Language and ethnicity in Cyprus under the British: A linkage of heightened salience
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The article examines language planning and the link between language and ethnicity among the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots during British colonial rule. It investigates the attitudes towards the language-ethnic identity link revealed in the petitions and letters of complaint to the authorities, and in the articles in the Turkish local press and Greek local journals. It suggests that the two ethnic groups perceived language as a prime indicator of ethnic identity and an indispensable precondition to survival. It argues that the two ethnicities' separate efforts to secure an official standing for their ethnic language and reverse any potential language shift (i.e., from Greek to English by the Greek Cypriots and from Turkish to Greek by the Turkish Cypriots), were strongly associated with a determination to control power and ethnic relations and to preserve and foster their ethnic identity.