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Earlham College

Publication Date

Fall 2004

Program Name

Central Europe: Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Culture


My study consisted of ethnographic interviews with young adults ages 19-28, who were born and raised in Germany to parents emigrated from Turkey. My main research question was, “What role does language play in the subjects’ conception of ethnic/cultural identity?” Specifically, I focused on the role of language in how subjects identify with or distinguish themselves from: (1) the ethnic/cultural majority in their country of residence, i.e. Germans; (2) the ethnic/cultural majority in their parents’ country of origin, i.e. Turks in Turkey; and (3) others of similar immigration background, i.e. other German-born people of Turkish descent. Originally I only intended to investigate how the subjects view their own and others’ identity, however it became clear that outsiders’ perceptions often affect self-conceptions, and thus I have included some discussion of this topic as well.


Anthropological Linguistics and Sociolinguistics | First and Second Language Acquisition


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