Colloquium: Matthew Hadodo, PhD Student: "Pockets of Change: Salience and Sound Change in Istanbul Greek"

March 16, 2018 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm


Istanbul Greek (IG) is an endangered dialect in contact with Turkish and other languages. Speakers recognize lateral velarization to be a defining characteristic of IG not present in Standard Modern Greek (SMG). A less salient difference between SMG and IG is the production of the affricate /ts/ as [ʧ] in IG. This variationist study uses SMG as a control group in comparing these dialectal features in the phonetic production of two different IG communities: those remaining in Istanbul (IGs) and those who have moved to Athens (Gen1s).


As high degrees of salience have led velarized laterals to indexing an IG identity, IGs remaining in Turkey maintain this feature much more than Gen1s who have greatly shifted from this stigmatized production. While SMG does not participate in lateral velarization, they do demonstrate some backing of /ts/ to [ʧ] before [u] and [o]. Subsequently, Gen1s have not shifted to /ts/ as drastically as they have with laterals, due to less divergence from SMG. IGs, meanwhile, have not maintained [ʧ] as much as they have velarized laterals, as this lesser degree of salience has prevented the feature from becoming an index of IG identity. These results show that the salience of a dialectal phonetic feature is related to how it will be maintained in contact, in other words, that change from above does not affect all dialectal features of a given language the same way.