Heritage speakers (HS) are people who learn a language at home as children. This language is different from the main language spoken in the community in which they live. So far, little is known about how HS process the heritage language in real time. The EU-funded ProHeritageSpeakers project, focussing on Romanian HSs, investigates whether HSs use morphosyntactic cues when understanding heritage language input in real time. It also investigates how the presence of similar grammatical information in the dominant second language modulates comprehension and production in the heritage language.

Research questions:

This project examines the processing and production of questions in child and adult Romanian HSs and has the following aims: 

1: To find out whether child/adult HSs process HL input in real time similarly to monolingual L1 speakers;

2: To investigate whether child/adult HSs show the same sensitivity to grammatical cues as age-matched monolingual participants and whether they can use these cues to successfully retrieve encoded information from memory during sentence processing;

3: To compare the ability of HS and monolinguals to use morphosyntactic cues for comprehension with their ability to use them in production;

4: To determine the extent to which the presence or absence of similar morphosyntactic cues in the dominant L2 may lead to differences in HL processing and/or production.