Lecture, February 11, 2011: Carol Pfaff

Language Development in an Urban Migrant Community: The Turkish/German/English of Children and Adolescents in Berlin

by Professor Carol Pfaff, Department of Linguistics, John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin

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In the course of my 30+ years in Berlin, I have conducted several empirical studies of the language development of children and adolescents with Turkish migration background and in this presentation will discuss research issues and present an overview of findings of the development of Turkish and German of preschool and primary school children and, from an ongoing binational study on Turkish, German and English of secondary school adolescents.

In this presentation, I first present evidence from self reports on the variety of patterns of language use in families of migrants from Turkey. Secondly, I focus on evidence for the development of core morphosyntactic areas and lexical structures with respect to four aspects of language development:
* Acquisition of German as a second or, in many cases, second first language
* Attrition / structural change in Turkish first language
* Acquisition of English as first foreign language (as well as in informal contexts)
* Language contact phenomena and overt language mixing

In the analysis, I focus on the question of what structural features appear to be particularly vulnerable to language contact effect in this situation, as opposed to those which appear to be robustly maintained, and conclude with some perspectives for further analysis and implications for future research and application of these findings in teaching and to developing language policies.

Time: 3-5pm
Location: B-4 Dwinelle Hall