Terminology Matters! Why Difference Is Not Incompleteness and How Early Child Bilinguals Are Heritage Speakers.
This paper integrates research on child simultaneous bilingual (2L1) acquisition more directly into the heritage language (HL) acquisition literature. The 2L1 literature mostly focuses on development in childhood, whereas heritage speakers (HSs) are often tested at an endstate in adulthood. However, insights from child 2L1 acquisition must be considered in HL acquisition theorizing precisely because many HSs are the adult outcomes of child 2L1 acquisition. Data from 2L1 acquisition raises serious questions for the construct of incomplete acquisition, a term broadly used in HL acquisition studies to describe almost any difference HSs display from baseline controls (usually monolinguals). We offer an epistemological discussion related to incomplete acquisition, highlighting the descriptive and theoretical inaccuracy of the term. We focus our discussion on two of several possible causal factors that contribute to variable competence outcomes in adult HSs, input (e.g., Sorace, 2004; Rothman, 2007; Pascual y Cabo & Rothman, 2012) and formal instruction (e.g., Kupisch, 2013; Kupisch et al., 2014) in the HL. We conclude by offering alternative terminology for HS outcomes.
Accepted manuscript. Published version available in doi:10.1177/1367006916654355