In this reflective story of my family rhetoric, I describe the use of a small language, Ladino (Judeoespanyol--also known as Jewish-Spanish) in Istanbul, a cosmopolitan city of around 12 million people. I argue that languages and rhetoric used in families are more than a set of linguistic systems that can be readily passed on from one generation to another. In fact, they are a set of cultural symbols, ethnic representations, and ways of acting in the world, which help the family members create safe spaces, build identities and mark group membership. Through narrating the story of the use of Ladino in my family, I explore how younger generation in minority groups members in Turkey are usually encouraged to give up significant markers of their ethnic identity in order to gain full participation in and access to a homogenized public space.

About the Author(s)

Born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, Lisya Seloni works as an Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics/ TESOL in the Department of English at Illinois State University. She teaches courses related to academic literacy, second language writing, TESOL Methods and materials, and cross-cultural issues in TESOL. Her research explores ethnographic approaches to second language writing, academic socialization, and issues related to the sociopolitical context of English language teaching. She is specifically interested in the ways multilingual writers construct knowledge and text in various writing environments across the disciplines. Her research interests also include issues revolving around language policy, language maintenance, and linguistic landscape.



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