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Lerna: Hitler finds out that the Greek language has no more than 200000 words
Travelling as I am in the U.S., I’m going to be light on blogging here at Hellenisteukontos (well, even lighter than usual); any blogging I do is going to be travelogues in The Other Place (once I’m somewhere worth traveloguing about.) But I’ve just found out that Stazybo Horn, honoured member of Team Fortier who has also stopped by and commented here, has taken That Downfall video, and subtitled it… with reference to the Lerna Myth. And a shout out to this Lerna thread! A blessing on your house, Stazy!
(To view Greek subtitles, turn on Closed Captioning, bottom right control next to Volume and Full Screen. My annotated translation into English follows.)
|THEODORE ANDREAKOS,* Educ. Insp. (Ret’d), Hon. Prof. Tech Coll.: The longhairs* are counterattacking. They have occupied WordPress and are heading towards Blogger. They include Sarantakos, Neostipoukeitos, and from the other flank Lexilogia and Periglwssio. From the eastern front, we have opuculuk,* nickel and yannisharis.||Theodore Andreakos: prominent letter-writer in the recent debate in the Athens press over the word count of Greek.|
longhairs: advocates of Demotic, from their bohemian appearance in the 1900s.
|ADOLF: Have Kounadis* attack them, with the ten million words.||Antonis Kounadis: member of the Academy of Athens (representing Engineering), whose April talk on the gajillion words of Greek launched the whole Lerna saga in the Athens press and the blogosphere.|
|THEODORE ANDREAKOS, Educ. Insp. (Ret’d), Hon. Prof. Tech Coll.: Mein Führer… Kounadis…|
|EURIPIDES STYLIANIDES:* Kounadis is a laughing stock. They’ve reduced the word count to 200,000.||Euripides Stylianidis: Minister for Education in 2008, taken in by the Lernaean Myth in a speech. Notoriously, the speech included a folk etymology of έντερο “intestine” as ἐντὸς ῤέω “I flow within”|
|ADOLF: … The following will stay behind. Andreakos, Kounadis, Stylianidis, and Adonis-Spyros.*||Adonis Georgiadis: Greek right wing politician, publisher, author, and TV host. Prominent in nationalist philippics on the Greek language. His original name is Spyros, and his critics delight in pointing out the affectation of his name change.|
|ADOLF: FUCK MY IN-TEST-INE!* We’d talked through Kounadis’ mission! How did he manage to mess it up?! What do I keep collecting Liddel–Scotts for him for? You’ve forgotten all your graves and rough breathings*—I won’t even mention your iota subscripts! You can’t recite a single iamb in Aeolic!||in-test-ine: See above, έντερο.|
Graves and rough breathings: the polytonic accentuation system, a rallying point of linguistic conservatives after the disuse of Puristic Greek.
|ADONIS GEORGIADIS: The man of many devices…*||The man of many devices : the beginning of the Odyssey: Iambic in Modern Greek translation, at least.|
|ADOLF: We’d already got up to 120 million words!|
|ADONIS GEORGIADIS: Mein Führer, Euripy did try…|
|ADOLF: The TLG says as much! 5,000,000 words! Even English has overtaken us! What the fuck are you learning in your academies anyway? Just how to stick clubs up omegas’ privates?* Sarantakoses and Tipoukeitoses! They should be impaled on the Colossus’ torch! Hanged on the Themistoclean Walls! Them and Maria and Diver and Pi-Squared. And that Stazy.||clubs up omegas’ privates: A humorous verse in 1964 by Dinos Christianopoulos lamented that the abolition of iota subscript would deprive the Greek script of “its smallest obscenity”: omega with iota subscript, ῳ, which looks slightly like a depiction of anal sex if your mind is dirty enough. With the iota subscript long abolished, the verse is routinely brought up in any discussion of the polytonic.|
|I never went to any academies. But I have glorified my language, by turning the world into mincemeat. Linguists! What did I sit and learn duals and infinitives for? 120 volumes,* I read them one by one. I even read about the God of the Jews.* He too was in my language. Millions of words; not one fewer!||120 volumes: As was pointed out in the letter-writing saga, if Greek really did have five million words, Liddell-Scott would have 120 volumes, not just one (or two, depending on the edition).|
God of the Jews: The Septuagint is included in the TLG corpus.
|SECRETARY: Hush, Lady Madonna…*||Hush, Lady Madonna: Despina “Madonna” is a plausible first name, but this is an allusion to the folksong verse beloved of Greek irredentists: “Hush, Lady Madonna, and cry not so; after years and times pass, they will be ours once more.” The song gave its title to Herzfeld’s influential critique of the politicisation of Greek folklore|
|ADOLF: A pity I copied so much just to break my hand in.* Now where will I find 60 million terms? That’s it. We’ve dipped the boat. Sarantakos has pulled our pants down. But if you think I’m going to start using monotonic accentuation, you’re mistaken. I’d rather lick a kouros’ “pears”.* 200,000 words, he says…||to break my hand in: An allusion to a comment by Cornelius, the polytonicist gadfly of Sarantakos’ blog, that he used to voluntarily copy out polytonic texts in school “to break his hand in”, gratified to find Babiniotis is now recommending the same. “My mother would say that was contrary to any paedagogical principle; I replied it was the monotonic system that was contrary.”|
pears: απίδια, euphemism for αρχίδια “balls”