Heritage Languages: Research, Documentation, and Educational Policy

Faculty Member: Maria Polinsky

The Polinsky Language Sciences Lab is a linguistics lab that examines questions of language structure and its effect on the ways in which people use and process language in real time. One of our primary areas of focus is the study of heritage speakers--those who grew up hearing or speaking a particular language but who are now more fluent in a different, societally dominant language. Heritage languages are important because they provide new insights into processes of linguistic development, thus increasing our understanding of the human capacity to maintain and acquire language.

Harvard College undergraduate RAs will assist with the processing of recorded interviews with heritage speakers of Spanish and Russian. The RAs will work with Lab members to transcribe and translate these interviews, in preparation for inclusion in the Lab’s corpora of spoken heritage languages. Once published, their work will be acknowledged on Dataverse, which counts as an academic publication.

This position is part of the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (URS) in the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University. Scholars must be current Harvard College undergraduates.