Language contact, borrowing and code switching

A case study of Australian Greek

in Journal of Greek Linguistics

Abstract

The present study is an in-depth investigation of the Greek language spoken by immigrants in Far North Queensland, Australia. The study focuses on contact-induced changes in the language, such as borrowing of lexemes and discourse patterns, and on code switching. The data analyzed derive from participant observation and some 23 hours of audio and video-recorded conversations with first- and second-generation Greek immigrants that were collected during fieldwork in 2013 in Far North Queensland. The study contributes to the investigation of the structure and use of Greek in the diaspora by integrating perspectives from contact linguistics and interactional approaches to code switching.

Abstract

The present study is an in-depth investigation of the Greek language spoken by immigrants in Far North Queensland, Australia. The study focuses on contact-induced changes in the language, such as borrowing of lexemes and discourse patterns, and on code switching. The data analyzed derive from participant observation and some 23 hours of audio and video-recorded conversations with first- and second-generation Greek immigrants that were collected during fieldwork in 2013 in Far North Queensland. The study contributes to the investigation of the structure and use of Greek in the diaspora by integrating perspectives from contact linguistics and interactional approaches to code switching.

1 Introduction

The present study aims to describe and analyze language contact-induced change and code switching in an Australian Greek community in Far North Queensland, Australia. Although language contact has been extensively investigated by linguists (e.g. Aikhenvald 2002; Clyne 2003; Haugen 1953; Matras 2009; Silva-Corvalán 1994; Thomason 2001; Thomason and Kaufman 1988; Tsitsipis 1998; Weinreich [1953] 2011; Winford 2003, among others), to date there are very few in-depth studies of Greek varieties spoken away from Greece or Cyprus: Seaman (1972) on Greek spoken in the US, Tamis (1986) on Greek spoken in Victoria, Australia, and also Dawkins (1916) on Greek dialects spoken in Asia Minor. Partial studies include Tsokalidou (1994) on code switching and gender among second-generation Greeks in Australia, Maniakas (1991) on Greek in Canada, Gardner-Chloros (1992) and Fotiou (2010) on Cypriot Greek in the UK. The present article aims to fill this gap in the literature by reporting the findings of an inductive-focused investigation of the structure and use of Greek spoken in Cairns, Far North Queensland, Australia. More specifically, the study explores the linguistic results of Greek-Australian English contact, with particular attention given to borrowing and code switching phenomena.

1.1 Language contact and change: theoretical preliminaries

According to Thomason’s (2001, 62) broad definition, language contact-induced change is understood as follows: “any linguistic change that would have been less likely to occur outside a particular contact situation is due at least in part to language contact”. Contact-induced changes may be system-altering or system-preserving (Aikhenvald 2006, 19–20), depending on whether they involve restructuring of the grammatical system or borrowing of a term into an existing system. Three types of contact situations can be identified: language maintenance, language shift, and language creation (Winford 2003). Language maintenance lies at the heart of this study. This type of contact situation occurs when a dominant group is in contact with a linguistic minority, due to immigration, trade, or military invasion. The minority group preserves its native language with contact-induced changes from generation to generation. These changes involve borrowing of forms, constructions or patterns from the language of the dominant group, which carries more power and prestige.

There is no general consensus on the definition of borrowing1 (cf. Winford 2010, 170–172). According to Thomason and Kaufman (1988, 37), borrowing is “the incorporation of foreign features into a group’s native language by speakers of that language”. The language from which features are borrowed is known as the donor or source language, and the language into which these features are borrowed is known as the recipient or borrowing language. Following Trask (2000, 44), Aikhenvald (2006) defines borrowing as the transfer of features of any kind from one language to another as the result of contact. This broad definition of borrowing is adopted in the present study. Linguistic material transferred from a source language into a recipient language may include anything from lexemes, pronouns, affixes, nominal categories, verbal categories, and syntactic features, to phonemes, habits of pronunciation, intonation patterns, and ways of framing discourse (Aikhenvald 2006, 15–18).

Lexical borrowing involves the transfer of lexical material from the source language into the recipient language. Lexical borrowings are divided into loanwords and loanshifts (Winford 2003, 45, cf. Haugen 1953). Loanwords are lexical items in which all or part of the morphemic composition of the loan derives from the source language. Loanshifts are lexical items whose morphemic composition is entirely native and whose meaning derives at least in part from the source language.

The basic mechanism through which forms and constructions travel from the source language into the recipient language is code switching (cf. Heath 1989; Gardner-Chloros 2008, 60; Thomason 2001, 132–133). While borrowing constitutes a completed contact-induced change, switching from one language to another constitutes a “contact-induced speech behavior” (Haspelmath 2009, 40) that occurs extensively in the talk of bilinguals. In broad terms, code switching is defined as “the alternate use by bilinguals of two or more languages in the same conversation” (Milroy and Muysken 1995, 7), between turns of different speakers, between turn constructional units within a single turn, or within the same turn constructional unit. Code switching covers a wide range of patterns that have been identified by Auer (1995, 124–125), as in the following:

  • discourse-related or conversational code switching which is associated with the organization of conversation, and marks, indexes, or highlights aspects of conversational structure, such as turn taking, sequencing of activities, preference organization, repair, topic shift, tying, etc.;

  • preference-related code switching which is related to speakers’ competences and preferences in the two languages;

  • turn-internal switches that do not allow the identification of the language of interaction, and

  • momentary intra-clausal switches or insertions that do not change the language of the interaction and do not carry any locally defined meanings. This fourth type of switching is also known as transfer or code mixing (Auer 1999, 310).

Three patterns of code switching are found in Australian Greek talk-in-interaction: code mixing, participant-related code switching, and conversational code switching. The present study focuses on the first two patterns (see Alvanoudi 2016 for the conversational functions of code switching in Australian Greek talk-in-interaction).

1.2 Greek in diaspora: previous studies

Despite the large number of Greeks living in diaspora, there have been very few in-depth studies up to date with respect to Greek language in contact with other languages. The pioneering studies conducted by Seaman (1972) on Modern Greek spoken in Chicago, USA, and Tamis (1986) on Modern Greek spoken in Victoria, Australia, constitute the background of this study. Both studies report maintenance of Greek in diaspora, with minor contact-induced changes, mostly at the level of lexicon.

More specifically, Seaman (1972) and Tamis (1986) found that speakers insert lexical items from English into Greek, and tend to assign neuter gender to inserted English nouns. Both scholars report lexical borrowings, such as loanshifts or calques that combine Greek morphemes in imitation of the English pattern (e.g. ɣráps to káto ‘write.2sg.imp it down’, Seaman 1972, 169–170), and loanwords that combine an English stem and a Greek affix and are phonologically and morpho-syntactically integrated in Greek (e.g. káro ‘car(n).nom.sg’, xotéli ‘hotel(n).nom.sg’, bósis ‘male boss(m).nom.sg’, sórtis ‘short.m.nom.sg’, Tamis 1986, 133–135, 138). Greeks in the US and in Australia use verb constructions that consist of the Greek verb káno ‘do.1sg.prs’ and ʝínome ‘become.1sg.prs’, and English lexical items (e.g. na ʝínune defrostsbjv become.3pl defrost’, káno delivery work ‘do.1sg.prs delivery work’, Seaman 1972, 166–168). Compound verb constructions are also reported for Greek-Canadian English contact (Maniakas 1991) and Cypriot Greek-British English contact (Fotiou 2010; Gardner-Chloros 1992).

The paper is organized as follows: § 2 presents and discusses language demography in Cairns and the research methodology; § 3 examines borrowing in Greek with attention given to loanwords (§ 3.1) and their grammatical treatment (§ 3.2), calques (§ 3.3), and diffusion of discourse patterns (§ 3.4). In § 4, I analyze code mixing (§ 4.1) and participant-related switching (§ 4.2) in Australian Greek talk-in-interaction. My findings are summarized and presented in § 5, where I briefly discuss the factors that facilitate language maintenance in Cairns.

