Language attitudes towards the Greek-Cypriot dialect: social factors contributing to their development and maintenance

Sophocleous, Andry (2009) Language attitudes towards the Greek-Cypriot dialect: social factors contributing to their development and maintenance. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


The purpose of this study is to investigate language attitudes towards the Greek Cypriot Dialect (GCD). This however, can only be achieved if language attitudes towards GCD are examined in relation to language attitudes towards Standard Modern Greek (SMG), the official language of the Republic of Cyprus. Empirical studies in the Greek-Cypriot (GC) setting demonstrate that GCs evaluate their peers more positively when they speak in SMG and less so when they use GCD (Papapavlou 1998, 2001). Hence, the primary questions guiding this research are why GCs evaluate their dialect and its speakers less positively than speakers of SMG and what are the factors contributing to this devaluation. This research is important as not only does it add to the existing literature as regards language attitudes in Cyprus, but it also attempts to examine whether negative language attitudes towards GCD are developed in primary and secondary education and supported by teachers in those settings. Consequently, to study GCs' language attitudes towards GCD it is vital to examine what goes on in the learning environment and whether teachers indeed contribute to GCs' devaluation of the dialect. A variety of mixed research methods were employed in tertiary, secondary, and primary education to examine language attitudes towards language variation and language use. The findings arising from this project suggest that SMG is associated with competence dimensions, whereas GCD is more closely connected with social attractiveness (see Chapters 5 and 6). Nonetheless as proposed in later Chapters, these findings are not merely an outcome of the stance education holds towards the non-standard variety, but also partly an outcome of GCs' bonds of brotherhood with Greeks, the love for their “mother land” ([Mu][eta][tau][epsilon][rho][alpha] [Iota][iota][alpha][tau][rho][iota][delta]) Greece, and the religion they strongly profess to the Orthodox Christian Church (see Vanezis 2000). Hence the need to ‘be’ and ‘feel’ Greek encompasses the need to ‘speak’ Greek.

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