Geography of German Daycare Centers and its Association with the Preschoolers’ Sociolinguistic Characteristics

Purpose: Language acquisition is associated with or influenced by a number of factors which can be called sociolinguistic, social/sociological or demographic. Among other things, children cannot avoid being influenced linguistically by their peers and other contact persons from their neighborhood. Also, neighborhood might be a correlate of several factors influencing language acquisition. This study aimed at analysis of associations between German preschoolers__ sociolinguistic characteristics and demographic characteristics of the districts where they attend daycare centers. Methods: A sample of 1212 children (661 boys, 551 girls, 472 monolingual Germans, 658 bi/multilingual, 82 unknown; age range 42-72 months, median 51) was tested with validated language tests MSSb and AWST-R with tasks on vocabulary, grammar, speech comprehension, articulation, and phonological short-term memory. The test results were correlated with characteristics of 45 Frankfurt/Main districts. Demographic statistics for the districts were taken from the official page www.frankfurt.de. Results: Higher total scores of language tests were associated with a low percentage of unemployed citizens in the district, of citizens receiving various kinds of financial aid from the state, of inhabitants who earn only up to 450 EUR/month, with a higher average age, with a low number of immigrants, with higher salaries, a larger living space per inhabitant, etc. Distribution of numerous children__s sociolinguistic characteristics in the Frankfurt districts including medical issues such as stuttering was above chance. Conclusions: Children attending daycare centers in the districts with a high percentage of unemployed and poor inhabitants as well as immigrants score lower than children from comparatively well-off districts.



Author Information
Eugen Zaretsky, University Hospital of Frankfurt/Main, Germany
Benjamin P. Lange, Julius Maximilian University of Wuerzburg, Germany

Paper Information
Conference: IICLLHawaii2016
Stream: Sociolinguistics

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