Effects of biliteracy on third language reading proficiency, the example of Turkish-German bilinguals

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The paper at hand compares the effects of bilingual language use and biliteracy on third language reading comprehension. Data of 280 9th-graders from 14 schools in Hamburg, Germany, were analyzed for the research. Using a questionnaire on language use at home, 142 students were identified as monolingual speakers of German and 138 students as bilingual speakers of Turkish and German. All students were tested in reading comprehension in German (GRC) and English (ERC), which is the third language of the bilinguals. Students with a background in Turkish were tested in Turkish reading comprehension (TRC), too. On the basis of the TRC and GRC test the bilingual students were grouped into fully biliterate students and partially biliterate. Controlling for a set of comprehensive cognitive and socio-economic variables, multivariate regression analysis revealed a negative association between the oral use of Turkish and German in daily life and English reading comprehension but a positive association of biliteracy in Turkish and German and English reading comprehension. In contrast to a bilingualism, which is related to spoken language only, biliteracy seems to be positively associated with third language acquisition.


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