The Heritage Language 2 Consortium was formally established on December 19, 2017.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed at a ceremony in Lisbon to officially launch the Consortium. The launch event featured statements by the Secretary of State for the Portuguese Communities, Dr José Luís Carneiro, by the Secretary of State for Education, Professor João Costa, by the President of the Camões Institute, Ambassador Luís Faro Ramos, and by the Consortium’s Director, Professor Patrick Rebuschat, Lancaster University.
The new Heritage Language 2 Consortium gives researchers from many disciplines – linguistics, education, psychology, and computer science – access to more than 130,000 learners worldwide to investigate language development from many different aspects. Ten departments and research units across the Consortium partners will play a central role.
The Consortium Director, Professor Patrick Rebuschat, said: “This strategic partnership provides us with a unique opportunity – no other country maintains such a significant heritage language network overseas, and we will have privileged access to substantial, yet completely unexplored data.
“The Consortium is a major international initiative which uses Portuguese as a ‘test case’. The insights gained from this project will be applicable to other languages, of course. Our research will help us understand how children and adults learn new languages and identify those factors that make some of us particularly good language learners. We can then use these insights to improve language teaching.
“The Consortium will also organize impact and outreach initiatives to engage with parents, teachers, and policy makers across Europe.”
The idea for the partnership was born earlier this year when the Portuguese Secretary of State for Education, Professor João Costa, visited Lancaster University to deliver a keynote at a conference organized by Professor Rebuschat.
The event focused on bilingualism and heritage language education across Europe.
It brought together policy makers from the Portuguese Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Education, leading academics, journalists, school teachers and parents to discuss current trends and challenges in heritage language research and education.
We look forward to begin working on this exciting and important initiative.
Caption: A Memorandum of Understanding was signed at a ceremony in Lisbon to officially launch the Consortium. From left to right: Ambassador Luís Faro Ramos, President of the Camões Institute; Dr José Luís Carneiro, Secretary of State for Portuguese Communities; Professor João Costa, Portuguese Secretary of State for Education; Professor Susana Trovão, NOVA University Lisbon; Dr Patrick Rebuschat, Lancaster University; Professor Maria de Fátima Marinho, University of Porto; Professor Detmar Meurers, Tübingen University; Professor Paulo Farmhouse Alberto, University of Lisbon; Professor Cristina Flores, University of Minho.