Intergenerational Language Use and Acculturation of Turkish Speakers in Four Immigration Contexts

by Kutlay Yağmur (Author)
©2016 Monographs 340 Pages


Immigrant integration dominates the social, political, and scientific agendas of immigrant-receiving countries. Integration requires mutual co-ordinated efforts of both the host and immigrant groups. This book presents a macro level perspective on language maintenance, shift and acculturation orientations of Turkish immigrants in major immigration contexts, namely, Australia, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. The findings show a close relationship between the integration ideology, policies and practices of the receiving societies and the acculturation outcomes of immigrants. Intergenerational differences in language use and choice as well as acculturation orientations of Turkish immigrants in the four national contexts have serious implications for policy makers and researchers.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Acknowledgements
  • Contents
  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • 1.2 Conceptualisation of integration in the European context
  • 1.3 Acculturation of Turkish immigrants in Australia, France, Germany and the Netherlands
  • 1.4 Limitations of acculturation theories
  • 1.5 Overview of the Book
  • Chapter 2: Language Use, Choice, Ethnolinguistic Vitality and Acculturation Orientations
  • 2.1 Introduction
  • 2.2 Linguistic Outcomes of Acculturation
  • 2.3 Psychological Perspective on the Role of Language in Acculturation
  • 2.4 Multiculturalism Ideologies and Heterogeneity in the Four Countries
  • 2.4.1 Australia
  • 2.4.2 France
  • 2.4.3 The Netherlands
  • 2.4.4 Germany
  • 2.5 Language Maintenance/Shift and relevant variables
  • 2.6 The Role of Ethnolinguistic Vitality on Language Maintenance of the Group
  • 2.6.1 Vitality Variables
  • 2.6.2 Drawbacks of EV Theory
  • 2.6.3 Relevance of EVT
  • Chapter 3: Design of the Study
  • 3.1 Methodology
  • 3.2 Research questions
  • 3.3 Instruments
  • 3.3.1 Multiculturalism scale
  • 3.3.2 Ethnic identification scale
  • 3.3.3 Ethnic and mainstream cultural orientation scale
  • 3.3.4 Turkish and mainstream behaviour scale
  • 3.3.5 The religious beliefs scale
  • 3.3.6 The ethnic and mainstream social network scale
  • 3.3.7 The ethnic and mainstream cultural norms scale
  • 3.3.8 The language use, choice and preference scale
  • 3.3.9 The attitudes to Turkish language scale
  • 3.4 Procedures
  • Chapter 4: Acculturation Orientations and Outcomes in the Australian Context
  • 4.1 Australian integration policies
  • 4.2 Multiculturalism in Australia
  • 4.3 Turkish Community in Australia
  • 4.4 Research Outcomes of Acculturation Investigation
  • 4.5 Background characteristics of the informants
  • 4.6 Opinions regarding multiculturalism policies
  • 4.7 Self-identification
  • 4.7.1 Identification with the mainstream society
  • 4.7.2 Cultural identity
  • 4.7.3 Australian cultural identity
  • 4.8 Turkish cultural norms and behaviour
  • 4.8 Australian cultural norms and behaviour
  • 4.9 Religious identity
  • 4.10 Social networks
  • 4.10.1 Social networks with Turks
  • 4.10.2 Social networks with Australians
  • 4.10.3 Extent of social contact with the mainstream community
  • 4.11 Adherence to ethnic and mainstream cultural norms
  • 4.11.1 Turkish group vitality
  • 4.11.2 Public versus private use of language
  • 4.12 Language-use choice with different interlocutors
  • 4.13 Overall evaluation of the acculturation scales
  • 4.14 Concluding remarks
  • Chapter 5: Acculturation Orientations and Outcomes in the French Context
  • 5.1 Turkish Community in France
  • 5.2 French language policies concerning linguistic minorities
  • 5.3 Research Outcomes
  • 5.4 Background characteristics of the informants
  • 5.5 Opinions regarding multiculturalism policies
  • 5.6 Immigrants’ interactive acculturation scale (IAS)
  • 5.7 Self-identification
  • 5.7.1 Immigrants’ ethnic identification
  • 5.7.2 Identification with the mainstream society
  • 5.8 Cultural identity
  • 5.8.1 Turkish cultural identity
