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Thesis title: Educational and psycholinguistic perspectives on children and young people who speak non-standard varieties
Start year: 2011
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
Educational linguistics, educational research, dialectology, sociolinguistics, applied linguistics
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.