Volume 56, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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Policy and research are confronted with a growing indistinctness with regard to the definition of ethnic minorities. It proves to be more and more difficult to identify this category in a unambiguous way. The present article describes several indicators of ethnicity and relates them to each other. These indicators relate to the situation of the parents, viz. country of birth, nationality, self-identification, home language, language proficiency and also educational level. The indicators are correlated bivariate and multivariate to the language proficiency of their children. The national representative sample analyzed consists of 7,197 pupils in group 4 (age 8-9) of primary education. The results of the analyses show that the use of different indicators leads to very big differences in size of the category of ethnic minorities. It becomes clear that the home language criterion (i.e. the language the parents speak to each other) offers good prospects as an indicator of ethnicity and a predicator of differences in language proficiency. The practical value of the criterion, however, seems more important for research than for policy.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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