Digitizing the Cappadocian Dialectal Landscape

The project aims at the thorough documentation and study of an Asia Minor Greek linguistic variety, more specifically the Cappadocian dialect. The reasons for selecting the specific dialect are the following: a) it is an endangered dialect of prime importance for the cultural history of Greece b) it is a dialect until recently considered entirely extinct, for which a wealth of newly-discovered material exists, hitherto unexploited by linguistic (dialectological, sociolinguistic, historical) research c) it is a dialect presenting great linguistic interest due to its long period of isolation and strong contact with Turkish and d) it is the only major dialect of Greek for which no standard works of reference exist. The second main aim of the project is to attempt, for the first time in Greece, to implement a fully digital approach to dialectological research, by applying cutting-edge informatics tools to the study and documentation of dialectal variation.

More specifically, apart from primary linguistic research, leading to the production of scholarly papers advancing our knowledge in the field of Linguistics and Cultural History, the project aims to produce two state-of-the-art major reference works, namely an interactive electronic dialectal atlas (which will constitute the first such effort in the domain of Greek Linguistics) and a comprehensive historical dictionary of the Cappadocian dialects (again lacking until now).

This research project constitutes an intersection of a humanities/social sciences discipline (linguistics) and informatics. It involves both the examination of how digital tools can be applied to specific domains such as dialectal Lexicography and Modern Greek dialectology, and how these, as application subjects, can influence the development of informatics. The digitization of historically valuable dialectal data will provide us with the opportunity to generate new methods of analyzing this material. First of all, dialectal lexicography will be benefit by the synergy with a number of computational linguistic applications by providing a more descriptive analysis, a continuously updated version of atlas and dictionary, a quicker cross-validation of the dialectal data. Furthermore, the computing tools will enhance the effort to visually represent the geo-variations of the Cappadocian dialects and offer an advanced search option to present a more concrete and in-depth analysis of the data.