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Identity as a key factor in language selection within the family domain: the case of the Pontic Greek community in Cyprus

Доклад доцента школы филологии Дениса Зубалова на семинаре лингвистической лаборатории по корпусным технологиям

Зубалов Денис Юрьевич

Школа филологии: Доцент

The sociolinguistic profile of Pontic Greeks in Cyprus is rich comprising at least three languages (Russian, Turkish,* and Greek) being used in their mundane interactions within the community (Pavlou and Zoumpalidis, 2011). This multilingual picture of Pontic Greek community has its roots in a continuous migratory trajectory. The first villages of Pontic Greeks appeared around the 8th centuries BC in the coastal areas of today’s north-eastern Turkey, which is also known as Pontos (Fotiadis, 2000). However, in 1453 the conquest of the Byzantine Empire by the Ottoman Turks triggered Pontic Greeks to migrate. Not many Pontic Greeks managed to retain their ethnic language, the Pontic Greek dialect (PGD) at the time of their settlement in Georgia/Russia. The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 was followed by a massive “repatriation” movement of Pontic Greeks towards the two Greek-speaking countries, Greece and Cyprus.The present paper examines the Pontic Greek immigrants’ identity construction through linguistic behaviour in Cyprus. Based on their internalized language attitudes and dominant language ideologies, the predominantly Turkish-speaking community of Pontic Greeks has experienced a rapid linguistic and cultural transformation. This occurred primarily due to the local population’s (i.e. Greek-Cypriots’) reluctance to recognize the Turkish-speaking Pontic Greeks as belonging to the Greek linguistic and cultural ‘world’ in light of the former’s historical and socio-political tensions with the Turkish-Cypriot minority. More specifically, I will analyse the factors that have contributed to this rapid identity transformation of Pontic Greeks, especially when it comes to younger generation, with a particular focus on language preference(s) of parents in communication with their children and vice versa.

References
Fotiadis, K. (2000). Οι Έλληνες της πρώην ΕΣΣΔ: Η γέννεση της διασποράς. In M. Bruneau (ed), Η Διασπορά του Ποντιακού Ελληνισμού. Θεσσαλονίκη: Ηρόδοτος, pp. 65-92.
Kolossov, V, T. Galkina and A. Krindatch (2000).  ‘Οι Έλληνες της νότιας Ρωσίας και του Καυκάσου: Εποικισμός, κατανομή, χωροταξία’.
In Michel Bruneau (ed), Η Διασπορά του Ποντιακού Ελληνισμού, 121-146. Θεσσαλονίκη: Ηρόδοτος (Thessaloniki: Irodotos). 
Pavlou, P. and Zoumpalidis, D. (2011). Language attitudes among Russians of Greek origin towards the linguistic variety in the Cypriot Greek speech community. In M. Janse, B. Joseph, P. Pavlou, A. Ralli and S. Armosti (eds.). Studies in Modern Greek Dialects and Linguistic Theory. Nicosia: Research Centre of Kykkos Monastery. pp. 321-336.