English abstract

The psycholinguistic research project INPUT investigates the linguistic development of kindergarten children who acquire either German as their only first language or Turkish as their family language and German as their early second language. The main question is whether and how the input language (i.e. the utterances that children hear at home and in kindergarten) affects their language acquisition. Anglo-american studies show that social differences in the input have effects on the children's linguistic abilities, namely in their first as well as in their second language. The INPUT project investigates these correlations for the first time in the German-speaking area.

48 three-year-old children are observed in spontaneous interaction with their adult caretakers (parents, kindergarten teachers) over a period of 18 months. Interviews and linguistic tests in their first and their second language add to these spontaneous speech data. The children's backgrounds should be different: Migrant and non-migrant families with different educational backgrounds, monolingual German-speaking families, bilingual Turkish-German speaking families, in private and public kindergartens and in different Viennese districts.

Each child is observed together with his/her primary caretaker at home and in kindergarten. The video and audio recordings are transcribed and coded and enable a detailed investigation of the input provided by parents and kindergarten teachers in everyday situations. In order to test specific hypotheses concerning the acquisition of vocabulary and grammar, several playful tests are conducted with the children. Interviews with kindergarten teachers and parents in German and Turkish shed light on the families' language histories, their educational backgrounds and aspirations, their linguistic and social capital and the estimated amount of input in both languages.

The project should answer the question why and how the educational and migrant backgrounds affect children's linguistic competences and their later success at school. The collected data will also allow a better understanding of the quality of the input of Viennese children with high language abilities, so that strategies for a conscious improvement of the input can be developed. Furthermore, the results of the study shall lead to reasons for precise measures of educational policy in order to improve the linguistic competences of children living in Vienna.