Die Kommission Vanishing Languages and Cultural Heritage der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften und die Wiener Sprachgesellschaft laden herzlich ein zum Gastvortrag von

Dr. Ioanna Sitaridou, University of Cambridge

Romeyka in Turkey:

Throwing new light on the historical development of the Greek language

Montag, 20. November 2017, 17:15

Sitzungssaal der ÖAW

Dr. Ignaz Seipel-Platz 2, 1010 Wien

In diesem Vortrag wird die Entwicklung des pontischen Griechisch im weiteren Kontext des kleinasiatischen Griechisch diskutiert. Aufgrund eines Mangels an schriftlichen Belegen, die Hinweise auf die Entwicklung des pontischen Griechischen geben könnten, stellt Romeyka, eine bedrohte griechischen Sprachvarietät, die noch an der türkischen Schwarzmeerküste gesprochen wird, durch ihren konservativen Charakter eine Art "Fenster in die Vergangenheit" dar; daher können wir die chronologische Entwicklung vom Proto-pontischen, aus dem sich Romeyka entwickelt hat, nachvollziehen und annehmen, dass sich seine Spaltung von anderen griechischen Varietäten mindestens 500 Jahre früher als bisher angenommen und damit in hellenistischer Zeit und nicht im Mittelalter vollzogen hat.

Anmeldung erbeten an:



Talk at the Akademie der Wissenschaften und die Wiener Sprachgesellschaft

20 Nov 2017

We are delighted to announce that the Third Workshop on 'Romeyka and the languages of the eastern Black Sea' will be held on 26-27 May at Queens' College, Cambridge. Find the programme of the workshop here.

Third Workshop on "Romeyka and the languages of the eastern Black Sea"

18 May 2016

The Greek and Turkish sites are now live. We hope to fine-tune some details and resolve some remaining glitches as soon as possible. Please note that the English website will always be the most updated one -the others will experience some décalage.

Web pages in Greek and Turkish are now live!

24 Feb 2016

Dr Sitaridou will deliver a talk at the Fall 2015 Research Symposium at the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington DC.

Join us on Saturday, December 5 for a live webcast of the biannual Center for Hellenic Studies Research Symposium.

The stream will be available at No special software is required. Persons interested in watching the stream should click on the link above and the stream will play in their web browser.

It will also be posted on the CHS website in Spring 2016.

Harvard CHS Fall 2015 Research Symposium

4 Dec 2015

Workshop on the Languages of Asia Minor within a broad typological perspective. In collaboration with the project “The impact of current transformational processes on language and ethnic identity: Urum and Pontic Greeks in Georgia”, directed by Prof. Dr. Stavros Skopeteas (Universität Bielefeld) and Prof. Dr. Konstanze Brigitte Jungbluth (Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt-Oder) funded by the VolkswagenStiftung.

For details about the programme see here.


Bielefeld – Cambridge Meeting on ‘The Languages of Asia Minor’

19 Mar 2015

Dr Ioanna Sitaridou will be delivering the Third Annual Hellenic Civilization Lecture on "In search of the lost Greek infinitive: Continuity, Contact and Change in Romeyka of Pontus" at the Department of Classics, at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. The lecture will take place on Sunday 12 October 2014.

Forthcoming Third Annual Hellenic Civilization Lecture at the Department of Classics, at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada

12 Oct 2014

Dr Ioanna Sitaridou will be delivering an invited talk on "Romeyka in Anatolia: Continuity, contact and change" at the Workshop on "Visible and invisible borders: Language use expressing group belonging and change in the Georgian Greek community" at the Europa Universität Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder). This workshop is part of the project “The impact of current transformational processes on language and ethnic identity: Urum and Pontic Greeks in Georgia”, directed by Prof. Dr. Stavros Skopeteas (Universität Bielefeld) and Prof. Dr. Konstanze Brigitte Jungbluth (Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt-Oder) funded by the VolkswagenStiftung.

