Documenting Modern Greek Dialects: R.M. Dawkins & W.R. Halliday in Central Anatolia 1909-1911
Included in the BSA SPHS image collection are photographs that document various study tours conducted by early BSA researchers in the last decade of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th. One such study tour was conducted by Richard M. Dawkins from 1909 to 1911 in areas of Central Anatolia, principally Cappadocia. He was joined in 1911 by BSA student William R. Halliday after they had spent a season excavating at Phylakopi on the island of Melos.
The purpose of these visits was to record dialects in the Greek speaking villages of Cappadocia and the village of Sille (modern Subaşı) near Konya. This included the collection of folktales as seen in the image taken by Halliday below. Dawkins’s interest in folktales, according Peter Mackridge, stemmed from the fact that oral telling of the tales tended to preserve a more conservative form of the dialect that was less susceptible to change. The book which resulted from Dawkins’ study tour, Modern Greek in Asia Minor, provides a transliteration in the original dialect and translation of many of the folktales he collected.
Dawkins wished to document how the spoken language changed in isolation, surrounded and pressured by Turkish speaking areas, in a relatively non-literate society. In addition to listening to informants and documenting the language, both Dawkins and later Halliday recorded contemporary life in these villages in the form of photographs. Halliday went on to publish an article in the journal Folklore on a wedding celebration they observed in the village of Axo (modern Hasaköy).
Many of the villages visited by Dawkins and Halliday changed names after the Treaty of Lausanne and the exchange of population in 1923. Some villages ceased to exist. However, the name changes are well documented and it is possible to plot them on a modern map.
|Some of the Villages visited by Dawkins and Halliday 1909-1911|
|Settlement name used by Dawkins||Modern settlement name|
|Afshar-Köi||No longer a village|
|Develi||No name change|
|Gourzounos||No longer a village|
|Talas||No name change|
|Tschukuyurt or Tshukuri||Çukuyurt|
|Ürgüp||No name change|
In addition to the modern dialects, Dawkins and Halliday observed traces of a Greek past. This can be seen in the ruined churches and the rock cut chapels and houses of the ‘underground cities’ of present day Göreme and surrounding valleys.
The photographs by Halliday in particular document the striking landscape of the Taurus mountains and the hardships of travel in remote areas. In one photograph below, enroute to Afshar-Köi, Dawkins (perhaps?) can be seen walking with a small group along a ravine following pack mules.
Throughout Dawkins’ study of the Greek dialects of Central Anatolia, he mentions similarities with the Pontic Greek dialects. However, he indicated that, at the time, not much was known about Pontic dialects. Consequently, Dawkins made an expedition to the Pontus in 1914, but his study of the area’s dialects was cut short by the onset of WWI. Thereafter, further conflict would result in the exchange of population in 1923. Many of the photographs by Dawkins and Halliday in Central Anatolia and Dawkins in the Pontus preserve a way of life in these Greek villages that has long disappeared.
Honorary Research Fellow
Department of Archaeology
Images from the BSA-SPHS collection are available on the BSA’s Digital Collections page.
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For Further Reading:
Dawkins, R.M 1910. “Modern Greek in Asia Minor” Journal of Hellenic Studies 30: 109-132.
Dawkins, R.M 1910. “Modern Greek in Asia Minor (continued)” Journal of Hellenic Studies 30: 267-291.
Dawkins, R.M. 1916. Modern Greek in Asia Minor, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Halliday, W.R. 1912. “A Greek Marriage in Cappadocia” Folklore 23(1): 81-88.
Mackridge, P. 1990. “’Some Pamphlets on Dead Greek Dialects’: R.M. Dawkins and Modern Greek Dialectology” Annual of the British School at Athens 85: 201-212.