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Author Topic: Is Modern Greek Moving Towards Proto Greek?  (Read 5665 times)
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SolEX01
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« on: June 25, 2008, 06:24:22 PM »

I didn't believe so until one poster (from another thread) made the following statement:

I disagree. Modern Greek is actually moving towards Proto Greek.
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« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2008, 06:49:29 PM »

I would have to disagree with that.  By saying ProtoGreek are you meaning the original Greek?

The furthest back forms of Greek we are familiar with had very rich meaning in all the words, the vowels and diphthongs all had distinct and unique sounds and there was a distinct "musical" pitch that denoted by rising and dropping intonations.  While it is true that in the middle ages there was a sort of revival of classical Greek, today's increasing mixture of foreign words and monotones hardly suggests a return to ProtoGreek.
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« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2008, 02:08:38 AM »

When my brother goes to Greece and comes back with interesting words like "stripmallaria"- (Strip mall), I somehow don't see it happening
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« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2008, 04:07:32 AM »

When my brother goes to Greece and comes back with interesting words like "stripmallaria"- (Strip mall), I somehow don't see it happening

Fancy, I never heard of that in Greece.

What I have happened to hear of however, is that some of our academic leaders are in favour of dropping complicate spelling like double letters and diphthongs to make words simpler. I dare say it could only be hearsay as one does not have to be an academic to realise that that would deprive a word of the connection to its root making it only more difficult to understand. Still, a lot of Greek words have had their spelling changed while I was still a student and I believe this still happens by what I see when reading a Greek newspaper. I would not know though whether that is returning to proto Greek.
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« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2008, 07:42:47 AM »

I most certainly disagree with the premise, and I think any linguists/philologists would also disagree.  Anyway, "ProtoGreek" would sound rather foreign, even to those who spoke Homer's Greek or good Classical Greek.  Is "Proto Greek" the first unique derivative from Linear B, or is it Linear B, or Linear A?  What is it, exactly, in the opinion of those who are postulating that we're moving in that direction?
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« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2008, 01:39:22 PM »

I didn't believe so until one poster (from another thread) made the following statement:

I can't imagine what the OP means. Never seen anything of the sort in the academic literature. In the biggest sense -- morphology, syntax -- the trend is clearly AWAY from Proto-Greek or Proto-Indo-European. Far less inflection, far more analytical. Most ancient Indo-European language families like Proto-Greek had distinct locative, dative and instrumental cases. Classical Greek had only the dative for all three uses. Nowadays, Demotic has even lost the dative.

Perhaps the OP was talking about some specific aspect of phonology? I can imagine a possible universe in which that may be case, but phonology is certainly not my strong suit, so I wouldn't know.
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« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2008, 11:54:24 PM »

I can't imagine what the OP means.

I made a statement in another thread that Modern Greek and Biblical Greek were not the same.

Someone else commented that Modern Greek was moving towards Proto Greek.

I created a new thread with the other poster's claim.

As the OP, I asked this forum what they thought....
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« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2008, 07:16:10 AM »

I'm afraid this speculation is absurd. On the contrary, the tendency here is to return to a more historical orthography (par example: Mr Babiniotis the professor of linguistics at the Capodistrian Univ of Athens has proposed to return to the aspiration marks and especially to the spiritus asper in order to end the confusion between the aspirated and unaspirated pairs of plosive consonants. For instance, why do we today use "μεθεόρτια"  (metheortia-relig. octave) instead of "μετεόρτια" (meteortia) since we have stopped using the spiritus asper on the word ἑορτή?).
PS: Proto-Greek or prehistoric Koine has nothing to do with a more simplified Greek language. Quite on the contrary*. Proto-Greek is the common ancestor of all the classical Greek dialects (Attic-Ionic, Aeolic, Doric, Arcadic-Cypriot, Macedonian, Pamphylian) spoken in the late 3rd millenium BC. The only written evidence of this language is Linear B.

*Proto-Greek had 5 long and 5 short vowels, the labiovelars w (wau) or F (digamma) and y (yod), the vocalic (ie letters who could appear as either consonants or vowels) μ, ν, λ, ρ (m, n, l, r) etc. Not a simple language
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« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2008, 07:23:38 AM »

I'm afraid this speculation is absurd. On the contrary, the tendency here is to return to a more historical orthography (par example: Mr Babiniotis the professor of linguistics at the Capodistrian Univ of Athens has proposed to return to the aspiration marks and especially to the spiritus asper in order to end the confusion between the aspirated and unaspirated pairs of plosive consonants. For instance, why do we today use "μεθεόρτια"  (metheortia-relig. octave) instead of "μετεόρτια" (meteortia) since we have stopped using the spiritus asper on the word ἑορτή?).
PS: Proto-Greek or prehistoric Koine has nothing to do with a more simplified Greek language. Quite on the contrary*. Proto-Greek is the common ancestor of all the classical Greek dialects (Attic-Ionic, Aeolic, Doric, Arcadic-Cypriot, Macedonian, Pamphylian) spoken in the late 3rd millenium BC. The only written evidence of this language is Linear B.

*Proto-Greek had 5 long and 5 short vowels, the labiovelars w (wau) or F (digamma) and y (yod), the vocalic (ie letters who could appear as either consonants or vowels) μ, ν, λ, ρ (m, n, l, r) etc. Not a simple language 

I don't think anyone is claiming that Proto-Greek is simple - just that we're not really moving back to it in all aspects.  If you think we're moving back to Proto-Greek orthography, that's fine and dandy (although I thought the law was passed a number of years ago ending requirement of the tono (accent mark) on written signs and whatnot), but the rest of the language is clearly not moving back towards the very complex system we found in Proto-Greek (heck, it's not even moving back to Classical Greek, which was an intermediate step between Proto- and Koine-Greek and Modern-Greek)
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« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2008, 06:19:41 AM »

I don't think anyone is claiming that Proto-Greek is simple - just that we're not really moving back to it in all aspects.  If you think we're moving back to Proto-Greek orthography, that's fine and dandy (although I thought the law was passed a number of years ago ending requirement of the tono (accent mark) on written signs and whatnot), but the rest of the language is clearly not moving back towards the very complex system we found in Proto-Greek (heck, it's not even moving back to Classical Greek, which was an intermediate step between Proto- and Koine-Greek and Modern-Greek)
I'm sorry if I didn't make myself clear. The OP claimed that modern Greek is moving towards Proto-Greek and then some other posters erroneously claimed that modern Greek is moving towards more simplification. Both arguments are wrong. Firstly, because returning to Proto-Greek does not mean that the language is simplified (on the contrary) and secondly, because the tendncy here is to return to a more historical orthography and not to further simplify the grammar or orthography.   
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« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2008, 08:04:01 AM »

Could the OP be referring to Katharevousa? the Greek that tried to purify demotic of foreign elements, and revive some Classical forms?
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« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2008, 10:01:51 AM »

Could the OP be referring to Katharevousa? the Greek that tried to purify demotic of foreign elements, and revive some Classical forms?
Well, THAT certainly wasn't a move toward anything that could be considered "simpler", I'll grant that.
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« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2008, 05:20:05 PM »

Could the OP be referring to Katharevousa? the Greek that tried to purify demotic of foreign elements, and revive some Classical forms?

As the OP, I'm not the one making the statement about the direction Modern Greek is headed towards.  For all I know, Modern Greek is still Modern Greek.  Someone in another thread (and I need to learn how others break off new threads because I clearly did a lousy job here) said that Modern Greek was headed towards Proto Greek, whatever that is.
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« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2008, 05:54:30 PM »

Based on what little I know in 1974 the Greek government and schools gave up on pretending the people still spoke classical Greek; Modern Greek became the official language.

Katharevousa Greek was the government's attempt at forcing this pretence on the people (what the Greek people had to learn in school versus what they actually spoke); it didn't take.

