“I mean, I like English even better than Turkish”: English-speaking German-Turkish Students as Multilingual Transnationals

Işıl Erduyan
Boğaziçi University
Keywords: scales, translocality, interaction analysis, ELF, migration


Focusing on a group of multilingual German-Turkish students enrolled at an urban high-school in Berlin, this paper inquires how ELF identities and transnational experiences inform each other. Semi-structured, audio-recorded interviews conducted as part of a larger project (Erduyan, 2019) are analyzed through microethnographic lenses informed by a scalar approach. Following Lam (2009) and Maloney & De Costa (2017) the analyses focus on the local, translocal, and transnational scales that permeate students’ narratives. Findings suggest that being ELF users/speakers help Turkish students fill in a gap that they perceive they cannot fill in by being Turkish or German speakers alone, that of being cosmopolitan, global citizens with transnational experience. Findings also suggest the changing meanings of homeland for Turkish students —from the traditional, monolingual, provincial Turkey to a more urban, cosmopolitan Turkey. The inevitable implications of these changes for identity construction are discussed further in the article.

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