Language and age identities among older Greek Cypriot women
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This contribution discusses the language and social practices of older Greek Cypriot women. It looks at the casual, every-day interactions of an all-female group, with a long interactional history (most of them in their seventies). The ethnomethodological approach to identities is adopted, and a toolkit from membership categorisation analysis and conversation analysis is used. This paper shows how the participants employ various terms, with distinct meaning and associated features, to categorise self and others as “older women”. The discussion includes certain emblematic uses of code-switching between (varieties of) Cypriot Greek and Standard Modern Greek and shows how this discourse strategy contributes to the construction of old-age identities with distinct associations. On the whole, this bottom-up analysis provides an overview of older Cypriot women’s situated understanding of their age identities and how the deployment of various category labels of different registers ultimately achieves positive self-presentation and dissociation from age-induced decline.