Faculty of Language, Literature and Humanities - RUEG

Faculty of Language, Literature and Humanities | Department of German Studies and Linguistics | RUEG | Networking | Conferences & Workshops | RUEG Conference 2023 - Linguistic Variability in Heritage Language Research

RUEG Conference 2023 - Linguistic Variability in Heritage Language Research

RUEG2023 | Berlin | on-site & online | 26th to 28th Sept., 2023




Organising Committee:

İrem Duman Çakır, Kalliopi Katsika, Cem Keskin, Pia Linscheid, Onur Özsoy, Anna Shadrova, Luka Szucsich, Sabine Zerbian, Yulia Zuban


Scientific Committee:

Artemis Alexiadou, Shanley Allen, Oliver Bunk, Cristina Flores, Natalia Gagarina, Mareike Keller, Anke Lüdeling, Onur Özsoy, Tatiana Pashkova, Judith Purkarthofer, Vasiliki Rizou, Christoph Schroeder, Anna Shadrova, Luka Szucsich, Rosemarie Tracy, Jeanine Treffers-Daller, Wintai Tsehaye, Heike Wiese, Sabine Zerbian


Organising Student Assistants:

Marvin Brink, Julia Brüggemann, Josefine Hundelt, Marius Keller

Contact and Participation



General Requests: via email to our Coordination Team


Venue: on-site and online


Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Unter den Linden 6
10117 Berlin

27. & 28.09.23:

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin Dorotheenstraße 24
10117 Berlin



No fee is charged for registration and participation in the conference.

From 26th June you can register for free by sending an email to coordination-rueg@hu-berlin.de.



Call for Papers: Linguistic Variability in Heritage Language Research (RUEG2023)


Abstract submissions via EasyChair (until 24th April 2023): https://easychair.org/cfp/rueg2023


Linguistic research across subdisciplines has recently developed much interest in the influence of between- and within-speaker variability in language production and comprehension. While speaker diversity has always been considered in heritage language research, this new-found momentum holds much potential for the advancement of theoretical concepts and the development of a more comprehensive view of language as a fundamentally diverse phenomenon. Capturing and modelling such diversity, especially in limited data, however, presents a substantial challenge for heritage language research among other fields. For example, numerous questions arise in relation to the empirical research practices: What quantitative and qualitative challenges do we face? How do we consider and integrate variability and diversity in our research designs, our data structures, and analyses? Other questions concern the theoretical and epistemological integration: If the baseline contains diversity, can we still identify factors that allow us to group and compare speakers? How do we account for the full diversity within the data without losing sight of unifying patterns?


The Research Unit “Emerging grammars in language contact situations: A comparative approach” (RUEG; https://hu.berlin/rueg) has investigated these questions over the past six years in a multi-university collaboration funded by the German Science Foundation. Research within RUEG has focused on both heritage speakers and monolinguals speaking a variety of languages in comparative contact situations. Crucially, this work has assumed that both speaker groups - heritage speakers as well as monolinguals - exhibit both intra-individual and inter-individual variation. In addition, research has targeted non-canonical patterns (unexpected from the point of view of standard grammars) in both speaker groups, not assuming that non-canonical structures are restricted to only one group.


This international conference marks the completion of RUEG’s second and final 3-year period. It aims to bring together researchers who are interested in contributing to the investigation of heritage languages (spoken and signed), especially from the perspective of linguistic variability and methodological challenges. We plan to have the following three thematic sessions, each introduced by a keynote speaker. Research presentations in the sessions can include or extend any of the following:


Session 1: Baselines and Variation

What are the appropriate groups to compare in studies on heritage languages? How homogeneous is linguistic production between individual heritage speakers? Which factors predict different outcomes in linguistic production between individual speakers? Do some linguistic levels and phenomena show greater variability than others?

Keynote: Jason Rothman, The Arctic University of Norway


Session 2: Repertoires and Communicative Situations

What is the role of communicative situations in the linguistic behaviour of heritage speakers and monolinguals? Do specific communicative situations trigger unexpected linguistic patterns, and do heritage speakers and other speaker groups behave similarly in those situations? To what extent do heritage speakers show register awareness in their heritage languages?

Keynote: Anna Shadrova, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin


Session 3: Methodological Advances

What methods in corpus and experimental linguistics are suitable to detect and capture possible heritage language grammars or other types of non-standard grammars? How can we best capture linguistic patterns that fall outside formal standard language? What methods in corpus and experimental linguistics are suitable to study speakers’ repertoires?

Keynote: Irina Sekerina, The City University of New York



We invite contributions on any theoretical or empirical work on heritage languages as related to the session content outlined above. Abstracts can be submitted for paper presentations (20 minutes + 10 minutes discussion) or posters. Abstracts should not exceed 500 words plus one page for references, figures, tables or examples. We kindly ask contributors to specify their chosen format in the abstract (paper and/or poster).



Poster session

There will also be an extended poster session with lightning talks dedicated to the topics described in 1-3.


European Day of Languages

On the first day (September 26th), the conference will connect with the European Day of Languages, focusing on educational implications for multilingual settings, including an outreach event with heritage communities, practitioners, students, and policy makers.

Invited speakers: t.b.a.


Submission Guidelines

All papers must be original and not simultaneously submitted to another journal or conference. The following paper categories are welcome:

  • Full papers related to one of the three thematic sessions (please indicate the session you would like to present in)
  • Posters related to one of the three thematic sessions (please indicate the session you would like to present in)
  • Please note that a publication of papers and/or proceedings is not planned for RUEG2023.


Submission Deadline: 24th April 2023


List of Topics
  • Language Contact
  • Heritage Languages
  • Multilingualism
  • Multilingualism in Education
  • Emerging Grammars
  • Variation Linguistics


  • Jason Rothman, The Arctic University of Norway
  • Irina Sekerina, The City University of New York
  • Anna Shadrova, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin