Saturday, 14 May 2011

₪ It´s just Greek to you?


   There are many beautiful and interesting destinations around the world. There are though some places that are indeed special, with another aura. Depending to what is each human´s special characteristic and idiomorhy, some cities are the place to be. Just imagine what Mecca is for a muslim, what it means for an architect to be in Berlin, or Zurich´s importance for a stock-broker. Try understand why Paris is every chef´s paradise, or why Brussels are for a politician the epitome of his career.
   Following this orthodoxy, I tried to find for whom Athens stands for. 
Is it a city for historians? 
Is it a city for archaeologists, or maybe the Alpha and the Omega on every democrat´s political route? 
I am sure that if we would squeeze the subject we could find many things, but for me it was quite simple: Athens is the city that in 3-4 hours driving I have access to the majority of the most important places in Greece. 
  Olympia, Epidaurus, Mantinia and of coarse Sparta lay on the Peloponnesian peninsula, while Thermopylae and Delphi await in Magnisia and Phocis respectively. From there, just a couple of hours
more to drive, and the Royal Palace where Alexander the Great was born, stands notoriously in Pella, the eternal capital of Macedonia.
   This year I am very excited, many things to show (..off) to my wife, and my hellenic blood, circulates prouder than ever before in my veins. Shortly after our arrival we found ourselves out of cigarettes and my wife enthusiastically tried to ask for them in greek from the kiosk. Instantly she realized that the need for intensive greek courses was urgent, and her afternoons were full with lots of reading. 
   -¨It´s difficult...¨ she told me, and I recalled quickly a fact in order to help her.
¨You know, if  you can speak english, then in theory you can understand better the hellenic language¨. And that is true. A man that I admire the most, A.Konstantinides completed a project on 1994 about the hellenic words in the english language. The results were thunderous: almost 30.000 pure hellenic words and another 110.000 hellenogenic ones were detected in the english language! Just imagine that if in this number we would include the words from sciences like mathematics, biology, physics, anthropology etc, the words that result from the grammar tenses that are not included, as well the loans and the anti-loans, then we are dealing with a tremendous 300.000 + number of hellenic terms in the english language!
  -¨Ok, and how am I supposed to detect them?¨ my wife most naturally wondered? and here is were I´m going to try unveiling some tricks, rules and applications of this anglo-graecan relationship.


   Before we start, I will mention the importance of the toning system and it´s diacritics, neumes, breathings and accents, and their influence in the english language. But first things first. The polytonic system and it´s influence on the hellenic language were unfortunately taken off  by a monstrous law that Konstantinos Karamanlis and his minister of education Yeorgios Rallis passed, in order to make the language more simple. That was the end of the hellenic language, simply because the hellenic language up to 1976 was the only language in the hole world that absolutely everything written, was pronounced and had it´s reason of existence. In contrast there are many words in the english language that the vowels are either ignored, either pronounced completely differently, out of any grammar logic and rules.
   But why is this happening in these english words? 
Simply because they came from the hellenic language, and the absence of diacritics and polytonism in the english one, forced the glossologists to change at least the written speech, by adding letters that on the Old Albion dialects sounded similar to the hellenic neumes, spirits and breathings, meaning the oral speech of the diacritics.
   For example, almost all the words that start with an ¨ H , h ¨ , ¨ S, s ¨ followed by a vowel, are for hellenic words that include the Dasia tone (Spiritus Asper) symbolized as  and it´s purpose in the hellenic language is to show that a very light inhale of H, or S is supposed to be pronounced.

e.g
Heracles - ρακλῆς (pron. Iraklís)
Hermes -   ρμῆς (pron. Ermís)
History - στορία (pron. Istoría)
Halicarnassus - λικαρνασσός (pron. Alikarnassós) 
Homer - μηρος (pron. Òmiros)
Hora - ρα (pron. órameaning time