  • 5.8.2 French cultural identity
  • 5.8.3 Turkish cultural norms and behaviour
  • 5.8.4 French cultural norms and behaviour
  • 5.9 Religious identity
  • 5.10 Social networks
  • 5.10.1 Social networks with Turks
  • 5.10.2 Social networks with the French
  • 5.10.3 Extent of social contacts among the informants
  • 5.11 Adherence to ethnic and mainstream cultural norms
  • 5.11.1 Turkish group vitality
  • 5.11.2 Public versus private use of language
  • 5.12 Language use-choice with different interlocutors
  • 5.13 Overall evaluation of the acculturation scales
  • 5.14 Concluding remarks
  • Chapter 6: Acculturation Orientations and Linguistic Outcomes in the German Context
  • 6.1 Profile of the Turkish Community in Germany
  • 6.1.1 Demographic characteristics
  • 6.1.2 Educational profile of the Turkish immigrants
  • 6.1.3 Turkish language teaching
  • 6.1.4 Religious organisations in Germany
  • 6.1.5 Socio-cultural institutions
  • 6.2 Acculturation orientations of mainstream German and Turkish immigrants
  • 6.3 Acculturation outcomes
  • 6.3.1 Background characteristics of the informants
  • 6.4.1 Interactive acculturation scale – multiculturalism index
  • 6.5 Self-identification
  • 6.5.1 Immigrants’ ethnic identification
  • 6.5.2 Identification with the mainstream society
  • 6.6 Cultural identity
  • 6.6.1 Turkish cultural identity
  • 6.6.2 German cultural identity
  • 6.6.3 Turkish cultural norms and behaviour
  • 6.6.4 German cultural norms and behaviour
  • 6.7 Religious identity
  • 6.8 Social networks
  • 6.8.1 Social networks with Turks
  • 6.8.2 Social networks with Germans
  • 6.8.3 Extent of social contacts among the informants
  • 6.9 Adherence to ethnic and mainstream cultural norms
  • 6.9.1 Turkish group vitality
  • 6.9.2 Public versus private use of language
  • 6.9.3 Language use-choice with different interlocutors
  • 6.9.4 Overall evaluation of the acculturation scales
  • 6.10 Concluding remarks
  • 6.11 Identification patterns of Turkish immigrants
  • 6.12 Differences in religious identification between generations
  • 6.13 Social networks of the Turkish immigrants
  • 6.14 Language use-choice patterns of Turkish immigrants
  • 6.15 The core values of Turkish identity
  • Chapter 7: Acculturation Orientations and Outcomes in the Dutch Context
  • 7.1 Acculturation in segregated communities
  • 7.2 Dutch integration policies between the 1980s and 2000s
  • 7.3 Hardening the boundaries: Ethnicisation of Islam in the Netherlands
  • 7.4 Urban segregation and its consequences for acculturation
  • 7.5 Turkish Community in the Netherlands
  • 7.5.1 Demographic characteristics
  • 7.5.2 Social networks
  • 7.5.3 Turkish language media
  • 7.5.4 Home language teaching
  • 7.5.5 Turkish youngsters
  • 7.6 Dutch language policies concerning linguistic minorities
  • 7.7 Research Outcomes of Acculturation Investigation
  • 7.8 Background characteristics of the informants
  • 7.9 Opinions regarding multiculturalism policies
  • 7.10 Self-identification
  • 7.11 Identification with the mainstream society
  • 7.12 Cultural identity
  • 7.13 Dutch cultural identity
  • 7.14 Turkish cultural norms and behaviour
  • 7.15 Dutch cultural norms and behaviour
  • 7.16 Religious identity
  • 7.17 Social networks
  • 7.17.1 Social networks with Turks
  • 7.17.2 Social networks with the Dutch
  • 7.17.3 Extent of social contact with the mainstream community
  • 7.18 Adherence to ethnic and mainstream cultural norms
  • 7.18.1 Turkish group vitality
  • 7.18.2 Public versus private use of language
  • 7.19 Language use-choice with different interlocutors
  • 7.20 Overall evaluation of the acculturation scales
  • 7.21 Concluding remarks
  • Chapter 8: Comparative Outcomes in the Four National Contexts and Conclusions
  • 8.1 Introduction
  • 8.2 Integration Ideologies in the Four Countries
  • 8.3 Cross-national Comparisons
  • 8.3.1 Internal Consistencies and Structural Equivalence
  • 8.3.2 Country and Educational Differences in Scale Means
  • 8.3.3 Path Analysis of Scale Relations
  • 8.4 Intergenerational differences
  • 8.5 Discussion
  • References

