Sustaining a Regional Dialect in Greece: Karpathos Island and its Linguistic Heritage

Author Information

Michael Hadzantonis,
SOAS, University of London, U.K.

DOI: 10.47298/comela22.1-10
The GLOCAL Proceedings:  The GLOCAL Conference in the Mediterranean and Europe 2022


The island of Karpathos sits both geographically and socio-politically within a vortex. Geographically, the island has been instrumental over centuries as a gateway to Crete and Rhodes, which in turn have offered a haven for foreign occupation. Socio-politically, the case is not significantly devoid. Through occupation of Karpathos, the waves of intruders have attempted to gain some level of footing over both local and larger regions, in order to assert power. Consequent to these waves of occupation, the language and cultural heritages of Karpathos have been tumultuous and dynamic. Yet, ideologies on the island have pervaded such changes and shifts, to adhere to a nationalist code, that is, a Greek nationalism and locally independent mentality, and in which, such a nationalist and independent culture-political positions are entextualized.

The study landscapes the language of Karpathos to expose the language ideologies of the inhabitants of the island. I identified a connection to Greek continuity and Greek patriotism, yet entextualized in the island’s language behaviors that are themselves relative to the geographical and sociopolitical stance of the island. The study thus draws on a methodical framework of entextualization, as one that sits firmly within the boundaries of linguistic anthropology.

Keywords: Karpathos, Greece, language ideology, linguistic anthropology, entextualization, nationalism, lexicology and phraseology

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