2 Establishing the context of the study

2.1 The Greek-speaking community in Cairns

Australia is a country of linguistic and cultural diversity (Clyne and Kipp 1999, 1). Clyne (2003, 9) describes this diversity as “an open-ended tension between English monolingualism, as a symbol of a British tradition, English monolingualism as a marker of Australia’s independent national identity, and multilingualism as a reflection of a social and demographic reality and of an ideology of an independent multicultural and outreaching Australian nation”. Greek is one of the many languages spoken in Australia by immigrant populations, and the Greek diaspora is one of the largest in the region. In 1996, Greek was the second most widely used community language spoken in Australia (269,770 speakers) and Melbourne, after Italian (Clyne 2003, 23).

This study targets Greek speakers who live in Cairns, a tropical remote city of Far North Queensland. The first Greeks arrived in Far North Queensland in the late 1890s. They were mostly unskilled or unemployed persons from the Greek islands who worked in the sugar cane industry and on tobacco plantations (see Tamis 2005 for the history of Greeks in Australia). The Greek community in Cairns consists of the children of these first Greeks, and also the Greeks who arrived in Australia after WWII and the Greek civil war, in the 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s. Most of them come from the Greek islands (Rhodos, Kythera, Ithaca, Kasos, Kastelorizo), and some from Macedonia (northern Greece). The Greek community in Cairns is very small; the exact number is unknown. During fieldwork I met about 50 people.

Three groups of speakers were identified.

  • First-generation Greeks who were born and raised in Greece and arrived in Australia after their adolescence. They are late bilinguals, i.e. they have become bilinguals later than childhood (Li Wei 2000, 5).

  • Second-generation Greeks who were born in Australia to first-generation Greeks, or born in Greece and arrived in Australia in their preschool years. They are dominant bilinguals, i.e. they have greater proficiency in one of their languages and use it significantly more than the other language, and/or early bilinguals, i.e. they have acquired the two languages early in childhood (Li Wei 2000, 5).

  • Third-generation Greeks who were born in Australia to second-generation Greeks. Most of them hardly speak any Greek at all.

Data were collected from first-generation Greeks (n= 30), 50 to 90 years old, and second-generation Greeks (n= 15), 40 to 80 years old.

The contact situation in Cairns is language maintenance for first and second-generation Greeks, and language shift for third-generation Greeks. First-generation Greeks form a linguistic minority that became bilingual in the dominant host group, i.e. the English-speaking community, and preserved their native language with minor language contact-induced changes, such as borrowing of lexemes and ways of framing discourse. There are no indications of structural convergence between Greek and English. Greek is spoken at home, in social networks, and at church. Code switching is very common in Australian Greek talk-in-interaction.

2.2 Research methodology

From May 2013 to September 2013, I conducted linguistic ‘immersion’ fieldwork (Dixon 2007) in Cairns. I became a member of the community where the language was spoken, and immersed myself in daily life, and in daily language use. I participated in the religious and cultural activities at the St John Parish of Cairns, and I spent time with my informants in private and public social activities. During fieldwork, I employed basic ethnographic methods (see Eckert 2000 and Saville-Troike 2003 for detailed descriptions of ethnographic methods in linguistics). I established relations of friendship and intellectual partnership with my informants. Data collection was based on audio and a few video recordings of informal face-to-face conversations, and participant observation.

More specifically, I observed who spoke which language and where, how well speakers spoke the languages, and how they utilized each language (see Johnstone 2000, 80–102 for participant observation techniques). Self-reports about when and how speakers use Greek or English, and about language attitudes were also taken into consideration. I used content checking techniques, when I was not sure about the meaning or use of specific loanwords or phrases. Field notes were documented. The aim of fieldwork is to get “real life language data” (Abbi 2001, 1), and conversation is the ideal place to find them. I recorded conversations with 11 first-generation and 9 second-generation Greek immigrants, after I got their consent. I collected about 23 hours of audio-recorded conversations (2 hours were also video-recorded): approximately 16 hours with first-generation Greeks and 7 hours with second-generation Greeks (the corpus contains more than 100,000 words). Conversations took place in arranged meetings, in cultural activities at the St John Parish of Cairns, or during dinners and lunches at the informants’ houses, where I was a guest. Informants were invited to share their life stories, or talk about the history of the Greek community in Cairns, but there were no restrictions regarding the topics of conversation. I would often start the conversation by requesting basic biographical information, such as age, year of arrival in Australia, education and occupation.

The structure and use of Greek spoken by immigrants was analyzed following an inductively based method of grammatical analysis in line with Dixon (2010), Aikhenvald (2014), and Aikhenvald and Dixon (2009). According to Dixon (2010, 2), “grammatical structures and rules are worked out inductively, on the basis of the textual corpus, from utterances observed as the community goes about its daily business, and from example sentences gathered during the construction of a lexicon”. The inductive analysis of data collected through recorded conversations and participant observation allowed for the generalizations presented in this study (more in § 3).

Code switching patterns were analyzed following Auer’s (1984; 1995) conversation analytic approach to code switching in interaction. Opposite to sociolinguistic and ethnographic approaches to code switching (e.g. Blom and Gumperz 1972; Gal 1979; Myers-Scotton 1993; Rampton 1995) that seek to discover correlations between code switching, fixed meanings, and speakers’ social and psychological motivations, interactional or conversation analytic approaches to code switching (e.g. Auer 1984, 1998; Li Wei 1994, 1998, 2005; Li Wei and Milroy 1995) define code switching as a locally meaningful linguistic activity/behavior. These studies examine the meaning of individual instances of code switching in conversation, by analyzing where and why code switching occurs, and exploring the procedures through which speakers produce their own behavior and understand and deal with the behavior of others (more in § 4).

3 Borrowing

Contact-induced change in Greek spoken in Cairns is system preserving, and mainly involves borrowing of lexical items.

3.1 Loanwords

Establishing contact-induced change in Greek is easy when it comes to loanwords, as these lexical items “betray their origin directly” (Thomason 2001, 91). The loanwords found are loanblends, which combine native and imported morphemes. These derivational blends comprise an imported English stem plus a native Greek affix, and are adapted in terms of the phonology and morphology of Standard Modern Greek (henceforth SMG). The type of derivational blend found in the data is illustrated with example (1).2

(1)

to

flór-i

def.n.nom.sg

floor(n)-nom.sg

‘the floor’

SMG

to

pátoma

def.n.nom.sg

floor(n)-nom.sg

The loanblend combines the English stem floor and the Greek affix -i, which is inflected for neuter gender, nominative case and singular number. Overall, 31 loanblends were found in the data. All items except one are nouns. This finding aligns with previous studies (e.g. Matras 2007; Moravcsik 1978; Myers-Scotton 2002, 240; Poplack et al. 1988) which report that nouns are among the most frequently borrowed elements in language contact situations.

Twelve of the loanblends are assigned to the same gender as the equivalent term in SMG, illustrated with (1)–(12).

(2)

a.

to

flát-i

def.n.nom.sg

flat(n)-nom.sg

‘the flat’

SMG

to

ðiamérizma

def.n.nom.sg

flat(n)-nom.sg

b.

to

flatác-i

def.n.nom.sg

flat(n)-nom.dim.sg

‘the little flat’

SMG

to

ðiamerizmatáci

def.n.nom.sg

flat(n)-nom.dim.sg

(3)

to

kár-o

def.n.nom.sg

car(n)-nom.sg

‘the car’

SMG

to

aftocínito

def.n.nom.sg

car(n)-nom.sg

(4)

to

karpét-o

def.n.nom.sg

carpet(n)-nom.sg

‘the carpet’

SMG

to

xalí

def.n.nom.sg

carpet(n)-nom.sg

(5)

to

kontrát-o

def.n.nom.sg

contract(n)-nom.sg

‘the contract’

SMG

to

simvóleo

def.n.nom.sg

contract(n)-nom.sg

(6)

to

ticét-o

def.n.nom.sg

ticket(n)-nom.sg

‘the ticket’

SMG

to

isitírio

def.n.nom.sg

ticket(n)-nom.sg

(7)

to

xotél-i

def.n.nom.sg

hotel(n)-nom.sg

‘the hotel’

SMG

to

ksenoðoçío

def.n.nom.sg

hotel(n)-nom.sg

(8)

to

bás-i

def.n.nom.sg

bus(n)-nom.sg

‘the bus’

SMG

to

leoforío

def.n.nom.sg

bus(n)-nom.sg

(9)

ta

spitáʎa

def.n.nom.pl

hospital(n)-nom.pl

‘the hospital’

SMG

to

nosokomío

def.n.nom.sg

hospital(n)-nom.sg

(10)

i

gríl-a

def.f.nom.sg

grill(f)-nom.sg

‘the grill’

SMG

i

psistarʝá / sxára

def.f.nom.sg

grill(f)-nom.sg

(11)

i

blancét-a

def.f.nom.sg

blanket(f)-nom.sg

‘the blanket’

SMG

i

kuvérta

def.f.nom.sg

blanket(f)-nom.sg

(12)

i

marcét-a

def.f.nom.sg

market(f)-nom.sg

‘the market’

SMG

i

aɣorá

def.f.nom.sg

market(f)-nom.sg

Ten of the loanblends are assigned to a different gender than the equivalent term in SMG. These are illustrated with (13)–(22).

