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Multilingual Development in Germany in the Crossfire of Ideology and Politics: Monolingual and Multilingual Expectations, Polylingual Practices


The years since German reunification have seen changes in ideologies and policies toward societal multilingualism, linguistic pluralism of linguistic minorities. These changes have responded to the increasing diversity of minority languages as a result of immigration from the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and the subsequent expansion of the European Union. At the same time, the use of polylingualism or hybrid linguistic practices in everyday, informal contexts by both migrants and Germans has risen to public prominence. In contrast to the official policies that stress German-only education as the key to academic success and social integration, the (covert) prestige and use of languages other than German, especially Turkish, by members of other ethnic groups has been rising, and hybrid linguistic practices are gaining ground, particularly among youth. This paper examines the underlying ideologies, policies, and debates, especially with respect to the role of proficiency in German for adult immigration, naturalization and integration, as well as educational polices and practices for German and other languages.

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