The Interplay of Variables in Early Second Language Acquisition – A Comparative Case Study

Authors: Katharina Heiber (Teaching assistant at Ankara University, Turkey)
Christine Czinglar (Professor at Friedrich-Schiller-University, Jena, Germany)
Katharina Korecky-Kröll (Professor at Vienna University, Austria)
Speakers: Katharina Heiber, Christine Czinglar, Katharina Korecky-Kröll
Topic: Applied Sociolinguistics
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL COMELA 2020 General Session


In the fields of Sociolinguistics and Second Language Acquisition (SLA) there has been a notable shift towards the contribution of non-linguistic variables, such as SES to caregiver input, or affective and motivational factors to language variation and development. In this work I will focus on the interplay of linguistic and non-linguistic variables (e.g. Czinglar et al. 2017) in a comparative case study of two children acquiring German at the age of 3-4 as an early L2: How do the specific environments of family (speaking L1 Turkish) and kindergarten (speaking L2 German) influence the linguistic input and its processing by the child?

The longitudinal data (4 data points) were collected over 1.5 years in project focusing on the SLA of Austrian-Turkish kindergarten children and comprise video recordings of spontaneous interactions (adult caregiver and child), interviews with caregivers and language assessment tests in both L1 and L2.

The two focus children have been chosen as they are displaying sharply contrasting behaviors in the interaction with their surroundings, which shall be further illuminated through interaction analysis (Herrle 2013) including nonverbal communication (Tabors 2013). Considering the extensive data available it will be discussed how socio-emotive factors (Dörnyei 2009) interplay with linguistic variables (Hoff et al. 2008) in the two cases examined.

The aim to understand individual variation in early SLA might lead us to sustainable ways to promote children in their language development – in both their L1 and L2. It might also enable caregivers to successfully prepare them for their upcoming challenges in the second language dominated surrounding: school.


Czinglar, Christine, Jan Oliver Rüdiger, Katharina Korecky-Kröll, Kumru Uzunkaya-Sharma & Wolfgang U. Dressler (2017): Inputfaktoren im DaZ-Erwerb von sukzessiv bilingualen Kindern mit L1 Türkisch. In Isabell Fuchs, Stefan Jeuk & Werner Knapp (ed.): Mehrsprachigkeit: Spracherwerb, Unterrichtsprozesse, Seiteneinstieg. Stuttgart: Fillibach Klett, 15–34.

Dörnyei, Zoltán (2009): The psychology of second language acquisition. Oxford: Univ. Press.
Herrle, Matthias (2013): Mikroethnographische Interaktionsforschung. In: Barbara Friebertshäuser und Sabine Seichter (ed.): Qualitative Forschungsmethoden in der Erziehungswissenschaft. Eine praxisorientierte Einführung. Basel: Beltz Juventa, 119–152.
Hoff, Erika; Mueller, Gathercole; Virginia, C. (2008): Input and the Acquisition of Language. Three Questions. In: Erika Hoff und Marilyn Shatz (ed.): Blackwell handbook of language development. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 107–127.
Tabors, Patton (2013): One Child, Two Languages. A Guide for Early Childhood Educators of Children Learning English as a Second Language, Second Edition. Newburyport: Brookes Publishing.

Keywords: Second Language Acquisition, Early Second Language Acquisition, case study, input hypothesis, socio-emotive factors, Austrian-turkish children, INPUT-Project, nonverbal communication