Misiotika Cappadocian in contact. The effects of linguistic change on the vowel system of the dialect

Start - End 
2016 - 2020 (ongoing)
Department of Linguistics
Other institution(s) 
University of Patras
Research Focus 



According to Dawkins (1916), the vowel system of Cappadocian consisted of eight vowels. In addition to the Greek vowels [a,e,i,o,u], it included the Turkish vowels [y, œ, ɯ]. These appeared mainly in Turkish loans, e.g. karı ‘woman’ > [kaˈrɯ], tütün ‘tobacco’ > [tyˈtyn] (Janse, 2009; 2015), whereas their presence in Greek words was rare, if not unattested, e.g. σκυλιού > [ʃcyˈʎy], ήκουσεν > [ˈyksen]. The current vowel system diverges significantly from the older one. In particular, [y, œ, ɯ] are rapidly disappearing, especially in the casual speech of younger adults. At the same time, a previously unattested vowel [æ] seems to have emerged in the speech of both elderly people and young adults. We argue that the changes in the vowel system result from language contact. In particular, the Turkish vowels [y, œ, ɯ] are in the process of elimination due to mechanisms of levelling, as Mišótika has been in contact with Modern Greek since the population exchange of the 1920s, and Turkish features were highly stigmatized for many decades. The presence of the vowel [æ] is in need of explanation. It occurs in many words of Greek origin, e.g. εδαρέ ‘now’ > [dæˈræ], τα ημέτερα ‘our’ > [tæˈmær]. It is well attested in Pontic (α̈ or α̤ in standard Pontic orthography) and occasionally in Pharasiot (Dawkins, 1916). We discuss the phonological status of [æ] in contemporary Mišótika and its possible origins, including its presence in Turkish loans, e.g. tepe ‘hill’ > [dæˈpæ], sever ‘time’ > [sæˈvær].



Phd Student(s)


Dimitris Papazachariou

University of Patras