Wednesday, 31 August 2011

₪ Humour

      I was always politically active, since I can remember myself touching for first time Plato and his endless ideas about the ideal state. Looking back in the middle 90´s, Greece was still under the communistic ¨enlightenment¨, a leftover of the latest civil war, the first chapter of the Cold one.
The results are of-coarse known, but the victor in the hearts and minds of most Greeks, were Marx´s and Lenin´s children. All that in theory of-coarse, because in reality, Greeks are crying of their communistic ideals by electing governments that make Saddam Hussein´s reign look even more socialistic than Mother Teresa herself. No matter how much I was involved in politics though, it wasn't until I got to met Sir Winston Churchill that I really loved it, and reason to that was no other, than the sparkling mixture of politics and old good British humour.
    Sir Winston is perhaps the zenith and epitome of British humour as we know it, with explosive and poisonous quotations, sarcastic and cynical lines that could make every human with intelligence, laugh. He has said countless quotes, but the most memorable to me, were his notorious moments with Lady Astor. I still can remember a biographical film about him where he was having breakfast with his wife, while he was trying to set in a descriptive manner that their economic situation was bad, and measures had to be taken in order to prevail unpleasant circumstances.
The dialogue that followed changed forever my way of seeing politics.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

₪ Kråke

  One of the things I like the most in Norway is recycling. The Norwegians are recycling almost everything ´ when they can, and the very best part of it, is that they do it selflessly and without laying any eye on economical rewards. Luckily enough, we have great recycling facilities on our housing complex, and we always try to do our best helping the situation. Some days ago, I noticed some scratches on one of the rubbish bags, and curiously enough, I asked my wife if she knew of any cats existence on the area. The answer was unexpected:  ¨Kråker!¨ Kråker is norwegian for crows and the very best part of it, was that I understood what my wife was talking about.  You see, ¨kråke¨ sounds very much to the greek word for it ¨koraki¨ and I immediately started searching for the words´ etymological root.
  Indeed, the norse word ¨kråke¨ meets its´ origin  to the hellenic word ¨koraki¨ (Κοράκι), but lets see first how the word ended up to this form. The ancient greek term for crow, is kòrax (Κόραξ) and it is the first part of the word Kor- (Indo-European) that actually is the main skeleton to all after-versions of the term, with clearly proven the fact, that it´s a word of audial imitating creation, due to the sound that a crow does.
   The term Kórax was widely used in the hellenic area, but there were some places, where the word that was used for the same animal, was Kórvos (Κόρβος), including the polis (city-state) of Kýmē (pron. Kími). As we all know, the Latin alphabet was based on the Ionian-Aeolean dialect that was used in Euboea (pron. Évia). Important here is to notice that the equivalent of all hellenic words that finish on -ΟΣ (-os), is  -US in latin (de facto), due to the usage of genitive case (genitivus casus) of the hellenic words by the Latinos.  e.g     el. Σπάρτακος (Spártakos)    ->    ltn. Spartacus

   So, indeed the latin version of Κόρβος (Kórvos) was Corvus, but still, even with the expansion of the Roman Republic to the West, and later of the Roman Empire to the North, the word was not used as such yet, but the root of what we know today as ¨Raven¨.
Raven comes from the Old English (Mercian) Hræfn, and Hræfn with its´ own turn derives from the Northumbrian (western Saxon) Hrefn, a word of protogermanic origin as Khrabanas. It was not until the upcoming of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire) era, (De Facto language was the hellenic one) when the ancient greek Korax was used as Koraki and through the North Frisian Gräkriak (Grä Kriak - Grey Crow), we have today the Norwegian Kråken.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

₪ Unreasonable?

   Since my child came to life, I considered it a necessity for him to get to learn basic ancient hellenic. Not because of my greek origin, but because I really believe that knowing ancient hellenic is a cultural and educational must ´ especially when you have someone to be taught from.
                  So, I start taking out my old books (educational and non), collect papers, searched in the internet and generally started getting ready, as in a four years time ´ I am planning on starting him on basic ancient Koine (common) Hellenic. Somewhere lost between nouns and prepositions, a short tutorial about the multi-tonic system came up with some pretty good examples in english, and my new theme on Hellenic Words was more than obvious. There´s exactly where I am gonna stand today.
Basically, this time I am not going to analyze a single word, as I usually do, but the whole logic of how the hellenic language not only influences the expressions and quotations on the english one, but her whole grammar structure.
  Firstly, before getting into the level of difficulty of the hellenic language, we have to inquire the difficulty of the english one. English is perhaps the most difficult western european language in comparison to the other ones, simply because its´ unreasonability. That´s right, unreasonability
The reason for that is simply because almost 60% of the english written speech is being pronounced completely differently than what´s on the paper.
   The most natural upcoming question is why the english language has such absence of syntax grammar rules? Well, the answer to that is simply that there isn´t any absence of it at all.
The english language is a relatively newly constructed result of a Indo-European skeleton where greek, latin, norse, germanic, celtic and gallic languages among others have mixed into what we know today as english. Where the british people did well, was at the part that they didn't changed any of the catchy grammar rules of the basic languages that their´s, is made from, while they failed in a grand scale to... explain those reasons. The first part of this journey discovering hellenic aroma into the english lingua, is the letters on it. In english we see many letters and/or diphthongs that result to the same sound or no clear rule when to use which.
Example purely greek words in the english lang.  on diphthongs: 

Ch, ch - H, h       e.g  Chamaeleon  (chameleon) &  Helicopter 
Ph, ph - F, f         e.g  Philipp  &  Frantic 
Th, th - T, t         e.g   Theory & Teresa
Rh, rh - R, r        e.g   Rhythm & Roof