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A Case Study of Kurdish-German Pre-school Bilingual Children


Baban Mohamed

The state of acquiring more than one language as a child or an adult is not the exception; it is rather an everyday reality for a quite substantial part of today’s society. This book explores the phenomenon of code-switching within the field of child bilingualism from both linguistic and sociolinguistic perspectives. Based on collected data from Kurdish-German pre-school bilingual children in Austria, this empirical study aims at giving an analysis of linguistic and extra-linguistic factors that constrain child code-switching. The book shows specific interest in practices of code switching and mixing as displayed by Kurdish subjects of the study and in how far these can be sufficiently explained by existing models of (adult) bilingual language behavior. The results clearly show that code-switching can be related to the identity and characteristics of the speakers or to aspects of their social life, and that it can be subconsciously used to manage conflict when different languages are associated with different roles in a community.
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I am deeply indebted to Univ. Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Grosser for his encouragement, constructive help and belief in me. I want to thank Univ. Prof. Dr. Wilfried Wieden for his class discussions, teaching me to read critically. I would like to thank Dr. Martin Kaltenbacher for his valuable advice, suggestions for improvement, for his patience and for reading innumerable drafts.

I am especially thankful to the parents of my informants in Salzburg and in Vienna, for their warm hospitality and for letting me carry out my observations with their children in their houses. I am also grateful to the teachers at the Kurdische Schule in Vienna.

Above all, however, I want to thank my brother Arfan, without his financial support I would not have been able to come to Austria and to do my studies at Salzburg University.

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