Does convergence generate stability?
The case of the Cypriot Greek koiné
The diglossic situation between Cypriot and Standard Modern Greek is still a
long way from being resolved; claims to the contrary often rest on the consideration
of some structural properties of the emergent Cypriot Greek koiné,
which are, arguably, of a ‘mixed’ nature, thereby pointing to a significant degree
of convergence with Standard Modern Greek. Based on a host of naturalistic
data as well as data collected quantitatively, I show that (a) convergence of the
Cypriot Greek koiné to Standard Greek is only partial, as convergence qua
structural mixing is mostly achieved through (surface) morphological, as well
as lexical, choices, and that (b) the salient aspects of such convergence allow for
the Cypriot Greek koiné to emerge as a relatively stable linguistic variety acting
as a robust ‘buffer’ against contact-induced de-dialectization as a result of its
relatively high (c)overt, prestige among Cypriot Greek speakers, which is, in
turn, due to is perceived, if not actual, convergence with the Standard.