English or Greek language? State or ethnic identity?
The case of the courts in Cyprus
Language planning in the domain of the courts in Cyprus is of interest because of the concealed salience placed upon the link between language and either state or ethnic identity. The article first examines the dominant role of English in court from 1960 until 1988 as reflecting Cyprocentric state identity associations. It then investigates the establishment of the use of Greek after the enactment of Law N.67/1988 brought the reversal of the linguistic situation. The law, which aimed at putting into action the provisions on language of the 1960 Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus and at safeguarding the use and protection of Greek, derived from Hellenocentric tendencies and its ultimate purpose was to foster Greek ethnic identity rather than to enhance the identity of the state of Cyprus. The above observations are illustrated in the analysis of the legislation on language in the courts, the linguistic situation in the judicial proceedings, and the court verdicts/judgments pertaining to language use. Finally, the article draws parallels between Fishman’s ‘nationism’ and ‘nationalism’ and the Greek-Cypriots’ language selections and identity orientations.
Published online: 25 March 2002
Cited by other publications
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