Mehrsprachigkeit in der Bildung in Deutschland – eine Diskursanalyse


  • Farin Engels University of Marburg / University of Tartu



multilingual education, discourse analysis, Germany, multilingualism, reading literacy


Multilingualism in Education in Germany – a Discourse Analysis. In the Republic of Germany, language acquisition for children with a mother tongue other than German has been a widely discussed topic in education science as well as in public and political discourse over the last decades. Annual studies on preschool and primary education point to the ongoing disadvantage – or even discrimination – suffered by multilingual children in the German education system. Given Germany’s history as a country of immigration, and in light of recent public discussions on the increased immigration of refugees, the question of the problematic’s socio-political background arises. This leads to the issue of linguistic concepts among society and their influence on domestic language policies. This article presents analysis of discourse around languagepolitical concepts and practices among stakeholders in language promotion in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia. Five semi-structured interviews with state employees were analysed following a discourse analytical approach. The analysis, deploying frameworks from the field of Critical Discourse Analysis, focused on the discursive practice of legitimation in the evaluation of multilingualism. Multilingualism as a phenomenon in society appeared to be evaluated according to differing standards (for example correctness or properness) depending on the language. As for evaluation, the analysis indicated an additional dimension in discourse which assigns different groups of speakers a belonging to particular languages. All in all, the collected data pointed to a diverse and ever-changing discourse in the field of language promotion in North-Rhine Westphalia. The presented analysis aims to stimulate a debate and suggests some directions for future research.


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