Investigation of the Impact of Bilingualism on the Identity of a sample of Bilingual English learners
This paper aims to investigate how learners of English at ALbaydha University and ALYemeni Institute perceive themselves as being bilinguals and how being bilinguals can affect their core identity. Also it investigates whether they understand being bilingual, based on how well they use and speak the English language and how often it is used or influenced by the factors of English culture which make them use it instead of their local language culture, inside and outside college, to gain prestige without taking into consideration that the change will affect their core identity. This paper is qualitative in nature based on a questionnaire administered at ALbaydha University and ALYemeni Institute students as non-native English learners who study English to obtain Bachelor Degree or Diploma in English language. The most unexpected findings that emerged show that despite studying English and having some skills in using the language none of the participants perceived him/herself as being bilingual, there is no evidence of language shift, and the core identity takes first status in most situations. Additionally, English choices do not dominate most of bilingual conversations but the local language is the dominator. All participants are proud of their identity and do not accept to replace it by another. They do not believe that being bilingual will affect their core identity. It is also noted that all participants behave carefully during their use of the English language and avoid any direct contact with English culture or adopting any of its norms of life though they prove to be equally competent in both local languages
Key words: bilingualism and bilinguals, identity, code switching, identity in language education.