Attitudes towards Cypriot Greek and Standard Modern Greek in London's Greek Cypriot community

Karatsareas, P. 2018. Attitudes towards Cypriot Greek and Standard Modern Greek in London's Greek Cypriot community. International Journal of Bilingualism. 22 (4), pp. 412-428. https://doi.org/10.1177/1367006918762158

TitleAttitudes towards Cypriot Greek and Standard Modern Greek in London's Greek Cypriot community
AuthorsKaratsareas, P.
Abstract

Aim
To investigate whether the positive attitudes towards Standard Modern Greek and the mixture of positive and negative attitudes towards Cypriot Greek that have been documented in Cyprus are also present in London's Greek Cypriot community.

Approach
Unlike previous quantitative works, the study reported in this article was qualitative and aimed at capturing the ways in which attitudes and attitude-driven practices are experienced by members of London's diasporic community.

Data and Analysis
Data were collected by means of semi-structured, sociolinguistic interviews with 28 members of the community. All participants were second-generation heritage speakers, successive bilinguals in Cypriot Greek and English, and successive bidialectal speakers in Cypriot Greek and Standard Modern Greek. The data were analysed qualitatively (thematic analysis).

Findings
– Positive perceptions of Standard Modern Greek and mixed perceptions, both positive and negative, of Cypriot Greek are found in the context of London.
– As in Cyprus, Standard Modern Greek is perceived as a prestigious, proper and 'correct' variety of Greek. Cypriot Greek, in contrast, is described as a villagey, heavy and even broken variety.
– Greek complementary schools play a key role in engendering these attitudes.
– Unlike in Cyprus, in the London community, the use of Cypriot Greek is also discouraged in informal settings such as the home.

Originality
Papapavlou & Pavlou contended that "there are no signs of negative attitudes towards Cypriot Greek [in London]" (2001, p. 104). This research shows this claim to be false.

Significance/Implications
Negative attitudes towards Cypriot Greek lead to a community-wide preference for the use of Standard Modern Greek in communication with other members of the Greek Cypriot community, which poses a great threat to the intergenerational transmission and maintenance of Cypriot Greek as a heritage language in London.

KeywordsCypriot Greek
Standard Greek
diglossia
attitudes
London
diaspora
heritage languages
community languages
JournalInternational Journal of Bilingualism
Journal citation22 (4), pp. 412-428
ISSN1367-0069
Year2018
PublisherSage
Accepted author manuscript
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/1367006918762158
Publication dates
Published online27 Mar 2018
Published27 Mar 2018

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