Conference "Future of Multilingualism in the German Education System: Focus on Russian and Turkish", 3/4th March in Berlin

29.02.2016

Joint press release of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey and the Centre for General Linguistics

About 20% of the inhabitants of Germany speak another family language in addition to German. In Germany, hundreds of thousands of children grow up multilingual. Russian and Turkish are the most commonly used languages. In the German education system, this is hardly taken into account and previous language support programmes have hardly been successful despite high investments.

"Language and educational science findings are far too rarely taken into account in decisions about the German education system and in socio-political debates - often with serious consequences. Together with the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey, we want to stimulate the exchange between theory and practice and decision-makers," says Prof. Manfred Krifka, Director of the Centre for General Linguistics (ZAS) in Berlin.

On 03. and 04. March approx. 300 experts from the multilingualism research, from educational facilities, education politics and Migrantenverbänden are expected in the areas of the message and the ZAS. Among them Aydan Özoğuz, minister of state and commissioner of the Federal Government for migration, refugees and integration and international education experts such as Professor Jim Cummins of the University of Toronto, Professor Hans Reich of the University of Koblenz-Landau and Professor Mehmet-Ali Akıncı of the Université de Rouen.

"At this conference, many partners - including four universities, two research centres and two language centres - are working together for the first time towards a common goal. This is a sign of how important the issue of education is for society," said Turkish Ambassador Hüseyin Avni Karslıoglu.

In workshops, theorists and practitioners exchange ideas in smaller groups - the topics range from "Experience with teaching Turkish and Russian in different federal states" to "Bilingual literacy and acquisition of written language in two languages". In the run-up to the conference, a group of academics and education experts from the field wrote a thesis paper on "Multilingualism in the German Education System" with four theses. This paper deals with the representation of the languages of immigrants in the German education system and the influence of language attitudes on the social debate on multilingualism. The authors urgently call for an upgrading of the languages of immigrants in the education system and a social reflection on attributions based on spoken language and origin or multilingualism.

Conference: www.sprachen2016.de
Embassy of the Republic of Turkey: http://berlin.emb.mfa.gov.tr
Berlin-Brandenburger Positionspapier zur Mehrsprachigkeit im deutschen Bildungssystem (german)
Berlin Interdisciplinary Network for Multilingualism (BIVEM) at ZAS: http://www.zas.gwz-berlin.de/bivem.html

Contact:
Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft
PD Dr. Natalia Gagarina, gagarina@zas.gwz-berlin.de, Tel. (030) 20 192-506
Botschaft der Republik Türkei, Botschaftsrat für Bildungswesen
Prof. Dr. Cemal Yildiz, cemalyildiz@yahoo.com, Tel. (030) 27591017