For Students, Faculty, and Staff: MyU One Stop


Kendall King

Professor of Second Language Education
Ph.D. (University of Pennsylvania)

Curriculum and Instruction
Room 228 PeikH

159 Pillsbury Dr S E
Tel: 612-625-3692

Office hours:
by appt. please email me for current google calendar appt. slots

Download Curriculum Vitae [PDF]

Areas of Interest

My scholarship seeks to narrow the (language) education gap by (1) documenting how languages are lost (and how they can be revitalized); and (2) analyzing the policies and practices that best support minority language learners.

Schools play a crucial role in determining the life trajectories of minority language students as well as the future of minority languages. My current research attempts to contribute to the field’s understanding of the ways that schools can help support indigenous and minority language learning.

Minneapolis is home to thousands of immigrant and refugee youth, some of whom arrive to the U.S. with limited English skills and few experiences in formal classroom settings. Together with UM professor Martha Bigelow, I have documented how these students engage with English language academic content and acquire literacy skills in their first months here (Bigelow & King, in press; 2014). This research documents how first language literacy (e.g., Somali) serves as a powerful resource for students, helping them not only to learn in their academic classes, but to promote English language and literacy development, all of which are crucial for closing Minnesota’s achievement gap.

My work highlights students’ first languages as an academic resource. This research also has directly impacted Minnesota state policy. For example, in 2014, I helped to formulate and build support for new legislation that promotes multilingual approaches for English language learners (known as the ‘Learning for Academic Proficiency and Success’ Act, or ‘LEAPS’), which passed in 2014. This advocacy work builds the policy foundation for approaches to teaching immigrant and refugee students in ways that produce optimal long-term academic outcomes, support multilingual development, and promote educational equity in Minnesota and beyond.

My current research extends this work in Minneapolis Public Schools, where I work with teachers and administrators to support and implement more multilingual approaches to teaching and learning.

Download the Native Language Literacy Assessment (NLLA) below under publications.


Research Interests

Over the last two decades, my scholarship has addressed ideological, interactional and policy perspectives on second language learning and bilingualism, with particular attention to educational practices impacting language use among Indigenous populations in Latin America and Spanish and Somali speakers in the U.S. Overall, this work addresses two broad questions. First, which practices, policies, and programs best facilitate minority language development and maintenance? And second, which pedagogical, policy and interactional approaches best serve minority language students (Hornberger, 1995)? In addressing these questions, I have examined classroom-home-community contexts of linguistic contact, language use and identity production in the rural Andes and urban centers of Chile, Sweden and the U.S. More recent projects have examined transmigration, parenting practices, and Spanish/Quichua/ English language learning and use in Washington D.C., Minneapolis, and Saraguro, Ecuador, and the relationship between (im)migration status, second language learning, and school engagement. At the University of Minnesota, I teach graduate-level courses in sociolinguistics, language policy, language research methods, and language education and also coordinate the undergraduate TESL minor.

Selected Publications

  1. King, K.A. & Bigelow, M. (2017). The language policy of placement tests for newcomer English learners. Educational Policy.

  2. King, K.A. & Bigelow, M. (2016). Native language literacy assessment (NLLA). 

  3. King, K.A. & Mackey, A. (2016). Research methodology in second language studies: Trends, concerns, and new directions. Modern Language Journal100, 209-227.

  4. Bigelow, M. & King, K.A. (2015). Somali immigrant youths and the power of print literacy. Writing Systems Research, 4-19. DOI: 10.1080/17586801.2014.896771

  5. King, K.A. & Hermes, F. (2014). Why Is This So Hard?: Ideologies of Endangerment, Passive Language Learning Approaches, and Ojibwe in the United StatesJournal of Language Identity and Education, 13 (4), 268-282.

  6. Fogle, L. & King, K.A. (2013). Child agency and language policy in transnational families. Issues in Applied Linguistics, 19(1),1-25.

  7. Hermes, M. & King, K.A.  (2013). Ojibwe language revitalization, multimedia technology, and family language learning. Language Learning and Technology, 17(1), 125-144.

  8. King, K.A. (2013). A tale of three sisters: Language learning and linguistic identity in a transnational family. [Thematic issue edited by D. Warriner & L. Wyman]. International Multilingual Research Journal, 7, 49-65.

  9. De Fina, A. & King, K.A. (2011). Language problem or language conflict? Narratives of immigrant women’s experiences in the U.S. Discourse Studies, 13(2), 163-188.

  10. King, K.A. & De Fina, A. (2010). Language Policy and Latina Immigrants: an analysis of personal experience and identity in interview talk. Applied Linguistics, 31(5): 623-650.

  11. King, K.A., Fogle, L., & Logan-Terry, A. (2008). Family language policy. Language and Linguistics Compass, 2, 1-16.

  12. King, K.A. & Fogle, L. (2006). Bilingual parenting as good parenting: Parents’ perspectives on family language policy for additive bilingualism. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 9(6), 695-712.

  13. Zilles, A. & King, K.A. (2005). Self-presentation in sociolinguistic interviews: Identities and language variation in Panambi, Brazil. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 9(1), 74-94.

  14. Melzi, G. & King, K.A. (2003). Spanish diminutives in mother-child conversations. Journal of Child Language, 30(2), 281-304.

  15. King, K.A. (1999). Language revitalization processes and prospects: Quichua in the Ecuadorian Andes. Language and Education, 13(1), 17-37.

Selected Presentations