BilingBank Greek-English Gardner-Chloros Corpus

Penelope H. Gardner-Chloros
Department of Applied Linguistics and Communication
Birkbeck, University of London


Participants: 11
Type of Study: naturalistic interview
Location: UK
Media type: audio
DOI: doi:10.21415/T5JC8V

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Citation information

Gardner-Chloros, P. (1992). The sociolinguistics of the Greek Cypriot community of London. In Karyolemou, M. (Ed.), Plurilinguismes: Sociolinguistic du Grec et de la Grèce, 4, 112-135.

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Project Description

This research was designed to identify linguistic and sociolinguistic developments in the London Greek Cypriot community, differentiating between the patterns found in different generations; to relate the linguistic patterns to sociolinguistic factors; and to analyze the spontaneous productions of London Greek-Cypriots, in particular those born in Britain, from the point of view of language change (borrowing, calques), language shift (abandonment of the Greek Cypriot dialect or GCD), and code-switching (linguistic and pragmatic aspects).

The informants were 30 subjects of Greek Cypriot origin living in London, coming from the working/lower middle class, with no higher education: 5 men and 5 women over age 60; 5 men and 5 women aged 35-60; 5 girls and 5 boys aged 14-18. Each subject was recorded once for 30-60 minutes. Coders were Olga Pillakouri and Mary Kastamoula.

The Greek Cypriot community in London consists of about 180,000 people, who came over in various waves from the 1960s onwards, many as economic refugees. Those ousted by the Turkish invasion in 1974 are of a more varied social and educational background. Their children and grandchildren have been educated in English schools, though many have attended the classes in (Standard) Greek organised on Saturdays by the Church and Parents’ Organization. The community is on the whole close-knit and preserves religious and social/family values distinct from the surrounding community. The younger generation is, however, creating a new identity for itself, distinct from the rural and traditional ethos of the older generations yet also different from British teenagers as a whole and indeed from those growing up in Cyprus.