The Attitudes of Turks in Western Thrace toward their Mother Tongue and Culture

Yalınkılıç K., Yagmur K.

BILIG, vol.70, no.70, pp.283-308, 2014 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 70 Issue: 70
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Journal Name: BILIG
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.283-308
  • Keywords: Turks in Western Thrace, language maintenance and shift, Turkish identity in Greece, linguistic assimilation policies, language and identity, ACCULTURATION
  • Ondokuz Mayıs University Affiliated: Yes


The findings of the quantitative and qualitative data, collected by the first researcher in Western Thrace among Turkish speakers, are presented in this paper. The conceptual framework of the study is based on earlier studies on ethnolinguistic vitality theory (Giles 1977) and language maintenance and shift (Edwards 1992) as well as acculturation theory (Berry 1997). Subjective ethnolinguistic vitality questionnaire was administered to a total of 148 (70 female and 78 male) informants. In this article, the findings related to ethnic identification, religious identity and language use are presented. According to the findings of language use, choice and ethnic identification questionnaire, Turkish community demonstrates a high level of determination in maintaining its ethnic language and ethnic identity. According to the survey results, Turkish community uses Turkish in daily life in a number of domains. Turkish is available and omnipresent in their lives. Besides, the community members value bilingualism and use both languages in their daily interactions with different interlocutors. As firmly established in this study, Turkish is the language of emotional expression for community members. As opposed to Greek government's persistent ideological claims and policies, Turkish community members define themselves based on their Turkish ethnic identity as opposed to religious identity. Greek government's imposition of 'religious community' does not find much support among the Turkish entity in Western Thrace.