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Sociolinguistic and Psycholinguistic Research on Heritage Language Speakers Perspectives from studies of children and adolescents with Turkish background in Germany . Carol W. Pfaff Freie Universität Berlin John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies.

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Seventh heritage language research institute chicago june 17 21 2013

Sociolinguistic and Psycholinguistic Research on Heritage Language SpeakersPerspectives from studies of children and adolescents with Turkish background in Germany

Carol W. Pfaff

FreieUniversität Berlin

John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies

Seventh Heritage Language Research Institute Chicago, June 17-21, 2013


1. Background

Motivations, Academic Orientations of my work on Turkish/German

Turkish-speaking population in Germany and other European countries

2. My Studies of Turkish/German in Berlin

 EKMAUS ages 5-12 (pre)primary school

 KITA ages 1 - 8 preschool and early school years

 LLDM/MULTILIT ages 11-21 late primary, secondary school

3. Psycho- and sociolinguistic methods employed in the studies

4.Selected Findings

  • Language Mixing

  • Linguistic Convergence / Separation of systems

  • Interaction in the Heritage Language Turkish

    Conclusions and Perspectives

Academic Background of My Research in Berlinon development of varieties of Turkish, German, and English

Sociology of Language,

migration, social contexts of the speakers


 variation and change in languages, particularly in contact settings;


 political and educational implications of multilingualism


 cross-linguistic studies of specific features at different ages

Historical Linguistics

 language change in childhood and history

Anthropolitical Linguistics

 political and educational implications of multilingualism

Background my social and linguistic motivation for work on turkish german
Background: My Social and Linguistic Motivation for work on Turkish/German

My prior work in the USA on linguistic variation in Black English in Los Angeles and Spanish/English code-switching in California & Texas.

Social motivations:

Migrants from Turkey are the largest minority population

Educationally and socially disadvantaged

Linguistic motivation:

Turkish and German (and other Northern European languages) are genetically unrelated, typologically distant and lexically distant,

Ideal for investigation of

 language contact phenomena

  • development of diaspora varieties

  • Comparison across European countries with Turkish migrants

Heritage language and l2 issues
Heritagelanguageand l2 issues

Relationship of Acquisition Context and Language Practices to Proficiency in Turkish (and German)

Use of Turkish in family and neighborhood

Family and community instruction in Turkish

Turkish foreign language instruction in publicschools

Selected aspects of Turkish (and German) development in the Berlin Studies

Language choice, language shift

Language mixing

Linguistic convergence / separation of grammatical systems

Language attrition / Language change

Explanations (multiple)

Input in (contact varieties) of Turkish,

Input in other languages (Kurdish, Arabic, Greek, …)

Input in (contact varieties) German

Cognitive and Linguistic “universals” of language acquistion, change

Overview of pfaff studies in berlin 1978 2013
Overviewof PfaffStudies in Berlin 1978-2013…

Linguistic focus typological characteristics of turkish german english
Linguistic FocusTypologicalCharacteristicsofTurkish, German & English

syntaxmorphology / markedcategories

TurkishSOV agglutinative, regularpostpositionsdefaccusative ,othercasesuffixes

Ø definite articlenogendermarking

Ø copulaevidential-mIş


GermanSVO/SOV inflectional/fusional ,reg& irregular

prepositonsgender (natural & grammatical)

def & indefarticlescase/gendersyncretism: art & pro


EnglishSVO inflectional/analytic, reg & irreg

prepositionscasemarking on pronounsonly

def & indefarticles


Sociolinguistic range of elicitation investigation of contexts within contexts
SociolinguisticRange ofElicitationInvestigation ofcontextswithincontexts

Background the turkish speaking populations of germany and other european countries
Background: The Turkish Speaking Populations of Germany and other European Countries

Guest Workers (Gastarbeiter) – labor recruits – 1960s

Family members (spouses, children, others)

entered under family reunification,

increasingly restricted

Refugees – especially members of ethnic minority

Children, adolescents, adults born in the diaspora

Labor recruitment agreements between Turkey and European countries and estimates of current population of Turks (2009, 2010)

