Heritage Language Program

The term 'heritage language' denotes a language learned at home that is different from the dominant language of the community, and a 'heritage speaker' is someone who speaks or even just understands that language.

Starting in 2001-2002, the Linguistics Department launched the Heritage Language Program, whose fundamental premise is that heritage speakers, who are neither typical students of a foreign language, nor fluent speakers, require a different kind of instruction that enhances the language skills they already have, and amplifies their cultural literacy. The Heritage Language Program allows students to work towards high levels of proficiency in their heritage language and to pursue their personal and professional goals.

For more information on heritage languages, see: National Heritage Language Resource CenterHeritage Language Journal

The Heritage Language Program in the Department of Linguistics offers courses in Filipino, Hindi, KoreanPersian and Vietnamese; courses in Arabic, Armenian and Cantonese may be offered in the future. These courses will satisfy college language requirements and/or upper-division electives. Both basic and advanced levels offered in most languages.

As an incoming freshman, you are faced with many competing attractions and pressures on campus:

  • How do I fulfill all my requirements in a timely fashion?
  • How do I find things that really interest me both in and outside of class?
  • How do I get involved in extracurricular activities without neglecting my studies?
  • How do I keep up with the pressure and competition for grades? How can I show my family that Im making the most of this opportunity I have?
  • How can I best prepare myself for life after college?
A course in the Heritage Language Program provides an answer to all of these questions simultaneously. If you grew up in a family where a language other than English was spoken, and if you understand a bit of that language, you are in a perfect position to take a course in the Heritage Language Program.

Heritage Language Program courses offer many opportunities!

  • Satisfy college requirements while enhancing your knowledge of your home culture.
  • Fun and personally satisfying - because they take place in an intimate and supportive learning environment where you meet and study together with peers from a similar background.
  • Relax! You no longer need to feel intimidated because you dont speak your home language well enough. Everybody else in the class feels the same way, no matter how fluent they are, and that's why they are there, too.
  • Supportive learning environment - in heritage language classes, it's normal for everyone to end up helping out everyone else.
  • Contribute to your community - learning your heritage language also gives you the feeling that you are giving something back to your community by helping to keep its culture and language alive.
  • Career and Life Opportunities - later in life, proficiency in your heritage language provides you with additional opportunities and advantages, whether in academia, professional life, or the business world.
  • And if you play your cards right, you may just be able to talk to your grandmother in her language by the time you go home for holidays and reunions…

To enroll, look under Linguistics/Heritage Languages in the Schedule of Classes or on Tritonlink.ucsd.edu. For additional information, please contact:

Rachel Pekras, Language Program Coordinator & Advisor

Tel: 858-822-2711
E-mail: rpekras@ucsd.edu