Ioli Ayiomamitou

Thesis title: Educational and psycholinguistic perspectives on children and young people who speak non-standard varieties

Start year: 2011


Supervisor(s): Professor Jane Spiro, Dr Andrie Yiakoumetti

Research topic

The research project I am working on explores the educational and psycholinguistic perspectives of non-standard speaking on students and young people. This PhD study is underpinned by a philosophy which goes against the perennial monopoly of standard languages and monolingual and/or monodialectal education. Building on the advancements of more multidialectal approaches to the language education of dialect-speaking children, as they have been recorded during the last 50 years in multiple scholarly papers, this project adheres to the principles of linguistic diversity and aspires to contribute towards helping bidialectal children improve their language-speaking skills. In addition, the project aims at abating children’s low self-esteem and negative attitudes towards school which have been previously attributed to the school’s policy attempts to compromise their own culture and language for the sake of mastering the standard. On the other hand, relevant research that has been conducted in linguistically diverse contexts worldwide has provided strong evidence for the social, cultural, pedagogical, cognitive and linguistic benefits of incorporating linguistic diversity into formal education.

In more detail, the research inquiry I am working on exploits the bidialectal setting of the Greek-Cypriot (GC) community to empirically investigate whether introducing the non-standard home language of GC students in the school curriculum will have a positive effect on their language performance and their language attitudes. A bidialectal language model which promotes learning through the children’s first language will be implemented via an intervention programme. The study’s overarching goal will be to evaluate the effects of bidialectal instruction on students’ oral and written performance in their mother tongue, the GC dialect (first dialect-D1) and the standard, official language of the country, the Standard Modern Greek language (SMG) (second dialect-D2). Subsequent lines of inquiry will explore the attitudes of students, their educators and their parents towards the two language codes (the dialect and the standard variety) and the bidialectal way of delivering the language lesson.


Linguistically diverse communities, standard and non-standard dialects, bidialectal education, Greek-Cypriot community, first and second dialect acquisition

General research interests

Educational linguistics, educational research, dialectology, sociolinguistics, applied linguistics

Academic school / department

School of Education, Humanities and Languages

Professional information


  • Ayiomamitou, I. (2010). Sequential organization of MSN conversation openings. In Vrynioti E., Georgakopoulos A., Themistocleous Ch., Kontonikolis Ch., Kousoulini V., Papadopoulou A., Stamatelopoulos N., Fragaki G. & Fragouli N. (eds). Proceedings of the 5th Postgraduate Conference of the Faculty of Philology National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, 29–31 May 2009 (pp. 86–94). Athens: UOA.
  • Ayiomamitou, I, Kyriacou, S & Papadima, A (to appear). Orthography development for the Greek-Cypriot dialect: language attitudes and orthographic choice. In Dialogue on dialect standardization. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Papadima, A, Ayiomamitou, I & Kyriacou, S (2011) A harmonised orthographic system for the Greek Cypriot dialect. Proceedings of the 20th Symposium on Theoretical & Applied Linguistics, Thesalloniki, Greece.
  • Papadima, A, Ayiomamitou, I & Kyriacou, S (2011) Typographic practices and spelling convention for the written representation of a non-standard dialect: the case of the Greek-Cypriot dialect. Proceedings of the 20th Linguistic Days in Prague Conference, Prague, Czech Republic, 26–28 May.
  • Papadima, A., Ayiomamitou, I., & Kyriacou, S (to appear). The Greek-Cypriot dialect in written discourse: spelling conventions and typographic practices. Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Semiotics and Visual Communication. 5–7 November, 2010. Limassol, Cyprus.

Further details

Academic and professional training

  • 2010 EdD in Language Learning and Teaching (by distance), (First year completed), University of Sheffield, The School of Education, Department of Educational Studies.
  • 2009 MSc in Applied Linguistics, University of Edinburgh, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences. Department of Applied Linguistics.
  • Dissertation: Diminution as a communicative politeness strategy: Evidence from Athenian Greek and Cypriot Greek.
  • 2008 Degree in Greek Philology (Linguistics specialism), National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, School of Philosophy, Department of Philology.
  • Dissertation: Transcription and linguistic analysis of aphasic speech.

Scholarships and prizes

  • Doctoral Training Programme studentship for 2011–2014
  • Educational Grad for 2011–2013 offered by the A.G. Leventis Foundation

Other experience and professional activities

I have worked as a research assistant at the Language and Graphic Communication Research Lab (LGCRL), part of the Department of Multimedia and Graphic Arts of Cyprus University of Technology since 2010. I have been involved on a number of research projects which aimed at providing an overview of the plurality of orthographic conventions currently used to represent the non-standard Greek-Cypriot dialect in writing and to contribute to the creation of an agreed, unified orthographic system for this Modern Greek dialect.