A minority within the minority

Supporting heritage language speaking students in German vocabulary at Romansh schools
Project management
The canton of Grisons in Switzerland promotes the goal of Romansh-German bilingualism with unique school models in traditional Romansh-speaking areas. In those areas, the minority language Romansh is the school language in primary schools. At secondary school levels, however, school language is switched to the majority language German. Differences in contact with German outside of school settings lead to extremely heterogeneous class constellations during German lessons from the third...

The Inventar des zweisprachigen Unterrichts (inventory of bilingual education) provides an overview of bilingual education in Switzerland, specifically of all bilingual education programmes currently in progress (2021/2022 school year) at compulsory schools and upper secondary schools.

Project management

Dr. Claudia Cathomas, lic.phil. Flurina Graf, Institut für Kulturforschung Graubünden

Two-thirds of all Rhaeto-Romanic speakers live outside the Rhaeto-Romanic homeland, yet the specific linguistic conditions for Romansh speakers outside the traditional language region have not yet been studied in detail.

Project management

Thomas Studer


(Santi Guerrero Calle research manager till August 2021)
(Romeo Wasmer research assistant till January 2022)

Comparatively little research has been conducted on how adult migrants – both those with low literacy skills (non-literates) and those who have competence in a non-Latin alphabet (non-roman alphabet literates) – acquire reading and writing skills, and scholarly findings on the subject are correspondingly sparse. This condition is all the more surprising as specialist discourse on the topic of “literacy levels in adults” has long revealed that traditional differentiations between so-called...

Project management

(Eva Wiedenkeller and Katharina Karges till 2019)

SWIKO is a multilingual learner corpus describing learner language according to principles of corpus-linguistics. The corpus is an umbrella project developed during the 2016–2019 research period and being further developed in the 2021–2024 period. It incorporates data from other projects at the Research Centre on Multilingualism. SWIKO can currently be accessed via a request to the Institute of Multilingualism.


Further development and applications of the Swiss learner corpus SWIKO
Project management
In line with the strong presence of usage-based approaches to language description and research in language acquisition, research in corpus linguistics has intensified and diversified in recent years. This applies equally to corpus-based and corpus-oriented research into language acquisition as well as to applied pedagogical research. Nevertheless, research gaps and desiderata remain. For instance, in regards to learner corpora, certain bias towards English as the target language, intermediate...

Project management

Project supervision

Literacy courses designed for adult migrants have been offered for decades in countries experiencing significant immigration. The recent past has seen an increase in research on the teaching and learning processes that are involved in successful and sustainable literacy development for adult migrants in a non-native language and that therefore should be taken into account in literacy classes; nevertheless, significant research gaps remain. Current practice in literacy development for...

Language courses for personnel in the Federal Administration

Evaluation and analysis of courses offered and their attendance

Project conducted by the Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI)

In the interest of advancing multilingualism in public services, the Swiss Confederation is legally bound to promoting federal employees' language skills in Switzerland's official languages. The divisions within the Federal Administration are obligated to ensure that all employees have sufficient knowledge of a second official language and that persons in a leadership role additionally have passive skills in a third official language. To implement these directives, the Federal Administration...