Interface ingredients of dialect design
This paper addresses the difficulty of investigating language development in a non-codified linguistic system, Cypriot Greek, the local dialect spoken natively by Greek Cypriots whose official language is Standard Modern Greek, which in turn is not natively acquired by the population. The situation is further complicated by a lack of consensus with respect to the status of bi(dia)lectism vs. bilingualism as well as to which are the varieties that underlie these terms. Here the cover term “bi-<i>x</i>” is introduced. Aiming to uncover the dialect design in the case of Cyprus, the Socio-Syntax of Development Hypothesis brings together different factors that may affect the acquisition of direct object clitic placement and relates the grammar of Cypriot Greek with the continuum that informs the process of first language acquisition in a dialectal context. Establishing the connection between biolinguistic implications behind language development and the dialect design, the call behind the present discussion of the acquisition of clitic placement in Cypriot Greek is to approach the point where language-external factors meet – and affect – the way language is put to use through choosing one out of a range of gradient syntactic variants that belong to different varieties existing in a continuum.