Given the trend to simplify, all the borrowing from other languages (I understand the modern word for door is the same as Italian, porta) and natural evolution I imagine Modern Greek is moving farther away.
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« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2008, 12:35:50 AM »

Just to throw a spanner in the works, while modern Greek is not as linguistically "pure" as some diehards would have us believe, nevertheless it must be remembered that Latin, and, therefore the other Romance languages it spawned (Italian, French, Spanish, Romanian, etc), was itself greatly influenced by Greek. Look up the etymology of words such as alabaster, museum, and lasagne. You might be surprised, espcially with lasagne.
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« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2008, 06:43:53 AM »

Quote from: The young fogey
Based on what little I know in 1974 the Greek government and schools gave up on pretending the people still spoke classical Greek; Modern Greek became the official language.
Katharevousa Greek was the government's attempt at forcing this pretence on the people (what the Greek people had to learn in school versus what they actually spoke); it didn't take.
Katharevousa was an invented artificial language yes. It was mainly an effort to go back to the classical Greek. It was a vain effort to undo most of the changes that had happened in the Greek language throughout the ages. It did some good however. It influenced massively the colloquial language in all areas from vocabulary, to inflection, to syntax, so that today it is probably fair to say that the difference between Plato’s Greek and that of the present day, parallels the difference between the English of Geoffrey Chaucer (1340-1400AD) and modern English.
Quote from: The young fogey
Given the trend to simplify, all the borrowing from other languages (I understand the modern word for door is the same as Italian, porta) and natural evolution I imagine Modern Greek is moving farther away
Wow, strong words. Do you base your assumption here basically on the single example that in every day-colloquial speech we use porta instead of the classical one thyra? Yet we use Parathyro (from the ancient Parathyros) to describe the window instead of Paraporta or something.
<sarcasm>Yes we've taken a few words from the Turkish (after 400 years of occupation it is natural, especially words describing crafts and food), others from the Italian/Venetian (after 200-300 years of occupation it is natural) and so forth. The main bulk of the Greek language however remains stubbornly Greek</sarcasm>.
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« Reply #16 on: July 02, 2008, 09:39:49 AM »

I commend your mastery of both the Greek and English language, Apostolos. I wouldn't expect anything less from an Athenian Greek. Wink
I was the one who make the original statement. I didn't expect to see a new topic raised from my comments. What I meant with my comments. Was that the Greek language has often purged itself of foreign elements and reverted back to more classical forms and words. This is very evident in todays literature. This from a lay persons observation. My family comes from Agrapha area of Greece. The Turkish language hasn't had much influence in those parts of Greece as it had on many of the islands.
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« Reply #17 on: July 02, 2008, 09:42:57 AM »

When my brother goes to Greece and comes back with interesting words like "stripmallaria"- (Strip mall), I somehow don't see it happening

This makes me laugh because the Greek's invented the strip mall several thousand years ago. They called them Agora.
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« Reply #18 on: July 02, 2008, 10:23:07 AM »

Quote from: Demetrios G
What I meant with my comments was that the Greek language has often purged itself of foreign elements and reverted back to more classical forms and words. This is very evident in todays literature
Yes that is correct. It would have been better though if you used a different expression than "Proto-Greek"
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My family comes from Agrapha area of Greece. The Turkish language hasn't had much influence in those parts of Greece as it had on many of the islands
You're from here?




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« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2008, 11:06:55 AM »

Wow. Beautiful photos. Greece is one of the three European places I must visit someday (Germany--check, Ireland--still to come).
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« Reply #20 on: July 02, 2008, 07:01:58 PM »

You're from here?

Mάλιστα κύριε.
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« Reply #21 on: July 02, 2008, 07:19:27 PM »

Wow. Beautiful photos. Greece is one of the three European places I must visit someday (Germany--check, Ireland--still to come).
You should go to the movies this month and watch Tom Hanks Mamma mia. I was in Skiathos and Skopelos last summer while the movie was being filmed there. Beautiful island.  Wink
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« Reply #22 on: July 03, 2008, 10:40:50 AM »

I was unaware of that movie, but I do enjoy Tom Hanks' acting. I may check that out. Everything I've seen of Greece is just beautiful.
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