← 16 | 17 →

Chapter 1:  Introduction

In the new era of globalization, people, goods and services as well as ideas move much more freely all around the globe. Traditional forms of workforce migration have almost ended. Labour recruitment agreements with developing countries came to a halt a long time ago. In the 1950s and 60s major European industrial powers such as Germany, France, Sweden and the Netherlands made labour recruitment agreements for attracting ‘guest workers’. Over time, most of those ‘guest workers’ have been turned into permanent settlers in their ‘new’ countries. In the beginning, none of the immigrant-receiving countries were worried about the linguistic skills, religious orientation, cultural habits and integration of the guest workers. They were all going to go back to their countries of origin. For competitive production and high profits, cheap and efficient labour was the only concern for employers. In the 1960s many thousands of male workers from Turkey were recruited in Austrian, Belgian, Dutch, French, German, and Swedish factories, mines and plants. They were given the heaviest duties that no local labourers wanted to do due to low wages and unfavourable conditions. The guest workers were all young males. They had come with dreams and ambitions. They were going to save money and were going to return to their homeland to realise their dreams. These ambitions were not extra ordinary. In many cases, it was a tractor and a piece of land that they can live on. In other cases, it was a house or even a bride’s money so that the person could get married to the girl he was in love with. Until the 1973 economic crisis all went very well. Receiving countries were happy because production was very high and their economies were growing. The sending countries were happy because huge amounts of foreign capital was returning and it was crucial for solving their budget deficits. The local real estate market was booming with the new demand from guest workers, the Almanci1, as they were called. After the 1973 global economic crisis, people started losing their jobs. Guest workers started bringing in their families. Before that period, they had been staying in dormitories for workers. After family unification, they demanded new housing from host governments. Children had to attend schools, which required language learning classes to begin with. The ← 17 | 18 → monolingual curriculums of the receiving societies were seriously challenged with the arrival of large numbers of immigrant children. Over time, many social, cultural, linguistic, economic and religious issues emerged. Social and linguistic integration became the major areas of concern both for the general public and the governments. The media always highlighted the problems. Immigrant groups were almost always associated with problems of poverty, underachievement in schools, social and cultural problems, as well as lack of integration into the society of residence. There are now third and fourth generations of immigrants but they still are associated with the same problems and issues.

There have of course been very many positive developments as well. With the arrival of immigrants new sectors of work were created for local job markets. In the municipal and ministerial departments of immigration, social welfare, corrective services and especially education, new jobs were created. A number of academic disciplines found ‘gold mines’ in terms of topics of investigation. At many European universities, new departments were established specializing in immigration, cross-cultural psychology, sociology, languages and minorities and so on. Language acquisition, educational processes and outcomes, and policy making are only some of the fields of work for many numbers of scholars.

