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Balance and dominance in the vocabulary of German-Turkish primary schoolchildren

Elke G. Montanari, Mehmet-Ali Akıncı and Roman Abel

Abstract

Balanced bilingualism has inspired debates on bilingualism for a long time, but several questions related to this discourse remain unanswered. How common are balanced bilinguals? Does balance have a positive impact on language proficiency? More specifically, when children begin to frequent schools and thus have a lot of oral and literal input in the school language, how do balance and dominance develop? The present paper discusses the following research questions with respect to vocabulary: Do balanced test results in two languages correlate with a better proficiency than unbalanced results? Moreover, is a balanced use of two languages accompanied by a balanced vocabulary? We used a picture naming task to test the expressive and receptive vocabulary of 98 German-Turkish speaking schoolchildren in a cross-sectional design. To determine balance resp. dominance, we used a combined score of the values in the German and the Turkish testing. The balance/dominance scores show a continuous shift to dominance in the majority language. Consistent use of Turkish has an effect on Turkish vocabulary, but not a negative impact on vocabulary in German. There was no overall positive influence of balanced bilingualism.

Türkçe özet

Dengeli ikidillilik, son zamanlarda ikidillilik üzerine gerçekleştirilen birçok çalışmanın araştırma konusu olmuştur, ancak dengeli ikidilliliğin ne denli yaygın olduğu ve dengenin dil becerisi üzerinde olumlu etkisinin olup olmadığı merak konusudur. Özellikle, diller arasındaki denge ve baskınlığın, çocuğun okul dönemine girmesiyle birlikte gerçekleşen sözlü ve yazılı girdi artışından nasıl etkilendiği araştırılmalıdır. Bu makale, sözcük dağarcığı kapsamında şu araştırma sorularına yanıt aramaktadır: Her iki dilde de denge saptanan test sonuçlarında, denge saptanmayan test sonuçlarına göre dil becerisi daha mı gelişmiştir? Ayrıca dillerin dengeli kullanımı aynı zamanda her iki dilde de eşit sözcük dağarcığına mı işaret etmektedir? Bu amaçla, 98 Almanca-Türkçe ikidilli ilkokul öğrencisinin konuşma ve anlama becerisini, görsellerin çeşitliliğini de gözeterek, resim adlandırma testiyle inceledik. Diller arasında denge mi baskınlık mı olduğunu saptamak için, Almanca ve Türkçe test sonuçlarının puanlarını birleştirerek değerlendirdik. Denge/baskınlık puanları çoğunluk dilinde sürekli bir değişime işaret etmektedir. Düzenli Türkçe kullanımı Türkçe sözcük dağarcığını olumlu yönde etkilerken, Almanca sözcük dağarcığı üzerinde olumsuz bir etkisi olmamaktadır. Genel olarak bakıldığında dengeli iki dilliliğin olumlu bir etkisi gözlemlenmemiştir. Eleştirel bir yaklaşım olarak, aynı testin farklı dillerde sözcük dağarcığını ölçmek için kullanılması, bu testin bazı diller için daha uygun olabileceğine dikkat çekmiştir.

Resumen

El bilingüismo equilibrado ha inspirado los debates sobre el bilingüismo durante mucho tiempo, pero ¿con que frecuencia se puede hablar de bilingües equilibrados, ¿tiene el equilibrio un impacto positivo en el dominio del idioma? Y especialmente cuando los niños comienzan a asistir a la escuela y en consecuencia reciben mucha información oral y escrita en el idioma de la escuela, ¿cómo se desarrollan el equilibrio y el dominio? El presente trabajo discute las siguientes preguntas de investigación con respecto al vocabulario: ¿Los resultados equilibrados de las pruebas en dos idiomas se correlacionan mejor que los resultados desequilibrados con una mejor competencia? ¿Y va el uso equilibrado de dos idiomas acompañado de un vocabulario equilibrado? Utilizamos una tarea de identificación de imágenes para poner a prueba el vocabulario productivo y receptivo de 98 escolares germano-turcos en un diseño transversal. Los resultados en alemán y en turco fueron sustraídos para determinar el índíce de equilibrio/dominio respectivo. Las puntuaciones de vocabulario muestran un cambio continuo al dominio en el lenguaje mayoritario. El uso constante del turco tiene un efecto en el vocabulario turco, pero no tiene un impacto negativo en el vocabulario en alemán. No hubo una influencia positiva general del bilingüismo equilibrado.