(13)

i

fríz-a

def.f.nom.sg

fridge/freezer(f)-nom.sg

‘the fridge’

SMG

to

psiʝío

def.n.nom.sg

fridge(n)-nom.sg

(14)

i

bascét-a

def.f.nom.sg

basket(f)-nom.sg

‘the basket’

SMG

to

kaláθi

def.n.nom.sg

basket(n)-nom.sg

(15)

i

abúl-a

def.f.nom.sg

ambulance(f)-nom.sg

‘the ambulance’

SMG

to

asθenofóro

def.n.nom.sg

ambulance(n)-nom.sg

(16)

to

stéc-i

def.n.nom.sg

steak(n)-nom.sg

‘the steak’

SMG

i

brizóla

def.f.nom.sg

steak(f)-nom.sg

(17)

to

resít-i

def.n.nom.sg

receipt(n)-nom.sg

‘the receipt’

SMG

i

apóðiksi

def.f.nom.sg

receipt(f)-nom.sg

(18)

to

ʝár-i

def.n.nom.sg

yard(n)-nom.sg

‘the yard’

SMG

i

avlí

def.f.nom.sg

yard(f)-nom.sg

(19)

ta

bília

def.n.nom.pl

bill(n)-nom.pl

‘the bills’

SMG

i

loɣarʝaszmí

def.m.nom.pl

bill(m)-nom.pl

(20)

to

tséc-i

def.n.nom.sg

check(n)-nom.sg

‘the check’

SMG

i

epitaʝí

def.f.nom.sg

check(f)-nom.sg

(21)

to

taksás-i

def.n.nom.sg

tax(n)-nom.sg

‘the tax’

SMG

o

fóros

def.m.nom.sg

tax(m)-nom.sg

(22)

i

mánɟes

def.f.nom.pl

mango(f)-nom.pl

‘the mangos’

SMG

ta

mángo

def.n.nom.pl

mango

In (23)–(25), it is indeterminate whether the loanword is assigned to the same gender or to a different gender than the equivalent term in SMG.

(23)

to

trác-i

def.n.nom.sg

truck(n)-nom.sg

‘the truck’

SMG

to

fortiɣó

i

dalíka

def.n.nom.sg

truck(n)-nom.sg

def.f.nom.sg

truck(f)-nom.sg

(24)

i

ɣuéntz-a

def.f.nom.sg

wage(f)-nom.sg

‘the wage’

SMG

o

misθós

i

amiví / pliromí

def.m.nom.sg

wage(m)-nom.sg

def.f.nom.sg

wage(f)-nom.sg

(25)

to

bóks-i

def.n.nom.sg

box(n)-nom.sg

‘the box’

SMG

to

kutí

i

kúta

def.n.nom.sg

box(n)-nom.sg

def.f.nom.sg

box(f)-nom.sg

Double gender assignment is found in (26)–(27).

(26)

a.

to

búc-i

def.n.nom.sg

book(n)-nom.sg

‘the book’

b.

to

búk-o

def.n.nom.sg

book(n)-nom.sg

‘the book’

SMG

to

vivlío

def.n.nom.sg

book(n)-nom.sg

(27)

a.

to

rúf-i

def.n.nom.sg

roof(n)-nom.sg

‘the roof’

b.

o

rúf-is

def.m.nom.sg

roof(m)-nom.sg

‘the roof’

SMG

to

taváni

def.n.nom.sg

roof(n)-nom.sg

i

orofí

def.f.nom.sg

roof(f)-nom.sg

Loanwords denoting male humans are grammatically masculine (28), (30), and loanwords denoting female humans are grammatically feminine (29).

(28)

o

bós-is

def.m.nom.sg

boss(m)-nom.sg

‘the male boss’

(29)

i

bós-ena

def.f.nom.sg

boss(f)-nom.sg

‘the female boss’

(30)

o

púft-as

def.m.nom.sg

poofter(m)-nom.sg

‘the poofter’

There is also one adjective borrowed from English that combines the English stem flash, the Greek derivational suffix -ik- and the suffix -o, which is marked for gender, case and number. In (31), the suffix -o is inflected for neuter gender, accusative case and singular number.

(31)

íçe

flásiko

aftocínito

have.3sg.pst

flashy.n.acc.sg

car(n)-acc.sg

‘He had a flashy car.’

Similar loanwords are also reported by Seaman (1972, 182–185) and Tamis (1986, 132–137) for the Greek spoken in the US and in Australia respectively. These loanwords adapt the imported stem to Greek phonology. For example, the English stem in the words fláti, flóri, káro, búko, xotéli, bási, and bóksi is adapted in terms of Greek pronunciation. Phonological adaption is also accomplished via omission of final consonant (yard > yári) and nasalization (wage > ɣuéntza).

Overall, these loanwords are phonologically and morpho-syntactically integrated in the Greek language system, and are used interchangeably with the equivalent SMG terms. In some cases, speakers are aware of the status of these loanwords as borrowed items. For example, certain speakers reported that using these terms in conversations in Greece caused confusion and misunderstanding with other Greek speakers.

3.2 Grammatical treatment of loanwords

Although Greek and English are genetically related, they are not structurally similar. Greek is highly inflectional, while English is not. Greek nouns are inflected for gender, case and number. English loanwords in Greek are also assigned to a specific gender, and inflect for number and case. This section focuses on gender assignment to loanwords.

In SMG, the grammatical gender system is divided into three inflectional paradigms or declensions, which correspond to masculine, feminine, and neuter (Triantafyllidis [1941] 2005), illustrated with (32).

(32) Masculine

o

ðrómos

def.m.nom.sg

road(m).nom.sg

‘the road’

Feminine

i

elpíða

def.f.nom.sg

hope(f).nom.sg

‘the hope’

Neuter

to

vivlío

def.n.nom.sg

book(n).nom.sg

‘the book’

All nouns, adjectives, articles, passive participles, and certain pronouns and numerals inflect for masculine, feminine and neuter gender. Gender assignment in nouns denoting humans is sex-based. In general, nouns denoting male humans are grammatically masculine, and nouns denoting female humans are grammatically feminine. Gender assignment in nouns denoting inanimate objects is semantically arbitrary; yet, a few exceptions are found (e.g. nouns denoting countries, islands and cities tend to be grammatically feminine, Anastasiadi-Symeonidi and Chila-Markopoulou 2003, 27). Moreover, in Greek, nouns are assigned to specific genders according to morphological principles (detailed accounts of gender assignment principles can be found in Triantafyllidis [1941] 2005, 225–253; Holton, Mackridge and Philippaki-Warburton 1997, 48–72).3

The gender of a loanword is determined either by gender assignment rules in the recipient language, or gender assignment rules in the source language. For instance, Haugen (1953) found that most English borrowings in Norwegian become masculine, but they become feminine or neuter if they are associated with a feminine or neuter morpheme in Norwegian. If they denote a female referent, they become grammatically feminine. The sex of the referent also determines gender assignment to English loanwords in Puerto Rican Spanish in New York City, and to English loanwords in Montreal French (Poplack et al. 1982; Poplack et al. 1988). Gender assignment rules of the source language seem to be dominant in French loanwords in Brussels. Treffers-Daller (1994) showed that words that are masculine or feminine in French remain masculine or feminine when borrowed in Dutch. Stolz (2009) reports similar findings for Italo-Romance loans in Maltese.