Immigration to European Countries of Refugees from Turkey

Source: Hecker 2006 Focus Migration: Turkey

Western European Countries Populaton of Turkish Citizens (2003)

Source: Hecker 2006 Focus Migration: Turkey NOTE – graphshowsTurkishcitizensonly

with German citizenswithTurkishmigrationbackground, estimated 4 million total in Germany

Population of germany by migration status and citizenship microcensus 2005 2010
Population of Germany:by Migration Status andCitizenshipMicrocensus: 2005, 2010

R equirements for german citizenship
Requirements for German citizenship

German citizenshipthrough descent from a German parent.

(jus sanguinis)

Revised Citizenship Law 2000 (jus soli).

Children born in or after the year 2000 to long-term residents of Germanycan have double citizenship at birth. Must decide at 18 or 23 which citizenship to retain.

Naturalization: After 8 years of habitual residence in Germany, map apply to German citizenship if they prove adequate knowledge of German:

  • language test (B1 / C1 European Reference Framework

  • admission to high level secondary school or German university degree

  • passing the German test of an “Integration Course”

School population in berlin by district 2009 2010 percent non german non german heritage language
School Population in Berlin byDistrict 2009/2010 Percent non-German & non-German Heritage Language


Even higher concentrations (95-100%) in individual schools in Neukölln, Kreuzberg

Sociolinguistic consequences of demographic concentration of minorities
Sociolinguistic Consequences of Demographic Concentration of minorities

Adult immigrants can continue using Turkish in many situations.

Children’s input includes regional Turkish and non-native German

The co-presenceofotherethnicgroupshas also fostered multilingual proficienciesandpolylinguallanguaging

in theminoritypopulations

 and also among Germans, especiallyyouth,

 theriseof „Kiez Deutsch“ (‘German in the hood’)

Verbal repertoires of turkish bilinguals in europe
Verbal Repertoires ofTurkishbilinguals in Europe

Neighborhood language use of turkish 7 th graders 1978
Neighborhood Language UseofTurkish 7thgraders (1978)

(1) 7th grade boy (bd) Türkisch, ich spreche auch gern Deutsch wenn ich deutsche Freunde habe, aber ich hab keine deutsche Freunde, da in unser – Strasse oder wie -- da spreche ich immer Türkisch.

Turkish, I like to speak German too when I have German friends, but I don’t have any German friends since in our -- street or whatever – I always speak Turkish there.

in our – street or whatever – there I always speak Turkish.

(2) 7th grade girl, (aa) Türkisch. Manche Tage spreche ich - ich weiss türkisches Wort nicht so genau – und spreche ich dieses Wörter deutsch. Und meine Mutter versteht nicht Deutsch, sie versteht nicht, ich sage es mein Vater. Manche Wörter spreche ich Deutsch.

Some days I speak – I don’t know (a) Turkish word exactly – and I say these words in German. And my mother doesn’t understand German, she doesn’t understand, I say it to my father. So

me words I say (in) German.

(3) 7th grade boy (bu)

F: Deutsche oder türkische Freunde? Q: German or Turkish friends?

A: Nee, arabische. A: No, Arabic.

F: Welche Sprache sprichst du mit denen? Q: What language do you speak with them?

A: Die kann Deutsch.A: They know German.

Ekmaus study 1983 1986 cross sectional 80 children ages 5 12
EKMAUS Study (1983-1986): cross-sectional: 80 children ages 5 – 12


  • A born in Berlin, little contact to German peers

  • B born in Berlin, more contact to German peers

  • C born in Turkey, started school in Turkey before immigrating


  • D Turkish children (Ankara 1983)

  • E German children (Berlin 1985)

Ekmaus elicitation methods all spoken
EKMAUS Elicitation Methods (all spoken)

social background– conversation about parents background and language practices in family, school, after school

  • Psycholinguistic tasks targeting specific linguistic featur

  • e.g case marking, prodrop, definite/indefinite reference

  • Picture description – directed conversation

  • Narratives of picture sequences

  • Personal narratives – triggered by scenes from games

  • EKMAUS: Train station picturedirected conversation about scene in pictureprompts for personal narratives getting lostprompts for travel experience (past, future) and family in Turkey

    Ekmaus actions with toys set 4
    EKMAUS – Actions with Toys: Set 4

    • 4-11: the boy gives the ball to the kangaroo (or dog).