Zusammenfassung

Ausgewogenheit hat die Debatten über Bilingualität oft inspiriert; doch wie häufig sind ausgewogene Zweisprachige, und hat Ausgewogenheit einen positiven Einfluss auf Sprachbeherrschung? Diese Fragen untersuchen wir mit dem Fokus auf den ersten Schuljahren, in der die Kinder einen hohen Anteil ihres Inputs in der Schulsprache erhalten. Wir diskutieren die folgenden Forschungsfragen in Bezug auf den Wortschatz: Korrelieren ausgewogene Testergebnisse in zwei Sprachen mit insgesamt stärkeren Testergebnissen? Geht ein ausgewogener Gebrauch von zwei Sprachen mit einem ausgewogenen Wortschatz einher? Dafür wurden 98 Deutsch-Türkisch-sprachige Schülerinnen und Schüler in einem Querschnittsdesign mit einem Bildbenennungstest auf expressiven und rezeptiven Wortschatz untersucht. Durch Subtraktion der türkischen Ergebnisse von den individuellen deutschen Resultaten wurde ein Dominanz-/Balanceindex für jedes Kind errechnet. Die Testergebnisse zeigen eine kontinuierliche Verschiebung zu einer Dominanz in der Mehrheitssprache Deutsch. Die konsequente Verwendung des Türkischen in der Familie wirkt sich positiv auf den türkischen Wortschatz aus, nicht aber negativ auf den deutschen Wortschatz. Wir fanden keinen positiven Effekt von Ausgewogenheit. Als mögliche Einschränkung wird angemerkt, dass die Verwendung desselben Testverfahrens in mehreren Sprachen aufgrund von Testeffekten einzelne Sprachgruppen bevorzugen könnte.

Acknowledgments

Our warm thanks go to Barbara Graßer for the direction of the project and to Burcu Gökçay, Bilge Mermertaş, and Lilia Tschudinovski for the testing. We are very grateful to Janet McLaughlin and Ana Maria Iglesias for their helpful comments.

Declaration of interest statement

The authors certify that they have no affiliations with or involvement in any organisation or entity with any financial interest (such as honoraria; educational grants; participation in speakers’ bureaus; membership, employment, consultancies, stock ownership, or other equity interest; and expert testimony or patent-licensing arrangements) or nonfinancial interest (such as personal or professional relationships, affiliations, knowledge, or beliefs) in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.

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Appendix

Table 2

Grade, mean SD, min. and max. in German expressive and receptive, Turkish resp., best language, TV and TCV

gradeML exprML recHL exprHL recbest languageTCVTV
1M22,0871,5412,000057,300022,846226,384628,5385
SD12,25116,2153,3665012,2206611,2238311,0494211,94163
St.error3,3984,4971,272423,864513,112933,064563,31201
min4417,0044,004,004,004,00
max438717,0077,0043,0043,0045,00
2M33,3981,1817,285761,760033,857138,928642,0000
SD14,8019,4567,7402914,7740814,1962815,8135615,18528
St.error2,7971,7872,068682,954822,682842,988482,86975
min14657,0032,0014,0015,0015,00
max699431,0084,0069,0082,0069,00
3M46,1586,6220,523867,600046,558851,117658,7941
SD13,3925,0758,1646711,5029213,0365211,8084815,14732
St.error2,297,8701,781682,100142,235752,025142,59774
min16767,0038,0016,0026,0028,00
max839542,0083,0083,0082,0094,00
4M54,3589,9124,588272,900054,304360,347872,4783
SD12,3164,5128,703879,8830012,300909,7729215,46806
St.error2,568,9412,111002,209912,564922,037793,22531
min327911,0054,0032,0047,0052,00
max839546,0089,0083,0086,00117,00
overallM41,2383,8419,915365,917641,602046,520453,1939
SD17,06310,2268,6169213,1431816,5876216,6592520,75962
St.error1,7241,0331,121831,425581,675601,682842,09704
min4417,0032,004,004,004,00
max839546,0089,0083,0086,00117,00

