Local identities, global connections: affinities to English among students at the Freie Universität Berlin

Erling, Elizabeth J. (2007). Local identities, global connections: affinities to English among students at the Freie Universität Berlin. World Englishes, 26(2) pp. 111–130.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-971X.2007.00497.x

Abstract

ABSTRACT: This paper examines a specific group of English users in Germany: students studying English at the Freie Universität Berlin. The first section outlines the various domains in which these students encounter English in their daily lives, both within and outside university, as they make and maintain intercultural connections. This analysis suggests that, at least among these university students, English-German bilingualism seems to be the norm. The second section of this paper shows how students' proficiency in English plays a role in their creation, or re-creation, of local, national, European and global identities. What is more, in this small community of students, it seems that the ability to use English is intricately tied in with the (re)definition of what it means to be German, or at least an educated, urban German. Although they constitute a small community, these students' uses of and attitudes towards English highlight some general trends of globalization and provide some insights into the evolving role of English in Europe.

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