A couple of days ago, NPR ran a piece on Seyran Ateş and her new book, The Multicultural Mistake (originally Der Multikulti-Irrtum). She's a very famous women's rights lawyer, former Woman of the Year in Germany, etc., and one of the most visible members of the Turkish community in Germany and in Europe beyond. She's a formidable figure in current German and European culture, and I'll sidestep all the rich controversy about the book to simply note that the interview includes this:
We have in the third generation children who do not speak very well German," Ates says. "They cannot speak very well their own language — they are not integrated in the culture, they do not even know how big is the city in which they live in."One on-line review of the book has a closely related German version:
Dass damit Jugendliche heranwachsen, die sich „irgendwie“ einer idealisierten Türkei zugehörig fühlen, gleichzeitig aber übersehen, dass gerade in der Türkei jemandem, der gut Deutsch und Türkisch spricht, alle Türen offen stehen, denen aber, die weder die eine noch die andere Sprache richtig beherrschen gar nichts.I can't comment on knowledge of city populations, and don't quite know what it means to be integrated into a given culture, but I'd be truly stunned if it turned out that any child in any Turkish-German community really did not control at least one language natively. Many of them, from what little I know about it, speak regional dialects of one or both languages, and of course there will be contact effects — borrowings, maybe some interference, whatever. Written standard languages are naturally learned in school and many kids in Germany don't have textbook control of the written prescribed standard. The German quote in particular makes it sound like this is about investment in that particular variety of language, not language generally.
Looks like another case where the rhetoric should be turned down a couple of notches unless somebody has the data to back this up. And, of course, another case where people are apparently willing to make big claims about language without any knowledge or evidence.