A Comparative study of language attitudes, use and identity in two returnee migrant contexts: Greek-Brazilians and Greek-Germans in Greece

Bryant, Elisavet Prinou (2016) A Comparative study of language attitudes, use and identity in two returnee migrant contexts: Greek-Brazilians and Greek-Germans in Greece. Masters thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

[thumbnail of Thesis document] PDF (Thesis document) - Submitted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike.



Language is an important tool in the construction and expression of ethnic and socio-cultural identity. This study explores language use, attitudes and code-switching practices, in the (re)construction and (re)positioning of identity in a migrant context of three generations of Greek-Brazilian and Greek-German returnees. More specifically, this study examines whether the returnees’ life experiences in different cultures has affected the construction of their identity upon their return to their common home land, Greece.
Data consists of questionnaires and interviews. The questionnaires elicit information on domains of language use, language attitudes, cultural affiliation, education, sex, age of migration to, and return from the host country. Qualitative data includes group and individual interviews which include the participants’ narratives of their life stories. Attention is paid to the choice of linguistic code or the practice of code-switching and other linguistic devices including reported speech and the use of the pronouns ‘we’ and ‘they’.
A comparison between two groups, which is the focus of this study, highlights the importance of avoiding generalization of the findings to all returnee groups. Findings, point to the wide range of variables that need to be considered in studies of migrant patterns. For example, heterogeneity in the participants’ common homeland, Greece, vis-à-vis socio-cultural variations in the original host countries, have resulted in differences in reported language use and attitudes and hence the participants’ (re)construction of identity.
In sum, the current study concentrates on how people understand themselves and thus (re)construct their ethnic and socio-cultural identity through their understanding of their ‘past, present and future existence’ (Galindo, 2007: 254). In general, research on return migrants has been limited and there has been no comparative research on language and identity, which focuses on returnee contexts amongst three generations.
One noteworthy study is Hoi Ying Chen, K. (2008). Positioning and repositioning: Linguistic practices and Identity negotiation of overseas returning bilinguals in Hong Kong.

Repository Staff Only: item control page