The existence of immigrants created new discursive practices among nationalist and conservative politicians. Especially extreme right-wing politicians identified immigrants as the cause of many social and economic problems. Le Pen in France, Geert Wilders in the Netherlands and Thilo Sarrazin in Germany are just some of the public figures who have caused extensive discussions among certain groups of immigrants. Increasing social, religious and cultural conflicts between the host and immigrant groups put integration very high on the agenda of immigrant-receiving states. Social processes cannot be divorced from their socio-cultural contexts. Without a thorough understanding of the context of the situation, it is not possible to uncover the dynamics causing these socio-cultural conflicts. In the European context, most of the conflicts reported in the media are related to migrant communities and their cultural practices. Immigrants and asylum seekers are constantly posed as aliens and invaders who threaten the integrity and homogeneity of national identity (Crowley & Hickman, 2008). For mainstream people, migration and migrants represent some kind of social and cultural threat and some politicians misuse the fear of outsiders to gain popularity and to increase their votes. When such politicians show migrants as threats to social cohesion and harmony in the society, they appeal to the fears of common people to increase their votes. As a result, immigrants’ position as outsiders is strengthened in the public psyche and managing migration and promoting ← 18 | 19 → social cohesion appear to be a greater challenge for policy makers in most European nation states. In addition, because most European countries have not considered themselves as countries of immigration, coming to terms with social and cultural changes becomes much harder. Especially in the case of Muslim immigrants, religious differences are seen as barriers to social cohesion and national unity. Both old and new immigrants are seen as the cause of rapid social change and they are seen as the bearers of social and cultural instability in the receiving societies. Blaming immigrants for the instabilities of social life fuels racialisation and undermines social integration (Crowley & Hickman, 2008). Racialisation and marginalisation of immigrants lead to increased socio-cultural conflicts. Media coverage appears to contribute to the spreading and intensification of such conflicts (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, 2007). Samers (1998) even claims that in some European countries ideological construction of nationhood continues to be significant in the social construction of the social exclusion of immigrants.

1.2  Conceptualisation of integration in the European context

In a number of national contexts, social integration of immigrants continues to dominate the social agenda of host societies. Almost after 60 years of immigration, ‘integration’ is still a problem. There are now third and even fourth generations of immigrants. As a matter of fact, most youngsters with an immigrant heritage do not want to be called ‘immigrants’ any more. They were born and raised in the countries they live in. They speak the host national language much better than their parental heritage language and in some cases; they cannot even speak their mother’s tongue. Constantly linking these young people with their parental heritage becomes a means of social exclusion. Even if they fully associate themselves with their residential country, they are told that they belong to a ‘different’ ethnic, linguistic and sometimes, religious category. In some countries, even the third generations are registered with the birth-countries of their parents and grand-parents. These legal practices on their own block possible social, ethnic and linguistic integration of these people with an immigration background.

In the European public discourse on immigrant minority groups, two major characteristics emerge: immigrant minority groups are often referred to as foreigners (étrangers, Ausländer) and as being in need of integration (Extra & Yagmur, 2004). First of all, it is common practice to refer to immigrant minority groups in terms of non-national residents and to their languages in terms of non-territorial, non-regional, non-indigenous, or non-European languages. The call for integration is in sharp contrast with the language of exclusion. This ← 19 | 20 → conceptual exclusion rather than inclusion in the European public discourse derives from a restrictive interpretation of the notions of citizenship and nationality. From a historical point of view, such notions are commonly shaped by a constitutional ius sanguinis (law of the blood), in terms of which nationality derives from parental origins, in contrast to ius soli (law of the ground), in terms of which nationality derives from the country of birth. When European emigrants left their continent in the past and colonised countries abroad, they legitimised their claim to citizenship by spelling out ius soli in the constitutions of these countries of settlement. Good examples of this strategy can be found in English-dominant immigration countries like the USA, Canada, Australia, and South Africa. In establishing the constitutions of these (sub-) continents, no consultation took place with native inhabitants, such as Indians, Inuits, Aboriginals, and Zulus, respectively. At home, however, Europeans predominantly upheld ius sanguinis in their constitutions and/or perceptions of nationality and citizenship, in spite of the growing numbers of newcomers who strive for equal status as citizens.

