Heritage Languages go to School: The interplay of (extra)linguistic factors in successful language development


  • Project identification: Heritage Languages go to School: The interplay of (extra)linguistic factors in successful language development  [ SRG22\220379 ]
  • Coordination: Patrick Rebuschat (Lancaster University)
  • Responsible at CLUNL: Maria Lobo (LiFE group – Formal and Experimental Linguistics)
  • Start date: 2022
  • Funding: British Academy


The proposed study investigates the interplay of linguistic and extralinguistic factors in successful childhood bilingualism. We will focus on heritage language bilinguals, i.e. on young children growing up in a home in which they speak a minority language that is different from the majority language dominant in larger society. The linguistic development of heritage speakers has been widely studied over the past two decades as these children encounter conditions that are particularly beneficial for the development of native proficiency in two languages. The study of heritage language speakers thus promises to be the key to understanding successful bilingual development.

The project will be conducted by a team of internationally-leading researchers in linguistics and psychology, and in close collaboration with two important non-academic stakeholders, the Anglo-Portuguese School of London, a free primary school that offers English-Portuguese bilingual education, and Portugal’s Camões Institute, one of Europe’s leading institutions promoting heritage language education.

Team of CLUNL

Maria Lobo (Responsible at CLUNL)
Aida Cardoso
Alexandra Fiéis
Ana Madeira
Joana Teixeira


Universidade de Lancaster
Universidade do Minho
Universidade de Lisboa
Universidade NOVA de Lisboa
Anglo-Portuguese School of London
Instituto Camões