Matthew John Hadodo: Large Difference/Little Difference: Istanbul Greek [ɫ], Identity and Language Ideologies

March 31, 2017 (All day)


A major question in sociolinguistic research asks how language variation relates to speakers’ identities. The Istanbul Greek (IG) community then presents a unique opportunity to apply concepts such as ideology (e.g., Irvine & Gal, 2000), as IGs have been described by Örs (2006) and Halstead (2014) as embodying a cosmopolitan identity that is neither exclusively Greek nor Turk. Despite that Greek has been spoken continuously in what is now Istanbul for thousands of years, there are no rigorous descriptions of this variety. This paper describes one very salient linguistic feature of IG (velarized or “dark” /l/) and the changes surrounding it that occur due in part to the shrinking population of Greeks in this cosmopolitan city. Acoustic measurements of speakers’ /l/ F2s, a primary cue for velarization, were normalized and then examined based on social variables including attitudes speakers expressed toward the standard and dialect. Results suggest that while language ideologies are indicative of trends, what could be called identity ideologies appear to be a stronger predictor in whether an IG speaker produces “clear” or “dark” /l/.