics (pp. 578-589).  Oxford University Press.

     He, A.W.  (2014).  Identity construction throughout the life cycle.  In T. Wiley, J. K. Peyton, D. Christian, S. Moore & N. Liu (eds.), Handbook of Heritage and Community Languages in the United States: Research, Educational Practice, and Policy (pp. 324-332).  New York: Routledge.

     He, A. W. (2013).  The painted word: translingual practices within turn-constructional-units. In Zhuo Jing-Schmidt (ed.), Increased Empiricism (pp. 127-146).  John Benjamins

     He, A. W. (2012).  “Do I really have to?”: the give-and-take of deontic meaning in Chinese.  In Daniel Kadar & Yuling Pan (eds.), Chinese Discourse and Interaction (pp.68-87).  London: Equinox.

     He, A. W. (2011).  Heritage language socialization.  In A. Duranti, E. Ochs & B. Schieffelin (eds.) The Handbook of Language Socialization (pp. 587-609) Oxford: Blackwell.

     He, A. W. (2011).  Language socialization.  In J. Simpson (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Applied Linguistics (pp. 287-302).   New York: Routledge.

    He, A. W. (2009).  Sequences, Scripts, and Subject Pronouns in the Construction of Chinese Heritage Identity.  In A. Reyes & A. Lo (eds.) Beyond Yellow English: Toward a Linguistic Anthropology of Asian Pacific America (pp. 366-384).  New York: Oxford University Press.

    He, A. W.  (2008). Heritage language learning and socialization.  In P. Duff & N. Hornberger (eds.), Encyclopedia of Language and Education, Volume 8: Language Socialization (pp. 201-213).  New York: Springer.

     He, A. W.  (2005).  Discipline, directives, and deletions:  grammar and interaction in Chinese heritage language classes.  In C. Holten & J. Frodesen (eds.) The power of context in language teaching and learning:  a Festschrift for Marianne Celce-Murcia (pp. 115-126) .  Boston:  Thomson Heinle.

    He, A. W.  (2003). Novices and their speech roles in Chinese heritage language classes.  In R. Baley & S. Schecter (eds.) Language socialization in bilingual and multilingual societies (pp. 128-146).  Clevedon:  Multilingual Matters.

    He, A. W.  (2003). Linguistic anthropology and language education.  In S. Wortham & B. Rymes (eds.) Linguistic anthropology of education (pp. 93-119).  Westport, CT and London:  Praeger.

  • Selected Journal Articles
      Selected Journal Articles

    He, A. W. (2016). Discursive roles and responsibilities: a study of interactions in Chinese immigrant households.  Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, DOI: 10.1080/01434632.2015.1127930

     He, A. W. (2013).  The wor(l)d is a collage: multi-performance by Chinese heritage language speakers.  The Modern Language Journal 97(2): 304-317.

     He, A. W. (2011).  The role of repair in modulating modal stances in Chinese discourse.  Chinese Language and Discourse 2(1): 1-22.

     He, A. W. (2010).  Socio-cultural dimensions of heritage language learning.  Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 30: 66-82.

    He, A. W. (2006).  Toward an identity-based model for the development of Chinese as a heritage language.  The Heritage Language Journal 4(1): 1-28.

    He, A. W. (2004).  CA for SLA:  Arguments from Chinese language classes.  The Modern Language Journal, 88(4):568-582.  

    He, A. W. (2004).  Identity construction in Chinese heritage language classes.  Pragmatics, 14(2/3): 199-216.

    He, A. W.  (2001). The language of ambiguity:  practices in Chinese heritage language classes.  Discourse Studies, 3(1): 75-96.

    Chen, Y. & He, A. W.  (2001).  Dui bu dui as a pragmatic marker: evidence from Chinese classroom discourse.  Journal of Pragmatics 33:1441-1465.

    He, A. W. (2000). Grammatical and sequential organization of teachers' directives.  Linguistics and Education 11(2):119-140.

    He, A. W. & Lindsey, B. (1998). “You know” as an information status enhancing device: arguments from grammar and interaction.  Functions of Language, 5(2): 133-155.

    He, A. W. & Tsoneva, S. (1998). The symbiosis of choices and control:  a discourse-based account of CAN.  Journal of Pragmatics, 29(5): 615-637.

    He, A. W. (1996).  Narrative processes and institutional activities:  recipient guided storytelling in academic counseling encounters.  Pragmatics, 6(2), 205-216.

    He, A. W.  (1996).  Stories as academic counseling resources.  Journal of Narrative and Life History, 6(2), 107-121.

    He, A. W. (1995).  Co-constructing institutional identities:  the case of student counselees.  Research on Language and Social Interaction, 28(3), 213-231.

    He, A. W. (1994).  Withholding academic advice:  institutional context and discourse practice.  Discourse Processes, 18(3), 297-316.

    He, A. W. (1993).  Exploring modality in institutional interactions:  cases from academic counseling encounters.  TEXT, 13(4), 503-528.

    He, A. W. (1993).  Language use in peer review texts.  Language in Society, 22(3), 403-420.

  • Selected Plenary/Keynote Presentations

      Selected Plenary/Keynote Presentations

    2018.  “Perspectives, Proficiencies and Planning: the case of Chinese as a Heritage Language.” Conference on Language Planning, Maintenance and Shift, September 19-20, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium.

    2017.  “Students of Chinese Background: Characteristics and Possibilities for Greater Success.” The Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA) Thematic Forum. April 12, Stony Brook University.

    2016.  “ Porridge or Pasta: Creating Interactional Space for Language Learning”. The 5th International Symposium on Chinese Applied Linguistics (5 th ISCAL), April 22-23, University of Iowa.

    2015.  “Sociocultural and Interactional Approaches to Research on Heritage Language”. The 8 th Heritage Language Research Institute, June 1-4, Harvard University.

    2014.  “In Other Words: the Metamorphosis of Meaning”. The 2 nd Conference of the American Pragmatics Association (AMPRA), October 17-19, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

    2013.  “Language of the Heart and Heritage: A Tangled Tale”. The Annual Meeting of the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL), March 16-19, Dallas, Texas.

    2012.  “The wor(l)d is a collage.” Second Language Acquisition Graduate Student Symposium, April 13-14, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    2011.  “Language, Heritage, and Translanguaging: the case of Chinese”. The 23 rd North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics (NACCL-23). June 17-19, Eugene, Oregon. 

    2009.  “Maintaining Mandarin as a Heritage Language.” Conference on Chinese Heritage Learners, April 2-3, Arizona State University.

    2016.  “Pragmatics as Teachers’ Practice.” Conference on Pragmatics in the Chinese / Japanese / Korean Classroom:  The State of the Art, June 5-7, University of Hawaii at Manoa.     

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