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Auteur: Constanze WETH

Language contact phenomena in literacy: The hidden influence of writing systems on the languages in contact

Abstract/Résumé: Language contact phenomena in literacy are well known in multilingual settings and second language education. But language contact in literacy is also present in foreign language education. The focus of foreign language learning has been successively extended towards early infancy due to growing demands of language competencies in a multilingual Europe. Educational institutions such as kindergartens and primary schools have to take special care to include age-adequate elements of foreign language learning. Although the didactic intention focuses on oral communication, the reception and production of written material plays an increasing role in class. In consequence, children are nowadays faced with two orthographic systems at an early stage of tutored literacy. My talk highlights texts from children of two different groups at the end of primary school. One group of Moroccan Arabic heritage speakers is growing up in France and speaks French as second language. The other group is growing up in Germany and consists of monolingual and bilingual children with different second languages. The German children have learned French at school for four years. An orthographic analysis of texts written in French and Moroccan Arabic depicts the linguistic and literate resources of the children (Weth 2008; Maas/Mehlem 2003). It further identifies systematic influences of the majority languages, French in France and German in Germany. The data of the corpora is compared to texts written by children with French as first language. It is placed in context of the teaching methods used. The comparison is further backed up by information about the children's social backgrounds. The talk finally wants to make the point that orthographic analyses can visualize literate structures in the texts written by the children. This should be a tool in language acquisition. Bibliography: Maas, Utz & Mehlem, Ulrich. 2003. Schriftkulturelle Ressourcen und Barrieren bei marokkanischen Kindern in Deutschland. Abschlussbericht des Projekts "Schriftkulturelle Ressourcen und Barrieren bei marokkanischen Kindern in Deutschland". Osnabrück: IMIS. Weth, Constanze. 2008. Mehrsprachige Schriftpraktiken in Frankreich. Eine ethnographische und linguistische Untersuchung zum Umgang mehrsprachiger Grundschüler mit Schrift. Stuttgart: ibidem-Verlag.