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Οφίτικη διάλεκτος
OFITIKA PONTIC

Ofitika Pontic: Areport on the dialect and its people

Anthi Revithiadou &Vassilis Spyropoulos

University of the Aegean

1. thepresent situation

1.1. General overview

1.1.1. Language1

Ofitika Pontic (OP): Greek dialect of AsiaMinor which belongs to the Pontic dialect group and is spoken in Greece and in Turkey.

   Greece: After the Greek-Turkish population exchange in the late1920s and afterward, it is spoken by refugees of the Ophis/Of area who settledin Nea Trapezounta (Pieria, North Greece) and a few other areas such as inParanesti Dramas and in Thessaloniki. In Asia Minor, it was spoken in thevillages of Chaldi, Zourel, Kurits, Krinita, Kofkia, Giga, Zisino and Lekka. Itis closer to the variety of Sourmena than to other Pontic varieties.

OP has shriveled underthe unfriendly to all dialectal varieties policy followed by the Greek stateand the Greek education system which first imposed the use of a purist form ofGreek (katharevousa) and much later promoted the use demotic Greek (dhemotiki).All Pontic varieties, including OP, were pervasively influenced by demoticGreek and progressively formed an amalgamated form of Pontic, called KoinePontic (koini pontiaki). OP is preserved in a few isolated pockets inthe provinceof Macedonia(Northern Greece)where is it primarily spoken by older generation speakers.

   Turkey(Pontus):It is spoken in thirty or so villages in the provinces of Ophis and Qaykara(Mackridge 1995: 153, 1999: 101). Since the nineteenth century, most speakersin these areas were bilingual (OP and Turkish). It is reported that the OPspoken in Pontus has beeneroded by Turkish (Mackridge 1999: 102).

1.1.2. Numberof speakers

Population numbers approximately 553 peopleliving in the village. Number of speakers is 99% of village population. Inurban areas, it is hardly spoken anymore. In total, we estimate perhaps 20speakers of varying fluency.

1.1.3. Locations

(a)      Primarylocation: OP speaker population is primarily located in the following villages:

Nea Trapezounta, Pieria, central Macedonian,northern Greece

Paranesti Dramas, Philota Amyntaiou, KriaVrisi, eastern Macedonian, northern Greece

(b)      Other areas: OP speaker populations(numbers unknown) may also be found in

Katerini, Thessaloniki

Neighboring villages withmixed Pontic population as well as other Greek ethnicities (e.g. AromounianVlachs, Northern Greeks, etc.)

The present reportheavily relies on the Language Contact Questionnaire made available byJohn Bowden for the

workshop On LanguageContact(http://rspas.anu.edu.au/linguistics/projects/Conferences/EastNusantara/ContactQuest

html) at the 2000 EastNusantara Linguistics Workshop organized by the Research School of Pacificand Asian Studies, Australian National University, in Canberra (21-23 July2000).

1 We wish to thank Mr. Ioannis Megalopoulosfor his help in various points of this research.

1.1.4. Bilingualism/Bidialectism

1.  StandardGreek (SG): most speakers of OP are fluent speakers of SG

Koine Pontic (KP): most speakers of OP speak astandardized Pontic dialect, known as Koine Pontic (henceforth KP). KPdeveloped in Greeceafter Pontic people from different areas of Pontus settled in variousgeographical zones of Greeceand primarily in Macedonia in thelate 20s and onwards. The need to communicate in their language and, moreimportantly, the desire to pass on the ancestral language and culture to thenew generation, led to the creation of KP. This homogenous form of Ponticpreserves many of the characteristics of the independent varieties itoriginates from, but it also exhibits several characteristics that it inheritedfrom the ambient language, i.e. dhemotiki

Turkish: A few OP people are bilingual (OP -Turkish). Although they avoid the use of Turkish in everyday communication,they use it as a 'code' language when the interlocutors do not wish to disclosethe content of their conversation to third parties.

OP and its speakers:

Older Ophis Pontic people (age range: 70+)tend to be more fluent in OP than in SG.

Other generations (age range 50-70 and 35-50)are increasingly monolingual in SG but they are also familiar with KP.

Young OP people (age range 20-35) aremonolingual in SG although they seem to have a passive knowledge of KP and/orOP.

1.1.5. Contact

Most Ophis Pontic people dwelling in NeaTrapezounta still live quiet lives as tobacco farmers. For the past decade,young children have to transport to neighboring villages for their educationwhere they come in contact with peers of different dialectal background (otherPontic varieties, Aromounian, Northern Greek and of course Standard Greek).Most travel is restricted to Katerini, the capital city of the prefecture, andother neighboring areas. The distance of the village to Katerini isapproximately 15 km. Travel to Thessaloniki,the biggest city of Northern Greece, is also regular in the past few years.

