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The Sociophonetics of /l/ in the Greek of Sphakiá 1

  • Peter Trudgill (a1)

In most varieties of modern Greek, the consonant /l/ is typically a “clear” [l] in most environments, as in /ala/ [ala] αλλ⋯ ‘but’; but with positional variation involving also palatalised and/or palatal variants, as in /skili/ [skiļi] σχυλ⋯ ‘dog’. In a number of areas of northern Greece, velarised [⃒]-type pronunciations may also be found, as they may also be in those areas of Attica and Biotia where Albanian/Greek bilingualism is or has been common (see Trudgill & Tzavaras 1975 – most varieties of Albanian have a phonemic contrast between /l/ and /l/). In his book The Generative Interpretation of Dialect (1972), however, Brian Newton also points out that ‘in the Sphakiá area of Crete /l/ has a retroflex pronunciation before back vowels’. This feature is also cited by Kondosopoulos (1959, 1969, 1974) and Pangalos (1955), who also mention some other areas of Crete where a similar phenomenon occurs. (Following Kondosopoulos and Pangalos, Newton also indicates that /l/ → Ø or /l/ → /w/ in certain Cretan villages.)

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Kondosopoulos, N. G. (1959). Παρατηρ⋯σεις εις την δι⋯λεκτου της Δυτικ⋯ς Κρ⋯της. Athena 63, 319335.
Kondosopoulos, N. G. (1969). Γλωσσογεωγραφικαí διερε⋯νησις εις εην Kρ⋯τηκην Δι⋯λεκτoν. Athens: Papoulia.
Kondosopoulos, N. G. (1974). ‘Etude instrumentale de Quelques Sons du Dialecte Crétois’. Travaux de l'Institut de Phonétique de Nancy, 1.
Newton, B. (1972). The Generative Interpretation of Dialect: a study of Modern Greek Phonology. London: C.U.P.
Pangalos, G. E. (1955). Περ⋯ τον Γλοσσικου Iδιωματος της Κρ⋯της.
Trudgill, P. (1986). Dialects in Contact. Oxford: Blackwell.
Trudgill, P. & Tzavaras, G. (1975). A sociolinguistic Study of Albanian dialects spoken in the Attica and Biotia aFreas of Greece. Report to the SSRC.
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Journal of the International Phonetic Association
  • ISSN: 0025-1003
  • EISSN: 1475-3502
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-international-phonetic-association
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