Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft Leibniz-Gemeinschaft

Knowledge transfer on multilingualism

The transfer of knowledge from foundational research at ZAS on the topic of multilingualism is an important objective and is significantly driven by the research area Language Development & Multilingualism under the direction of Prof. Dr. Natalia Gagarina. Insights find their way to policymakers, practitioners, and parents as well as to scientists in other disciplines in a variety of ways.

Berlin Interdisciplinary Network for Multilingualism (BIVEM)

The Berliner Interdisziplinäre Verbund für Mehrsprachigkeit (BIVEM) is a Germany wide network, which offers researchers and practitioners in the fields of multilingualism, language acquisition, language promotion and language diagnostics a platform for exchange of experiences and meetings. In this way, we enable knowledge transfer between science and practice. Moreover, foundational research in the field of multilingualism is carried out on an ongoing basis. It includes among others two long-term studies in which the effects of various factors on the language development of multilingual preschool and primary school children are investigated. BIVEM was founded in 2011 by the Leibniz-Centre General Linguistics (ZAS) and funded by the Berlin Senate until 2016. Subsequently, BIVEM became a permanent part of ZAS and is lead by Prof. Dr. Natalia Gagarina and Prof. Dr. Manfred Krifka.

BIVEM provides several services for parents and educational professionals working with multilingual children. On the webpage of BIVEM you will find not only the flyer series »Achieving Bilingualism« in several languages for ordering or free downloading, but you'll find also information on the training measures and consulting services provided by the network.

To the homepage of BIVEM ››

Events on Multilingualism

ZAS regularly organizes events on the topic of multilingualism, often as part of the Berlin Interdisciplinary Network for Multilingualism (BIVEM), to inform the public and professionals about topics related to multilingualism. In addition, knowledge from research is shared with pedagogical staff and parents in the form of seminars, workshops, advanced training and continuing education modules.

More information about this can be found on the event page of BIVEM ››

Leibniz Education Research Network – LERN

The ZAS is a member of the interdisciplinary Leibniz Research Network "Educational Potentials" (LERN) and contributes in particular its expertise on mono- and multilingual language acquisition.

The aim of the research network is to bring together and build on the expertise of the individual institutes relating to education issues in order to find answers to the questions posed by education policymakers and administrators and other societal actors.

The network’s research intentionally crosses disciplinary boundaries. LERN is the first education research network of this size and the only one in Germany. It brings together and supports the work of researchers in educational science, teaching methodology, linguistics, cultural and media studies, neuroscience, economics, politics, psychology, sociology, information science and computer science in the Leibniz Association and associated institutions.

To the homepage of LERN ››

Laufende Projekte


The project aims to validate a test battery for multilingual children aged 4-8 years (TEBIK 4-8) that systematically considers the acquisition conditions of multilingual children and measures abilities in the aforementioned areas of phonology, vocabulary, morphosyntax, and narration. It is based on linguistically and test-psychologically based individual scales and a standardized parent questionnaire from the international project COST IS0804 (www.bi-sli.org). The scales and the questionnaire were adapted for German and are now to be transferred into medical, educational, and speech therapy practice.

More information about this can be found on the project page of SPEAK  ››


Language Map

The project aims to record the distribution of different languages and their speakers in Berlin. It is planned to first create a Language Map in one multilingual district, Pankow. In this district the multilingual parents have founded the association lingua Pankow, which has agreed to support the recording of the language distribution. Thus, the foundation for the creation of the Language Map of Berlin will be laid and the basis for the project with the Humboldt University of Berlin, the BBAW and the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP) will be developed.

More information about this can be found on the project page of Language Map ››


The project is evaluating the "First Language Teaching" (ESU) program at Berlin schools on behalf of the Berlin Senate. Since 2018, first (heritage) language lessons in Turkish and Arabic have been offered at Berlin schools and expanded to other languages, incorporating the specially developed curriculum framework since the school year 2022/23. A systematic analysis of conditions, processes and effects of the ESU program in Berlin will be carried out with a focus on Turkish and Arabic as the most frequently offered languages.

More information about this can be found on the project page of Eva-ESU  ››

Abgeschlossene Projekte

Book "Das mehrsprachige Klassenzimmer" (The multilingual classroom)

An important transfer project was the book "Das mehrsprachige Klassenzimmer" ('The multilingual classroom') published in 2014. This book project of ZAS is designed for teachers at German schools who have students with a migration background in their classes. In a stimulating and generally intelligible way, it provides linguistically sound background knowledge for dealing creatively with multilingualism in the classroom, as well as background information on learning difficulties specific to different languages of origin. 

Three initial chapters (Introduction, Multilingualism, The German Language) are followed by 15 chapters on the specifics of individual languages that are particularly prevalent in German schools.

To the webpage of the publisher››


From 2009 to 2012, interactive and multifunctional materials for language promotion in the national languages of the partner countries were developed in the ZAS FREPY project. In Germany, these materials are aimed in particular at Russian-German bilingual children. The exercises are suitable for both individual and group support of children between the ages of 5 and 8. The games, puzzles, picture stories, etc. are available as print versions and on the Internet.

To the FREPY page ››

Russian language proficiency test for multilingual children

'Language Level Test Russian for Multilingual Children' was developed by Natalia Gagarina, Annegret Klassert and Nathalie Topaj. It is a linguistically and psycholinguistically sound language proficiency test for bilingual Russian-German children of preschool and early school age. It enables the assessment of language level in Russian, on the basis of preliminary norms, for scientific, therapeutic and educational purposes.

To the test ››