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Ancient vs. modern Greek

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Ancient vs. modern Greek

Postby MatthaeusLatinus » Sat Aug 27, 2011 3:01 am

Hi. Does anyone if there is any major difference between, say, Attic Greek (or any other ancient dialect) and the language spoken today, and also the writing system? I find it interesting that, although indubitably undergoing a plethora of changes over the millenia, Greek is still alive today, while Latin isn't. Of course, the topic is an interesting one, but still ... Greek prevailed.
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Re: Ancient vs. modern Greek

Postby spiphany » Sat Aug 27, 2011 3:56 am

Modern Greek is about as different from Attic Greek as Italian is from Latin -- in other words, quite a bit. In both cases there is significant continuity, we just happen to use a different name when talking about the latter (there are reasons for this -- one of them being that Latin transformed into several distinct languages, whereas Greek did not).

The Greek alphabet has basically remained the same, although there have been some changes in orthographic conventions and substantial changes in the pronunciation represented by the letters.
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Re: Ancient vs. modern Greek

Postby Nooj » Sun Aug 28, 2011 7:54 am

MatthaeusLatinus wrote:Hi. Does anyone if there is any major difference between, say, Attic Greek (or any other ancient dialect) and the language spoken today, and also the writing system? I find it interesting that, although indubitably undergoing a plethora of changes over the millenia, Greek is still alive today, while Latin isn't. Of course, the topic is an interesting one, but still ... Greek prevailed.

Yeah, there are substantial differences. But it's been over 2000 years, so no wonder. Something you might be interested in reading about is the diglossic situation that prevailed in Greek until recently. The prestige status of Attic Greek has been the curse of the Greek language, instead of dying a simple death, it's undead claws have worked their way into the natural course of Greek.
Dolor poetas creat.
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Re: Ancient vs. modern Greek

Postby Philby » Sun Aug 28, 2011 11:17 am

I actually asked a friend of mine today - a native speaker of Modern Greek and a student of Ancient Greek - the same question. His reply:

I actually don't think that a decent understanding of Modern Greek is possible without Ancient Greek. MG isn't a stand-alone language, it rests too heavily on AG for it to be learned well separately. There are tons of examples I can give you. I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think the same applies for Romance Languages and Latin.

Major changes are the genitive's absorption of the dative, the loss of the infinitive and the change of the nominative of most 3rd declension masc. and fem. nouns (they are still declined differently from first and second declension nouns though - neuter 3rd declension nouns remain unchanged for some reason).
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Re: Ancient vs. modern Greek

Postby Scribo » Sun Aug 28, 2011 12:39 pm

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Greek-History-L ... 160&sr=8-1

EDIT: I also know several native Greek Philologists who would never spout the moronic crap your friend said. I think that, like many, he has a pretty poor grasp of Ancient Greek and probably, from what I've seen of the school system here in Athens, of Modern as well...
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