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Language discrimination in Germany : when evaluation influences objective counting

  • Language attitudes matter; they influence people’s behaviour and decisions. Therefore, it is crucial to learn more about patterns in the way that languages are evaluated. One means of doing so is using a quantitative approach with data representative of a whole population, so that results mirror dispositions at a societal level. This kind of approach is adopted here, with a focus on the situation in Germany. The article consists of two parts. First, I will present some results of a new representative survey on language attitudes in Germany (the Germany Survey 2017). Second, I will show how language attitudes penetrate even seemingly objective data collection processes by examining the German Microcensus. In 2017, for the first time in eighty years, the German Microcensus included a question on language use ‘at home’. Unfortunately, however, the question was clearly tainted by language attitudes instead of being objective. As a result, the Microcensus significantly misrepresents the linguistic reality of different migrant languages spoken in Germany.

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Author:Astrid AdlerORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Journal of language and discrimination. Special Issue: Linguistic discrimination and cultural diversity in social spaces
Publisher:Equinox Publishing
Place of publication:Sheffield, United Kingdom
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2019
Date of Publication (online):2019/12/19
Tag:German Microcensus; language attitudes; survey design
GND Keyword:Deutsch; Deutschland; Mikrozensus; Sprachgebrauch; Sprachstatistik
First Page:232
Last Page:253
DDC classes:400 Sprache / 400 Sprache, Linguistik
Open Access?:ja
Leibniz-Classification:Sprache, Linguistik
Program areas:Zentrale Forschung
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung - Nicht-kommerziell - Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen 4.0 International