OP people are in contact with the followinglanguage/dialect groups:

Other Pontic groups

Aromounian Vlachs (speaking a Romance dialectprofoundly influenced by Greek)

Northern Greeks (speaking a Greek dialectcharacterized by dramatic vowel deletion/reduction processes)

1.1.6. Marriagepatterns.

Historically, OphisPontic people married people of their own ethnic line, but village andethnolinguistic group exogamy has dramatically increased since they settled in Greece.

1.1.7. Religiousaffiliation

Ophis Pontic peopleliving in Greece areChristian. The ones dwelling in Turkey areMuslims.

1.2. Language use

Details are given below for the NeaTrapezounta village and the city of Katerini which depict arange of linguistic situations and language fluency and use. The followingabbreviations are used:

OP       Ofitika Pontic

SG       Standard Greek

KP        Koine Pontic

T         Turkish

OP/T   switching between Ofitika Pontic and Turkish with preference for OfitikaPontic

OP/SG switching between Ofitika Pontic andStandard Greek with preference for Ofitika Pontic

SG/OP  switching between Standard Greek and Ofitika Pontic with preference forStandard Greek

 

 

Situation

Nea Trapezounta

Katerini

Ophis (Turkey

1. At home?

  adults 70+: OP

  adults 50-70: OP/SG

  adults 35-50: SG/OP

  young adults & children: SG

  adults 70+: KP or SG

  adults 50-70: KP or SG

  adults 35-50: SG

  young adults & children: SG

unknown

2. Between adult women

between OP women: OP/SG

between OP women: KP

unknown

when working together.

(depending on the age group) between OP when non-OP resident is present: SG or KP (depending on the ethnicity of the interlocutor)

or SG (depending on the

age group)

between OP when non-OP resident is present: SG or KP (depending on age and the ethnicity of the interlocutor)

 

3. Between adult men when

between OP men: OP/SG

between OP men: KP or

unknown

working together.

(depending on the age group) between OP men when non-OP resident is present: SG or Koine Pontic (depending on the ethnicity of the interlocutor)

SG (depending on the age

group)

between OP men when non-OP resident is present: SG or KP (depending on the age group and the ethnicity of the interlocutor)

 

4. Between children when

SG

SG

unknown

Playing together.

 

 

 

5. When buying something

OP or SG (depending on the age

SG or KP (depending on

unknown

at a local store/market.

group)

the ethnicity of the interlocutor)

 

6. In a classroom, between

SG

SG

unknown

teacher and student?

 

 

 

7. Outside school, between

SG

SG

unknown

teacher and student?

 

 

 

8. Informally, between a

OP representative: OP/KP

OP representative: SG or

unknown

government representative

non-OP representative: SG or

KP (older people)

 

and another local adult.

KP (depending on the ethnicity of the interlocutor)

non-OP representative: SG or KP (older people)

 

9. At public meeting,

OP representative: SG/OP

OP representative: SG or

unknown

between a government

non-OP representative: SG or

KP (older people)

 

representative and another

KP (older people)

non-OP representative:

 

local adult.

 

SG or KP (older people)

 

10. At a public ceremony

adults 70+: OP or KP

SG or KP (older people)

unknown

such as a wedding, in

others: SG/KP or OP or just SG

 

 

formal speech?

 

 

 

11. At a public ceremony

adults 70+: OP or KP

SG or KP (older people)

unknown

such as a wedding,

others: SG/KP or OP or just SG

 

 

informally, between guests?

 

 

 

12. In church (or at a

adults 70+: OP or KP

SG or KP (older people)

unknown

mosque)?

others: SG/KP or OP or just SG

 

 

13. What language do

SG/OP or KP (age range 35-70)

SG or KP (older people)

unknown

adults typically address

OP (age group 70+)

 

 

young children in when

 

 

 

giving them orders?

 

 

 

1.3. Code mixing

Factors which variously may triggercode-mixing and/or code-switching include:

level of fluency of speaker

level of fluency of interlocutor/s

knowledge of OP lexicon, phonology andmorpho-syntax

presence of speakers of other dialects

presence of KP and/or SG speakers

form of social gathering esp. events incommemoration of the ancestors and the lost countries (e.g. memorial day of thePontic Greek genocide, Dormition of the Theotokos, etc.)

2. past linguistic contact

2.1. Contactlanguages

2.1.1. Contactlanguages

Turkish, Arabic,Armenian, Persian

2.1.2. Bilingual in the lingua franca

d.n.a.

