LESoL welcomes you to its inaugural Tuesday evening Seminars, a Series entitled Language, Society, and Ethnography to be held in Spring 2017. The goal of the series is to forward the ongoing dialogue between contemporary sociolinguistics and the social sciences, with an emphasis on ethnographic approaches (within linguistics) and linguistically relevant research (within ethnography).

The program is as follows:

7 March

Birgül Yılmaz

SOAS, University of London

“Why do I learn ‘my’ language?” Languages and National Identities among Kurds in the UK
28 March Villy Tsakona

Democritus University of Thrace

“Αναλύοντας το πολιτικό χιούμορ της κρίσης: Ασυμβατότητες και αντιδράσεις”


4 April Irene Kouniarelli

University of the Aegean

25 April Hasan Kaili

Ankara Üniversitesi

“Στοιχεία επίδρασης της ελληνικής στην τουρκική ποικιλία της δίγλωσσης στην ελληνική και τουρκική μουσουλμανικής κοινότητας της Ρόδου”
2 May Eliza Panagiotatou

University of the Aegean

9 May Spyridoula Bella

University of Athens

“Γλωσσικές πράξεις στη διαγλώσσα των μαθητών της Ελληνικής ως Γ2”
16 May Roula Tsokalidou

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

23 May Roswitha Kersten-Pejanić

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

“Metapragmatics and social deixis in person naming practices in Croatian”

Our first seminar will take place on TUESDAY MARCH 7, at 21:00 in the Computer Room in Bineio.


SOAS, University of London

Why do I learn “my” language?”

Languages and National Identities among Kurds in the UK


This presentation explores language practices of Kurmanji heritage language learners in two community based language classes in London. Many of the participants who were immigrants from four major parts of Kurdistan-Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran were multilingual (and either identified themselves with Kurmanji, Sorani and or spoke Arabic, Farsi and English). By audio recording classroom interactions as well as conducting in-depth interviews with 39 participants who were learning Kurmanji as “their” “mother tongue”, this paper argues that languages and national identities are negotiated with different degrees of sameness and difference as well as inferences of ambivalence. Identities in the context of this study, an institutional language learning setting in London, show that the dialectic relationship between self and the others is negotiated within the constraints of political past and the current conditions in the UK.