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Albanian in contact: horizontal transfer and identity in multilingual practice

Project background, research questions and goals

Although Albanian-speaking communities have been among the largest migrant groups in Switzerland since the 1980s and also form a larger group in Germany, little is known about the language and linguistic behavior of this speaker community, which now spans several generations.
The research project is therefore concerned with the questions of how Albanian origin speakers in Switzerland and Germany interpret and practice their linguistic biography in everyday life and how group affiliations are derived from it. Furthermore, research is to be carried out into how multilingual interactions are constituted and what influence language contact has on language change in a socio-economic and geo-spatial contact situation that is as controllable as possible.
The goals of the research project are to examine the influence of a specifiable socio-cultural configuration on the development of specific linguistic structures in a contact environment, to analyze language perception and language awareness in the multilingual practice of Albanian origin speakers in Switzerland and Germany, and to use suitable instruments for maintaining the language of origin as a means of social participation to develop.

The comparison of the source language situation of Albanian speakers in Switzerland and Germany enables the relevance of the socio-cultural background for linguistic practice, identity construction and the emergence of different types of contact varieties to be evaluated. Both groups of speakers are comparable in terms of depth of time and variety of origin, but differ in the details of socio-cultural embedding (diaspora situation in Germany more pronounced than in Switzerland and networking less so; role of the HSU different: in Bavaria, this was only supported until 2004).


20 informants (thus a total of 120) divided into generations per country and generation:
• G1: Born in the home country, age when entering CH / D at least 25, complete socialization in the country of origin
• G2: Born in CH / D from parents of G1 or born in home country, emigrated to CH / D before the age of 12
• G3: Born in CH / D by parents of the G2

Methods / designs

Analog data:
1. Guide interviews in Albanian and German
2. Elicitation of narrative texts with the help of a film impulse
3. Test battery: text correction, writing samples, acceptability assessments
1. Narrative in-depth interviews
2. Voice recordings in authentic contexts (phone calls, table conversations, meetings of individual family members, etc.).
Data online:

Crowd sourcing process:
a. Transcription of audio stimuli (determination of speech perception)
b. Correction of source language and dialect texts (determination of language reflection)
c. Assignment of audio stimuli regarding origin, language skills, social background (construction of affiliations)