ALIC/E  -  Annotated Language Immersion Corpus / Emergence

is a corpus containing language immersion data in German, English, French, Italian, Greek and Japanese. Data is used for child language acquisition research as well as for teacher trainings and for the implementation of integrative language support programs in multi-national schools.


Language immersion is a specialized type of language teaching program, also referred to as Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL). In immersion programs, all content instruction is delivered in a second language (L2). However, the language is not the focus of teaching but it serves merely as the medium of instruction. No explicit grammar instruction takes place in immersion programs.

Research in language acquisition has shown that especially children benefit from a great amount of natural language input and daily interaction with the second language. This is precisely what is offered in immersion programs. Immersion students typically gain a high level of communicative competence in the L2 which enables them to use the second language actively in everyday situations.


There are several types of immersion schooling:

Full immersion programs offer 90% of the daily instruction in the second language.
In partial immersion programs up to 50% of all content matters are delivered in the L2. A further distinction is made between early and late programs, where early immersion refers to programs where immersion schooling starts in Kindergarten, grade 1 or 2. Late immersion programs usually do not commence the immersion teaching methodology before grade 3, often later.

Finally, there are also programs of two-way-immersion where the students have different home/native languages (e. g. some have English as their L1, some have Spanish as their L1) and 50% of the instruction is in English, immersing the native-Spanish-speaking students in the second language English, the other 50% of teaching would be in Spanish, thus providing immersion in L2 Spanish for the English native speakers. In these programs, the students additionally benefit from one another as language models since not only the teacher but also half of the classmates can provide natural input, being native speakers of the respective immersion language.


Team Bongartz collaborates with a number of partner schools in Germany and in the US that offer immersion programs in foreign languages. We collect language acquisition data and evaluate the students’ language development and proficiency gains. Language assessments are administered in cooperation with the » Center for Applied Linguistics, Washington, USA, with the help of the SOPA test. The SOPA (Student Oral Proficiency Assessment) is an acknowledged test tool for measuring language development in immersion contexts. We train teachers and instructors for using the SOPA and also show them how to adapt their teaching and classroom routines according to the SOPA results. The SOPA can be adapted to individual school curricula and special areas of interests.

Additionally, the results of SOPA testings and other assessments are used for teacher trainings and workshops. The teachers are encouraged to help develop immersion programs further by teacher action research. We are happy to help schools who are wishing to implement immersion classes in their curriculum and we can offer advice and best practices for immersion practice as well as short-term or long-term evaluations and quality management in language learning.

The ALIC/E project currently provides the basis for » Christiane Schöneberger’s PhD thesis Grammar growth in child L2 German (working title).


Current partner schools:

» Smith Academy of International Languages, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA


Smith Academy is a K-8 full immersion school that offers early full immersion in German, French, Japanese and Chinese. Additionally, late immersion in Spanish is available. Data from the German immersion program provide the basis for a dissertation project at Team Bongartz (» Christiane Schöneberger)

For more information visit » school website or download » information brochure.

» Socrates Academy, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

Socrates Academy is a public charter school offering early partial immersion in Greek.

» Katholische Grundschule Zugweg, Köln

The Katholische Grundschule Zugweg is a primary school in Cologne, Germany, offering two-way immersion in German and Italian.

» Frankfurt International School, Wiesbaden/Oberursel, Germany

Frankfurt International School, located on campuses in Oberursel and Wiesbaden, Germany, offers German immersion for international students as well as English immersion for German students.




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Christian Eickbusch
Last updated May 11, 2010