Loanwords in Modern Greek and in Greek dialects are assigned to gender according to semantic and morpho-phonological gender assignment rules in Greek. For example, Ralli et al. (2015) found that Romance and Turkish loanwords in Heptanesian and Pontic Modern Greek dialects become feminine if they have female reference, and masculine if they have male reference, whereas loans denoting non-humans tend to become neuter. Moreover, Ralli et al. (2015) showed that the endings that match the Greek ones are reanalyzed as pieces of Greek inflection or as stem-final segments, and through them the integrated nouns are allocated to specific inflectional paradigms. In Modern Greek, referent’s sex is an important factor in assigning gender to loanwords (Anastasiadi-Symeonidi 1994; Christofidou 2003). Very often, loanwords denoting inanimate objects become neuter (Anastasiadi-Symeonidi and Chila-Markopoulou 2003, 36).

In Greek-Australian English contact in Cairns, English loanwords are assigned gender according to semantic and morphological gender assignment principles in Greek (cf. Anastasiadi-Symeonidi 1994; Christofidou 2003; Ralli et al. 2015). For example, loanwords denoting male humans are grammatically masculine (e.g. o bsis ‘the male boss’), and loanwords denoting female humans are grammatically feminine (e.g. i bsena ‘the female boss’). The endings of loanwords that match the Greek endings are reanalyzed as pieces of Greek inflection and through them loanwords are allocated to specific declensions. For example, loanwords ending in -a are feminine, and loanwords ending in -o and -i are neuter. Nineteen out of the 27 loanwords referring to the inanimate world are assigned the neuter gender.4 As we will see in § 4.1.2, neuter is also the dominant gender in single word switches.

3.3 Loanshifts

The other type of lexical borrowing found in the data is loanshifts. These are pure loan translations or calques, i.e. complex lexical units, either single words or fixed phrasal expressions, which combine native morphemes in imitation of the foreign pattern. Overall, 22 calques were found in the data, marked with bold face in (33)–(41).

(33)

ɣráfo

káto

ta

onómata

write.1sg.prs

down

def.n.acc.pl

name(n).acc.pl

‘I write the names down.’

(34)

aftós

éspase

he

break.3sg.pst

‘(He) went broke.’

(35)

pçáse

to

plío

catch.2sg.imp

def.n.acc.sg

boat(n).acc.sg

‘Catch the boat.’

(36)

vreméni

epoçí

wet.f.nom.sg

season(f).nom.sg

‘wet season’

(37)

prin

na

éxune

peðʝá

before

sbjv

have.3pl

kid(n).acc.pl

‘before they had kids’

(38)

θa

se

spróxno

fut

you.acc.sg

push.1sg.ipfv

‘I will push/urge you.’

(39)

ðíno

lift

give.1sg.prs

‘I give a lift.’

(40)

me

rotúsane

na

káno

éna

dish

me

ask.3pl.ιμper

sbjv

make.1sg

one.n.acc

‘They asked me to make a dish.’

(41)

kánume

kalá

me

ti

mitéra

tu

do.1pl.prs

well

with

def.f.acc.sg

mother(f).acc.sg

his

‘We are doing okay with his mum.’

These lexical units copy syntactic and semantic patterns found in English and consist of “an item-by-item translation of the (complex) source unit” (Haspelmath 2009, 39). The calques found in Greek are probably due to frequency, and do not seem to be associated with salient cultural practices or perceived ‘gaps’ in the Greek language (cf. Aikhenvald 2006, 25). Similar calques are also reported by Seaman (1972, 169–170) for the Greek spoken in the US and by Tamis (1986, 172–178) for the Greek spoken in Australia.

3.4 Diffusion of discourse patterns

Diffusion of discourse patterns, such as formulaic greetings or other routinized phrases, has been reported in a number of language contact situations (e.g. Ameka 2006, 138–139; Epps 2006, 285). Indications of diffusion of discourse patterns are also found in Greek-Australian English contact in Cairns, illustrated with (42)–(43).

When a first-generation female Greek called me on my phone and did not reach me, she left the following voice mail.

(42)

ja su

anɟelikí.

eɣó

íme

tu

Peter

i

ʝaʝá.

hello you

Angeliki(f).voc.sg

I

cop.1sg.prs

def.m.gen.sg

def.f.nom.sg

grandmother(f).nom.sg

‘Hello Angeliki. It’s me, Peter’s grandmother.’

The usual formulation in SMG would have been íme i ʝaʝá tu Peter [cop.1sg.prs def.f.nom.sg grandmother(f).nom.sg def.m.gen.sg Peter], whereby the copula verb marks first person singular, the first person singular pronoun (eɣó) is omitted, and the head is followed by the possessive in the noun phrase. Although the formulation eɣó íme tu Peter i ʝaʝá is grammatically correct in SMG, it is not the default practice for delivering the specific action. Greek is a pro-drop language, i.e. pronouns may be omitted since person is marked in the verb form. When speakers use subject pronouns, they may indicate that something more than referring is being done (cf. Pavlidou 2012). In (42), no extra interactional task is accomplished besides self-reference. Moreover, although SMG allows for both [NP + NPGEN] and [NPGEN + NP] orders, the second order can be used as a pragmatic strategy to lend focus to the referent introduced by the NPGEN. Such a strategy sounds untypical for (42), whereby identification and recognition of the caller is expected via a recognitional referring expression in initial position that picks out the caller, rather than a third party related to the caller.

Another instance of diffusion is reported by another first-generation female Greek. Once she visited a clothes shop in Greece, and asked the employee for a specific size (43).

(43)

parakaló

θa

borúsate

na

mu

ðósete

to

número

ðóðeka?

please.1sg.prs

fut

can.2pl.pfv

sbjv

me

give.2pl.pfv

def.n.acc.sg

number(n).acc.sg

twelve

‘Could you please give me number twelve?’

The employee asked her if she was a foreigner, because her request sounded unusual. It was too indirect and polite for Greek standards. The usual formulation in Greek would have been more direct, for instance via the present indicative interrogative mu ðínete to número ðóðeka? ‘Can you give me number twelve?’ that expresses immediacy. As Sifianou (1992) has shown, the politeness system in British English is more negative-face oriented, whereas the system in Greek is more positive-face oriented. This cross-cultural difference is reflected in the ways in which the negative-face threatening speech act (Brown and Levinson 1987) of requesting is formulated in the two languages. In Greek, requests are more straightforward, whereas in English requests are more indirect. (43) indicates a similar cross-cultural difference between Greek and Australian English. The female speaker deploys a more elaborate utterance to deliver the request, imitating the English practice, and departs from the more direct formulation, which is expected in Greek. This is why her request is ‘noticed’ by the Greek employee.

3.5 Interim summary

Overall, the contact-induced changes found in the Greek spoken in Cairns, Australia, are system-preserving, and involve lexical borrowings, that consist of loanwords and loanshifts. There are also indications of diffusion of discourse patterns. These borrowings from English are due to intense contact with the English-speaking host community and cultural pressure associated with the prestige of the dominant group (cf. Myers-Scotton 2006, 216–217; Winford 2003, 33–34). Lexical borrowings are found in the speech of both first and second-generation Greeks, and across different ages.

English forms make their way into Greek via code switching. Code switching patterns in Australian Greek talk-in-interaction is the topic of the next section.

4 Code switching in Australian Greek talk-in-interaction

Three patterns of code switching are found in Australian Greek talk-in-interaction: conversational code switching, participant-related code switching, and code mixing (cf. § 1.1). In the next sections, I examine code mixing and participant-related switching.

