Made in Berlin: Bilingualism and identity among immigrant and German-background children. Janet M. Fuller
Made in Berlin: Bilingualism and identity among immigrant and German-background children Janet M. Fuller 1. Introduction This paper explores the changing ideologies about German identity in Berlin, Germany in its post-unification incarnation. In terms of both language policy and public discourse, Germany has long been known for ethnonational ideals (DeSoto and Plett 1995), but the Berlin of the twenty-first century has been changed by immigration. In addition to the continued presence of Turks and the increased influx of Eastern Europeans, who are largely lower-income work- ers in Germany, there has been an increase in immigration of middle-class professionals. The ideal of the Gastarbeiter ‘guest worker’ has dissipated, and many of the immigrants to Ger- many come to stay. The increased integration of immigrants from all over the world into German society has, at least in some sectors of the population, changed what it means to be German (Ezell et al. 2003; Miller-Idriss 2006; Sperling 2004; but also see Schneider 2002 for evidence of the maintenance of ethnonationalist values). This paper looks at the ideologies and identities of pre-teens in Berlin with data from an ethnographic study, augmented with recordings of naturally occurring interactions from German-English bilingual classrooms and data from a written survey of the children in these classrooms. This triangulation provides the opportunity for an analysis of the children’s ideo- logies about German identity as well as the social meanings of the German language. 2. Identity The perspective on identity in this research is a social constructionist one; social...
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