New ESRC CASE project on heritage language bilingualism

The logos of the partner institutions and of the funder.

We are delighted to announce the start of our new CASE project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The ESRC CASE schemes funds doctoral scholarships to support collaborative projects that bring together academic and non-academic partners.

Congratulations to our student Sophie Bennett, who is the recipient of the CASE Studentship (2024-2027). Sophie will be co-supervised by Professor Patrick Rebuschat (Lancaster), Professor Cristina Flores (Minho), Professor Padraic Monaghan (Lancaster) and by Dr Cátia Verguete (Camões Institute).

The CASE project will focus on the linguistic development of heritage language bilinguals. These are children and adolescents growing up in a home in which they speak a minority language that is different from the majority language dominant in larger society.

Our non-academic partner institution is Portugal’s Camões Institute, which, as one of Europe's leading institutions promoting bilingual education, has a significant interest in understanding the factors that facilitate bilingual development.

Sophie Bennett said: “This CASE Studentship is a very valuable opportunity to reveal the key factors that promote heritage language development. Our partnership with the Camões Institute is crucial to directly witness how this research will benefit multilingual families in the UK.”

Professor Cristina Flores added: “This project is an excellent opportunity to study the development of Portuguese as a heritage language in contact with English and, thus, contribute to our knowledge of the mechanism driving bilingual language acquisition. Working closely with a non-academic partner such as the Camões Institute is a valuable enrichment for this project.”

Lancaster University, the University of Minho and the Camões Institute are long-standing partners in the Heritage Language 2 Consortium (HL2C), an international partnership to promote the study bilingualism and second language learning.

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