Greek in Contact
UPDATE: We have been awarded an ESRC grant (ES/R006148/1) for a 42-month project Intonation and diachrony: a phonetic investigation of the effects of language contact on intonational patterns
We are extending the scope of our work to include more contact varieties of Greek.
Our most recent work investigates the implications of historical interaction of Greek with Italian and Turkish speakers for intonation change in Cretan speech. We compare the declarative falling melody of Standard Modern Greek (SMG, as spoken in Athens) with that of Cretan Greek (CG) and Italian, the latter two chosen because their speakers historically interacted.
Although it is impossible to demonstrate that Venetian as spoken 400 years ago had the same intonation as modern Italian, the fact that the declarative fall pattern is currently found in geographically separate contemporary varieties is likely to be due to contact factors. We argue that this similarity is not coincidental but stems from daily contact of Cretans with Italian speakers during the long period of Venetian rule of Crete.
Declarative falls (arrows show the accentual syllable) in Cretan and Italian show similarities: relative to the accentual vowel, they display an early peak, in contrast to SMG, which has a late peak.
Functional Data Analysis confirms the AM comparison. Left: The Cretan (**) and Italian (••) fall starts earlier and is much steeper than in SMG (°°). Right: The slope and curvature of CG pattern with Italian and have a higher quadratic curvature than SMG.
Asia Minor Greek
Anatolian Greek dialects until 1923. Demotic in yellow. Pontic in orange. Cappadocian in green, with green dots indicating individual Cappadocian Greek villages in 1910. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cappadocian_Greek#/media/File:Anatolian_Greek_dialects.png
This project forms part of a wider research agenda seeking to determine how historical change and language variation arise out of language contact situations. The goal of the present pilot is to build a corpus of archival recordings of Asia Minor Greek, a contact variety showing a mixture of Greek and Turkish features. The analysis of the data will be carried out in the later stages.
- What is the role of language contact in intonation change?
- How long can contact influences last in the recipient variety?
- Which aspects of intonation are subject to variation?
- Does intonation show the same principles and processes as segmental change?
We presented a poster at Modern Greek Dialects and Linguistic Theory Conference, Rhethymno, October 2016. The full paper will be available from MGDLT 7 online proceedings.
Investigators: Mary Baltazani, Joanna Przedlacka, John Coleman
Supported by an award from Oxford University's John Fell Fund 152/075