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Review of  Deutsch als Fremd- und Zweitsprache [German as a Foreign and Second Language]

Reviewer: Rita Finkbeiner
Book Title: Deutsch als Fremd- und Zweitsprache [German as a Foreign and Second Language]
Book Author: Hans-Jürgen Krumm Christian Fandrych Britta Hufeisen Claudia Riemer
Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton
Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
Language Acquisition
Subject Language(s): German
Issue Number: 22.2870

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EDITORS: Krumm, Hans-Jürgen, Fandrych, Christian, Hufeisen, Britta and Riemer,
TITLE: Deutsch als Fremd- und Zweitsprache
SUBTITLE: Ein internationales Handbuch
SERIES TITLE: Handbooks of Linguistics and Communication Science (35.1/35.2)
PUBLISHER: De Gruyter Mouton
YEAR: 2010

Rita Finkbeiner, Department of German, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz


This handbook is a completely revised version of the 2001 handbook ''Deutsch als
Fremdsprache'', edited by G. Helbig, L. Götze, G. Henrici and H.-J. Krumm. It is
part of the well-known ''Handbooks of Linguistics and Communications Sciences''
series and contains an impressive 234 articles, distributed across 19 chapters
in 2 volumes, totaling 1894 pages.

According to the preface, two recent developments have made it necessary to
completely overhaul the earlier book. Firstly, there was the need to take into
account new perspectives in research and teaching of German as a Foreign/Second
Language (DaF/DaZ) related to recent developments in the areas of
multilingualism, cultural studies, and electronic media, and by changes in
language constellations in certain countries and regions. Secondly, during the
last decade, learning and teaching of German as a Second Language (DaZ) in
particular has gained increasing importance in the context of migration, a
development which changed the discipline itself. Today, the discipline of
DaF/DaZ is defined as a broad and comprehensive research area and working field
of different forms of learning and teaching German, both inside and outside the
German-speaking countries. This development is even reflected in the new
handbook title ''Deutsch als Fremd- und Zweitsprache''.

The main purposes of the handbook, according to the preface, were to
comprehensively and transparently describe the developments and institutional
structuring of the discipline; to point to its interdisciplinary dimensions in
theory and practice and to highlight connections to neighboring disciplines; to
provide a guide for students seeking orientation in the complex research area;
and to contribute to further research developments by summarizing the results of
previous research and pointing to open questions. The handbook covers aspects of
DaF/DaZ as a linguistic research area, aspects of learning DaF/DaZ, and aspects
of teaching DaF/DaZ. It is structured systematically along the lines of five
central topics, namely (A) DaF/DaZ as a specific area of teaching and research
(chap. I-III); (B) the linguistic dimension of DaF/DaZ (chap. IV-VII); (C)
language acquisition, language learning and language teaching (chap. VIII-XV);
(D) cultural and regional aspects, and the role of literature (chap. XVI-XVIII);
and (E) areal aspects: German-language teaching at schools and universities
outside the German-speaking countries (chap. XIX). In addition, the handbook
contains a comprehensive subject and name index.

All articles are written by one or two experts in the field, structured into
short sections and subsections, followed by selected bibliography. Some articles
are revised versions of the 2001 article by the same author, others are entirely
new (e.g., ''Zuwanderung und Sprachenpolitik der deutschsprachigen Länder'';
''Sprachkontakt'' (2 articles); ''Korpuslinguistik''). As it seems impossible to
summarize and evaluate 184 articles individually, I simply list chapter
headings, with the number of articles in each chapter, in order to provide an
idea of the contents. I then sketch some of major differences between the 2001
and 2010 handbooks, in order to give a more detailed impression of the
achievements of the new volume.

I. Deutsch als Fremd- und Zweitsprache als spezifisches Lehr- und
Forschungsgebiet (1 article)
II. Entwicklungslinien des Faches (7 articles)
III. Sprachenpolitik (8 articles)
IV. Linguistische Gegenstände in ihre Bedeutung für das Deutsche als Fremd- und
Zweitsprache (17 articles)
V. Variation und Sprachkontakt (11 articles)
VI. Fach- und Wissenschaftssprachen (7 articles)
VII. Kontrastivität und Sprachvergleich (30 articles)
VIII. Spracherwerb und Sprachenlernen: Modelle und theoretische Ansätze (9 articles)
IX. Sprachenlernen: spezifische Variablen und Faktoren (9 articles)
X. Sprachen lehren: Zielsetzungen und Methoden (19 articles)
XI. Spezifische Bedingungen und Zielsetzungen des Deutsch als
Zweitsprache-Unterrichts (8 articles)
XII. Sprachen lehren: Einzelaspekte (9 articles)
XIII. Medien und Lehr-Lernmaterialien (6 articles)
XIV. Leistungsmessung und Leistungskontrolle (6 articles)
XV. Lehrerinnen und Lehrer (6 articles)
XVI. Kulturwissenschaftliche Aspekte des Deutschen als Fremd- und Zweitsprache
(6 articles)
XVII. Landeskunde (10 articles)
XVIII. Die Rolle der Literatur im Fach Deutsch als Fremd- und Zweitsprache (9
XIX. Deutsch an Schulen und Hochschulen in nichtdeutschsprachigen Ländern:
Bestandsaufnahme und Tendenzen (56 articles)