Items in German and Turkish

TürkischDeutsch
B 01taçKrone
B 02resim yapmakmalen
B 03oyuncakSpielzeug
B 04hızlıschnell
T 01el arabasıSchubkarre
T 02eskialt
T 03yemekfressen
T 04oturakHocker
T 05iyilieb
T 06sebzeGemüse
T 07göstermekzeigen
T 08erkenfrüh
T 09koltuk değneğiKrücke
T 10yumuşakweich
T 11tahılGetreide
T 12otomatAutomat
T 13raydan çıkmakentgleisen
T 14vahşiwild
T 15bitkilerPflanzen
T 16conteynirContainer
T 17hokkabazlık etmek jonglieren
T 18kozmetikKosmetika
T 19soymakschälen
T 20bulutsuzwolkenlos
T 21yolcu eşyasıGepäck
T 22itmekschieben
T 23kolayeinfach
T 24baharatlarGewürze
T 25piramitPyramide
T 26dengelemekbalancieren
T 27badmintonFederball
T 28beklemekwarten
T 29düzglatt
T 30enstrumanInstrumente
T 31gösteri yapmakdemonstrieren
T 32renksizeinfarbig
T 33kurulamak abtrocknen
T 34cesurmutig
T 35başlıkKopfbedeckungen
T 36tanıdıkvertraut
T 37kap kacakGeschirr
T 38pusulaKompass
T 39spor çeşitleriSportarten
T 40dirsekEllenbogen
T 41mutfak aletileriKüchengeräte
T 42üzgüntraurig
T 43şenlikFeste
T 44mücevheratSchmuck
T 45parmaklıkGeländer
T 46kırmakabbrechen
T 47yakınnah
T 48aletWerkzeuge
T 49solmakverblühen
T 50uyduSatellit
T 51orkestraOrchester
T 52sıkıcılangweilig
T 53tomurcukKnospe
T 54sofra takımıBesteck
T 55topukFerse
T 56dalgalanmakwehen
T 57paltoMantel
T 58yüksekhoch
T 59iş makinalarıBaufahrzeuge
T 60vantilatörVentilator
T 61tartmakwiegen
T 62yiyeceklerLebensmittel
T 63orkestrayı yönetmekdirigieren
T 64duvakSchleier
T 65sürgüRiegel
T 66icerideinnen
T 67mevsimJahreszeiten
T 68meşaleFackel
T 69teselli etmektrösten
T 70böceklerInsekten
T 71mobilyaMöbel
T 72çirkinhässlich
T 73armaWappen
T 74ekşisauer
T 75binaGebäude
T 76bıçak ağzıKlinge
T 77eğilmekverbeugen
T 78işaretZeichen
T 79ökçeAbsatz
T 80rendelemekreiben
T 81memnunsuzunzufrieden
T 82bilezikArmreif
T 83çekmekziehen
T 84sivrispitz
T 85azarlamakschimpfen
T 86modası geçmişaltmodisch
T 87mesleklerBerufe
T 88tokaSchnalle
T 89çekmekabschleppen
T 90kurutrocken
T 91örmekstricken
T 92sapHenkel
T 93tehlikesizungefährlich
T 94bağırmakbrüllen
T 95tepeGipfel
Published Online: 2019-01-29
Published in Print: 2019-02-28

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston