By Sari Pietikäinen, Alexandra Jaffe, Helen Kelly-Holmes, Nik Coupland
Sociolinguistics from the Periphery "presents a fascinating book about change: shifting political, economic and cultural conditions; ephemeral, sometimes even seasonal, multilingualism; and altered imaginaries for minority and indigenous languages and their users"
Review of Deutsch als Fremd- und Zweitsprache [German as a Foreign and Second Language]
EDITORS: Krumm, Hans-Jürgen, Fandrych, Christian, Hufeisen, Britta and Riemer, Claudia 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 articles) 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.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
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.