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RISLUS Mission Statement

The Institute conducts research on language, literacy, and bilingualism and their development and acquisition in urban societies. 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;

  • on 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;

  • on 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;

  • on 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;

  • on 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;

  • on 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. 

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Ricardo Otheguy

The Graduate Center

Phone: 212-817-8506

Associate Director

Gita Martohardjono

Executive Officer, Associate Professor
Graduate Center

Phone: 212-817-8500

Assistant to the Directors

Elizabeth Pratt

Research Assistant
The Graduate Center

Phone: 212-817-8511