4.1 Mixing Greek with English

Mixing Greek with English produces utterances with hybrid structures in which most of the lexicon and morpho-syntax comes from Greek, i.e. the matrix language, and single words or phrases are inserted from English, i.e. the embedded language (cf. Myers-Scotton 1993). Unlike loanwords (cf. § 3.1), single-word switches do not display phonological and morphological adaptation, and are not tokens of established or completed language change. Some of the switches may reflect gradual processes of integration into the Greek language, and thus constitute “regular” switches (Haspelmath 2009, 41).

In code mixing, Greek sets the grammatical frame for mixed constituents: it provides the morpheme order and system morphemes. Content morphemes are incorporated from English into the Greek frame. In code mixed utterances, the number of Greek morphemes usually exceeds that of English morphemes. English content morphemes that appear in code mixed utterances are congruent with their Greek counterparts: they are similar in semantics, categorical status, syntactic and morphological properties, and discourse/pragmatic function. Single or multi-unit insertions consist of adjectives, nouns, noun phrases, verb phrases, adverbs, complement or main clauses, and pragmatic particles. Over 1000 occurrences of momentary insertions of English words and phrases were found in the corpus.

4.1.1 Adjectives

English adjectives are usually inserted in copula constructions as copula complements, as is shown in (44)–(48) (switches are marked with bold face).

(44)

épine

ce

ítane

violent.

drink.3sg.imper

and

cop.3sg.pst

‘He was drinking and he was violent.’

(45)

aftó

íne

global.

this.n.nom.sg

cop.3sg.prs

‘This is global.’

(46)

íne

pço

easy

ʝa

aftús.

cop.3sg.prs

more

for

them

‘It’s easier for them.’

(47)

íne

busy

i

ʝitoɲá.

cop.3sg.prs

def.f.nom.sg

neighbourhood(f).nom.sg

‘The neighbourhood is busy.’

(48)

óla

plastic

íne.

all.n.nom

cop.3pl.prs

‘They are all plastic.’

English adjectives are also inserted as modifiers in noun phrases, as is shown in (49)–(50).

(49)

ton

pink

solomó

def.m.acc.sg

salmon(m).acc.sg

‘the pink salmon’

(50)

ðen

ékana

hard

ðuʎés.

neg

do.1sg.pst

job(f).acc.pl

‘I didn’t do hard jobs.’

4.1.2 Nouns

Insertions often involve English nouns and noun phrases, illustrated with (51)–(54), and (55)–(59) respectively.

(51)

íxane

heaters

pu

zesténane

have.3pl.pst

conj

heat.3pl.imper

‘They had heaters that heated’

(52)

ðen

ipírçe

competition.

neg

cop.3sg.imper

‘There was no competition.’

(53)

ʝa

holiday

íne

nice.

for

cop.3sg.prs

‘It’s nice for a holiday.’

(54)

íne

san

house.

cop.3sg.prs

like

‘It’s like a house.’

(55)

ítan

beautiful people.

cop.3pl.pst

‘They were beautiful people.’

(56)

íne

long story

na

su

po.

cop.3sg.prs

sbjv

you.gen.sg

tell.1sg.pfv

‘It’s a long story to tell you.’

(57)

káname

right

job

do.1pl.pst

‘We did the right job.’

(58)

ta

meɣalónune

se

fresh water.

them

grow.up.3pl.prs

in

‘They grow them in fresh water.’

(59)

íçe

good life.

have.3sg.pst

‘He had a good life.’

In general, neuter gender is assigned to the English nouns inserted, as is shown in (60)–(70).

(60)

ótan

ðulévis

ʝa

to

community

when

work.2sg.prs

for

def.n.acc.sg

‘When you work for the community’

(61)

se

pço

department

in

which.n.acc.sg

‘In which department’

(62)

íxa

to

passport

have.1sg.pst

def.n.acc.sg

‘I had the passport’

(63)

sto

Brazil

in def.n.acc.sg

‘in Brazil’

(64)

sto

Cook

Island

in def.n.acc.sg

‘in Cook Island’

(65)

ímastan

kaló

committee.

cop.1pl.pst

good.n.nom.sg

‘We were a good committee.’

(66)

to

past

íne

past,

to

pérases

def.n.nom.sg

cop.3sg.prs

it

pass.2sg.pst

‘The past is the past, you’ve been through it.’

(67)

píso

apó

ta

counter

behind

from

def.n.acc.pl

‘behind the counters’

(68)

ðen

tróʝete

to

bloody fish.

neg

eat.pass.3sg.prs

def.n.nom.sg

‘You cannot eat the bloody fish.’

(69)

sto

spare time

ðulévi

in def.n.acc.sg

work.3sg.prs

‘In her spare time she works.’

(70)

ótan

cítaksa

to

tiléfono

íçe

tría

missed calls.

when

look.1sg.pst

def.n.acc.sg

telephone(n).acc.sg

have.3sg.pst

three.n.acc

‘When I checked my phone, I had three missed calls.’

Yet, English nouns denoting countries and states (71–72), cities (73), or days (74) may also be assigned to feminine gender.

(71)

ti

New Zealand

def.f.acc.sg

‘New Zealand’

(72)

tin

Tasmania

def.f.acc.sg

Tasmania

‘Tasmania’

(73)

ti

Melbourne

def.f.acc.sg

Melbourne

‘Melbourne’

(74)

aftín

tin

Thursday

this.f.acc.sg

def.f.acc.sg

Thursday

‘this Thursday’

The assignment of feminine gender to nouns denoting days may be due to the fact that in Greek, 6 out of the 7 days of the week are grammatically feminine. The assignment of feminine gender to nouns denoting countries may be motivated by the tendency for Greek nouns denoting countries to be grammatically feminine (cf. Anastasiadi-Symeonidi and Chila-Markopoulou 2003, 27), and the tendency for English nouns denoting countries to be personified as female (cf. Mathiot 1979).

4.1.3 Verbs

The English verb phrases embedded in Greek consist of the verb form, always preceded by the personal pronoun that indicates person (75)–(80).

(75)

I don’t know

ti

káni.

what

do.3sg.prs

‘I don’t know what he is doing.’

(76)

I hope

na

perási.

sbjv

go.away.3sg.pfv

‘I hope it goes away.’

(77)

I was relieved

pu

fíɣane

conj

leave.3pl.pst

‘I was relieved that they left.’

(78)

she was

anípadri

single.f.nom.sg

‘She was single.’

(79)

It’s

meɣálo

vivlío.

big.n.nom.sg

book(n).nom.sg

‘It’s a big book.’

(80)

alá

it doesn’t matter

apó

pu

íne

but

from

where

cop.3pl.prs

‘But it doesn’t matter where they come from’

Speakers may also introduce the A core argument via a Greek referential formulation, and insert the English verb after it (81).

(81)

ʝatí

me

to

inflation

ta

leftá

su

deteriorate,

because

with

def.n.acc.sg

def.n.nom.pl

money(n).nom.pl

your

‘Because your money deteriorates due to inflation,’

4.1.4 Bilingual compound verbs

Speakers use compound verb constructions that consist of the Greek verb káno ‘do.1sg.prs’ and ʝínome ‘become.1sg.prs’, and English verbs, verb phrases, nouns, noun phrases, adjectives, and participles. These constructions are known in the literature as Bilingual Compound Verbs (cf. Edwards and Gardner-Chloros 2007; Muysken 2000), Light Verb Strategy (cf. Wohlgemuth 2009), or do-construction (cf. Myers-Scotton 2002). In this study, I employ the term Bilingual Compound Verbs (henceforth BCVs). BCVs consist of an embedded language verb (or other lexical item), and a matrix language ‘helping’ verb meaning ‘do/make’ or ‘be/become’ (Muysken 2000, 184–185). The embedded language lexical item carries the semantic information of the complex predicate, while the matrix language auxiliary-like verb bears the inflection and all grammatical functions of the predicate.

