University of Leicester
2013constantinouephd.pdf (2.74 MB)

The Cypriot Dialect in the Greek Language Lesson: Its Effects on Adolescent Students’ Learning, Identity Construction and Critical Thinking

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posted on 2013-09-12, 11:41 authored by Elena Constantinou
This research study examined the effects of Greek Cypriot Dialect (GCD) on bidialectal Greek Cypriot (GC) students in the context of Modern Greek Language (MGL) lessons at Lyceum B level. GCD is the native variety and students’ mother tongue whereas MGL is the standard and target variety. This study aimed to inform opinion on the use and the role of GCD in the MGL lesson, the influence of attitudes towards GCD on students’ identity construction, and whether the use or suppression of GCD in class influences students’ expression of critical thought. The study focused on the spoken language and examined students’ speech. In order to theorise and deepen understanding of the effects of GCD on students’ performance and learning of MGL, social constructivism and Language Awareness (LA) were considered. Qualitative research was conducted through a case study focused on 7 Lyceum B level classrooms of two state secondary schools in Cyprus. An interpretive paradigmatic stance was taken and a combination of methodological tools was employed. Classroom observations of MGL lessons, group task observations with students, and group interviews with MGL teachers and students were conducted. The findings revealed that GCD appeared to be used frequently in lesson-focused and non-lesson-focused incidents, by most of the students and some of the teachers. GCD served as a means facilitating expression but its unplanned use did not seem to enhance mastery of MGL. It did, however, aid learning of the subject content. GCD was said to be central in defining students’ identity and some students claimed that negative attitudes towards it did not influence how they perceived their identity. The group task observation findings demonstrated that GCD exclusion and SMG imposition stifled the process of developing and expressing critical thinking (CT) whereas GCD use enhanced it. This was also expressed in students’ interviews whereas teachers considered that excluding GCD might hinder students to express CT but only to some extent. Overall, the findings revealed the need for implementing a bidialectal approach rooted in LA for teaching MGL as well as training teachers and raising their awareness of language variation. The potential role of Ancient Greek in enhancing Lyceum students’ knowledge of GCD and while at the same time improving their performance in MGL lessons is discussed.



Svalberg, Agneta; Gieve, Simon

Date of award


Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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