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Karatsareas, P. (2016)
Languages: English
Types: Unknown
Subjects: UOW10
The linguistic situation in Greek-speaking Cyprus has been traditionally described as a textbook case of diglossia à la Ferguson (1959) with Standard Modern Greek (SModGr) being labelled as the High variety and Cypriot Greek (CypGr), the regional ModGr variety of Cyprus, being labelled the Low variety (Arvaniti, 2011; Moschonas, 1996). More recently, however, it has been proposed that the linguistic repertoire available to speakers features an array of forms of CypGr, which is best described as a continuum ranging from basilectal to acrolectal varieties (Katsoyannou et al., 2006; Tsiplakou et al., 2006). The basilectal end encompasses low prestige varieties predominantly spoken in rural areas. The acrolectal end is occupied by the version of SModGr used in the public domain in Cyprus (Arvaniti, 2006/2010). SModGr is known to carry high prestige in Cyprus. Speakers of CypGr describe speakers of the standard as more attractive, more intelligent, more interesting and more educated than speakers of the Cypriot dialect (Papapavlou, 1998). In this paper, I explore the relation between SModGr and CypGr in a diasporic setting, namely, the Greek Cypriot community of London. The United Kingdom is home to a sizeable Greek Cypriot community, whose population is presently estimated to fall between 200,000 and 300,000 individuals (Christodoulou-Pipis, 1991; National Federation of Cypriots in the UK). Similarly to the Cyprus homeland, the members of the Greek Cypriot parikia (‘community’) share a rich linguistic repertoire, which, in addition to varieties of Greek, crucially includes English. As is often the case with diasporas, the parikia does not form a homogeneous speech community in that not all of its members have an equally good command of Greek or even English. Rather, different types of monolingual and bilingual speakers are found including a large number of heritage speakers in the sense of Benmamoun et al. (2013), Montrul (2008, 2015) and Polinsky & Kagan (2007). Twenty British-born heritage speakers of CypGr were interviewed on their attitudes towards the different varieties of Greek. Results indicate that the prestige relation between SModGr and CypGr that holds in Cyprus has been transplanted to the parikia. SModGr is widely perceived as the prestigious variety and is described in positive terms (‘correct’, ‘proper’). The use of CypGr, on the other hand, enjoys covert prestige: it is perceived as an index of solidarity and in-group membership but at the same time is also viewed by heritage speakers as reminiscent of the hardship and lack of education of the generation that brought CypGr to the UK. In certain cases, the use of CypGr by heritage speakers is actively discouraged by the first generation not only in the public domain but also in private domains such as the home. Active discouragement targets both lexical and grammatical variants that are traditionally associated with basilectal varieties of CypGr, and heritage language features, especially the adoption of morphologically adapted loanwords from English. References Arvaniti, Amalia. 2006/2010. Linguistic practices in Cyprus and the emergence of Cypriot Standard Greek. Mediterranean Language Review 17, 15–45. Benmamoun, Elabbas, Silvina Montrul & Maria Polinsky. 2013. Heritage languages and their speakers: opportunities and challenges for linguists. Theoretical Linguistics 39(3/4), 129–181. Christodoulou-Pipis, Irina. 1991. Greek Outside Greece: Language Use by Greek-Cypriots in Britain. Nicosia: Diaspora Books. Ferguson, Charles A. 1959. Diglossia. Word 15(2), 325–340. Katsoyannou, Marianna, Andreas Papapavlou, Pavlos Pavlou & Stavroula Tsiplakou. 2006. Didialektikes koinotites kai glossiko syneches: i periptosi tis kypriakis [Bidialectal communities and linguistic continuum: the case of Cypriot Greek]. In Mark Janse, Brian D. Joseph & Angela Ralli (eds.), Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference of Modern Greek Dialects and Linguistic Theory, Mytilene, Greece, 30 September – 3 October 2004, 156–171. Patras: University of Patras. Montrul, Silvina A. 2008. Incomplete Acquisition in Bilingualism: Re-examining the Age Factor. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Montrul, Silvina. 2015. The Acquisition of Heritage Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Moschonas, Spiros. 1996. I glossiki dimorfia stin Kypro [Diglossia in Cyprus]. In “Ischyres” – “Astheneis” Glosses stin Evropaiki Enosi: Opseis tou glossikou igemonismou [“Strong” – “Weak” Languages in the European Union: Aspects of Linguistic Imperialism], 121–128. Thessaloniki: Kentro Ellinikis Glossas. Polinsky, Maria & Olga Kagan. 2007. Heritage languages: in the ‘wild’ and in the classroom. Languages and Linguistics Compass 1(5), 368–395. Tsiplakou, Stavroula, Andreas Papapavlou, Pavlos Pavlou & Marianna Katsoyannou. 2006. Levelling, koineization and their implications for bidialectism. In Frans L. Hinskens (Eds.), Language Variation – European Perspectives: Selected Papers from the Third International Conference on Language Variation in Europe (ICLaVE 3), Amsterdam, June 2005, 265–279. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
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    • Gardner-Chloros, Penelope, Lisa McEntee-Atalianis & Katerina Finnis. 2005.
    • Language attitudes and use in a transplanted setting: Greek Cypriots in London. International Journal of Multilingualism 2(1), 52-80.
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