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According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the Turkish-speaking population in the United States increased significantly in the 1990s and has risen steadily over time. Today, the highest concentration is located in the states of New York, California, New Jersey, and Florida. Kaya (2003) reported a geographical dispersion across the U.S., from New York to Alaska, with the wealthiest living in Florida. Turkish students make up the ninth largest student population in the U.S. and the largest percentage of students compared to their homeland population. This article identifies and explores many of these challenges by observing the transition of Hakan, a Turkish-speaking fifth grade student, as he encounters a new culture and learns a new language. In particular, we focus on the acquisition of figurative language in a Turkish-speaking English Language Learner (ELL). Some issues and questions addressed in the article include effective methodologies for the assessment of figurative language acquisition in the Turkish and English languages, effective instructional strategies to scaffold Turkish-speaking English Language Learners’ (ELLs) acquisition of figurative language, and linguistic factors that might affect Turkish-speaking students’ transition to English. The article sets forth theoretical underpinnings for the chosen assessment and instructional strategies, as well as a summary of supporting research in the area of Turkish-speaking ELLs.

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