Category: Language

Maronites

By: | Post date: July 7, 2023 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Culture, Greece, Language

If you do an extreme zoom, you will notice a sign with a cedar tree. That is as much as I could get while zooming past of the Maronite precinct of Nicosia. The Maronites are Arabic speaking Catholics who mostly live in Lebanon, but a group of them have been living in Cyprus for centuries, […]

The Louis Night Show

By: | Post date: July 3, 2023 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Greece, Language

I have not explored Nicosia yet, but I’ve already got a preview of the broader play of diglossia in this Country through the local James Corden knockoff, Louis Patsalidis. I am told Patsalidis is from my ancestral village of Kalopanayiotis. I don’t know that is something for Kalopanayiotis to take pride in, he’s just about […]

Cyprus 2023, initial linguistic observations

By: | Post date: July 3, 2023 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Greece, Language

Dialects in Greece are dead, unless you know where to go looking, and even when you do, you’re not going to find much any more. And the centralising Greek state is spreading Standard Greek further; Mariupol is now Standard Greek-speaking as well. Cyprus is not Greece, and that has not happened here. What has happened […]

The Historical Dictionary

By: | Post date: July 1, 2023 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Culture, Greece, Language

My business in Athens, aside from continuing to work for my employer and visiting my kin, was to visit the Research Centre for Modern Greek Dialects in the Academy of Athens, publishers of the Historical Dictionary of Modern Greek. My friend Io Manolessou is now director of the centre, and my friend Dion Mertyris has […]

Dialect death and Sior Nionio

By: | Post date: June 11, 2023 | Comments: 1 Comment
Posted in categories: Culture, Greece, Language

I’m going to conclude with something silly. Except it isn’t. Like many Greeks of my age, I was brought up with the televised shadow puppetry of Karagiozis, as performed (for colour TV!) by Evgenios Spatharis; in fact, one of the few Greek recordings of anything my parents had in Tasmania was a recording of Karagiozis. […]

Kalvos, Foscolo, and not letting exiles be exiles

By: | Post date: June 11, 2023 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Culture, Greece, Language

I don’t like the poetry of Andreas Kalvos. I don’t like it, because I find his archaic Greek stanzas stiff, and lifeless, and bombastic. Especially compared to the vigour and passion of his contemporary, Dionysis Solomos. I may well continue to hold that judgement, but there is yet another bias behind it; the legacy of […]

On the accent of Corfu

By: | Post date: June 10, 2023 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Greece, Language

As I’ve already noted several times in my trip, there is very little left of traditional dialect in Greece if you don’t go hunting for it, and Corfu Town at the start of tourist season is not the place to go looking for it. All that really remains anywhere is regional variation in intonation. Crete […]

Kasos, 2023

By: | Post date: May 14, 2023 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Culture, Greece, Language

Kasos is a sleepy, small place, with fishermen, old timers drinking beer, women running general stores, a couple of elderly Dutch tourists, and a few soldiers. Linguistically very heterogeneous: I did hear one local with a strong accent, as I walked past, drop a delta (ξα(δ)έρφια)—a local feature which make the local name of dolmadhes […]

Karpathos, 2023

By: | Post date: May 14, 2023 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Culture, Greece, Language

I decided to visit Karpathos on my first holiday trip, for fairly trivial reasons. Karpathos is renowned in Greek linguistics for its archaism and its diversity of dialects. I had written a paper on the dialects of the Dodecanese, in which Karpathos had played a starring role (Nicholas, N. 2004a. Η γεωγραφική ιστορία του «ίντα […]

Why do the British and the Canadians spell check “cheque”? (Post deleted on Quora)

By: | Post date: June 15, 2022 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Language

It is delicious when hundreds (literally) of Poms puffs their chests out in pride to assert that cheque was the original spelling, and dastardly Noah Webster simplified English spelling because Americans are stupid, and pip pip, we speak English and its our language, and the Yanks perverted it, and they can’t tell check and cheque apart… … only for historical fact […]

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