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Greek as a marker of identity in Melbourne, Australia

Version 2 2024-06-17, 19:36
Version 1 2016-07-08, 05:30
conference contribution
posted on 2024-06-17, 19:36 authored by M Avgoulas, R Fanany
Individual and group identity is often closely associated with language use. Language, in turn, often serves as a proxy for culture which provides the background against which language use occurs. For the Greek community in Melbourne, Australia, use of Greek is an important symbolic aspect of ethnic identification and personal and group identity. Even for those younger members of the community whose daily interactions occur primarily in English and who view themselves as first language speakers of English, Greek plays a specific role in expression of personal identity and cultural expression. The use of Greek provides a link to the culture of origin and serves as a symbolic marker of association with a specific group in the larger Australian context. For first generation Greek Australians, exposure to the language and culture came primarily from immigrant parents. However, many of these individuals also attended Greek school which served to reinforce their knowledge and ability to use the language. Their children, the second generation, often use Greek words routinely in specific contexts, such as when talking about food and religion or when referring to family members (grandmother, grandfather). While they often attend Greek school as well, there is evidence that overall ability to speak Greek fluently in the community is declining. Nonetheless, selective use of Greek terms remains an important identity marker. This paper will describe the use of Greek words and terms by English–speaking members of the Melbourne community and discuss its significance as a form of cultural identification and personal identity. The phenomenon of Greek school as a vehicle for language exposure will also be discussed. Data, based on in depth interviews with members of the Greek community, will be used to illustrate the contexts in which switches to Greek occur and elucidate the cognitive background of such usage.

History

Pagination

4-9

Location

Thessaloniki, Greece

Start date

2014-05-30

End date

2014-05-31

ISBN-13

9786188131514

Language

eng/greek

Publication classification

E1.1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2014, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Editor/Contributor(s)

Gavriilidou S, Gkaintartzi A, Markou, E , Tsokalidou R

Title of proceedings

2014: Proceedings of the 3rd Crossroads of languages & cultures: Issues of Bi/Multilingualism, Translanguaging and Language Policies in Education

Event

Crossroads of Language and Culture. Conference (3rd: 2014: Thessaloniki, Greece)

Publisher

[Aristotle University of Thessaloniki]

Place of publication

[Thessaloniki, Greece]

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