MILA

Head and Coordination

Team

Funding

Loewe Logo

Duration

09/2008 - 06/2014

Project MILA

The Role of Migration Background and Language Impairment in Children’s Language Achievement

The project MILA investigated the language abilities of monolingual children acquiring German and of children acquiring German as early second language. The project aimed at describing typical development in German and at identifying characteristics of language impairment.

The MILA project used a combined longitudinal and cross-sectional design. The receptive and productive language abilities of 120 preschool children are assessed in core areas of morpho-syntax, semantics, and phonology, using a variety of psycholinguistic measures. First results show that, as a result of their later age at the onset of acquisition of German, at age 4 early second language learners are outperformed by age-matched monolingual children. However, typically developing early second language learners rapidly catch up with their monolingual peers and master some milestones of language development even faster than their monolingual peers. At the same time, regarding late acquired phenomena, significant differences between typically developing early second language learners and monolingual children still exist up to school age. Early second language learners with specific language impairment, in contrast, are delayed in their general language development, when compared with typically developing early second language learners, and need significantly longer than unimpaired peers to reach characteristic milestones of language development.

Selected Publications

Grimm, A., & Schulz, P. (2012). Das Sprachverstehen bei frühen Zweitsprachlernern: Erste Ergebnisse der kombinierten Längs- und Querschnittstudie MILA. In Ahrenholz, B. (Ed), Einblicke in die Zweitspracherwerbsforschung und ihre methodischen Verfahren. Reihe DaZ-Forschung. Deutsch als Zweitsprache, Mehrsprachigkeit und Migration Bd. 1 (pp. 195-218). Berlin: De Gruyter.

Grimm, A., & Schulz, P. (2014). Sprachfähigkeiten von Kindern mit DaZ bei Schuleintritt. In B. Lütke & I. Petersen (Eds.), Deutsch als Zweitsprache: Erwerben, lernen und lehren. Beiträge zum 9. Workshop Kinder mit Migrationshintergrund (pp. 35-50). Stuttgart: Klett Fillibach.

Wojtecka, M., Koch, C., Grimm, A. & Schulz, P. (2011). Production and comprehension of sentence negation in child German. In Grimm, A., Müller, A. Hamann, C., &  Ruigendijk, E. (Eds), Comprehension-Production Asymmetries in child language. Berlin: de Gruyter, SOLA-43, 217-246.