IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Heritage language maintenance and digital practices to support bilingualism

16 January 2024, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm

Hispanic woman holding mobile phone

How do Spanish-speaking families use digital technologies to support their children’s bilingualism and literacy development in an English-dominant environment? This seminar draws on the concept of digitalised migration to explore family language policies (FLPs) in the digital era.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Effrosyni Argyri


Room 739
IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society
20 Bedford Way

The use of technology is widely recognised as central in modern parenting, and in bilingual childrearing, technology has no lesser position. Emerging languages in Australia, such as Spanish, are under-researched and allow the study of migrants’ diverse practices. This event presents research that explored the linguistic practices of Spanish-speaking families in Sydney, Australia, a growing demographic.

In a society that remains resolutely monolingual in English in its institutions, such as schools, multilingual families strive to maintain their heritage language through technology and intergenerational ties. The research also investigated the ideologies influencing family language policies (FLPs), such as the enduring deficit view on children’s bilingual practices. The findings denote a tension between the desire to minimise screen time for developmental reasons and a desire to maximise it for Spanish development. Notably, there is evidence of innovative uses of digital technology for heritage language maintenance, such as multiple modalities (e.g., text messaging and voice recording) in intergenerational digital-mediated communication.

This research is significant because it focuses on families’ digital experiences while spatially separated and during children’s critical years for language acquisition. The project will add to our knowledge of the language practices and beliefs in the family in two ways: by contributing to the literature on FLP in transnational multilingual families and by investigating the usage of digital technologies for language maintenance. This will help parents, schools, and practitioners better understand how novel and safe technology use can aid in heritage language maintenance.

This in-person event is part of a seminar series hosted by the Centre for Applied Linguistics.

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About the Speaker

Ana Sofia Bruzon

PhD candidate at Department of Linguistics, Macquarie University, Sydney

Ana Sofia Bruzon is a PhD candidate researching heritage language maintenance and the digital practices of transnational families. Her MRes research focused on language policy and practice, investigating multilingual schools’ online linguistic practices and was published as Piller, Bruzon, and Torsh (2023). Ana also has a background in law and is a member of the CA Bar in the US, where she has practised as an immigration and family lawyer