Migration and Bilingualism
As a result of the migration of workers, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s, a multicultural society has developed in most Western European countries. One consequence of this development is that the hypothesis of a monolingual society connected to the idea of the nation state must be given up, even if it proves difficult for the society in question to accept this fact.
Carriers of the multilingualism resulting from this situation are, above an, the generations following the original migrants-unless the loss of the first language is explicitly or implicitly the accepted educational goal.
The German education system has been confronted with difficulties in dealing with this bi- and multilingualism in a large part of its clientele. Long years of neglect have finally created a need for action, from which the secondary and higher educational policies cannot remain aloof. For the past several years, therefore, two aspects have been in the foreground of these efforts: the development or promotion of linguistic knowledge in German and in the first languages of foreign children and youth.
In the following pages, I will concentrate on these two aspects and demonstrate the state of affairs using examples of Turkish youth in Berlin. I will begin with the linguistic knowledge of German. The necessity of this arises from the importance that a differentiated and differentiating mastery of language has for success in school, opportunities in advanced education, and for independent, responsible participation in the different areas of German society. The German language is the medium for communication with the German environment, for socialization in the German society, and-at least as far as school is concerned-also for the assimilation of knowledge and cognition. In this manner, a mastery of language also creates the substantial
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Publication information: Book title: The Germanic Mosaic:Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Society. Contributors: Carol Aisha Blackshire-Belay - Editor. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1994. Page number: 105.
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