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World Englishes at the Grassroots$
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Christiane Meierkord and Edgar W. Schneider

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781474467551

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474467551.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 29 November 2021

Language Use among Syrian Refugees in Germany

Language Use among Syrian Refugees in Germany

(p.211) Chapter 10 Language Use among Syrian Refugees in Germany
World Englishes at the Grassroots

Guyanne Wilson

Edinburgh University Press

Following the outbreak of civil war in Syria in 2011, hundreds of thousands of Syrians sought asylum in Europe, particularly in Germany. This chapter looks at language use among Syrian refugees living in the German state of North Rhine Westphalia. It reports the results of a series of qualitative interviews conducted with refugees and other stakeholders in the refugee integration. Refugees’ linguistic repertoire consists minimally of Syrian Arabic, English, and German, though proficiency in the latter two languages varies from person to person. Though both scholarly literature and societal legend consistently report the centrality of English as a lingua franca, the refugees’ experiences show that this is not necessarily the case; the assumption that proficiency in English will ease communication in official contexts and help gain access to employment and other social benefits is often unmet, in stark comparison to the experiences of immigrants and refugees in neighbouring Holland and Belgium. Thus, the study has implications for the understanding of the role of English as a lingua franca, particularly in Germany.

Keywords:   refugees, multilingualism, ELF

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