A study of Adaptation to Life in the UK among Lebanese Immigrants in London and Manchester

Alawfi, Nadyh Naser R. (2019) A study of Adaptation to Life in the UK among Lebanese Immigrants in London and Manchester. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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“Sociolinguistics” refers to the study of language and its relationship to society. The study of language and identity is considered highly pivotal due to mass immigration, acculturation and changes in the primary language (L1). Immigration is accompanied by acculturation, a process of changes in cultural aspects and execution that happens when individuals from various cultures come into contact (Gibson, 2001).The concept of this study emerged from gaps identified in existing literature and relevant studies, as well as from the enormous influence that the English language (L2) has on immigrants living in England, where the maintenance of heritage and culture different from one’s own eventually results in a double-edged reality for immigrants. Although immigration, acculturation and, especially, changes in the primary language used have been thoroughly researched, there could still be some identified gaps (Perez, 2008). Thus, the primary and foremost focus of the present study was to comprehend the effects that the English language has had on immigrants living in England, with Lebanese immigrants living in London and Manchester as the main target groups for analysis. This study aims to evaluate how living in Britain affects Lebanese Arabs in terms of their identity, language use and experiences of culture. It attempts to explore the ways in which they may have acculturated into British society and whether they still identify with their Lebanese roots. The length of time spent living in British society was expected to be a key variable; however, other variables such as age, religion and gender were also important.

In order to triangulate the sources of the study’s data, a mixed-method approach for data collection was used. The study was conducted into phases: one quantitative, using statistical formulae; the other qualitative, using thematic analysis. Two methods—questionnaires and semi- structured interviews were utilised to obtain data and establish a better understanding of the impact of English language and British culture on Lebanese immigrants as well as to answer the four research questions. The findings show that Lebanese immigrants in the UK are adapted to life in London and Manchester. Even though many still have the feeling of being foreigners, they make every possible effort to acculturate into the British culture by learning and improving their English. As expected, age and length of residence were influential demographic variables in their adaptation to British culture. The results illustrate that the more immigrants are involved in the education or employment system, the more they adapt. On the other hand, the study finds that acculturation through the English language does not affect immigrants’ primary Arabic cultural identity.

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