“If I stay here, I will learn the language”: Reflections from a case study of Afghan refugees learning Greek as a Second Language


At the end of the 19th, and especially during the 20th century, a lot of people from countries in the South of Europe, including Greece, emigrated to other European countries, the US or Australia. In the past two decades, however, countries like Greece have been transformed into host countries, originally accepting immigrants from the former Soviet Union and later from different countries of Africa and Asia. In modern Greece, the integration of immigrants is an issue of great importance. The role of learning the language spoken in the country, Greek, is very important so that the process of integration will be facilitated. This study examines, through qualitative methods, the factors which influence the process of learning the Greek language by immigrants from Afghanistan. A semi-structured interview in Greek in a non-random group of immigrants was used. According to the results of the study, attitudes, along with personal motives of the participants for learning the target language appeared to be very important factors for their socialization and integration in the Greek society.


Keywords: second language learning, attitudes, motives