Written productions from children with an immigration background

Multilingualism in individuals
Project management:
01.2016 to 12.2017

Fabio Soares

In progress

This project aims to describe the development of productive writing skills in children with a Portuguese immigration background living in Switzerland (in the language of origin and in the language of instruction). It is based on data collected as part of the project Language of origin and language at school: are language skills transferable? (HLC) from the work programme 2011-2015 by the Research Centre on Multilingualism.

The project will be divided into three stages:

  1. Establishment of a corpus of written productions in Portuguese/German/French by pupils in HarmoS grades 5 and 6.
  2. Adaptation of a tool for assessing the lexical scope for these productions.
  3. Study of surface transfers in those productions and other sub-projects based on the corpus established.
Purpose – Expected results: 

On demande, the corpus established for this project can be made available to other researchers working on textual skills in migrant children. Focusing on the scope of the vocabulary is important as it allows to objectively describe the use of word-stock which is considered as significant as the fundamental component of language skills (see Long and Richards 2007, quoted in Treffers-Daller 2011).

Analysing positive and negative surface transfers will be useful for researchers and teachers alike as it will enable to better understand the processes involved in migrant children’s language development. Moreover, pedagogical tips as to the teaching of vocabulary will be provided drawing on the distribution lists on word frequency based on the HLC corpus.

Each sub-project should result in a scientific publication and/or presentation at a conference.