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Digitally-Mediated Multilingual Literacies of Heritage/Bilingual Speakers:  Practices and Pedagogical Implications

Dr. Agnes Weiyun He, Dr. Lilia Ruiz Debbe, Dr. Jiwon Hwang, Dr. Sarah Jourdain, and Dr. Eriko Sato


Heritage and bilingual speakers often exhibit truncated-competence and multi-performance (Blommaert et al., 2005; He, 2013).  Using interviews and surveys as main research methods, this study explores the literacy practices in intercultural, transnational social and information networking by college students who are heritage or bilingual speakers of Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean, or Spanish.  In particular, it investigates the ways in which young adult heritage or bilingual speakers use multiple languages through digital media to create, maintain and modify social networks with friends and families and to participate in the consumption of news, entertainment, and online scholarly information across national and cultural boundaries of their primary U.S. society and their secondary societies where their non-English languages are used.

This project enables us to focus on heritage and bilingual competence not as static attributes of the speaker, but as social and interactional affordances.  We suggest that findings concerning the nature and patterns of digitally-mediated multilingual, intercultural communication by college-age heritage and bilingual speakers may provide a basis for our conceptualization and development of productive resources for heritage and foreign language literacy education in today’s global and digital context.