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PhD ceremony Ms. G. Yilmaz: Bilingual language development among the first generation Turkish immigrants in the Netherlands

When:Mo 11-11-2013 at 12:45

PhD ceremony: Ms. G. Yilmaz, 12.45 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Dissertation: Bilingual language development among the first generation Turkish immigrants in the Netherlands

Promotor(s): prof. M.S. Schmid, prof. C.L.J. de Bot

Faculty: Arts

Gülsen Yilmaz investigated to what extent Turkish-Dutch bilinguals could maintain their first language system over a prolonged stay in the Netherlands and attempted to identify the linguistic and socio-demographic variables which affect first language change and second language development. Participants of the study were Turkish immigrants who migrated to the Netherlands as adults and stayed in the Netherlands at least for ten years or more. Data were collected via a sociolinguistic interview on first and second language use, linguistic/cultural affiliation and social networks; an elicited speech task; a lexical naming task and a matching task. Personal background information has also been collected and included in the analyses.

The analyses revealed that the expansion of the linguistic system affected the on-line language production in the L1; however, language knowledge with respect to vocabulary and complex structures was still intact. Among the external variables, only more Turkish use at work and higher educational level were associated with better vocabulary access and use of more complex structures, respectively. Impact of linguistic and socio-demographic factors was limited on Dutch proficiency, too. The best predictor of Dutch proficiency, while still moderate, was the language that the speakers preferred. The findings of this study underline the significance of in-depth investigations that include as many dimensions as possible (e.g., linguistic, social, emotional, political) in order to disclose the role of external factors in first and second language development of bilingual speakers.

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