2.1.3. Past use of lingua franca

d.n.a.

3.       Resources

A few scattered pieces of information onOfitika Pontic can be found in several Pontic grammars such as Papadopoulos(1955) and Oikonomides (1958). The researcher Ioannis Parcharidis visited theOphis area in 1876 and provided a detailed description of the local dialect toM. Deffner. On the basis of this material, several publications on OP were madepossible: Deffner (1878, 1880), Parcharidis (1888) and Mackridge (1987).Mackridge (1995, 1999) provides short, yet meticulous reviews of the researchon OP spoken in Pontus.Asan (1996, 1998) is an invaluable source for the language and culture of theOphis area although linguistically not always a reliable one (Mackridge 1999:101). Under the auspices of the cultural society "AlexandrasYpsilantis" (Nea Trapezounta, Pieria), Dr. Anthi Revithiadou (Universityof the Aegean) and Dr. Vassilios Spyropoulos (University of theAegean) andtheir team started in May 2003 a research project forthe collection and analysis of spoken data of OPspoken in the village of Nea Trapezounta.The linguistic material was gathered during several fieldwork trips in the areafrom May 2003 till September 2006 and was organized into a corpus. The data arebased on the speech of 2 monolingual speakers of Ofitika Pontic and 14 speakerswho use their dialect in everyday communication but, nevertheless, have anactive knowledge of KP and SG as well.

The researcher Maria-Anna Tiliopoulou iscurrently writing a PhD Thesis on the phonological and morpho-syntacticstructure of OP clitics. The projectis expected to be completed in January 2008.

4.       Thegrammatical system
4.1. Phonology

4.1.1. OPphonology

The informationprovided here is based on Vassilis Efraimidis' website

(a) OP consonants

γ k/#__:

(1) OP         KP

 a. kaval      γavál    'flute, pipe'

 b. kari                 γarí      'spouse'

 c. konevo   γonévo   'setup'

(b) OP vowels

Absence of unstressed high vowel reduction which is common in otherPontic dialects:

(2) OP          KP

a. vasílis      vasilts     'Vassilis'

b. xamális    xamálts   'porter, servant'

c. γráfis       γráfts      'write-PRES.2SG'

d. éγrafunes éγrafnes   'write-PAST.2SG'

Absence of voweldeletion in determiner + noun/adjective strings which takes place in KP:

(3) /o aγaθoklís    kimáte/

The Agathokles sleep-PRES.3SG

'Agathokles is sleeping'

a. [o aγaθoklís kimáte] OP

b. [aγaθoklís cimáte]   KP

there is nothree-syllable window restriction on stress:

(4) a. éγrafame

write- PAST.lPL

we were writing'

b. épezame
play
-PAST.lPL
'we were playing'

c. ékoftame
cut
-PAST.lPL
'we were cutting'

d. epé(J)iname
become of-PAST .Lpl

'we were becoming of'

4.1.2.Phonological contact

× sg

to befilled in

× T

to befilled in

× Other dialects/languages to be filled in

4.2.Morphology

4.2.1. OPMorphology

The informationprovided here is based on Vassilis Efraimidis' website

The nominative andaccusative singular of nouns ending in -os (masc) and -o (neuter)do not take the final /n/ like other pontic dialects and KP:

(5) OP               KP

a.  o ðéskalo   oðéskalon  'theteacher'

b.  to moró    to morón     'the baby'

the genitivesingular form is /-i(u)/ and causes often stress shifts:

(6)  nom. sg   gen. sg

a.   ánθropo  anθropí  'man'

b.   zímetro   zimetrí   'wooden basin for kneading the dough'

the form for genitive plural is lacking and the functions associatedwith genitive are expressed analytically:

(7)a. totertíp ndo éxunei  anθróp  OP

 the system-nom. sg prn- acc. sg have-pres.3plthe people-pl

 “Thesystem that people have'

b. t  anθropíon  totertíp   KP

the people-gen.plthe system-nom. sg 'people'ssystem'

Diminutives areformed with the ending /-ika/ (fem) in singular and /-ikas/ (neuter) in plural:

(8)  Base                   dim. Singular           dim. Plural

a.   ο γáϳðaro (masc)  i γajðuríka (fem)      ta γajðurikas (neut)  'the donkey'

b.   to trapéz (neut)     i trapezíka              ta trapezíkas              'the table'

c.   i patsí (fem)           i patsíka                 ta patsíðϳas                'the girl'

4.2.2. Morphological contact

× SG to be filled in

× T to be filled in

× Other dialects/languages to be filled in

4.3. Syntax 4.3.1. OP Syntax

Weak pronominal forms are enclitics. Thefollowing examples are drawn from Tiliopoulou and Revithiadou's corpus ofOfitika Pontic.