Smith & Blanc (1995) discuss different conceptions and definitions of citizenship within a number of European nation-states, in particular Great Britain, France, and Germany. They argue that, in the former two countries, citizenship is commonly defined on the basis of a mixture of territoriality and ethnicity, whereas in the latter country, citizenship is commonly defined directly on the basis of ethnicity. Nationality laws based strongly upon ethnicity are more restrictive of access to all dimensions of citizenship than those with a greater territorial element. Along similar lines, Janoski & Glennie (1995) discuss different types of responses from nation-states to the issue of full citizenship for those who originate from abroad. Some nation-states make extensive efforts to naturalise immigrants and offer them full citizenship, whereas other nation-states are reluctant to do so and even place obstacles in their way. Janoski & Glennie (1995: 21) argue that countries with a strong colonial past are much more inclined to offer naturalisation than countries without such tradition:

Weakened by emigration, a significant segment of society looks at immigrants as the final insult to national identity. Naturalization means the disappearance of their nation and ethnic. Both national identity and group interest create resistance to granting citizenship to foreign immigrants. If successful in restricting incoming foreigners, many citizens, especially in the lower classes, will replace emigrants and get better wages through less competition. This social mobility creates more solidarity. The remaining citizens reduce the demand for legal and political rights, and favour the development of social and participation rights. Driven to its extreme, the avoidance of immigration can even lead to the persecution and forces emigration of religious and ethnic minorities. ← 20 | 21 →

The non-coloniser scenario of reluctance or closure applies to a number of European nation-states. In contrast, traditional settler nations such as Canada, the USA, and Australia have developed an inclusive conception of citizenship rights, and have become more open to immigrants from different ethno-racial, religious, or language backgrounds. Yet, rapid processes of demographic transformation have provided a fertile soil for extreme right-wing parties and movements to target ethno-racial minorities as “enemies within” who are ultimately “outsiders” or “foreigners”. One should add that reference to “foreigners” is also often maintained in the European public discourse for those who have in fact acquired full citizenship of the nation-state in which they live. For instance, the Dutch minister of integration wants all those immigrants to go through integration classes even if they have Dutch passports but on the basis of the Dutch constitution, the Supreme Court decided that it would be a discriminatory act.

A second major characteristic of the European public discourse on immigrant minority groups is the focus on integration. This notion is both popular and vague, and it may actually refer to a whole spectrum of underlying concepts that vary over space and time. Miles & Thränhardt (1995), Bauböck et al. (1996), and Kruyt & Niessen (1997) are good examples of comparative case studies on the notion of integration in a variety of European (Union) countries that have been faced with increasing immigration since the early 1960s. The extremes of the conceptual spectrum range from assimilation to multiculturalism. The concept of assimilation is based on the premise that cultural differences between immigrant minority groups and established majority groups should and will disappear over time in a society which is proclaimed to be culturally homogeneous. On the other side of the spectrum, the concept of multiculturalism is based on the premise that such differences are an asset to a pluralist society, which actually promotes cultural diversity in terms of new resources and opportunities. While the concept of assimilation focuses on unilateral tasks of newcomers, the concept of multiculturalism focuses on multilateral tasks for all inhabitants in changing societies. In practice, established majority groups often make strong demands on immigrant minority groups to assimilate and are commonly very reluctant to promote or even accept the notion of cultural diversity as a determining characteristic of an increasingly multicultural environment.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2016 (September)
Frankfurt am Main, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2016. 340 pp., 140 tables, 5 graphs

Biographical notes

Kutlay Yağmur (Author)

Kutlay Yağmur is Professor of Language, Identity and Education in the Department of Culture Studies, University of Tilburg. He studied and served at different universities around the globe: Australia, France, the Netherlands and Turkey.


Title: Intergenerational Language Use and Acculturation of Turkish Speakers in Four Immigration Contexts
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340 pages