The Diversity of Immigrant Identity and the Aspects of the Design Thereof

Open access


The article provides an overview of the design of identities, predominantly based on the level of the individual. The purpose of this article was to identify the ethnic identity of informants, using the aspect of language choices as an instrument of linguistic identity, as well as to look at the causes of linguistic identity choices, the functions of ethnic identity from the point of view of the informant and the reasons for changing the identity over time or for consciously changing or maintaining it. It is well known that in today’s world of ever-weakening national borders, multiculturalism and multilingualism are a common phenomenon. There have been no arguments for a long time over whether one has to learn several languages, or any doubts whether we should be even a little bit familiar with the culture of people from other nationalities living next to us. At the same time, multiculturalism brings along challenges and sometimes also tensions (Muldma, 2009). Self-determination, or identity, can mean all aspects of oneself, such as appearance, personality, abilities, gender, and ethnic groups. In the case of ethnic identity, it has been observed along with growing, the perceptions of children change over time. Awareness of one’s nationality develops with awareness of others (Smith et al., 2008, p. 195). People’s attitudes and values are largely developed in childhood, and we need time to get adjusted to everything new, all changes need internal management of the person – and some major changes need the intervention of the society. The method used to conduct the research was written interviews.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Abu-Hanna U. (2007). Sinut. Helsinki: WSOY.

  • Baker C. (2006). Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism (4th ed.). Multilingual Matters.

  • Barth F. (1969). Introduction. In F. Barth (Ed.) Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: The Social Organization of Culture Difference (pp. 9–38). Prospect Heights IL: Waveland Press.

  • Bilaniuk L. & Melnik S. (2008). Atense and shifting balance: Bilingualism and education in Ukraine. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 11(3 4) 339–372.

  • Doan G. O. & Stephan C. W. (2006). The functions of ethnic identity: A New Mexico Hispanic example. International Journal of Intercultural Relations 30(2) 229–241.

  • Eschbach K. & Gómez C. (1998). Choosing Hispanic identity: Ethnic identity switching among respondents to high school and beyond. Social Science Quarterly 79 74–90.

  • Fishman J. A. (2001). Handbook of Language and Ethnicity. New York Oxford University Press.

  • Gustavsson B. (2000). Haridus kaasajal. Eesti Vabaharidusliit. Tõravere Kirjastus.

  • Hoffmann C. & Ytsma J. (Ed). (2004). Trilingualism in Family School and Community. Language Arts & Disciplines. Multilingual Matters England.

  • Iskanius S. (2005). Venäjänkielisten maahanmuuttajaopiskelijoiden kieliidentiteetti. Jyväskylä: Jyväskylän Yliopisto.

  • Kidd W. (2002). Culture and Identity. New York: Palgrave.

  • Küün E. (2014). The Impact of the Change on the Extent of the Language Shift in the Language Environment in the Context of Linguistics. International Journal of Global Ideas 3 5–43.

  • Liebkind K. (1995). Dispersial Xenophobia and Acculturative Stress. Refugees in Finland. In J. Hjarnø (Ed.) Multiculturalism in the Nordic Societies: Proceedings of the 9th Nordic Seminar for Researchers on Migration and Ethnic Relations: Final Report (pp. 261–273). Copenhagen: ThemaNord.

  • Loide A. (2015). Eestis elavate muukeelsete perede vanemate suhtumine oma lapse kakskeelsusesse ja etnilise identiteedi kujundamisse. [Magistritöö] Tartu.

  • Muldma M. (2009). Kasvatus mitmekultuurilises keskkonnas / Education in Multicultural Environment. Teadusartiklite kogumik. Tallinn: Tallinna Ülikooli kirjastus.

  • Paasi A. (1997). Piirid üleilmastuvas maailmas: poliitilise geograafia vaatenurgast. In V. Saarikoski (Ed.) And never shall they meet? European Space and Thought Between East and West (pp. 22–34). Turku: The Department of Political History University of Turku.

  • Phinney J. S. Dupont S. Espinosa C. Revill J. & Sanders K. (1994). Ethnic identity and American identification among ethnic minority youths. In A. M. Boury F. J. R. van de Vijver P. Boski & P. Schmitz (Eds.) Swets and Zeitlinger: Lisse (pp. 167–183).

  • Rannut M. Rannut Ü. & Verschik A. (2003). Keel võim ühiskond. Tallinn: Tallinna Pedagoogikaülikooli kirjastus.

  • Rousseau D. L. (2006). Identifying threats and threatening identities: The social constructivism of realism and liberalism. Stanford University Press.

  • Sein A. J. (2004). Confronting political violence: Reexamining the influence of threat perception on policy responses to internal discord. Presentation in Rice University Undergraduate Research Conference 2004.

  • Siim P. (2006). Paikkasuhteet maahanmuuttajien kertomuksissa. In S. Knuuttila P. Laaksonen & P. Piela (Eds.) Paikka. Eletty kuviteltu ja kerrotu (pp. 93–109). Helsinki: SKS.

  • Smith P. K. Cowie H. & Blades M. (2008). Laste arengu mõistmine. IV väljaanne. Tallinn: Tallinna Ülikooli kirjastus; Blackwell Publishing.

  • Smith J. M. (2016). Creating New Identities: Chinese American Women Professionals in Greater Baltimore. Advances in Anthropology6(2).

  • Sudman S. Bradburn N. M. & Schwarz N. (1996). Thinking about answers: The application of cognitive process to survey methodology. San Francisco CA: Jossey-Bass.

  • Tabouret-Keller A. (2000). Language and identity. In F. Conlmas (Ed.) The Handbook of Sociolinguistics (pp. 315–326). Oxford. Blackwell Publishers.

  • Toivanen T. (2009). Teatterilähtöiset menetelmät ja nuoren identiteetti. Kasvatus mitmekultuurilises keskkonnas / Education in Multicultural Environment. Teadusartiklite kogumik. Tallinn: Tallinna Ülikooli kirjastus.

  • Uudeberg T. (2009). Julgeolekuidentiteedi seos ohu tajumisega. David L. Rousseau’ konstruktivistlike seisukohtade testimine. [Magistriväitekiri.] Sotsiaalteaduskond. Riigiteaduste instituut. Tartu: Tartu Ülikool. Retrieved from

  • Valk A. & Karu K. (1999). Attitudinal and behavioural attachment to the group: Symbolic and concrete ethnic identity. In M. Lauristin & L. Rahnu (Eds.) Intercultural Communication and Changing National Identities (pp. 73–87). Tartu: Tartu University Press.

  • Valk A. (2017). Identiteet avatud maailmas. Eesti inimarengu aruanne 2016/2017. Retrieved from

  • Vasama J. (2003). Lapsen kansallinen identiteetti Virossa. Virolaislapsen kansallinen identiteetti sen kehittyminen ja yhteys minäkuvaan. Turku: Turun Yliopisto.

  • Vseviov D. (2009). Kultuuride dialoog – võimalus ja paratamatus. In M. Muldma (Ed.) Kasvatus mitmekultuurilises keskkonnas / Education in Multicultural Environment. Teadusartiklite kogumik. Tallinn: Tallinna Ülikooli kirjastus.

  • Waters M. C. (1990). Ethnic Options: Choosing Identities in America. University of California Press.

  • Wendt A. (1995). Anarchy is what states make of it: the social construction of power politics in International Theory: Critical Investigations. MacMillan.

  • White B. P. (1998). Decision-making analysis. In P. D. Williams D. Goldstein & J. Shafritz (Eds.) Classic Readings of International Relations. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace College Publishers.