English in Cyprus or Cyprus English?

Sarah Buschfeld at the University of Regensburg recently published a book called ‘English in Cyprus or Cyprus English: An empirical investigation of variety status‘. I reviewed the book for the journal World Englishes (vol. 33[3]: 413-15):

English in Cyprus or Cyprus English: An empirical investigation of variety status. Sarah Buschfeld. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2013, xvi + 246 pp.

This book examines the case of Cyprus in the World Englishes (WEs) paradigm. It aims to redress the lack of comprehensive, empirical research on the linguistic and sociolinguistic situation of English in Cyprus, and to assess whether English as spoken by Greek Cypriots should be considered a second-language variety or simply learner English. It is to be lauded for its thorough approach, establishing an explicit ‘criteria catalogue’ for variety status, but also for its contribution to wider issues concerning the applicability of the main models and approaches in WEs, such as the ENL–ESL–EFL distinction, Kachru’s (1985) Three Circles and Schneider’s (2003, 2007) Dynamic Model.

The book is loosely structured around Schneider’s (2007) four parameters with respect to English varieties: (i) historical and sociopolitical development, (ii) identity constructions, (iii) sociolinguistic conditions and (iv) structural effects. Ch. 2 (13–42) covers the first three of these. Annexed by Britain in 1878, Cyprus gained independence in 1960 but was later invaded by Turkey, resulting in its de facto division into a Greek and a Turkish part. Identity constructions on the island took the form of ‘us’ (Greek Cypriot) versus ‘them’ (British), culminating in the ‘ultimate dissociation’ (30) between the Greek Cypriots and the British settlers after Britain’s failure to intervene during the Turkish invasion in 1974. The sociolinguistic conditions thereafter saw the decline of the uses and functions of English, although it continues to be used in some public domains.


[for a pdf of the full review, send me an email]



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