|Region||Greece, originally Cappadocia (Central Turkey)|
(previously thought to be extinct)
Cappadocian, also known as Cappadocian Greek or Asia Minor Greek, is a mixed language spoken in Cappadocia (Central Turkey). The language originally diverged from the Medieval Greek of the Byzantine Empire following the Seljuq Turk victory at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. As a result of the population exchange between Greece and Turkey in the 1920s, all Cappadocian Greeks were forced to emigrate to Greece where they were resettled in various locations, primarily to Central and Northern Greece. The Cappadocians rapidly shifted to Standard Modern Greek and their language was thought to be extinct since the 1960s. In June 2005, Mark Janse (Ghent University) and Dimitris Papazachariou (University of Patras) discovered Cappadocians in Central and Northern Greece who could still speak their ancestral language fluently. Many are middle-aged, third-generation speakers who take a very positive attitude towards the language, as opposed to their parents and grandparents. The latter are much less inclined to speak Cappadocian and more often than not switch to Standard Modern Greek.
By the fifth century AD, the last of the Indo-European native languages of Asia Minor ceased to be spoken, replaced by Koine Greek. At the same time, the communities of central Asia Minor were becoming actively involved in the affairs of the Greek-speaking Eastern Roman Empire, and some (now Greek-speaking) Cappadocians, such as Maurice Tiberius (r. 582-602) and Heraclius (r. 610 to 641), would even rise to become Emperors.
Cappadocian Greek first began to diverge from the Medieval Greek common language of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire six centuries later, following the Byzantine's defeat at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. This defeat allowed Turkish speakers to enter Asia Minor for the first time, severing Cappadocia from the rest of the Byzantine world. By the 20th century Cappadocian Greek would come to be heavily influenced by Turkish, but unlike Standard Modern Greek, it would not be influenced by Venetian and French from the Frankokratia period, which followed the Fourth Crusade's sack of Constantinople in 1204.
The earliest records of the language are in the macaronic poems of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi (1207-1273), who lived in Iconium (Konya), and some ghazals by his son Sultan Walad. Interpretation of the Greek language texts is difficult as they are written in Arabic script, and in Rumi's case without vowel points; Dedes' edition (Δέδες) is the most recent edition.
By the early 20th century many Cappadocians had shifted to Turkish altogether (written with the Greek alphabet, Karamanlidika). Where Greek was maintained (numerous villages near Kayseri, including Misthi, Malakopea, Prokopion, Karvali, and Anakou), it became heavily influenced by the surrounding Turkish. However, there are next to no written documents in Medieval or early Modern Cappadocian, as the language was, and still essentially is, a spoken language only. Those educated to read and write, such as priests, would do so in the more classicising literary Greek. The earliest outside studies of spoken Cappadocian date from the 19th century, but are generally not very accurate.
One of the first documented studies was Modern Greek in Asia Minor: A study of dialect of Silly, Cappadocia and Pharasa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1916), by Richard MacGillivray Dawkins (1871–1955), the first Bywater and Sotheby Professor of Byzantine and Modern Greek Language and Literature at the University of Oxford, based on fieldwork conducted by the author in Cappadocia in 1909–1911.
After the population exchange, several Cappadocian dialects have been described by collaborators of the Center for Asia Minor Studies (Κέντρον Μικρασιατικών Σπουδών) in Athens: Uluağaç (I.I. Kesisoglou, 1951), Aravan (D. Phosteris & I.I. Kesisoglou, 1960), Axo (G. Mavrochalyvidis & I.I. Kesisoglou, 1960) and Anaku (A.P. Costakis, 1964), resulting in a series of grammars (although regrettably not all Cappadocian villages were covered).
In recent years, the study of Cappadocian has seen a revival following the pioneering work on Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988) by Sarah Grey Thomason and Terrence Kaufman, and a series of publications on various aspects of Cappadocian linguistics by Mark Janse, professor at Roosevelt Academy, who has also contributed a grammatical survey of Cappadocian to a forthcoming handbook on Modern Greek dialects edited by Christos Tzitzilis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki).
The recent discovery of Cappadocian speakers by Janse and Papazachariou will result in the release of a new dictionary and a compilation of texts.
Cappadocian Greek is well known from the linguistic literature as being one of the first well documented cases of language death, and in particular the significant admixture of non-Indo-European linguistic features into an Indo-European language. This process was pronounced in South-Western Cappadocia, and included the introduction of vowel harmony and verb-final word order.