While the same applies on words that start with a vowel, take the Dasia spirit and have the S, s application:

e.g 

Serpent - ρπετό (pron. Erpetó)
Semi - μί  (pron. Imí) term e.g: Semiautomatic - Ημιαυτόματο (pron. Imiaftómato)
Super - πέρ (pron. Ipér)
   
  Another important rule in the Anglo-Graecan relationship, is found to all words (mostly names) that finish in -es

e.g

Pericles - Περικλς (pron. Periklís )
Heracles - Ἡρακλς (pron. Iraklís )
Themistocles - Θεμιστοκλς (pron. Themistoklís )

  The reason here of this application is the Perispomeni (Περισπωμένη) tone over the letter Eeta (Η, η) which later preveiled in the massive majority of any Hellenic term that had the letter Η, η and could be found in the english language. Result to that is today all the hellenic words that are being written with Η, η to be written in english with E, e. 
As well it´s plural epithem ΟΙ, οι is written the same

e.g

hegemony - γεμονία (pron. Igemonía )
Herodotus - ρόδοτος (pron. Iródotos )
hero - ρως (pron. Íros )
hedonism - δονισμός (pron. Idonismós )
etc.

Relating to the rest of the vowels that sound as E, e (Ι, ι  Η, η  Υ, υ  Οι, οι  Ει, ει)  there is also an absolute harmony with the english language. For example the diphthong Οι , οι in the hellenic language is always OE , oe in the english one when the diphthong takes the dasia tone.

e.g

Philopoemen - Φιλοποίμην (pron. Filopímin )
Oedipus - Οιδίπους (pron. Idípus)
Oeagrus - Οίαγρος (pron. Ìagros)
Poem - Ποίημα (pron. Píima)

In the same family, belongs also the diphthong ΑΙ , αι that in the english language is written Ae , ae and is being pronounced E as in hell.

e.g

Aesthetic - αἰσθητικός (pron. esthitikós)
Aegis - αἰγίς (pron. egís)
Aether - αἰθήρ (pron. ethír)
Aegean - Aἰγαῖο (pron. Egéo)
Caesar - Καῖσαρ (pron. Késar)
Gaea - γαῖα (pron. Géa)

An extra rule that help detecting hellenic words in the english language is the about the epithem -US , -us. 
All terms that finish on -us, are the latin based loan for the hellenic saffix -ΟΣ , -ος (-OS , -os ).
The reason that this occurs is that in the hellenic language declensions are far more accurate and complicated, a thing that forced the latin world to use only the genitive case that for hellenic names finishes on ΟΥ , ου ( U , u ) plus the final Σ , ς  ( S , s ) that hellenic words when used in the nominative case.

e.g

Julius -  Ιούλιος (pron. Iúlios)
Gaius -  Γάϊος (pron. Gáios)
Bacchus -  Βάκχος (pron. Vákhos)


Following the same path, all latin based words that are actually of hellenic loan that finish on UM , um meet their true origin on the suffix ΟΝ , ον.

e.g

centrum -  κέντρον (pron. kéntron)
cranium -   κρανίον (pron. kraníon)
aluminium -  αλουμίνιον (pron. alumínion)
Tarentum -   Τάραντον (pron. Táranton)


In the most cases, there are also simple simulfixions for some certain letters. Quickly pass through my mind the relationship of:

Β , β (pron. V , v )  to B , b 
Κ , κ to C , c 
Φ , φ (pron. F , f ) to PH , ph.



e.g

Bacteria -  Βακτήρια (pron. Vaktíria)
Cephalic - Κεφαλίς (pron. Kefalís) note that in some exceptions, the letter C , c stands for the final S , s of some hellenic words, so it´s being pronounced as ¨S¨
Philippus - Φίλιππος  (pron. Fílippos) modern english: Phillip


These are more or less, the most important and easy tricks to detect words of hellenic root in the english language. 
I am really sorry for the size of the text tonight, but I had to include at least the basics. I wish everybody a nice summer,

Ilias