DaZ ab Sechs

Head and Coordination

Team

Funding

Hessisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst

Duration

08/2018 – 08/2021

Project DaZ ab Sechs

The role of language knowledge for the acquisition of German by child second language learners

The project investigates the second language acquisition of school-age learners who had their first systematic exposure to German as children or adolescents. The main focus is on the comprehension and production of connectives, i.e. lexical means that connect sentences and are used to establish text cohesion.

The project „DaZ ab Sechs“ investigates the second language acquisition of school-age learners who had their first systematic exposure to German as children or adolescents. These learners acquire their second language German in structured settings (e.g., in form of intensive classes) as well as in natural learning contexts, i.e. outside the classroom (Müller, Schulz & Tracy, 2018). The educational system faces substantial challenges when attempting the successful integration of these learners into the school system. This task is particularly difficult, as to date little research exists on this acquisition type.

For this reason, the present project studies the productive and receptive language abilities of child L2 learners via established psycholinguistic methods. In a later project phase, we will investigate to what extent child L2 learners can benefit from teaching approaches that explicitly compare German to the learners’ first language(s). In addition, we will compare the efficacy of explicit language instruction in young learners and in adult refugees who wish to study at a German university.

The main focus of the project is the learners’ ability to adequately interpret and use connectives. Connectives are elements that link sentences in multifold ways. Subordinating conjunctions such as als ‘when’ and nachdem ‘after’ for example express temporal relations, whereas weil ‘because’ expresses a causal relation. Across all languages, connectives encode logical relations such as temporal sequence or causality. However, as their specific use differs across languages, learning connectives is difficult for L2 learners.

 

Selected Publications

Müller, A., Schulz, P. & Tracy, R. (2018). Spracherwerb. in C. Titz, S. Geyer, A. Ropeter, H. Wagner, S. Weber &  M. Hasselhorn (Hrsg.), Konzepte zur Sprach- und Schriftsprachförderung entwickeln. (S. 53–68). Stuttgart: Kohlhammer.