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CRiCLE Network

Cambridge Research in Community Language Education Network: CRiCLE-Net

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About Us

Cambridge Research in Community Language Education Network: CRiCLE-Net was established in 2013 as a research and impact initiative, hosted by the Second Language Education Group (SLEG) in the Faculty of Education. It provides a research forum where policy makers, academics, practitioners and research students in Cambridge, and more broadly at regional, national and international levels, can engage in critical debates on language, heritage and migration.

‘Community languages’ refers to a wide range of minority languages that exist alongside the dominant or national language(s) in society, and are in use mainly at home, among cultural/religious groups and/or within diaspora communities. In the UK context, community languages include, for example, Arabic, Bengali, Catalan, Cantonese, Dutch, Farsi, Greek, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Lithuanian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Swahili, Tamil, Turkish, Urdu, Yoruba, among many others. Research in this field emerges in response to the global trend of transnational migration and the increasing needs of immigrant communities to preserve their heritage languages and cultures. Relevant research has been conducted under different names, such as 'asset language' in England, ‘community language’ in Australasia, 'migration language' in Europe, 'home language' in Africa, and 'heritage language' in the Americas and Asia. In the UK, community language education has become an important field of research in recent years and there is a need for a dedicated research initiative that looks at how bilingual migrant children are educated in the home, school and community.


To establish a regional University-School-Community research partnership to promote multilingualism and social cohesion in the local community and the wider society.


The CRiCLE-Net has an international focus and pursues an interdisciplinary approach to policy, theory and practice of community language education. It also seeks to address some of the related issues in bilingualism and multilingualism, migration and refugee studies, English as an Additional Language and second / modern foreign language education. The aims of the CRiCLE-Net are:

  • To provide a research forum where policy makers, academics, practitioners and research students can exchange ideas and expertise in community language education;
  • To collaborate with local, regional, national and international institutions to identify critical issues in community language education and to engage in theoretical and methodological debate on these issues;
  • To develop a corpus of research evidence that can advise the development of community language education policy and practice;
  • To build connections and create grounds for cross-fertilisation between Applied Linguistics, Modern Foreign Language Education, Community/Heritage Language Education and Teaching English as a Second/Foreign/Additional Language.


The governance of the network is supported by an executive committee, an international advisory panel, a school research advisory board and a working group. The network also plays an active role in supporting local schools and communities and serves as a resource centre for community language education in the East of England.


Members of the CRiCLE network are well connected to the University's interdisciplinary research initiatives on Migration, Language Sciences and Public Policy. For research collaboration and consultancy, please get in touch with Yongcan Liu (

Cambridge Migration Research Network
Cambridge Language Sciences Strategic Research Initiative

Cambridge Public Policy Strategic Research Initiative


CRiCLE works in partnership with Cambridge Bilingual Groups, a grassroots volunteer support organisation for bilingual groups and complementary schools in Cambridge. Join their facebook to follow up-to-date information on community language education.

Research Programmes

The CRiCLE network hosts three research programmes, each with a distinct focus:

Research Domains

Languages in the home
Languages in the school
Languages in the community
Languages in the workplace
Languages in the society

Research Dimensions

Language policy
Language teaching
Language learning
Language teacher development
Language maintenance in the family

Logo designed by David Almeida with the assistance of Clare Yerbury