Cappadocian Greek

A Sociocultural and Linguistic History


  • Mark Janse Ghent University, Belgium
  • Jerneja Kavčič University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Slovenia



Cappadocian Greek, Asia Minor, Modern Greek dialectology, Turkish, language contact


This article sketches the linguistic and sociocultural history of Cappadocia and the Cappadocians from the Hittite Empire in the Late Bronze Age until the population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1923‒1924. After the population exchange, the Cappadocians were discriminated against, partly because of their looks but especially because of their language, and as a result they became increasingly reluctant to transmit their mother tongue to their children and grandchildren. In the 1980s it was generally believed that Cappadocian had become extinct until Mark Janse and Dimitris Papazachariou discovered that one particular Cappadocian dialect was still spoken to some extent in Greece. The recognition of Cappadocian as a bona fide language by academics turned out to be instrumental in the reversal of the Cappadocians’ negative attitude towards their own heritage language. The story of Cappadocian is thus another testimony to the social relevance of academic research in the humanities.


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