Article published in:Space for all? European perspectives on minority languages and identity
Edited by Dawn Archer, Christopher Williams and Paul Fryer
[Pragmatics and Society 4:2] 2013
► pp. 137–157
Creating a ‘new space’
Code-switching among British-born Greek-Cypriots in London
This paper, located in the traditions of Interactional Sociolinguistics (Gumperz 1982) and Social Constructionism (Berger and Luckmann 1966), explores code-switching and identity practices amongst British-born Greek-Cypriots. The speakers, members of a Greek-Cypriot youth organization, are fluent in English and (with varying levels of fluency) speak the Greek-Cypriot Dialect. Qualitative analyses of recordings of natural speech during youth community meetings and a social event show how a new ‘third space’ becomes reified through code-switching practices. By skillfully manipulating languages and styles, speakers draw on Greek-Cypriot cultural resources to accomplish two inter-related things. First, by displaying knowledge of familiar Greek-Cypriot cultural frames, they establish themselves as different from mainstream British society and establish solidarity as an in-group. Secondly, by using these frames in non-serious contexts, and at times mocking cultural attitudes and stereotypes, they challenge and re-appropriate their inherited Greek-Cypriot identity, thereby constructing the identity of British-born Greek-Cypriot youth.
Keywords: bilingualism, code-switching, third space, identity, teasing, reification, Greek-Cypriot, sociolinguistics
Published online: 21 June 2013
Cited by 8 other publications
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