Nicole Biedinger, Birgit Becker, Oliver Klein
Turkish-language ability of children of immigrants in Germany: which contexts of exposure influence preschool children's acquisition of their heritage language?

Ethnic and Racial Studies, 2015: 38, Heft 9, S. 1520-1538
ISSN: 0141-9870 (print); 1466-4356 (online)

A lot of research has been devoted to explaining immigrants’ acquisition of the language of the receiving country. However, less attention has been paid to explaining the acquisition of the heritage language among children of immigrants. The most important determinant for young children is exposure to the language. Language exposure can occur in various contexts, such as within the family, during preschool, through peers or via media. Our empirical analysis therefore explores which of these contexts is most statistically significant for the acquisition of the heritage language among children of Turkish immigrants. Using data from the project Preschool Education and Educational Careers among Migrant Children, we show that all contexts are important at different age levels but the acquisition of the heritage language is mainly determined by the exposure to it within the family.