    • 4-12: the girl takes the ball from kangaroo (dog)

      and gives it to the standing cow

    • 4-13: the boy takes the ball from the standing cow and gives it to the rearing horse

    • 4-14: the kangaroo (dog) takes the ball from the rearing horse, jumps over the standing cow

      and gives the ball to the lying down cow.

    • 4-15: the standing horse gives the ball to the girl

    Pfaff: Feb 11, 2011 Berkeley Language Center

    Examples actions set 4 turkish
    Examples – Actions Set 4 – Turkish

    Pfaff: Feb 11, 2011 Berkeley Language Center

    Some linguistic features in descriptions of actions set 4
    Some Linguistic Features in descriptions of Actions, Set 4

    Hüsniye - Group A – little contact to German peers

    Turkish: more developed syntax,

    participial modification, evidential -mış

    German: characteristics of early L2:

     articles, nonstandard gender overgeneralization of regular to irregular verbs,

    Elif - Group B – more contact to German peers

    Turkish: restricted syntax: progressive, no modification

    German: standard irregular verbs, standard case on pro

    variation in case marking on art, esp. after prep

    Pfaff: Feb 11, 2011 Berkeley Language Center

    Kita pre school day care project 1987 1992 5 year longitudinal study
    KITA (pre-school day care) Project 1987-1992 : 5-year longitudinal study:

    Sample: 34 children, aged 2-6 (+ follow up)

    Subsample: 10 children,

    Sub-subsample: 3 children, contrasting language dominance

    Ilknur - Turkish-dominant girlborn1983 in Berlin

    large extendedfamily, remainedTurkish-dominant throughout

    Serkan - German-dominant boyborn 1983 in Berlin

    lived in German orphanagefor 2 years, speaksTurkish but prefers German

    Orhan – boyborn 1986 in Berlin, Kurdish/Turkishbackground,


    shiftsfromTurkish dominant to German dominant (somedomains)

    Elicitation with toys in kita study
    Elicitation with toys in KITA study

    Kita Study Elicitation setting – FU-Info 17 Jan 1989, p. 7 (photo Pfaff)

    Lady and the tramp picture book different grammatical proficiency

    İlknur: Turkish-dominant girl 5;06


    (they) made a Santa Claus tree here

    Serkan: German-dominant boy 6;00


    this [= tree?, dog?] (is) for Christmas

    Lady and the Tramp picture book: different grammatical proficiency

    “Darling” wife gets “Lady” as a Christmas present

    • Lexical strategies: Both use the same code-switched lexical items (cultural loan)

    • But differ in strategies for lexical incorporation

    • Grammatical categories:

    • Turkish-dominant child uses evidential, German dominant child does not

    Lady and the Tramp picture book: comparison of 2 children --1no code switching, different grammatical proficiency

    “Aunt Sarah” chases “Lady” away

    from the baby with a broom

    İlknur Turkish-dominant girl 5;06

    burda da köpekhemenkoşturuyoburda da.

    o da köpeğevurmakistiyo.

    ‘and here the dog immediately runs here and she wants to hit the dog'

    Serkan German-dominant boy 6;00

    SER: dövüyo' (=aunt) is hitting  (=Lady)'

    INT: nedendövüyo? 'why is  hitting ?

    SER: bububunuhiçgörmedidiye

    'because this (=aunt) has never seen this (=Lady) before'

    SER: bu da korkmuş'and this (=Lady) was afraid.

