A strategic partnership for the study of Portuguese in multilingual settings

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Happy Portuguese Language Day

Feliz Dia Mundial da Língua Portuguesa!

In 2009, May 5 was officially designated  “Portuguese Language Day” by the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa, CPLP), the intergovernmental organization that represents nations that share Portuguese as an official language (in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America).

Ten years later, in 2019, UNESCO designated May 5 “World Portuguese Language Day” (Dia Mundial da Língua Portuguesa).

As specified on the UNESCO website, “The Portuguese language is not only one of the most widespread languages in the world, with more than 265 million speakers spread through all continents, but it is also the most widely spoken language in the southern hemisphere. Portuguese remains, today, a major language of international communication and a language with a strong geographical projection, destined to increase. “

For information, please visit the UNESCO website (click here for English, and here for Portuguese). For a message from UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, please scroll down.


HL2C/SLLAT Seminar: Christopher Hall (York St John), Modelling plurilithic orientations to English with trainee teachers: A comparative international study

Our next exciting HL2C/SLLAT seminar will take place on Wednesday 4th May 2022, from 12 noon to 1pm (Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London).


Christopher Hall


Modelling plurilithic orientations to English with trainee teachers: A comparative international study

How to join:

Our seminars are free to attend. Simply sign up to the HL2C Mailing List to receive the link to join us via Microsoft Teams link. You do not need a Teams account to access the talk.


A major challenge in TESOL is how to address the learning needs of diverse global learners in a world where monolithic beliefs about English are still deeply entrenched. This study explored the extent to which such beliefs can be challenged in teacher education programmes using practitioner role models. In particular, we examined the role of ‘peerness’ in role models, i.e. whether or not they are demographically close to the student teachers they are expected to inspire. Accordingly, video clips featuring young, early-career English teachers from Germany and China modelling a ‘plurilithic’ orientation to the language were played to MA TESOL students in Germany, Austria, China, the UK, and Spain. The teachers from Germany and China were ‘near peers’ for the German L1 students and Mandarin L1 students respectively. The teachers from China also served as ‘more distant peers’ for students in the UK and Spain with other L1s. Survey and interview data indicated that viewing the role models was associated with increases in plurilithic orientation, and that the effect was greater for near peers than for more distant peers. We take these results as support for the use of near peer video modelling to promote ontological clarity about English in trainee teachers.

Official launch of the Consortium

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.

Lisbon symposium

Heritage language learning and education: Cross-disciplinary perspectives

Faculdade de Letras, University of Lisbon, December 18, 2017

The Consortium held its inaugural event on Monday, December 18, at the Faculdade de Letras, University of Lisbon. The symposium provided a snapshot of the exciting work conducted by some of our members in the domain of heritage and second language learning. Studies covered a range of approaches (experimental, computational, and corpus-based), all of which are essential to move forward our understanding of heritage language learning. Thanks again to Ana Lúcia Santos for organizing the event and to CLUL for hosting us.

You can download the program, including abstracts, by clicking on this link.


Welcome to our website!

The website of our Heritage Language Consortium is now online! On this site, you will find information on our partners, research projects and events. Some of the sections are still under construction but we aim to have the most important information online in the coming weeks. Most of the pages are available in both Portuguese and English.