BCVs are common across various language contact situations, such as English-Spanish (Pfaff 1976; Silva-Corvalán 1994), Panjabi-English (Romaine 1986), Malay-Dutch (Muysken 2000), German-Hungarian (Moravcsik 1975), Greek-American English (Seaman 1972), Greek-Australian English (Tamis 1986), Greek-Canadian English (Maniakas 1991), and Cypriot Greek-British English (Fotiou 2010; Gardner-Chloros 1992). In Myers-Scotton’s (2002, 35) words, the construction “knows no typological or geographic limits” and occurs across agglutinating, fusional, and inflectional languages.

In the BCVs in the Greek variety of Cairns, the verbs káno and ʝínome are combined with English verbs or other lexical items (verbs are more common), and create complex predicates, illustrated below:

  • Greek verb káno + English verbs or verb phrases: káno enjoy (‘I enjoy’), káno use (‘I use’), káno advise (‘I advise’), káno retire (‘I retire’), káno travel (‘I travel’), káno think (‘I think’), káno attract (‘I attract’), káno read (‘I read’), káno move (‘I move’), káno press (‘I press’), káni explode (‘it explodes’), káno look after (‘I look after’), káno attract people from other cities (‘I attract people from other cities’), káno design clothes (‘I design clothes’), káno invent something (‘I invent something’);

  • Greek verb káno + English nouns and noun phrases: káno exams (‘I give exams’), káno feeling (‘I feel’), káno good time (‘I enjoy/have a good time’), káno vacuum cleaner (‘I use the vacuum cleaner’), káno high school (‘I go to high school’); and

  • Greek verb káno or ʝínome + English adjectives and participles: ʝínome shocked (‘I am shocked’), káno stuck (‘I am stuck’).

The native light verbs carry all grammatical information of the predicate, and the semantic information is associated with the foreign inserted items. The English items transfer their thematic properties to the Greek light verbs, and carry the meaning of the complex predicate. Inserted verbs can be transitive or intransitive, and are treated as nominal within these constructions.

BCVs are enhanced in Greek due to Greek’s typological profile. As was mentioned before, Greek is highly inflectional, in contrast to English. Greek light verbs are marked for person, number, tense, aspect and also mood, while English items remain uninflected. Because inserted lexical items are not phonologically or semantically integrated into Greek, they constitute instances of code switching (cf. Muysken 2000; Romaine 1986), rather than instances of borrowing (cf. Wohlgemuth 2009).

4.1.5 Pragmatic markers

English pragmatic markers are among the items that Greek immigrants insert into their talk. In (82)–(83),5 speakers employ the English tokens yes and no to respond to another speaker’s prior turn.

(82)

1

Researcher

Ðilaðí íne θaménos o ándras su sto Cook Island?

‘So, is your husband buried on Cook Island?’

2

Kostantina

=>

Yes.

(83)

1

Researcher

>Θes voíθia?<

‘Do you need help?’

2

Petroula

=>

No:, no:. °↓kátse ecí ða pu íse.

‘No, no. Stay where you are.’

Speakers use the English particle oh to indicate information receipt, and mark ‘change of state’ from not knowing to knowing (cf. Heritage 1984). In (84), Petroula delivers an oh-prefaced answer in line 3 that acknowledges new information delivered by the researcher in line 2.

(84)

1

Petroula

Pços ékane bingo?

‘Who won the bingo [game]?’

2

Researcher

Εɣó >ékana bingo Petrúla.< =

‘I did Petroula.’

3

Petroula

=>

= Oh, esí.

‘Oh, you.’

In (85), well occurs as a turn-initiator (cf. Heritage 2015) in line 2.

(85)

1

(.)

2

Marilena

=>

Well, ítan ci ecíni kaθiʝités ce o John ítan kaθiʝitís,

‘Well, they were also teachers and John was a teacher,’

(86) comes from a story telling about Kostantina’s arrival in Australia, and the first years of her residence in the country. After a parenthetical sequence that closes in line 3, Kostantina uses and then to continue the telling of the events (line 5). She employs and then/and (line 5, 6, 11) to express time continuity and establish succession between the events narrated (cf. Schiffrin 1987, 128).

(86)

1

Kostantina

>Ikosi oxtó xronón ímun pu írθa eðó.<

‘I was twenty eight years old when I arrived here.’

2

(0.6)

3

Researcher

°Mikrúla.

‘Very young.’

4

(0.7)

5

Kostantina

=>

And then sa írθame eðó:, and then e >épçasa ðuʎá,

‘And then when we came here, and then eh I found a job,’

6

=>

ta peðʝá píɣan< sxolío katefθían, (0.7) and then épçasa

‘kids went to school straight away, (0.7) and then I started’

7

ðuʎá sto rápsimo,

‘working as a seamstress,’

8

(.)

9

Axá,

‘Aha,’

10

(0.9)

((4 lines omitted))

11

Kostantina

=>

and káname leftá:,

‘and we earned money,’

In (87), but marks contrast between the preceding and the upcoming unit (cf. Schiffrin 1987, 152).

(87)

1

Minas

=>

I: anipsçá mu íçe teliósi:: ʝeolóɣos, but ðen borúse na vri <típota>

‘My niece studied geology, but she couldn’t find anything’

In (88) and (89), speakers employ so and because to convey meanings of result and cause respectively.

(88)

1

Kostantina

Miláo misí óra, pliróno ðío ðolária,

‘I speak for half an hour, I pay two dollars,’

2

=>

°so (.) tus tilefonó.

‘so, (.) I call them.’

(89)

1

Petroula

ʝaftó ðen epíɣa stin eklisía.

‘That’s why I didn’t go to the church.’

2

(0.9)

3

Petroula

=>

Ti:n cirʝací. becau::se (1.2) °e::° ímuna kurazméni.

‘On Sunday. Because (1.2) eh I was tired.’

So is also used as a marker of transition (cf. Schiffrin 1987, 217) in (90). In line 2, Minas returns to the activity that was interrupted in the preceding lines: he continues presenting photos of Greeks in Cairns. He starts his turn with the particle so to mark transition to the activity.

(90)

1

 

(1.7)

2

Minas

So. (.) ótan ðis aftín saftín ti fotoɣrafía, (0.9) aftí i i: ʝinéka

‘So. (.) when you see this in this photo, (0.9) this woman’

4.1.6 Adverbs, prepositional phrases and clauses

Speakers insert adverbs from English to modify clauses (91–93) or adjectives (94).

(91)

tu

éðose

ɣráma

officially.

him

give.3sg.pst

letter(n).acc.sg

‘He gave him a letter officially.’

(92)

Probably

ðen

tin

íðes.

neg

her

see.2sg.pst

‘You probably didn’t see her.’

(93)

óti

information

na

kséri

kápços,

straightway

θa

pári

tiléfono.

whatever

sbjv

know.3sg.prs

someone.m.nom.sg

fut

take.3sg.pfv

telephone(n).acc.sg

‘If someone knows something, he will call straightway.’

(94)

alá

íne

really strong.

but

cop.3sg.prs

‘But she is really strong.’

Insertions also include English prepositional phrases (95)–(96) or clauses (97)–(98).

(95)

ótan

íse

under pressure

when

cop.2sg.prs

‘When you are under pressure’

(96)

to

neró

íne

like a lake

ecí.

def.n.nom.sg

water(n).nom.sg

cop.3sg.prs

there

‘Water is like a lake there.’

(97) It must have been the day before or something like this

pu

tu

íxa

milísi

ce

ítane

nevriazménos

mazí

mu.

conj

him

have.1sg.pst

speak.pfv

and

cop.3sg.pst

angry.m.nom.sg

with

me

‘It must have been the day before or something like this that I had spoken to him and he was angry with me.’

(98)

ótan

ton

íða

teleftéa

forá,

when

him

see.1sg.pst

last

time

he was very excited to see me.

‘The last time I saw him, he was very excited to see me.’

Greek immigrants often describe the code-mixed utterances examined above as ‘Greek Australian’. This type of code mixing is not socially and interactionally motivated, and should be understood as a “discourse mode”, in Poplack’s (1980, 614) words, that belongs to the repertoire of the speech community. As Poplack (1980, 614) argues, it is the choice or not of this mode “which is of significance to participants rather than the choice of switch points”. Code mixing is a pattern found across first and second-generation Greeks, and across different ages. It is less common in the speech of Greeks who are not highly proficient in English.

