Language Capital Project

The Language Capital Project  maps out non-residential spaces where speakers of non-national languages (e.g. languages other than English in the U.S.) work, volunteer, or gather. It was created by Christian Ruvalcaba and Michelle Aguilera, graduates of the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching at the University of Arizona, with support from CERCLL.

The project was made with the following goals in mind:

1) To help others locate speakers of their own native language in the local community.

2) To help people explore the linguistic diversity of their surroundings.

3) To serve as an educational tool for language learners and language teachers.

4) To promote small, local businesses owned by immigrants and Native Americans.

In solidarity with the University of Sheffield based project, Multilingualism and Mobility in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, the creators believe that awareness of cultural and linguistic diversity’s benefits can strengthen societies and inform education, migration, and economic policies.

 In September 2023, Ruvalcaba and Aguilera published an article that discusses the site. A Collaborative Asset Mapping Approach to the Linguistic Landscape: Learning from the community’s Linguistic Capital in an L2 College-Writing Course theoretically situates the project as language learning research with a sociolinguistic justice approach.

(Published in: Dubreil, S., Malinowski, D., Maxim, H.H. (eds) Spatializing Language Studies. Educational Linguistics, vol 62. Springer, Cham.