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.
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).
– 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.
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.
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.