Tag: Modern Greek

How Greek accentuation works

By: | Post date: 2011-02-06 | Comments: 6 Comments
Posted in categories: Ancient Greek, Linguistics, Modern Greek
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In a previous post, I accented ΞΕΜΑΓΚΑΣ “the un-mangas, the ex-mangas” as ξεμάγκας. Nikos Sarantakos pointed out the correct accent is ξέμαγκας. I see why that is the correct accent, though it still looks wrong to me. To explain why, I’m going to spend the next few posts building up to this explanation of what […]

Aspiration questions

By: | Post date: 2011-02-02 | Comments: 1 Comment
Posted in categories: Ancient Greek, Linguistics, Modern Greek
Tags: , , ,

Nikos Sarantakos raised a few points about my previous post in comments. Rather than give a post-length response in comments, here’s a post-length response as a post: “b) hypercorrection re aspiration has produced some words that managed to get accepted like μέθαύριο or εφέτος.” Why those hypercorrections—”day after tomorrow; this year”, and not others? They’re […]

ἐκαληθεύω: an ill-fitting prefix in Choeroboscus

By: | Post date: 2011-01-30 | Comments: 16 Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Mediaeval Greek, Modern Greek
Tags: , , , ,

The prepositions of Ancient Greek, which were also used as verbal prefixes, had a rich and subtle semantics. As is the doom of all linguistic subtleties, the system has not survived, and the couple of dozen prefixes of antiquity have collapsed to a handful in the modern vernacular. (How does Nikos Sarantakos put it? Οι […]

Markos Vamvakaris: Ο ισοβίτης, Final verse

By: | Post date: 2011-01-19 | Comments: 1 Comment
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek
Tags: , ,

The reason why I picked Markos Vamvakaris’ song Ο Ισοβίτης for my ruminations on hiatus is its last verse, with its startling macaronic juxtaposition: όπως τον Έκτορα ο Αχιλλεύς τον έσουρνε στο κάροLike Achilles dragging Hector in his cart The clash isn’t just thematic of course, it’s also linguistic: Hector and Achilles are solemnly invoked […]

Markos Vamvakaris: Ο ισοβίτης

By: | Post date: 2011-01-18 | Comments: 3 Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek
Tags: , ,

We saw a couple of posts ago the rebetiko musician Markos Vamvakaris in the 1930s, being more subject to the phonology of Puristic than Greeks might now expect of a singer extolling the underworld. Such an expectation says more about the romantic notions fomented by centuries of diglossia, than it does about the linguistic realities […]

The hiatus of διαζύγιο “divorce”

By: | Post date: 2011-01-05 | Comments: 3 Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek
Tags: , , ,

Eighty year old recordings of popular music should tell you, for a normal language, how that language has changed in the interim. And so it is for Greek, as I’m finding by listening to the collected recordings of Markos Vamvakaris, 1933–1937. The catch is, diglossia has meant Greek is not a normal language; and the […]

GTAGE: Losing One’s Religion

By: | Post date: 2010-07-10 | Comments: 2 Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek
Tags: , , ,

Today’s installment of the Golden Treasury of Anglo–Greek Expressions (GTAGE) takes religion in vain. That does not mean the expressions I’m going through are blasphemous per se—although if taking religion lightly is not your thing, you shouldn’t be reading further. If anything, the expressions show how central a role Orthodox Christianity has played in how […]

Going from X = Going past X

By: | Post date: 2010-07-04 | Comments: 5 Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek
Tags: ,

Way, way back, Tipoukeitos asked if I could comment on the seemingly illogical use of πάω από Χ “to go past X”, which has attracted opprobrium from at least one Modern Greek language maven. (“Language maven” is not intended here as a term of praise.) What is seemingly illogical about the construction is that it […]

A Turkish etymology for both α and σιχτίρ?

By: | Post date: 2010-06-15 | Comments: 8 Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek
Tags: , , , , ,

Language advisory In the last obscenity-filled post on this blog, Pierre left a comment on α σιχτίρ “fuck off”, which is derived from Turkish: The Turkish is sıçdırmak ( ﺼﭽﺩﺭﻣﻕ ) with a chim, rather than a kha, and it gets “shit” right back into the context. Actually, it is a causative form and means […]

Language minorities of Bithynia

By: | Post date: 2010-05-18 | Comments: 4 Comments
Posted in categories: Culture, History, Linguistics, Modern Greek
Tags: , , ,

The Wikipedia articles on Anatolian Bulgarians, English and Bulgarian, imply that Kızderbent was far away from the other settlements where Bulgarian was spoken. That’s why Bulgarians in Bulgaria became aware of the bulk of settlements in the 1860s, but Kızderbent was documented since the 1800s—and Shishmanov discusses Kızderbent in a separate chapter from the other […]

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