Language use within bilingual families: stories from Istanbul

Fell, C. (2012) Language use within bilingual families: stories from Istanbul. Ph.D. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.


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With the onset of globalisation has come mass mobility of people which has led to an increase in individuals living outside their home communities and an increase in bilingual marriages. This investigation looks into the negotiation of languages and identities within such bilingual marriages.

In this study, using a variety of sources of data, including a chronological approach, I sketch a picture of what it means to be a member of a bilingual family with the aim of better understanding the issues these families face. I approach this by listening to what nine individuals in Turkish-English bilingual marriages say about language use in their families, seeing which issues arise and observing what the individuals are saying about these issues. Their stories were collected through interviews and field-notes from 2007 until 2012 in Istanbul, an urban city which, like many other urban cities, has a high proportion of multilingual speakers and mixed marriages.

From the collected data, it appears that many factors, both micro- and macro-, have led to English being the dominant language in these marriages and have led to British cultural norms being preferred within these relationships. These emerging factors include issues of linguistic investment, gain, capital, power, and English being seen as a class indicator in the local community, all of which I believe may spring from the current global positioning and power of English.

I present the outcome of this research as an understanding of the complexities affecting these individuals’ daily lives; complexities which I believe are rooted in the dynamics of the globalised society we live in today.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English and Language Studies
Depositing User: Mr Andrew Hudson
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2012 16:00
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2016 10:30

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00