Objectives & Methods
- Romeyka exhibits many interesting characteristics that are not found in other varieties of Greek and are not so common cross-linguistically. As such, a detailed knowledge of the Romeyka grammatical system would benefit linguistic theory more generally
- Due to geographical isolation and the nature of the mountain village communities, there is significant micro-variation within the regions where Romeyka is spoken. Given their level of isolation, we can use this micro-variation to attempt to accurately model contact-induced syntactic change, which is notoriously evasive to capture theoretically.
- The overarching aim of this project is to study the evolution of Pontic Greek within the broader context of Asia Minor Greek. There are two critical issues, namely to what extent Pontic Greek:
i. participated in the koineization process; and
ii. contributed to the dialect formation processes that resulted in the emergence of the major Modern Greek dialects. Given the lack of sufficiently old textual evidence, which would normally provide clues as to the evolution of Pontic Greek, the conservative character of Romeyka, an endangered Greek variety still spoken in Turkey, means that the latter can be used as a ‘window on the past’ to better understand the former.
In the documentation of Romeyka a combination of different ways for data collection is used:
a. elicitation techniques, involving:
i. contextualizing, especially for grammatical phenomena which are interface phenomena such as modality, null objects, and information structure
ii. translation equivalents, especially for identifying contact-induced change
iii. grammaticality judgements
iv. orally administered questionnaires
b. staged communication (quasi-naturalistic data)
c. detailed analysis of data from participant observations (naturalistic data), including video and audio recordings of selected social networks. The social network approach (see, for example, Milroy 1987) is necessary not only because of the richness of the data it yields, but also because, in our case, it allows for the comparison of participants from different age groups and from both genders (Chambers 2002, Sankoff 2006).
d. careful monitoring of extra-linguistic variables (social profiles of participants’ age, sex, education, context and its significance for the choice of register etc.).
e. as far as possible, with the use of Romeyka as a medium for the fieldwork. If data collection had been carried out through the medium of Standard Modern Greek, it would have been necessary to rely on a (male) translator, with all the concomitant complications for accessing female speakers. Use of Turkish, on the other hand, would probably have induced ad hoc calquing. The use of Pontic Greek would inevitably have led to accommodation and, possibly, to the avoidance of local Romeyka features hence our choice for monolingual data collection. Hence our choice for monolingual (Romeyka) data collection.