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How Much Language is Enough? Some Immigrant Language Lessons from Canada and Germany

Author

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  • DeVoretz, Don J.

    () (Simon Fraser University)

  • Hinte, Holger

    () (IZA)

  • Werner, Christiane

    (Simon Fraser University)

Abstract

Germany and Canada stand at polar ends of the scientific debate over language integration and ascension to citizenship. German naturalization, as of January 2000, contains an explicit language criterion for naturalization. The first German immigration act that will presumably come into effect on January 1, 2003, does not only concentrate on control aspects but also aims at language as a criterion for legal immigration. Canada, in effect, does not base entry or citizenship on knowledge of either of its official languages. Acquisition of a second language in Canada is voluntary and largely dependent on labour market incentives. Which system of second language acquisition – the statist German system or the laissez faire Canadian model – provides the best milieu for immigrant second language acquisition? This paper undertakes a comparative review of Canadian and German legal and educational programs in order to answer this question.

Suggested Citation

  • DeVoretz, Don J. & Hinte, Holger & Werner, Christiane, 2002. "How Much Language is Enough? Some Immigrant Language Lessons from Canada and Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 555, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp555
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Joachim R. Frick & Gert G. Wagner, 2001. "Deutsche Sprachfähigkeit und Umgangssprache von Zuwanderern," DIW Wochenbericht, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 68(24), pages 365-367.
    2. Thomas K. Bauer, 2002. "Migration, Sozialstaat und Zuwanderungspolitik," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 71(2), pages 249-271.
    3. Chiswick, Barry R. & Lee, Yew Liang & Miller, Paul W., 2002. "Immigrants' Language Skills and Visa Category," IZA Discussion Papers 471, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Sarit Cohen-Goldner & Zvi Eckstein, 2008. "Labor Mobility Of Immigrants: Training, Experience, Language, And Opportunities," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(3), pages 837-872, August.
    5. Dustmann, Christian, 1994. "Speaking Fluency, Writing Fluency and Earnings of Migrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 7(2), pages 133-156.
    6. Chiswick, Barry R. & Lee, Yew Liang & Miller, Paul W., 2002. "Immigrants' Language Skills: The Australian Experience in a Longitudinal Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 502, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Wolter, Stefan C., 2003. "Sibling Rivalry: A Six Country Comparison," IZA Discussion Papers 734, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Rob Euwals & Hans Roodenburg & J. Dagevos & M. Gijsberts, 2007. "The labour market position of Turkish immigrants in Germany and the Netherlands; reason for migration, naturalisation and language proficiency," CPB Discussion Paper 79, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    3. Euwals, Rob & Dagevos, Jaco & Gijsberts, Mérove & Roodenburg, Hans, 2007. "The Labour Market Position of Turkish Immigrants in Germany and the Netherlands: Reason for Migration, Naturalisation and Language Proficiency," IZA Discussion Papers 2683, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    immigration; integration; language skills; migration politics; citizenship;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • I29 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Other
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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