The 2010 handbook comprises slightly fewer chapters than the 2001 version (19
vs. 23 chapters). However, the number of articles is considerably larger in the
2010 handbook (234 vs. 182 articles). This difference is mostly due to the
increased number of articles in chapters VII and XIX. These chapters contain
articles on different languages with which German is contrasted (chap. VII) and
on countries in which DaF is taught at schools and universities (chap. XIX).
Chap. VII now contains 30 (formerly 22) articles, where new languages such as
Ukrainian, Lithuanian or Thai have been added. Chap. XIX now contains 56
(formerly 40) countries, among them as newcomers Belarus, Serbia, Sweden, and
Georgia. The fact that a large number of languages/countries have been added in
the 2010 handbook may be read as a reflection of the continued spread of DaF/DaZ
worldwide as a subject. Despite the fact that the 2010 handbook contains many
more articles, it has only slightly more pages than the 2001 handbook (1,894 vs.
1,720), with considerably shorter and more concise articles in the 2010
handbook, along with a somewhat smaller format, set in single columns.

The revision of the 2001 handbook resulted in both obvious and more subtle
changes in the structure of the book. Among the obvious changes, there are: (a)
the addition of an entirely new chapter on DaZ (chap. XI), as a reflection of
the increasing importance of the subject of German as a Second Language
mentioned above; (b) the revision of chap. III on language politics, which --
due to the increasing influence of political and governmental policies on
language teaching -- also has been placed at a more prominent position, namely
in the beginning of vol. 1; (c) the entirely new design of chap. IV, which now
in very clear terms refers to the linguistic core modules and subdisciplines and
their particular relevance for DaF/DaZ (e.g. phonology, morphology, syntax,
lexicology, phraseology, text linguistics, corpus linguistics, translation, and
intercultural communication); and (d) the presentation of theories of language
acquisition and language learning in a separate chapter (chap. VIII). Among the
subtler changes are (e) changes in terminology, such as the more explicit use of
the term ''Kulturwissenschaft'' (e.g. chap. XVI ''Kulturwissenschaftliche Aspekte
des Deutschen als Fremd- und Zweitsprache''), and the avoidance of the term
''Auslandsgermanistik'', which still was used prominently in the 2001 handbook.
The former terminological change reflects the ''cultural turn'' in linguistics
since 1990 and the insight that learning a language is connected with learning
cultural patterns and approaching ''the Other''. The latter terminological change
reflects the fact that a clear borderline between German ''inside'' or ''outside''
the German-speaking countries cannot be drawn today (if it ever could), due to
factors such as the increasing transnational mobility of students or the
internationalization of research into language learning, which today often is
covered by the broader term of multilingualism. Finally, the addition of two
articles on ''Sprachkontakt'' (f) reflects the increasing extent to which the
subject of DaF/DaZ is intertwined with the fields of language contact, language
varieties, multilingualism, and sociolinguistics.


The handbook ''Deutsch als Fremd- und Zweitsprache'' fully succeeds in providing a
comprehensive and transparent overview of recent developments in DaF/DaZ. It
covers an exceptionally broad range of topics (e.g. linguistic, contrastive,
acquisitional, practical, educational, political) and takes into account both
the perspectives of the researcher, the teacher, and the student of DaF/DaZ. One
of the major strengths of the book lies in its orientation towards practices of
teaching and learning DaF/DaZ. As such, it is of great value for teachers of
DaF/DaZ. At the same time, the editors succeed in combining this practical
orientation with a comprehensive and high-level account of theoretical aspects
of the subject area. The handbook takes into account the latest developments and
the discipline’s dynamic development. It is carefully edited, clearly
structured, and in its structuring easily to access. Naturally, depending on
one's academic or professional background, one might find the contents of the
different articles accessible to a higher or lesser degree. The articles are
mostly well-written and concise, with the focus on the most central aspects of
the respective topic, which I highly appreciate. However, here and there, the
reader may feel a lack of a more detailed description of matters. Obviously, the
authors had to follow quite strict space restrictions, for practical reasons and
appropriate for a handbook format. Finally, one can ask why the handbook is
called ''international'' in its subtitle: Whereas the contents of the book clearly
cover both national and international research, developments, and tendencies, it
is questionable if the book is accessible to an international audience as well.
The language of the articles is German throughout, and there are no abstracts or
other information in other languages available. Naturally, with a subject such
as DaF/DaZ, one may presume that the intended audience does understand German.
Nevertheless, the question remains in how far this handbook will find an
''international'' audience outside a German context, e.g., in a context of
research on learning and teaching English, Spanish or other languages.
Nevertheless, these minor questions are by no means intended to obscure the fact
that the handbook provides an extremely valuable resource to everyone working in
the field of DaF/DaZ and neighboring disciplines such as contrastive
linguistics, sociolinguistics, multilingualism, or language acquisition.

Rita Finkbeiner, PhD, is a research assistant at the German department at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. From 2004 to 2009, as a doctoral student at Stockholm University, she has been teaching a range of introductory courses in German as a foreign language. Her main research interests are in semantics and pragmatics, phraseology, language acquisition, and multilingualism.

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