4.2 Participant-related switches from Greek to English

In general, mixing Greek with English carries no local interactional meaning. However, sometimes, single-word switches may ‘tell us something more’ about speakers’ competences in Greek and in English. Participant-related switches are usually triggered by word searches and lexical retrieval problems. Such switches can occasion sequences incidental to the ongoing sequence structure (Schegloff 2007, 240). Speakers point to the fact that they cannot find the Greek word, they appeal to their co-participant to provide the missing word, and display their incompetence in Greek and higher competence in English. The co-participant offers a translation or an explanation of the requested item.

In (99), Petroula tells a story about how her husband got sick thirty years ago. In line 1, she inserts the English noun tumor. In the next turn constructional unit, the speaker indicates the reason why she inserted a lexical item from English: she does not know the Greek word (ðen kséro stin Eláða ‘I don’t know [how they call it] in Greece’). In line 2, the researcher provides the missing word in Greek (gos ‘tumor’), and seeks confirmation (íçe go sto cefáli? ‘did he have a brain tumor?’). Petroula confirms via repetition of prior turn in line 3. The single-word switch in this excerpt indicates speaker’s incompetence in retrieving the specific medical term in Greek.

(99)

1

Petroula

=>

Íçe:- eðó to le- eðó léʝete tumor. ðen kséro stin Eláða.

‘He had- here they call it tumor. I don’t know [how they call it] in Greece.’

2

Researcher

Ógos- íçe ógo sto cefáli?

‘Tumor- did he have a brain tumor?’

3

Petroula

Íçe ógo sto cefáli.

‘He had a brain tumor.’

In (100), Takis and the researcher list features typical of people with a Scorpio star sign. Takis tries to find the correct word to describe this group of people, and asks for the researcher’s help (pos to léne. ‘how do they call it?’, line 5). He inserts the English adjective unpredictable. The researcher does not provide the correct word (gap in line 6), and Takis reformulates what he said in his prior turn (Ε:: >ðe borís< ‘Eh you cannot’, line 7). In a collaboratively built turn, the researcher completes Takis’s turn by providing the correct formulation (Νa tus provlépsis [me °típota.] ‘[You cannot] predict them in any way’, line 8). Takis agrees with the completion, by repeating the researcher’s prior saying [>Νa tus provlé]psis me típota.< ‘[You cannot] predict them in any way.’, line 9).

(100)

1

Takis

Ne. =i skorpçí íne po ðinatí xaraktíres.

‘Yes. =Scorpios have very strong characters.’

2

Researcher

Polí ðina[tí, .h ce ka]tastréfode, aftokatastroficí íne líɣο,

‘Very strong, .h and they destroy themselves, they are a bit self-destructive,’

3

Takis

[Ce polí:]

‘And very’

4

Researcher

alá metá::=

‘but afterwards’=

5

Takis

=>

=polí::: (0.6) pos to léne. (1.3) unpredictable.

= ‘very (0.6) how do they call it? (1.3) unpredictable.’

6

(0.6)

7

Takis

E:: >ðe borís< (0.7)

‘Eh you cannot (0.7)’

8

Researcher

Na tus provlépsis [me °típota.]

‘[You cannot] predict them in any way.’

9

Takis

[>Na tus provlé]psis me típota.<

‘[You cannot] predict them in any way.’

Example (101) comes from a story telling about Kostantina’s son. In line 1, Kostantina has trouble retrieving a word (ne- pos na su po. ‘he is- how should I explain this to you.’). In line 3, she inserts the English adjective friendly, and initiates a word-search sequence, whereby she requests the correct Greek word and gives an account for her incompetence (pos to léne [sta: I] don’t know::, stα elinik? ‘how do we say this in I don’t know, in Greek?’). The researcher provides the word filiks (‘friendly’) in line 5. In line 6, Kostantina accepts the researcher’s answer by repeating the Greek word and employing the positive response token yes. In the next turn constructional unit, the speaker delivers a self-assessment (>ksexsame< ta elinik. ‘we forgot Greek.’) that marks her incompetence in retrieving the Greek word as worthy of on-topic talk. She refers to herself as part of a collectivity via first person plural. This collectivity includes Greeks living in Australia and introduces the speaker’s Greek-Australian identity as a feature that is interactionally relevant. After completing her turn, Kostantina starts laughing, and invites the recipient to laugh (Jefferson 1979). The recipient accepts that invitation by placing the laugh just after onset of speaker’s laughter (line 7). Shared laughter establishes affiliation between speaker and recipient, and indexes the recipient’s shared alignment about the identity indexed (cf. Liebscher and Dailey-O’Cain 2013).

(101)

1

Kostantina

Pan aɣorázun ce tróne, kséris íne- pos na su po.

‘They go buy things and eat, you know he is- how should I explain this to you.’

2

(.)

3

Kostantina

Friendly. pos to léne [sta: I] don’t know::, sta eliniká?

‘Friendly. how do we say this in I don’t know, in Greek?’

4

Researcher

[Ne ne ne.]

‘Yes yes yes.’

5

Researcher

=>

Filiks.

‘Friendly.’

6

Kostantina

=>

Filiks. °yes.° >ksexásame< ta eliniká. ((she laughs[......................]…))

‘Friendly. yes. we forgot Greek.’

7

Researcher

[((she laughs))]

8

Kostantina

yeah.

9

(1.2)

10

Researcher

Cinonikó peðí. cinonikós ánθropos.

‘[He is a] sociable kid. [He is a] sociable man.’

The participant-related switches examined above display a number of vocal features that indicate that the speaker cannot immediately locate the appropriate word in Greek. These features are sound stretches (íçe:-, polí:::), cut offs (íçe:-, íne-), pauses, and wh-questions (pos to léne, pos na su po). Goodwin (1983) considers these features to be typical of word searches in interaction. The insertions of English items, which are related to the lexical retrieval problems in Greek, trigger incidental word-search sequences, which are embedded in the ongoing talk. After the speaker inserts the English item and displays his/her incompetence in finding the word in question, s/he initiates the incidental sequence by requesting the correct word. This request may be formulated via a wh-question. The request is the first pair part initiating the word-search sequence and projects the relevance of an answer as a second pair part. The addressee delivers the answer that consists of the correct Greek word the requester is looking for. The requester accepts the answer by repeating the correct word.

In participant-related switches, speakers orient to the ‘other language’ character of the inserted item, and treat the insertion as ‘inappropriate’ verbal activity (Auer 1984, 60). These switches reveal speakers’ incompetence in Greek, and preference for monolingual talk with the researcher, and may also bring speaker’s Australian Greek identity to focused attention in interaction.6

5 What can we conclude?

To sum up, the present study shows that language contact-induced changes in the Greek variety of Cairns, Australia, are minor and system-preserving. These changes involve borrowing of lexical items and discourse patterns. Code mixing is also extensive in Australian Greek talk-in-interaction. Usually, switches from Greek to English carry no local meaning. Yet, sometimes, they are related to speakers’ competences in the two languages used.

Overall, the findings reported in this study align with and complement the findings reported by previous studies about Greek-English contact in the US, Australia, Canada, and the UK (cf. Fotiou 2010; Gardner-Chloros 1992; Maniakas 1991; Seaman 1972; Tamis 1986). Moreover, the present study provides evidence for the borrowing of discourse patterns and analyzes code mixing and participant related switching in naturally occurring conversations with Greek immigrants. It contributes to the understanding of contact-induced change in Greek spoken in diaspora, and the patterns of code switching in bilingual conversation (cf. Auer 1984; 1998).

5.1 Factors facilitating language maintenance

The main factors facilitating the maintenance of Greek in Cairns concern the “social ecology” (Winford 2003, 26) of the contact situation examined. More specifically, the maintenance of Greek is due to language attitudes and the kinds of contact established within the Greek community, and between the Greek community and the dominant English-speaking community.