    SER: sonrakaçıyo'then  (=Lady) is running away'

    Kita study orhan development of mixing 2 00 8 00 german and turkish recordings tokens
    Kita Study: Orhan – --1developmentofmixing 2;00-8;00German andTurkishrecordings (tokens)

    Conversations in German

    Conversations in Turkish

    Frequency of Turkish in German declines, frequency of German in Turkish increases

    Both are relatively low frequency – despite perception of speaking mixed

    Pfaff 1998 “Changing patterns of mixing in a bilingual child”

    Separation of grammatical systems --1despite lexical mixing and alternation in KITA follow-up interview

    Conversation with Turkish interlocutor about school sports: ORHAN, 8;00

    Adult refers to a previous conversation with another graduate of the Kita about

    primary school “athlete of the day”

    Conversational strategies in interaction of turkish dominant and german dominant kita children
    Conversational Strategies in Interaction --1of Turkish-dominant and German-dominant Kita children

    Pfaff 2001 “The development of co-constructed narratives in bilingual children”

    Later Language Development of --1Multilinguals (LLDM) and MULTILIT Study (2007-2013)cross sectional study of oral and written production of 200+ late primary and secondary pupilsin Turkish, German and English

    Background Questionnaire: family and language practices

    in Germany and when visiting in Turkey

    Elicitation of oral and written texts with video “everyday problems in school” (Berman / Verhoeven cross-linguistic study of L1 monolinguals in 7 languages

    Group conversations in Turkish, German and English

    Elicitation --1 in lateprimaryand in secondarysettingswatchingvideo on interpersonal problems in school12th grade class in Berlin 2007

    7th grade --1class in Berlin July 1, 2009

    Stimulus Questions for Elicitation on Video --1for production of oral and written textsin 2 Genres in 3 languages

    • Have you ever experienced anything like what we’ve seen in the video? What happened?

      --Personal narrative

    • What is your opinion of this kind of behavior?

      -- Expository Evaluation, Suggestions

    Lldm multilit 2 of 200 participants to date
    LLDM/MULTILIT: 2 --1of 200+ participantstodate

    Melih, 5th grade boy, age 11

    • attends a Turkish/German bilingual class in Berlin-Wedding.

    • speaks both Turkish and German in his family, listens to Turkish and German radio programs, reads Turkish and German newspapers, finds Turkish the most pleasant language to read and German the most pleasant for computer games and group work.

    • He wants to become a football player or astronomer .

      Hâle, 12th grade girl, age 18

    • Attends a Gymnasium in Berlin-Kreuzberg, advanced English

    • uses Turkish with her mother, both Turkish and German with her father and mixes with her siblings. She enjoys mixing.

    • Watches/listens to Turkish and German TV, radio reads Turkish and German magazines, but has not had formal instruction in Turkish

    • She intends to study and wants to become an architect.

    Pfaff: Feb 11, 2011 Berkeley Language Center

    Untersuchungsmuster: --1 Merih, schreibt, liest, versteht „sehr gut“ D/T/E, liest türk. Zeitungen, dt. Zeitschriften, am angenehmsten ist ihm beim Lesen Türkisch, beim Computerspielen u. bei der Gruppenarbeit Deutsch.


    Some linguistic features of melih s texts
    Some Linguistic Features of Melih’s texts --1

    Turkish: complex syntax, generally std morphosyntax

    • nominalizations,

    • Orthography, spelling as pronounced, influence from German

      reportac (=röportaj) ‚reportage‘

      German: complex syntax, generally std morphosyntax

    • orthography, separation of words, capitalization

    • spelling as pronunced genärft (=genervt), rennent (=rennend)

    • influence of Turkish construction types ?(rennent nach Hause gegangen)

      English: complex syntax but apparent transfer from German,

    • Word order, capitalization, spelling (n.b. nerv not nerf)

    • nst agreement and case of pronoun, my ‘my’ and ‘me‘,  aux verbs

    • colloquial English input? what’s your problem, sky high

    Pfaff: Feb 11, 2011 Berkeley Language Center

    H le 18 02 oral text in turkish violence at school
    Hâle 18;02 – oral text in --1Turkishviolence at school

