Master’s specialisation in Language and Communication Coaching

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The linguistic variation in Cyprus is undeniable, as evidence show the presence of more than two varieties. The phenomenon of diglossia is argued due to the simultaneous occurrence of the standard language, Standard Modern Greek (SMG), which is the legitimate language, and the dialect, Cypriot Greek (CG), which is the mother tongue of Greek Cypriots. However, other intermediate codes that occur within the dialect, such as the acrolect, the mesolect, and the basilect, suggest the presence of a linguistic continuum. The present thesis supports that the term ‘diglossic/dialectic continuum’ can best characterize the situation in Cyprus, because it involves both diglossia, and the continuum of CG. The current study sought to examine language attitudes of Greek Cypriot university students, not only towards the two varieties in terms of diglossia, but also towards two of the intermediate codes of the dialect, acrolect and mesolect. These two investigations were carried out with two different methods, a direct and an indirect approach (with the matched-guise technique proposed by Lambert et al. in 1960), in order to identify any differences in the responses between the two approaches due to social desirability. Background factors, such as the socioeconomic status (SES) of the participants, and the place of studies, were examined to check if these variables play a role in the formation of the participants’ attitudes. Based on the literature, it was assumed that with both methods the attitudes would be more positive towards the acrolect (H1) and the SMG (H3) but at the same time, the participants’ attitudes would be more positive towards the SMG compared to the acrolect (H4a), and more positive towards the mesolect compared to the CG (H4b). From the latter two hypotheses only H4b was verified. The findings show that indeed the participants hold more positive attitudes towards the acrolect than the mesolect in the second part (H1 - indirect testing) but not towards the SMG than CG (H3 - direct testing). Furthermore, the results did not show any influence of the background factors in neither part of the questionnaire, except in the choice of the mesolectal level of CG; there was a positive relation (Pearson correlation coefficient) between the mesolect and the SES variable, in both parts. Finally, the participants’ indications about the use of the two varieties were also explored and the results showed a use of CG in all occasions including education, as hypothesized, and a partly use of SMG in all occasions and exclusive use in class, falsifying the hypothesis that assumed use of SMG only in class. Lastly, these findings lead to the conclusion that university students generally prefer more standardized varieties, perhaps due to the fact that is usually a more socially accepted variety in diglossic communities.
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