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Language shift among adolescent ethnic German immigrants: Predictors of increasing use of German over time


Michel, A; Titzmann, P F; Silbereisen, R K (2012). Language shift among adolescent ethnic German immigrants: Predictors of increasing use of German over time. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 36(2):248-259.

Abstract

This study examined language shift from speaking Russian to German longitudinally in a sample of 229 adolescent immigrants (Mage = 16.14, Mlength of residence = 6.26, 67% female). Our aims were to test whether language shift can be found in adolescent first generation immigrants and to test whether variables indicative of (a) linguistic adaptability, i.e., the efficiency to learn, speak and use a second language, (b) the amount of contact with native Germans, and (c) the motivation to use German, predicted differences in adolescents’ levels and rates of change in German language use. Results showed an overall decelerated increase in German language use over time, which resembled a “learning curve” leveling off at an average “frequent” use of German. Differences between adolescents in language shift were mainly associated with variables indicative of interethnic contact and motivation, but not to linguistic adaptability. In more detail, speaking German increasingly in daily life was related to an increasing share of native peers, a decreasing self-identification as Russian and an increasing orientation towards natives. Language shift thus seems to result from an increasing sense of belonging to the receiving society.

Abstract

This study examined language shift from speaking Russian to German longitudinally in a sample of 229 adolescent immigrants (Mage = 16.14, Mlength of residence = 6.26, 67% female). Our aims were to test whether language shift can be found in adolescent first generation immigrants and to test whether variables indicative of (a) linguistic adaptability, i.e., the efficiency to learn, speak and use a second language, (b) the amount of contact with native Germans, and (c) the motivation to use German, predicted differences in adolescents’ levels and rates of change in German language use. Results showed an overall decelerated increase in German language use over time, which resembled a “learning curve” leveling off at an average “frequent” use of German. Differences between adolescents in language shift were mainly associated with variables indicative of interethnic contact and motivation, but not to linguistic adaptability. In more detail, speaking German increasingly in daily life was related to an increasing share of native peers, a decreasing self-identification as Russian and an increasing orientation towards natives. Language shift thus seems to result from an increasing sense of belonging to the receiving society.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development
Dewey Decimal Classification:370 Education
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:27 Dec 2012 14:05
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:10
Publisher:Pergamon
ISSN:0147-1767
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2011.10.002

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