image of Conflictual translanguaging in the linguistic landscape of a divided city
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Nicosia is a divided European capital; the two major ethnic communities on the island, Greek and Turkish Cypriots, were separated following the war of 1974. The inner-city areas delimited by the UN-controlled buffer zone were long abandoned but recently there have been attempts at gentrification. The landscape is linguistically and textually rich and diverse; walls, fences, doorways, even the walls of the ‘border’ are inscribed with an abundance of texts including political slogans, advertisements for rallies or local festivals, graffiti, posters, stencilled images, etc. In this paper, I focus on the visual and linguistic dialectic of texts that are generated ‘top-down’ and texts generated ‘bottom-up’; the former display normativity and linguistic prescriptivism, as the dominant language is Standard Greek, the ‘H’ variety in the Greek Cypriot diglossic context. In the latter, the linguistic choice is translanguaging, involving (i) aspects of the Cypriot Greek dialect, the ‘L’ variety that is still by-and-large banned from the public domain, and code-mixing between Standard and Cypriot Greek, (ii) the use of other languages, mostly English but also French, Turkish, Russian, among others, (iii) ungrammatical structures or ‘nonsensical’ texts and (iv) subversion of orthographic conventions, etc. A micro-level linguistic analysis of individual texts and of particular types of translanguaging and linguistic and orthographic is proffered and the argument is put forward that the counternormativity of such production is predicated not only upon its content and form but crucially also upon its interdiscursivity and its engagement in an ongoing conflictual dialectic with ‘top-down’ prescriptive production.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keywords: Cypriot Greek ; diglossia ; bricolage ; intertextuality ; translanguaging ; interdiscursivity
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