English in The Pocket: Bilingual Positioning in the Context of Turkey

Şenaydın F.

MMLPP19, Praha, Çek Cumhuriyeti, 13 - 15 Aralık 2019, ss.1

  • Basıldığı Şehir: Praha
  • Basıldığı Ülke: Çek Cumhuriyeti
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.1


This paper presents a case study exploring simultaneous Turkish-English bilingual identity development of a child in a unique context where English is neither the community nor the parents’ first or primary language. Drawing on data from a single case study of a bilingual child, the paper provides critical insights about the dynamics shaping bilingual identity in the context of Turkey, where English is attached a special value and awards one a privileged social position, even at a younger age. The paper utilizes diary notes, a metaphor questionnaire, and semi-structured interviews as data sources, and potentially invites critical discussion about psycho-social factors impacting the bilingual self.

As Norton and Costa (2018) suggest, there is a strong need to explore relevance of the constructs in bilingual identity research in different international contexts; and by presenting a unique case, this paper aims to serve this need. This study presents a case which is different from those bilinguals with immigrant status in target language country. It is also dissimilar to experiences of EFL students whose identity development is likely to be more uni-layered and mono-directional. Highlights of the study are as follows: When bilingualism provides one with a privileged social position, strong affiliation for the imagined community appears (Norton, 1997), leading to emergence of positive bilingual identity even though the resources for acquiring the language are limited. On the other hand, in absence of an actual English-speaking, having limited linguistic resources also poses risks for inadequate language development, and thereby causing anxiety about losing the privileged bilingual status. When bilingualism occurs at disproportionate amounts, identity development follows a rather “bumpy and irregular” path (Garcia, 2009, p. 45) filled with emotional attachment and internal conflicts about the languages used, as revealed in this case study.