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Back to the future : akritic light on diachronic variation in Cappadocian (East Asia Minor Greek)

Book Contribution - Chapter

Cappadocian is an East Asia Minor Greek variety most closely related to Pharasiot and Pontic. Having been cut off from the rest of the Greek-speaking world after the defeat of the Byzantine army by the Seljuk Turks in the battle at Manzikert (1071), Cappadocian was increasingly Turkicized, but the Greek component preserved its essentially Late Medieval reek character. Unfortunately, our evidence for the historical development of Cappadocian is very scanty, consisting as it does of a few dozen inscriptions from the famous U+201Crock-cutU+201D churches of Cappadocia and the Greek poems written in Arabic script by the thirteenth-century Persian poet-scholar Rumi and his son Sultan Walad. In this chapter I analyze new and hitherto unexplored evidence for diachronic variation in Cappadocian: Medieval Akritic songs orally transmitted hrough the ages in Cappadocia. The language of these songs, composed in the traditional Byzantine decapentasyllable or political verse, is a mixture of Late Medieval / Early Modern Greek and nineteenth-century Cappadocian, linguistically reminiscent of the AncGr epic, which also combined archaic and innovative features in a set metrical framework. Apart from loanwords and grammatical patterns borrowed from Turkish, the so-called U+2018Byzantine residueU+2019 of Cappadocian offers a unique glimpse of language variation and change in Late Medieval / Early Modern Greek.
Book: Varieties of post-classical and Byzantine Greek
Series: Trends in linguistics. Studies and monographs
Pages: 201 - 239