The Motley Word

By: | Post date: 2009-10-07 | Comments: 3 Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek
Tags: , ,

I continue the random miscellanea postings with a website I did not know about, and stumbled on because of a posting I will write next week. The Motley Word (Παρδαλή Λέξη) is a crowdsourced dictionary for Greek dialects, like Urban Dictionary and its Greek counterpart,

The Motley Word has all the poor quality you’d expect of a crowdsourced project without critical mass of participants; they don’t even provide for correction yet. So it’s not going to supplant the Academy’s dialect dictionary, the Historical Dictionary Of Modern Greek, any time soon. Sure.

But that’s harder to say when the Historical Dictionary hasn’t budged past delta in twenty years. (I see there’s at least funding to digitise their holdings.) And the glossaries of mainstream dialects, as opposed to the more distinct variants like Pontic or Tsakonian, have been pretty motley themselves.

More meta-importantly, the Motley Word shows that speakers of the dialects still care, and it’s still a resource. A resource I’m going to make use of soon—here’s a hint, but I haven’t started writing yet, so shhhhh…

So: excellent work! (And thank God noone’s done Tsakonian 🙂


  • John Cowan says:

    *grumble* *grumble*

    says he's no longer doing any linguistics

    says he's working out the diglossic situation in Cyprus next week

    once a fucking linguist, always a fucking linguist, says I

  • opoudjis says:

    Εν πολλά ωραίον, μάσιαλα! Αρέσει μου τζιαι που βάλατε τημ μεταγλώσσαν στα τζυπραίικα, τες περιγραφές τζιαι τα άλλα. Πάρα πολλές λέξεις έχιει το γλωσσάριν· εν 'που υπάρχον γλωσσάριν που τα φκάλατε;

    Right, now that I've just proved my father really has passed no Cypriot dialect down to me, I'll repeat in a language I actually know: It's great! I like how you've got the metalanguage in Cypriot too. That's a lot of words in there; have you used an existing glossary?

    Note also the linked resources under περίτου "About": glossaries, grammars (in Cypriot), and the Cypriot Academy initiative, which is behind the effort to differentiate Gibrizlija from Turkish that attracted so much ire on Wikipedia. (I'm not voting one way or another, I just note it because I happened across it last week.)

    In some ways, this decade sucks for doing Greek dialectology—most dialects dead, mainstream linguistics don't care, Western libraries no longer buy Greek books. Initiatives like this don't outweigh the suckitude of the era; but they still gladden me. You know, since I'm no longer doing any linguistics, I may force myself to do some meta-linguistics, like assemble links like these…

    Thanks again for the link; I note a blog post on it by one Ctrl-Alt-Delete, too.

    Oh, and when Tasos and I try and work out the diglossic situation in Cyprus next month? I look forward to you weighing in!

  • You may find interesting "", an online crowdsourced dictionary of the Cypriot Greek dialect.

Leave a Reply

  • Subscribe to Blog via Email

  • June 2024
    M T W T F S S
%d bloggers like this: