The Cyprus Linguistics Society invites you to a working session on modelling sociopragmatics using experimental phonetics
Wednesday, 21 January 2015 at 16:30,
at Simeio Afetirias, Irakleous 35, Famagusta Gate.
From thank you to ˈ(θ)ecʰːu: modelling Cypriot Greek sociopragmatics phonetically
Marina Terkourafi & Spyros Armostis
Terkourafi (2011) presented a corpus analysis of three politeness markers in Cypriot Greek —thank you, please, and sorry— coming to the conclusion that the inherited Greek forms of these politeness markers, namely efxaɾiˈsto, paɾakaˈlo, and siˈɣnomi— indeed served politeness functions in those data; however their borrowed English counterparts were largely devoid of politeness import, serving mainly discourse structuring, turn-taking, and repair functions.
Our current work looks more closely at the forms for English ‘thank you’ borrowed into Cypriot Greek. We identify two phonological variants: an ‘unassimilated’ one that preserves to some extent the original English phonology, and a ‘nativized’ one that follows Cypriot phonological rules (ˈθecʰːu) and is often accompanied by vocative expressions such as [ˈfile mu] (‘my friend’) etc. The two variants seem to encode different meanings for speakers of Cypriot Greek. We explore two hypotheses in this respect: (1) that the greater the degree of assimilation of English thank you phonetically toward ˈ(θ)ecʰːu, the more it is meant as sincere thanks; and (2) that ‘ˈθecʰːu + vocative’ has developed into an informal variant of Standard Greek efxaɾiˈsto, and is used complementarily with it to do thanking. We predict that, on closer inspection, the landscape of thanking items in Cypriot Greek is composed of three forms: efxaɾiˈsto, ˈ(θ)ecʰːu (+ vocative), and thank you; of these, the first two do thanking while the third one is a discourse marker serving turn-taking functions. In this working session, we will discuss the experimental design that we will use to test these hypotheses. The aim of the session is to invite suggestions and feedback, which will be very welcome at this point of our research.