    Pfaff: Feb 11, 2011 Berkeley Language Center

    H le 18 02 oral text in german cheating
    Hâle 18;02 – oral text in --1German -cheating

    Pfaff: Feb 11, 2011 Berkeley Language Center

    H le 18 02 oral text in english ostracism
    Hâle 18;02 – oral text in --1English - ostracism

    Pfaff: Feb 11, 2011 Berkeley Language Center

    Some linguistic features of h le s texts
    Some Linguistic Features of Hâle’s texts --1

    Turkish: Some nst morphology, transfer from German?

    • missing compound ending ilkokul öğrencisi ‚primary school pupil‘.

      German: complex, essentially standard morphosyntax

      English: quite complex, some “typical “ learner errors

    • Standard: case marking, gender, agreement, relative clauses , …

    • Nonstandard

      • choice of preposition,

      • overgeneralization of regular to irregular verb: gaved

    Pfaff: Feb 11, 2011 Berkeley Language Center

    Selected results language practices of adolescents lldm multilit secondary pupils in berlin
    Selected Results – Language Practices of adolescents --1LLDM- MULTILIT secondary pupils’ in Berlin

    Language Choice with family and friends

    Participant to interlocutors, interlocutors to participants

    • in Germany

    • in Turkey

    • Self reported extent of language mixing

    • Language in social media, literacy practices

    Languages practices self reports of 10th and 12th graders 2007
    Languages --1 Practices:Selfreportsof 10th and 12th graders (2007)

    • Family languageincludes German

      -- oftenwithparentsas well assiblings

    • Language mixingiscommon, seenas normal

    • Turkishmediaandtripsto Turkey supportmaintenance

    • Formal instructionofTurkish– supportsTurkishmaintenance

    • But evenwithout formal instruction, manylearntoread (andwrite) Turkishfrom relatives andfriends.

    Language choice in germany ak nc pfaff 2008
    Language choice in Germany --1(Akıncı & Pfaff 2008)

    “German and Turkish” includes both mixing Turkish & German as well as language alternation.

    Additional languages not included in the table.

    -Other languages spoken in Turkey Kurdish, Arabic or Greek especially with grandparents and/or parent(s)

    -English (including with grandparents & parents)


    Language choice in turkey ak nc pfaff 2008
    Language choice in Turkey --1(Akıncı & Pfaff 2008)

    “German and Turkish” includes both mixing Turkish & German as well as language alternation.

    Additional languages not included in the table.

    -Other languages spoken in Turkey Kurdish, Arabic or Greek especially with grandparents and/or parent(s)

    -English (including with grandparents & parents)

    Conclusions 1 maintenance shift change in turkish
    Conclusions 1: Maintenance / Shift / Change --1 in Turkish

    Turkish has high ethnolinguistic vitality among immigrant languages in Europe, particularly in ethnic enclaves such as Berlin-Kreuzberg.

    Over time, it will probably decline as communities shift to the majority languages in educational and work domains.

    But in the meantime, diaspora varieties are developing

    (and stabilizing?)

    Ongoing research of the TINWE Group of researchers on Turkish in North Western Europe

    Conclusions 2 t he state of the turkish language in europe
    Conclusions --1 2: The stateoftheTurkishlanguage in Europe

    Children and adolescents are increasingly bilingual. Some approach German-dominance, others remain Turkish-dominant, at least in their younger years.

    Attrition / incomplete acquisition and decline in social domains of use affect Turkish diaspora varieties,

    Mixing and Code-switching doesn’t mean that the Turkish word has been lost..

    Often the Turkish equivalent – or a Turkish paraphrase is used immediately after the German word. Grammatical separation can be maintained despite mixing.

    Structures: Most grammatical structures of Turkish are robustly maintained

    – even without formal Turkish instruction.

