Greek-Alphabet English: Multilingual writing and trans-scripting in digital communication

Thanasis Gavos   Monday, 16 January 2017; 5:30-7:00pm
Greek-alphabet English, King's College, lecture

This presentation focuses on multilingual writing as ideological social practice and looks into phenomena of vernacular creativity where perceived boundaries between languages and codes are playfully crossed and transgressed. With regards to spelling and writing, vernacular creativities can be manifest in instances of trans-scripting or ‘script-focused translanguaging’ (Androutsopoulos 2015) where language forms associated with a particular code are represented in the writing system of another. Drawing on a three-year ‘guerilla ethnography’ (Yang 2003) on social media practices of Greek-speaking users, I will discuss vernacular creativities in digital literacies, with a focus on Greek-Alphabet English (or Engreek, popularly described as ‘English written with Greek characters’). The presentation investigates this case of trans-scripting, by exploring the mechanics of inscribing English elements with local (e.g. Greek) characters as manifest at different levels of language description, including individual graphemes, lexical units, posts and longer interactional exchanges. It concludes by discussing the processes through which such writing practices also inscribe semiotic and indexical values onto the language forms produced and circulated. Such processes appear to be highly reflexive, performative and dialogical, responding to, as well as generating, other texts and writing practices in an increasingly globalized world.

Tereza Spilioti is Lecturer in Language and Communication at Cardiff University. Since 2007 when she completed her doctoral research, she has also taught at King’s College London and Kingston University. Her research interests focus on the intersections of language, culture and digital media; she has published articles and book chapters on aspects of Modern Greek language, culture  and identity, with a focus on politeness, multilingualism, language ideologies, and research ethics. She has co-edited (with Alexandra Georgakopoulou) the Routledge Handbook of Language and Digital Communication (Routledge 2016).

This event is open to all and free to attend. No booking is required.

Please direct enquiries to [email protected].

Council Room, King’s Building, Strand Campus

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