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Workshop Description "Heritage Languages (in Germany)":

The term ‘Heritage Languages’ (HLs) was first introduced in the USA to refer to languages which are spoken by bilinguals with immigration background. Heritage speakers (HSs) are assumed to lay "in-between" L1 and L2 learners: Like L1 learners, HSs typically acquire languages naturally and during childhood. Like L2 learners, HSs have often restricted and insufficient input, and there is a constant interaction between the two languages. As a result, one of the languages may often lag behind in development (dominant vs. weak language). Lying between L1 and L2 learners makes HSs an extremely useful source of linguistic information about acquisition and native competence.

This workshop brings together researchers working on bilingualism and heritage languages, with a special focus on HSs in Germany. The presentations will first introduce us to the topic in general and then they will discuss recent research conducted on both heritage child and adult acquisition, with respect to several semantic, morpho-syntactic and phonological structures, from spontaneous speech and experimental studies (comprehension and production).

In this context, the papers will pose twofold questions concerning the bi-directional transfer between heritage and host languages, German in our case:

(a) How do host languages develop under the influence of heritage languages? Do bilingual heritage speakers develop similarly to monolinguals? Does time of exposure to language matter, what is the critical age of exposure to acquire a language like a native speaker? Does linguistic structure matter in acquisition: are some structures more unlikely that they will be L1-like acquired?

(b) How do heritage languages develop, and how are they influenced by the host language (incomplete acquisition and attrition)? Does linguistic structure matter in HSs' acquisition: are some structures more vulnerable than others so that they remain incompletely acquired or can attrite during adulthood? How much input is necessary to become a native speaker?



Termin: 24.11.2012


Zeit: 9:30 - ca. 18:30 Uhr


Ort: Universität Stuttgart, Casino (Geschwister-Scholl-Str.24), Raum 1.306





Maria Polinsky, Harvard University

Targeting heritage language deficits


Coffee break


Petra Schulz, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt

What we can learn from research on child second language acquisition


Jürgen M. Meisel, University of Hamburg/University of Calgary

Heritage Language Learners: Incomplete Acquisition of Grammar in Early Childhood


Lunch break


Tanja Kupisch, University of Hamburg/Lunds Universitet

Complete, incomplete, divergent, or "just" influenced? The end-state grammars of German-French bilinguals


Natascha Müller, Bergische Universität Wuppertal

Ultimate attainment in bilingual first language acquisition: they say you're likely to become attrited


Coffee break



Arhonto Terzi, Technological Educational Institute of Patras

On the structure of passive and reflexive voice: evidence from acquisition


Artemis Alexiadou & Katerina Zombolou, University of Stuttgart

Voice acquisition by heritage children in Germany


Concluding Remarks






Artemis Alexiadou

Marcel Pitteroff

Katerina Zombolou