International Journal of Language & Linguistics

ISSN 2374-8850 (Print), 2374-8869 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijll

Returned Immigrants: Identity and Self-Conceptualization of Palestinian- Americans
Wael Abdeen

This paper looks into the sociolinguistic ecology including identity, self-conceptualization, and return of Palestinian-Americans living in and around Ramallah and al-Bireh, two adjacent Palestinian cities ten miles to the north of Jerusalem. More than a hundred years after immigrating to the United States, the majority of these Americans of Palestinian descent still conceptualize themselves as Palestinians. At the end of the nineteenth century, many people from Ramallah and al-Bireh and their surrounding villages immigrated to the United Stated. Reasons for immigration included poverty, unemployment, and the unstable political conditions in the region. The waves of immigration continued throughout the twentieth century. In fact, many people from the two cities still seek immigration to the present time. Many immigrants settled and prospered financially in America. They, however, did not lose contact with their homeland. Many of them married people from their native communities but went back with their spouses to live in the United States. These marriages ensured identity sustainability and continuing contact with homeland. Though living in America satisfied these immigrants financially, it did not satisfy them socially, spiritually, or morally. Many of these Palestinian-Americans send their young and teenage children to live in their native communities for different reasons e.g. social, cultural, religious, moral, and linguistic. This study looks into the Palestinian-Americans community of Ramallah and al- Bireh and their surroundings and investigates their self-image and the identity they construct for themselves.

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