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Language contact in the eastern Mediterranean in the Late Middle Ages : Greek in a multilingual society (Greek In Contact)
Start date: May 1, 2008, End date: Apr 30, 2010 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project aims to investigate the extent of language contact in the eastern Mediterranean in the Late Middle Ages (13th – 17th c.).It focuses on Medieval Greek,which became a locus point of multilingualism,because of the socio-political environment,i.e. the contact between Greek- and Romance-speaking populations developed in large parts of eastern Mediterranean after the fall of Constantinople to the Franks (1204).Consequently,the main emphasis of the investigation will be placed on language contact phenomena between Greek and Romance languages,as manifested predominantly in Greek.The project aspires not only to describe developments of Greek,but also to determine the wider language contact situation.It comes to address a long awaited desideratum of the relevant research,since the issue of multilingualism in the medieval Mediterranean has only been examined in relation to the notorious ‘lingua franca’ and the various loanwords incorporated into different languages,while the proposed research focuses instead on the almost totally unexplored morphosyntactic level.The research will be carried out on the basis of a corpus compiled of literary and non-literary texts (the latter mostly unknown to the linguistic research so far) written in Greek,with a view to control for the register factor on the data evaluation.The philological expertise necessary for the examination of the texts and their authors,as well as the essential knowledge of the socio-political environment in which the texts were produced speak for the multidisciplinary character of the project,even beyond the linguistic borders.The examination of language contact in such a multi-ethnic environment can become relevant for the current political state of affairs,because of the mobility of the population in EU;the linguistic outcome of roughly similar situations in the past can prove to be helpful not only in the evaluation of current linguistic developments,but also in language planning at the political level.
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