Reversing Trends in Superdiversity? The Case of Greeklish

Authors: Dimitrios Koutsogiannis, Vasiliki Adampa (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece)
Vasiliki Mitsikopoulou (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece)
Speakers: Dimitrios Koutsogiannis, Vasiliki Mitsikopoulou, Vasiliki Adampa
Topic: Critical Linguistic Anthropology
The GLOCAL CALA 2023 General Session


In recent sociolinguistic and applied linguistic research, there is a clear tendency away from communication approaches focusing on specific and perfectly bounded entities toward explorations of communicative and literacy practices that cross the borders between languages, communities and ethnic groups. Widely used terms such as superdiversity (Blommaert 2010), translanguaging (Creese & Blackledge 2015), or trans-scripting (Androutsopoulos 2015) are indicative of this research strand.

Still, in parallel with these centrifugal communicative forces, strong centripetal practices and discourses are developed at least in Europe that “illustrate the strong impact of nationalist ideologies and of nation states” (Wodak & Boukala 2015:106). While interesting analysis reveals some of the dominant arguments and discourses especially in politics, there is little research exploring the consequences of this ethnocentric tendency on semiotic practices.

Our aim in this presentation is to analyze parental discourse against the use of Greeklish (mixing Greek with Latin writing system) and the consequences on their children’s scripting choices. The study is based on 33 ethnographic case studies on children’s (10-15 years old) every day literacy practices’ during the core of the economic crisis in Greece (2011-2012). The study – part of a longitudinal research on Greeklish (Koutsogiannis & Mitsikopoulou 2003, Koutsogiannis 2015) – reveals that a strong view against Greeklish penetrates parents’ discourse, drawing elements from what we have called “retrospective view” (Koutsogiannis & Mitsikopoulou 2003).

Research results will be used to explain why a semiotic choice indexing contemporary digital global youth identities in Greek context has drastically declined during the last decade. It will also discussed how our research can contribute to better understanding aspects of superdiversity and especially trans-scripting.

Androutsopoulos, J. (2015). Networked multilingualism: Some language practices on Facebook and their implications. International Journal of Bilingualism, 19(2), 185–205.
Blommaert, J. (2010). The sociolinguistics of globalization. Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press.
Creese, A. & Blackledge, A. (2015). Translanguaging and Identity in Educational Settings. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 35, 20–35.
Koutsogiannis, D. (2015). Translocalization in digital writing, orders of literacy, and schooled literacy. In S. Bulfin, N. Johnson, & C. Bigum (Eds.), Critical perspectives on technology and education (183-202). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Koutsogiannis, D. & B. Mitsikopoulou (2003). Greeklish and Greekness: Trends and discourses of “glocalness”, Journal of Mediated Communication Discourse 9(1).
Wodak, R. & Boukala, S. (2015). European identities and the revival of nationalism in the European Eunion. Journal of language and politics, 14:1, 87-108.

Keywords: Superdiversity, transcriting, digital writing, identities