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Article

Us and them: Inter- and intra-communal ethno-linguistic borders within the Pontic Greek community in Cyprus

STUF - Language Typology and Universals . 2016. Vol. 69. No. 2. P. 235-253.

In this study, the ethnic self-perception of Greeks from Russia and Georgia (alternatively known as Pontic Greeks) is examined in the socio-political context of Cyprus. I analyze the concept of mother tongue and the potential (symbolic) role it plays within the multilingual community of Pontic Greeks in Cyprus. The study demonstrates that the majority of Pontic Greeks both from Russia and Georgia ethnically self-identify as ‘Greeks’ while speaking different languages. Language plays a vital role in ethnic self-identification of some Pontic Greeks, while for others the link between language and ethnicity appears to be insignificant. Interestingly, the ‘Greekness’ of some Pontic Greeks is questioned by the local population, which appears to be sensitive to the language-ethnicity link.