Teaching and Learning to Use Language
This chapter looks in depth at two more examples of the psemata/alitheia distinction in informal instruction, this time focused on language use. Language may sometimes be taught procedurally, declaratively, or as this chapter shows, by focusing on discrete points in a way that is neither procedural nor declarative.
People in Kiriakitsa and Trikala pay attention to speech and care very much how those under their sphere of influence talk. Adults often tell children to "Speak right!" (Mila kala!), and comment that other people's children "don't speak well" (dhen milane kala). There are right ways and wrong ways, beautiful ways and ugly ways, and everyone has a notion of what these are, although they may disagree. A recent description of the Modern Greek language defines the patterns of Athenian speakers as "standard" ( Mackridge, 1985). Likewise, informants in my study, when asked what kind of speech was "correct," would invariably refer to Athenian speech, saying that the Athenians "complete the words" (oloklironoune tis lexes) and have more aesthetically pleasing pronunciation. The value informants place on the Athenian dialect is a function of prestige. Thessalian village dialects, although fully grammatical communicative systems, are seen as low prestige varieties.
Teaching children to "speak right" covers a great deal of linguistic territory from correcting mispronounced words to teaching socially appro-