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Continuity and change in patterns of language use in three generations of Turkish children and adolescents in Berlin: Empirical studies 1978-2016

Carol Pfaff

(Freie Universität Berlin)

My research in Berlin has focused on the development of multilingualism of children and adolescents with Turkish as heritage language, in particular the relationship between social variables their linguistic competence and language practices in their families, neighborhoods and schools. During the period of my studies, there have been changes related to migration – from “intermediate generation” immigrants who began their schooling in Turkey before migrating to Berlin, to second and third generation children of parents born and schooled in Berlin. Over this time, some aspects of the linguistic varieties in use appear to have changed as a result of contact among peers, changes in the input, explicit instruction and opportunities for use.

In this presentation I briefly summarize the major social and educational policy changes which have framed the sociolinguistic settings in which the speakers develop and discuss a few of the linguistic effects to emerge from five empirical studies of Turkish and German of preschool children and primary school and secondary school pupils.


Pfaff, Carol W. (2010). “Multilingual development in Germany in the crossfire of ideology and politics”. In U. Okulska, and P. Cap (eds.) Perspectives in Politics and Discourse. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. pp. 328-357.

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

Pfaff, Carol W. (2014). “Multilingualism and mobility: Reflections on sociolinguistic studies of Turkish/German children and adolescents in Berlin 1978-2013”. In Horner, Kristine, Ingrid de Saint-Georges & Jean Jacques Weber (eds.) Multilingualism "and Mobility in Europe: Policies and Practices. Frankfurt/Main: Peter Lang. 17-42.

Pfaff, Carol W. (2015) "(How) will Turkish survive in Northwestern Europe? 50 years of migration, 35 years of research on sociopolitical and linguistic developments in diaspora Turkish" In Zeyrek,Deniz, Sağın Şimşek, Çiğdem, Ataş,Ufuk and Rehbein, Jochen (eds.) Ankara Papers in Turkish and Turkic Linguistics. Series Turcologica. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 453-492.

Pfaff, Carol W., Meral Dollnick & Annette Herkenrath (in press) "Classroom and community support for Turkish in Germany" In Kagan, Olga; Carreira, Maria and Chik, Claire (Eds.) A Handbook on Heritage Language Education: From Innovation to Program Building. Routledge