Clyne and Kipp (1999, 42) argue that “postwar Greek immigrants and their children had an unusually successful history of language maintenance”, which is due to “the interrelation of religion, language and a sense of ‘belonging’ as cultural core values”. This insightful description fits well with the contact situation in Cairns. The Greek language has a core cultural value for the continuation of Greeks as a group in Cairns. Language is seen as cultural capital that defines group membership, and contributes to preserving Greek cultural heritage and ethic identity. Moreover, the Greek language has maintained its economic or marketplace value, given that Greeks often worked together with other Greeks.

First-generation Greeks in Cairns have maintained a borderline between an “externally open” and an “internally tightly knit and closed” community (Aikhenvald 2006, 38). They married within their ethnic group, and socialized at the ethnically homogeneous Parish. Most of them maintained closed bonds with relatives and friends in Greece. Greek immigrants often criticize mixed marriages between Greeks and non-Greeks as threatening the maintenance of ethnic identity. Interestingly, there is a coinage that refers to the process of becoming less Greek and similar to foreigners: ksenévo ‘become like a foreigner’ (root word ksénos ‘foreigner’ + verb ending -évo1sg.prs’). Once a first-generation female informant made the following derogatory comment about other Greeks who got married with non-Greeks and have cut their bonds from the Greek community: padréftikan me ksénus ce éxune ksenépsi. ‘They got married to foreigners and they have become like foreigners.’ Sometimes, it was the nature of work in advanced capitalist Australia that did not allow lots of interaction with other non-Greeks, as a first-generation male informant explained to me: Pοl élines ðen mάθαne eglézika, ʝat eksartte pu ðulévis. ma se kpu pu ðulévis pso, ðen vlépis kanénan li méra, ðen mils me kanénane, kséxasé to.7 ‘Many Greeks did not learn how to speak English, because it depends on where you work. If you work at the back, you don’t see anyone all day, and you don’t speak with anyone, forget about it.’

For the reasons discussed above, the Greek community in Cairns has been resistant to extensive contact-induced innovations. When the first and second generation of Greeks passes away, language shift is the next stage to follow, given that third-generation Greeks in Cairns have very limited or no grammatical and communicative competence in Greek.

Notes

The following abbreviations are used in the examples: 1, 2, 3: first, second, third person; acc: accusative; conj: conjunction; cop: copula; def: definite; dim: diminutive; f: feminine; fut: future; gen: genitive; imp: imperative; imper: imperfect; ipfv: imperfective; m: masculine; neg: negation; n: neuter; nom: nominative; pass: passive; pfv: perfective; pl: plural; prs: present; pst: past; sbjv: subjunctive; sg: singular; voc: vocative.

I follow the transcription conventions used in the Corpus of Spoken Greek of the Institute of Modern Greek Studies.

I Temporal and sequential relationships

[

left brackets: point of overlap onset between two or more utterances (or segments of them)

]

right brackets: point of overlap end between two or more utterances (or segments of them)

=

The symbol is used either in pairs or on its own.

A pair of equals signs is used to indicate the following:

1.

If the lines connected by the equals signs contain utterances (or segments of them) by different speakers, then the signs denote ‘latching’ (that is, the absence of discernible silence between the utterances).

2.

The single equals sign is used to indicate latching between two parts of the same speaker’s talk, where one might otherwise expect a micro-pause, as, for instance, after a turn constructional unit with a falling intonation contour.

(0.8)

Numbers in parentheses indicate silence, represented in tenths of a second. Silences may be marked either within the utterance or between utterances.

(.)

micro-pause (less than 0.5 second)

II Symbols and combinations of symbols for representing various aspects of speech delivery

punctuation marks

indication of intonation, more specifically,

.

the period indicates falling/final intonation,

?

the question mark indicates rising intonation,

,

the comma indicates continuing/non-final intonation.

:

Colons are used to indicate the prolongation or stretching of the sound just preceding them. The more colons, the longer the stretching.

word

Underlining is used to indicate some form of emphasis, either by increased loudness or higher pitch.

°

The degree sign is used to indicate the onset of talk that is markedly quiet or soft. When the end of such talk does not coincide with the end of a line, then the symbol is used again to mark its end.

-

A hyphen after a word or part of a word indicates a cut-off or interruption.

_:

Combinations of underlining and colons are used to indicate intonation contours. If the letter(s) preceding a colon is underlined, then there is prolongation of the sound preceding it and, at the same time, a falling intonation contour.

The down arrow indicates sharp intonation fall.

>word<

The combination of ‘more than’ and ‘less than’ symbols indicates that the talk between them is compressed or rushed.

<word>

The combination of ‘less than’ and ‘more than’ symbols indicates that the talk between them is markedly slowed or drawn out.

.h

If the aspiration is an inhalation, then it is indicated with a period before the letter h.

III Other markings

((laughs))

Double parentheses and italics are used to mark meta-linguistic, para-linguistic and non-conversational descriptions of events by the transcriber.

The research reported here was undertaken at James Cook University, Australia, during a two-year postdoctoral fellowship under the mentoring of Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald. Earlier versions of the paper were presented in the Weekly Seminar Series at the Language and Culture Research Centre, James Cook University (2014–2015). I would like to thank participants in these events for their valuable feedback. I am immensely grateful to Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and R.M.W. Dixon for their constructive comments and suggestions, and to three JGL referees for their insightful and stimulating commentaries. Many thanks to Brigitta Flick for proofreading the text.

In the literature, borrowing is also referred as transfer or transference (Clyne 2003), and copying (Johanson 2002).

Examples in Greek have been transliterated according to broad transcriptions based on the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).

For different proposals for the classification of SMG nouns into inflectional classes see Alexiadou and Müller (2004), Anastasiadi-Symeonidi and Chila-Markopoulou (2003), Klairis and Babiniotis (1996) and Ralli (2002).

It is not clear whether in gender assignment to loanwords inflection class dominates or is dominated by gender. See Ralli et al. (2015) for further discussion.

See Notes for transcription conventions.

The study of the relation between code switching and identity goes beyond the scope of the present article. See Hall and Nilep (2015) for an overview of research on code switching and identity.

The phrase kséxasé to [forget.2sg.pfv it] ‘forget about it’ is a calque from English.

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Language contact, borrowing and code switching

A case study of Australian Greek

in Journal of Greek Linguistics

Sections

References

Abbi Anvita. 2001. A Manual of Linguistic Fieldwork and Structures of Indian Languages. Munich: Lincom Europa.

Aikhenvald Alexandra Y. 2002. Language Contact in Amazonia. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Aikhenvald Alexandra Y. 2006. Grammars in contact: A cross-linguistic perspective. In Grammars in Contact: A Cross-Linguistic Typology ed. by Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and R.M.W. Dixon 1–66. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Aikhenvald Alexandra Y. 2014. The Art of Grammar: A Practical Guide. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Aikhenvald Alexandra Y. and R.M.W. Dixon. 2009. Speaking Greek in diaspora: Language contact and language change. Hellenic Studies 17.55–76.

Alexiadou Artemis and Gereon Müller. 2004. Class features as probes. Ms. Universität Stuttgart & IDS Mannheim.

Alvanoudi Angeliki. 2016. Συνομιλιακή εναλλαγή γλωσσών σε μια ελληνική κοινότητα της Αυστραλίας [Conversational code switching in an Australian Greek community]. In Ελληνική Γλώσσα και Προφορική Επικοινωνία [The Greek Language and Spoken Interaction] ed. by Theodossia-Soula Pavlidou 61–77. Thessaloniki: Institute of Modern Greek Studies.

Ameka Felix. K. 2006. Grammars in contact in the Volta Basin (West Africa): On contact-induced grammatical change in Lipke. In Grammars in Contact: A Cross-Linguistic Typology ed. by A.Y. Aikhenvald and R.M.W. Dixon 114–142. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Anastasiadi-Symeonidi Anna. 1994. Nεολογικός δανεισμός: Άμεσα δάνεια από τη γαλλική και την αγγλοαμερικανική. Μορφοφωνολογική Ανάλυση [Neological Borrowing in Modern Greek: Direct Loans from French and English. Morpho-Phonological Analysis]. Thessaloniki: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

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