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Languages: English
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The importance of language in the perception of ourselves and the world around us is crucial and indubitable. Nevertheless language also seems to have a vital role in the building process of the modern nation-state. This study investigates the role of language in forging and reshaping national identities. In particular, through a qualitative research, I attempted to examine the effect of a language engineering policy on the national identity of the speakers of the linguistic variety which is at the target of that campaign. The participants of the study were Turkish speaking Cypriots, all speakers of a Turkish dialect, spoken in Cyprus, called Gibrislidja; namely Cypriot Turkish. In 2009 it was decided that the dialect would no longer be broadcasted on the television or radio of Northern Cyprus, as it was characterised as “bad” Turkish, and that it was going to be replaced by Standard Turkish, which is perceived as a superior linguistic variety. So, I will be focusing on how the speakers of the dialect perceive this policy and how they think that it will affect the future of their language and culture. Additionally, it will be investigated if the dominant Turkish culture is aiming to absorb, replace, and eventually eliminate the Turkish Cypriot identity through language. Furthermore, it is going to be examined how important linguistic assimilation is for the cultural assimilation of a group, and if the branding and marginalising of a linguistic variety has the same effect on its speakers.
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