(9)     

 a. Xánanαtά   /xánane ata/           PXII29

    lose-PRES.3PL=cl.3PL.ACC

     'they werelosing them'

 b. lésmasé   /lés(e)mas/             PEI32
     tell-PRES.2SG=cl.lPL.ACC

     'you tellus'

 c. θélisme    /θélis (e)me/            TEI18
    want-PRES.2sG=cl.1SG.ACC

     'you wantme'

 d. azléosαse   /as léo (e)sas/        KEFSII31
    SUBJ tell-lSG=cl.2PL.ACC

     'let metell you'

Note: e-epenthesis and final stress in some enclitics, e.g.(9b-c) usually develops when the verb+clitic construction is in phrase finalposition.

NEGATION: ucéna (ουκενά), cenά insteadof kiθά in other Pontic dialects (This information isbased on Vassilis Efraimidis' website):

(10) a. (u)Céna trós

           NEG eat-2SG 'you don't/ won't eat'

        b. céna   γráfo

           NEG   write-1SG'I don't/won't write'

4.3.2.Syntactic contact

× SG

Under the influence ofSG, weak pronominal forms as proclitics are often common in the speech of someat least OP speakers:

(11) a.  θa ta  anakatépsis   /θa ta anakatépsis            EAI7

           FUT cl.3PL.ACC stir-2SG 'you will stir them up'

        b. tus  évγalan      /tus  évγalan/                        MAII4

           Cl.3PL.ACC take out- PAST.3PL

           'theytook them out'

yes/no questions are formed with the questionparticle mi (This information is based on Vassilis Efraimidis'website):

  (12)a. (u) céna trós   mi

  Neg eat-2sQ-PART

  don't   you  eat?'

b. céna  ðevájs  m

    Neg  read-2SG Q-PART

    'don't you read?'

×   Other dialects/languages to be filled in

References

Asan, O. 1996. PontusKulturu. Baski, Istanbul:Belge Yayinlari

Asan, O. 1998. O Πολιτισμός του Πόντου [Thecivilization of Pontus]. Επιμέλειακαι μετάφραση από την Τουρκική, Σ. Ιωαννίδου και Χ. Παπαδοπούλου. Θεσσαλονίκη: Εκδοτικός Οίκος Αδελφών Κυριακίδη.

Mackridge, P. 1987. Greek-speaking Moslems ofnorth-east Turkey:Prolegomena to a study of the Ophitic sub-dialect of Pontic. Byzantine andModern Greek Studies 11, 115-137.

Mackridge, P. 1995. Τα ποντιακάστη σημερινή Τουρκία: Αρχαία στοιχεία στο ιδίωμα του Όφη [Pontic incontemporary Turkey: Ancientfeatures in the dialect of Ophis]. Αρχείον Πόντου 46,133-161.

Mackridge, P. 1999. The Greek spoken in theregion of Pontus. In DialectEnclaves of the Greek Language.Athens: Centre for the Greek language, 25-30(Greek text), 101-105 (English text). Deffner, M. 1878. Die Infinitive in denpontischen Dialekten und die zusammengesetzten Zeiten im Neugriechischen. Monatsberichteden Koniglich Preussischen Akademie de Wissenschaften zu Berlin.

Aus dem Jahre 1877, 191-230. Berlin.

Deffner, M. 1880. Glossar des ofitischenDialectes. Archiv fur mittel- und neugriechische Philologie. BandI, Heft1-2.

Oikonomides, D. I.1958. Γραμματική της Ελληνικής Διαλέκτου του Πόντου [Grammarof the Greek dialect of Pontus.] Λεξικογραφικόν Δελτίον.Παράρτημα Ι. Αθήναι: Ακαδημία Αθηνών. Papadopoulos, A.A. 1955. ΙστορικήΓραμματική της Ποντικής Διαλέκτου. [Historical Grammar of the PonticDialect.] Επιτροπή Ποντιακών Μελετών, Περιοδικού "Αρχείον Πόντου".Παράρτημα 1. Αθήναι.

Parcharidis,I. 1888. Συλλογή ζώντων μνημείων της αρχαίας ελληνικής γλώσσας εν Όφει. [Collection of living documents of the Ancient Greek language in Ophis (Greek).] Ο ενΚωνσταντινουπόλει Ελληνικός Φιλολογικός Σύλλογος 18(1883-4), 120-178.

Website: Vassilis Efraimidis, http://www.ipsilantis.gr/

For moreinformation on Ofitika Pontic, please contact:

Anthi RevithiadouWebsite: http://www.revithiadou.gr

 

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