Multiethnic German and the Global English Debate

by Lindsay Preseau (Author)
©2020 Monographs VIII, 146 Pages


Is English a threat to language diversity in Europe? This question has been hotly debated in language policy and planning in Germany and the EU, particularly in institutional and business contexts. However, the effects of English on non-official minority speech communities, such as speakers of immigrant languages and multiethnolects, are rarely addressed in this context. This book presents two case studies involving speakers of multiethnolects and refugee youth in Germany which show that these populations, stereotyped as non-proficient English speakers, are using English in creative and innovative ways. For these communities, speaking English is not a choice, but a matter of the ability to survive, to cross borders, and to create new identities in a foreign country. Drawing on corpus linguistic and ethnographic fieldwork data, this book sheds light on how validating these (standard and non-standard) Englishes represents an important act of empowerment and social justice for these communities. Situated at the interdisciplinary intersection of sociolinguistics and applied linguistics, this book is of broad appeal to linguists, language educators, language policy makers, and to the German Studies community at large.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • 1. Introduction: On Intra-Germanic Language Contact and Complaint
  • Central Questions
  • Positionality of the Researcher
  • Overview
  • 2. Immigrant Language and Ethnolects in Germany: Research Trends and Trajectories
  • A Brief History of the Field
  • Kiezdeutsch
  • 3. English in the Kiezdeutsch Corpus: A Cautionary Perspective on Corpus Design and Analysis
  • Background: The Kiezdeutsch Corpus
  • Code-Switching in the Kiezdeutsch Corpus
  • Local Functions of Code-Switching: A Conversation-Analytic Approach
  • Code-Switching in the Multiethnic Versus Monoethnic Sub-Corpora
  • Discussion and Implications for New Research
  • 4. German-English Translanguaging among Post-Migrant Youth in Berlin
  • Research Design and Methodology
  • Data: English Use and Proficiency
  • Data: German-English Language Mixing
  • Discussion: Theoretical and Practical Implications
  • 5. German-English Translanguaging among Refugee Youth in Berlin
  • Research Design and Methodology
  • Data: German and English Use and Proficiency
  • Discussion: Theoretical and Practical Implications
  • 6. Conclusion: Language Contact, Complaint, and Social Justice
  • Language as a Site of Social Justice
  • Future Directions for Research on Multiethnolectal German
  • Appendix A: Interlocutor Profiles
  • Appendix B: Interview Question Banks
  • Index
  • Series index

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This book was made possible by generous financial support from the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies at the Free University of Berlin, the Digital Humanities at Berkeley Initiative, the Department of German at UC Berkeley, and the University of Cincinnati Office of Research.

My gratitude is also owed to Dr. Irmengard Rauch for her many years of personal and scholarly support, from the very beginnings of this project to its publication. Likewise, this work would not have been possible without Dr. Ritwik Banerji’s interdisciplinary perspectives and morning coffees in Berlin and beyond.

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Chapter One

Introduction: On Intra-Germanic Language Contact and Complaint

Also Englischmen,

theigh hy hadde fram the beginning three maner speche,

Southeron, Northeron, and Middel speche in the middel

of the lond, as hy come of three maner people of Germania,

notheles by commixstion and melling, furst with

Danes and afterward with Normans, in many the contray

longage is apeired, and som useth strange wlaffyng,

chytering, harryng, and garryng grisbittyng.

John Trevista, 1385 (Benson 2000)

‘Also Englishmen,


VIII, 146
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2020 (December)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2020. VIII, 146 pp., 6 b/w ill., 3 tables.

Biographical notes

Lindsay Preseau (Author)

Lindsay Preseau is Assistant Professor – Educator and Director of Basic Languages in the Department of German Studies at the University of Cincinnati. She holds a PhD in Germanic Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley.


Title: Kiezenglish
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