Narratives about ‘homeland’, heritage, languages and belonging: a case of ‘return’ migration

Eleni Mariou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent research, at the interface between diaspora studies and sociolinguistics, has drawn attention to the dynamic ways in which language resources are bound up with the situated construction of diasporic identities, in different social and ideological conditions. Building on this research, this article focuses on one particular diaspora: that of the Pontian Greeks who migrated to Greece in the 1990s from parts of the former Soviet Union. Drawing on a wider research project in Northern Greece, I present a study based on consecutive interviews with older and younger Pontian Greek research participants. Through analysis of storylines emerging in these interviews, and the stance-taking by the narrators, I show how five individuals represented their diasporic trajectories and identities, drawing on different discourses about their languages and their ‘homeland’, heritage, and belonging. I also show the agentive ways in which they responded to being positioned as ‘other’, in different diasporic spaces, with different regimes of language. In concluding, I reflect on the approach that I adopted in the research, and on the research findings. I then make the case for other studies of return migration, especially research involving extended engagement with research participants, which brings their perspectives and understandings to the fore.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100793
Number of pages9
JournalLinguistics and Education
Early online date27 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • Diaspora
  • Homeland
  • Languages and belonging
  • Origins
  • Positioning analysis
  • Storylines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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