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Seda Yılmaz-Woerfel

Mail:  seda.yilmaz at uni-potsdam.de


  • Bilingualismus und Biliteracy
  • Drittspracherwerb
  • Syntax
  • Informationsstruktur
  • Code-Switching


2008 BA in Deutsch und Englisch (Lehramt) an der Cukurova Universität, Adana/Türkei

2009 Master in Interkulturelle Erziehung an der FU Berlin

-Mitglied im Zentrum „Sprache, Variation und Migration



Linguistic Development of Adolescents with Migration Background: A Comparative Analysis of Complex Sentence Structures in German, Turkish and English.

My dissertation presents, “Linguistic development of adolescents with migration background: A comparative analysis of complex sentence structures in German, Turkish and English”.This sociolinguistic study is the empirical analysis of corpus data and questionnaires, which was collected through a cross-linguistic multilingual development study of trilingual 7th, 10th and 12th graders at a secondary school (Gymnasium) in Berlin.In my dissertation project, I focus on word order changes in subordinate clauses in contact varieties of German and Turkish and in learner varieties in the English of Turkish-German bilingual speakers. The aim of the cross-linguistic comparisons is to find out how information structure affects the word order change in typologically different languages in contact, both in oral and written discourse, in L1 (Turkish), L2 (German), and L3 (English). My research is oriented on the following questions:

• Are there any word order differences due to language contact? And can they be
explained by information structure in the new contact varieties?
• In what respect does language contact influence the syntactic information structure of subordinate clauses?
• Which grammatical and pragmatic aspects of complex structures reveal language
contact phenomena?
• What effect does a prolonged exposure and the use of a second language, have on the first language?
• What are the patterns of linguistic development in this cross-sectional study? (7th , 10th and 12th graders)

My motivation to choose this topic is because third language acquisition is very important amongst multilinguals in today’s globalized world and in addition, there are very few studies adressing this. My main focus is to analyze relative clauses and subordinate clauses of condition or a concession; if, whether, the cause or reason; because, since, whereas and that clauses in English and the corresponding forms in Turkish and German, in a syntactic-lexical-semantic interface in usage.


Publikationen und Vorträge


Akinci, M., Dollnick, M., Pfaff, C. & Yilmaz, S. 2010, Development of lexical richness in Turkish written texts of bilingual children in Germany, Vortrag auf der International Conference on Turkish Linguistics, 14. Szeged, Ungarn

Yilmaz, S. 2010, Linguistic Development of Adolescents with Migration Background, Poster präsentiert auf Interdisziplinäres Doktorandensymposium, Potsdam Graduate School, Potsdam

Yilmaz, S. & Woerfel, T., 2010 Developmental comparison of lexicon in written narratives in Turkish and German of bilingual adolescents, Poster präsentiert mit T. Woerfel auf der 6th CamLing 2010: The sixth Cambridge Postgraduate Conference in Language Research, University of Cambridge, Großbritannien

Pfaff, C., Woerfel, T. & Yilmaz, S. 2011, Development of lexical richness in Turkish, German and English of multilingual adolescents in Berlin, Vortrag auf dem International Symposium on Bilingualism (8th ISB) am 15. 06. 2011 in Oslo, Norwegen


Pfaff, C., Yilmaz, S., Dollnick, M., Akinci, M. (2011), Development of lexical richness in Turkish written texts of bilingual children in Germany, Proceedings of  ICTL, Turkish Linguistics, 14.       

Woerfel, T. & Yilmaz, S. 2011, Lexical development of German-Turkish bilinguals: A comparative study in written discourse  In Chris Cummins et al. (eds.) Proceedings of the 6th Cambridge Postgraduate Conference in Language  Research. Cambridge: Cambridge Institue of Language Research. pp. 240-251. [download pdf]