The Greek element in Cappadocian is to a large extent Byzantine, e.g. θír or tír "door" from (Ancient and) Byzantine Greek θύρα (Modern Greek θύρα), píka or épka "I did" from Byzantine Greek έποικα (Modern Greek έκανα). Other, pre-Byzantine, archaisms are the use of the possessive adjectives mó(n), só(n) etc. from Ancient Greek εμός, σός etc. and the formation of the imperfect by means of the suffix -išk- from the Ancient Greek (Ionic) iterative suffix -(e)sk-. Turkish influence appears at every level. The Cappadocian sound system includes the Turkish vowels ı, ö, ü, and the Turkish consonants b, d, g, š, ž, tš, dž (although some of these are also found in Greek words as a result of palatalization).
Turkish vowel harmony is found in forms such as düšündǘzu "I think", aor. 3sg düšǘntsü < düšǘntsi (Malakopi), from Turkish düşünmek, patišáxıs < patišáxis "king" (Delmeso), from Turkish padişah. Cappadocian noun morphology is characterized by the emergence of a generalized agglutinative declension and the progressive loss of grammatical gender distinctions, e.g. to néka "the (neuter) woman (feminine)", genitive néka-ju, plural nékes, genitive nékez-ju (Uluağaç). Another Turkish feature is the morphological marking of definiteness in the accusative case, e.g. líkos "wolf (nominative / unmarked indefinite accusative)" vs. líko "wolf (marked definite accusative)".
Agglutinative forms are also found in the verb system such as the pluperfect írta ton "I had come" (lit. "I came I was") (Delmeso) on the model of Turkish geldi idi (geldiydi). Although Cappadocian word order is essentially governed by discourse considerations such as topic and focus, there is a tendency towards the Turkish subject–object–verb word order with its typological correlates (suffixation and pre-nominal grammatical modifiers).
The commonality among all Greek Cappadocian dialects is that they evolved from Byzantine Greek under the influence of Turkish. On the other hand, those dialects evolved in isolated villages. This has resulted in a variety of Greek Cappadocian dialects.
Although Cappadocian Greek was once believed to be a dead language, the discovery of a population of speakers has led to an increase in awareness, both within and outside of the Cappadocian community in Greece. In the documentary “Last Words,” which follows Mark Janse through Cappadocian-speaking villages on the Greek mainland, community members are seen encouraging each other to use their dialect for ordinary things, such as joke telling. The members of these villages, including such notable figures as the bishop, recount being touched by a presentation given in Cappadocian by Janse on a visit to the region. The bishop went so far as to say that Janse's speech “has lifted their shame.” The revitalisation process is seen through examples such as this, wherein the speakers have begun to take back their identity and embrace their mother tongue. Additionally, younger generations are embracing the power of technology to spread awareness, utilising social media about the language to inform the larger Greek population.
Byzantium reverted to Greek (Maurice, born in Cappadocia, was its first Greek emperor); and trade and diplomacy were honored from the very founding of the Imperial city as never in Rome before.
Emperor Maurice who is said to be the first emperor "from the race of the Greeks," ex Graecorum genere.
..medieval place names in the region that can be established are known only from scant references: one Elpidios, Memorophylax of Prokopios, who attended the Council of Chalcedon (451), may have come from Hagios Prokopios (now Urgup, but still called ‘Prokopion’ by the local Greek population in the early years of this century);
On May 1st, 1923, the agreement on the exchange of the Turkish and Greek minorities in both countries was published. A shock went through the ranks of the people affected – on both sides. Within a few months they had to pack their belongings and ship them or even sell them. They were to leave their homes, which had also been their great-grandfathers’ homes, they were to give up their holy places and leave the graves of their ancestors to an uncertain fate. In Cappadocia, the villages of Mustafapasa, Urgup, Guzelyurt and Nevsehir were the ones affected most by this rule. Often more than half the population of a village had to leave the country, so that those places were hardly able to survive…The Greeks form Cappadocia were taken to Mersin on the coast in order to be shipped to Greece from there. But they had to leave the remaining part of their belongings behind in the harbor. They were actually promised that everything would be sent after them later, but corrupt officials and numberless thieves looted the crammed storehouses, so that after a few months only a fraction of the goods or even nothing at all arrived at their new home….Today the old houses of the Greek people are the only testimony that reminds us of them in Cappadocia. But these silent witnesses are in danger, too. Only a few families can afford the maintenance of those buildings….CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
In the town of Güzelyurt in Aksaray Province in the Central Anatolian region of Turkey, 250-year-old arched stone mansions have been transformed into boutique hotels to serve tourists coming to discover the area’s cultural and historical treasures. The town is an important part of the historical Cappadocia region…Much of the previously large Greek population in Güzelyurt vanished with the population exchange of the 1920s. "With the population exchange in 1924, Greeks and Turks exchanged places. Before the population exchange, rich Greeks dealing with trade in Istanbul had historical mansions in Güzelyurt," Özeş said. Some houses in the town date back 250 years and a few 100-year-old historical houses also exist, according to Özeş. "They have extremely thick walls. The height of the arches is nearly four to five meters. Each of the houses is a work of art creating an authentic environment."