Forthcoming Invited Talk at the Workshop on

2 Sep 2014

In this paper we examine the syntax-semantics of the Romeyka infinitive, still to be found in an endangered Greek variety uninterruptedly spoken in the historical region of Pontus, Turkey. It is shown that the infinitive is found: (a) as a complement to negated past tense modals; (b) in before-clauses; (c) in counterfactuals. Our proposal is that the Romeyka infinitive is licensed as a NPI. It is argued that antiveridicalidity (in the sense of Giannakidou 1998 et seq.) licenses the infinitive and therefore explains the unavailability of the Romeyka infinitive in other nonveridical contexts such as: (i) questions, (ii) nonveridical conditionals, (iii) present and imperfect tense negated modals. The analysis set out here (i) proposes a new type of NPI, namely an infinitive; (ii) reinforces the disengagement between morphological negation and antiveridicality; (iii) highlights parallels with Romance polarity subjunctives, which, like the infinitive, also share a T-C dependency; the latter may have rendered the Romeyka infinitive diachronically more prone to developing a neg-dependency too (Sitaridou 2014).

The article will appear here.

Lingua article on the synchrony of the Romeyka infinitive to appear

28 May 2014

Mr Nicolaos Neocleous joins our research team as a PhD candidate. He will be working on object-verb word order in Romeyka and headedeness more generally.

New Member of the Research Team

22 Apr 2014

Award of a Cambridge Humanities Research Grants Scheme 2013/14 for website expansion of the Romeyka project. In particular, the site will acquire language switches into Turkish and Greek. We envisage completion of this phase of development by October 2014.

Cambridge Humanities Research Grants Award for website expansion

1 Apr 2014

Katerina Chatzopoulou and Ioanna Sitaridou will be presenting "Jespersen’s cycle for NEG2 and conditional inversion in the history of Greek: Evidence from Romeyka conditionals", at the 16th Diachronic Generative Syntax Conference at the Research Institute for Linguistics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest, from 3-5 July 2014.

See here.

Forthcoming Conference paper at DiGS16 in Budapest

19 Mar 2014

In this article we have argued that the information structure of Pontic Greek is organised in a radically different way to the one in SMG because: (a) it employs a rich particle system to express contrast; (b) CLLD does not have the same pragmatic import as in SMG, and; (c) pa-phrases are almost exclusively associated with a non-exhaustive reading whereas focus movement is always associated with an exhaustive one; (d) information focus is obligatorily in the left periphery. We argued that: (i) there is evidence in favour of a Contrast projection in the CP domain which can host both topics and foci; (ii) pa is argued to select XPs, whereas ki would select an X0, and; (iii) IFoc0 is in the CP and not above vP. The advantage of our analysis is that we can now explain the numerous instances of OV attested in Pontic Greek, which led to some (often superficial) observations regarding the ‘ancient’ character of Pontic Greek through comparison to the OV parametric setting of Ancient Greek. Although the issue remains open to future research, given Pontic Greek’s split-headedness, we have demonstrated in this article that discourse operations result in a great deal of OV word order.  

The article will appear here.

Lingua article on information structure in Pontic Greek to appear

2 Mar 2014

In this article it is demonstrated that one Pontic Greek variety, namely Romeyka of Of has preserved to this day a robust infinitive usage. By comparing the current infinitival distribution in Romeyka with previous stages of Greek it was argued that: (a) the Romeyka infinitive has its roots in Hellenistic Greek because of the preservation of the construction prin ‘before’ with infinitive which remains extremely productive to this day. Crucially, this construction in other varieties did not survive into early medieval times and is only found as a learned construction in ‘high’ registers of the Medieval Greek record; (b) neither the survival of the plain and personal infinitive, nor the emergence of the inflected one can be due to contact with Turkish; (c) the Romeyka infinitive, which was part of a very conservative medieval variety with notable Hellenistic features, once cut-off from other medieval varieties (as early as 12th and as late as 15th centuries) underwent a reanalysis as a strong negative polarity item. Such reanalysis feeds into the discussion that NPIs belong to various syntactic categories: there are nominal NPIs, NPI adverbs, NPI verbs (hoeven, brauchen in Dutch and German), NPI focus particles (even, ni siquiera in Greek and Spanish), minimisers, and now an infinitive too.

Find the article here.

Diachronica article on the diachrony of the Romeyka infinitive to appear

1 Feb 2014

This volume contains a chapter which discusses how the ethnography of communication can be combined with more focused investigations, such as the charting of syntax in the context of Romeyka. It also addresses some of the ethical, political, and practical problems of designing and implementing a revitalization programme for Romeyka.

Find this book  here.

Keeping languages alive is published

29 Dec 2013

It is our intention to continue building this site. The next big step will be the addition of a database.

Romeyka website goes live!

29 Dec 2013