    Morphosyntactic diversity – Some decline is noticed speakers who have shifted most to German, but in Nancy Dorian’s well known phrase,

    Turkish if it’s dying, is dying with its morphological boots on.

    Constructional and discourse patterns are changing, more empirical support for the role of pragmatic transfer from German is still needed.

    Thank you! --1

    Comments and questions are most welcome

    Selected references
    Selected References --1

    • Akıncı, Mehmet-Ali and Carol W. Pfaff 2008 “Language Choice, Cultural and Literacy practices of Turkish bilingual adolescents in France and in Germany” International Association for Applied Linguistics (AILA) Essen.

      AkıncıM.-A., M. Dollnick, C. W. Pfaff and S. Yılmaz. 2010. “Development of lexical richness in Turkish written texts of bilingual children in Germany” International Conference on Turkish Linguistics 15.

    • Backus, Ad, Jens NormannJørgensen and Carol W. Pfaff (2010) "Linguistic effects of immigration: Language choice, codeswitching and change in Western European Turkish" LINCOM Language and Linguistics Compass. 4/7 (2010): 481–495, 10.1111/j.1749-818x.2010.00215.x

    • Berman, R & L. Verhoeven 2002. “Developing text-production abilities across languages, genre and modality. Written Languages and Literacy, 5,1, 1-43.

    • Hayasi, Tooru, Carol W Pfaff & MeralDollnick (2012) "Continuity and contact-induced-change in varieties of Turkish in Berlin: grammatical judgments and production of demonstrative pronouns of Turkish/German bilinguals" (with TooruHayasi and MeralDollnick). Paper presented at SS19 panel Relating the Productions of Multilingual Children and Adolescents in their Languages. Berlin, Germany.

    • Pfaff, Carol W. 1991a. "Turkish in contact with German: language maintenance and loss among immigrant children in West Berlin". International Journal of the Sociology of Language 90. 97-129.

    • Pfaff, Carol W. 1991b. "Mixing and linguistic convergence in migrant speech communities: linguistic constraints, social conditions and models of acquisition". Code-switching and Language Contact: Constraints, Conditions and Models.Strassbourg: European Science Foundation. 120-153.

    References cont
    References --1cont’.

    • Pfaff, Carol W. 1993. "Turkish language development in Germany. In: G. Extra and L. Verhoeven (eds.) Immigrant Languages in Europe. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. 119-146.

    • Pfaff, Carol W. 1998 "Changing patterns of language mixing in a bilingual child" In: Extra, G. and L. Verhoeven (eds.) Bilingualism and Migration. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 97-121.

    • Pfaff, Carol W. (2000b)."Bilingual verbal repertoires as represented in the speech of Turkish / Danish and Turkish / German bilingual children in the Køge and Kita projects". In Anne Holmen and Normann Jørgensen (eds.). Det er Conversation 801 Değil mi?. Perspectives on the Bilingualism of Turkish Speaking Children and Adolescents in North Western Europe. Køge Series K7. Copenhagen: Royal Danish School of Educational Studies. pp. 195-229.

    • Pfaff, Carol W. (2001) "The development of co-constructed narratives of Turkish children in Germany". In LudoVerhoeven & Sven Strömquist (eds.). Narrative Development in a Multilingual Context. Studies in Bilingualism 23. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins, pp. 153-188.

    • Pfaff, Carol W. 2011. Multilingual Development in Germany in the Crossfire of Ideology and Politics: Monolingual and Multilingual Expectations, Polylingual Practices. TRANSIT on line publication. University of California Berkeley.

    • Pfaff, Carol W. 2012. “Sociolinguistic Practices and Language Policies for Migrants in Germany”. In AnnikkiKoskensalo, John Smeds, Rudolf de Cillia & ÁngelHuget (eds.)LANGUAGE: Competence - Change - Contact. SPRACHE: Kompetenz - Kontakt - Wandel Dichtung – Wahrheit – Sprache Bd. 11, 2012. Berlin-Münster-Wien-Zürich-London: LIT Verlag. pp. 103-118.