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Welcome to RISLUS

The Research Institute for the Study of Language in Urban Society (RISLUS) conducts research on language, literacy, and bilingualism and their development and acquisition in urban societies. RISLUS is located in the Linguistics Program at the Graduate Center, CUNY.

Mission Statement

The central mission of RISLUS is to investigate those research questions that are at the nexus of language and the urban environment, especially in New York City. Basic and applied research is conducted on:
  • structural questions, approached from a variety of theoretical viewpoints, associated with the language of urban dwellers, especially but not limited to those who are bilingual or bidialectal;
  • social, and educational issues associated with the language of urban dwellers, with special emphasis on bilingual and bidialectal communities and their language-related strengths and needs;
  • the language and language-learning profile of students at the elementary, secondary and college levels, especially at CUNY and in the NYC public schools, and on the progress of these students in the acquisition of English as well as in the strengthening and development of their native languages and other modern languages;
  • the acquisition of academic literacy skills in English by all students, but especially by students whose native base is another language or another variety of English;
  • the acquisition of academic literacy skills in the home languages of emergent bilinguals, leading to full bilingualism built on knowledge and skill in both the home language and English;
  • ways to make language instruction at the NYC public schools and at CUNY, in both ESL and modern languages, a model for public schools and universities throughout the country.