[B-Greek] Greek and Latin

frjsilver at optonline.net frjsilver at optonline.net
Mon Nov 6 21:39:36 EST 2006


Dear Friends --

For myself, with an education in classical (and other) languages, it's apparent that Latin and Greek are not at all in the same categories as far as evolution of language is concerned.

While Latin was the common language in large areas of western Europe and -- under the influence of local linguistic trends -- evolved into Modern Italian, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Romansch, even Ladino, etc., etc., the same cannot be said for Greek.

Under the pressure of increasing incursions of Islam, Greek was spoken in smaller and more isolated communities in northern Africa, Syria and the Middle East altogether from the sixth century on.  This process continued for a thousand years, until the Balkans were overtaken by the Turks, and until when, half a millenium later in the twentieth century, Christians were expelled from Anatolia by the Muslims or slaughtered -- the first modern example of 'ethnic cleansing'.

Linguists have long observed that small pockets of language tend more to preserve ancient usage than to adopt modern forms.

As a result, 'romance' or Latin-derived languages developed in far more free and flexible ways than did Greek, because Greek-speaking populations were more inhibited by religious and political persecution.

The net effect, I suppose, is that it's far more likely that we hear sixth-century Greek even now, while Modern Italian would sound familiar -- if deformed -- to Cicero and Caesar.

And sixth-century Greek is a whole lot more like first-century Greek than Modern Italian is like first-century Latin.  You can go to the bank with that!

I hope this helps a little.

Peace and blessings to all.

Father James Silver

Monk James
Orthodox Church in America





----- Original Message -----
From: "A. J. Birch" 
Date: Saturday, November 4, 2006 8:01 am
Subject: [B-Greek] Greek and Latin
To: B-Greek 

> Dear 'B-Greekers',
> 
> On the (regular) subject of the pronunciation of New Testament 
> Greek (etc.), 
> I would be interested to hear (from Classicists, etc., 'out 
> there') about 
> the relationship between Greek and Latin. I realize that the 
> evolution of 
> every language is unique, but, given the traditionally close 
> relationship 
> between Greek and Latin, I would like to know what people think 
> about the 
> similarities and / or differences between the way Greek and 
> Latin have 
> evolved over, say, the past 2,000 years. For example, can the 
> same be said 
> about the relationship between Latin and modern Italian as is 
> being said (by 
> quite a few people) about the relationship between ancient Greek 
> and modern 
> Greek? Should modern Italian be used as a guide to the way in 
> which Latin 
> texts should be pronounced? I think this is enough to get across 
> the gist of 
> what I'm asking about.
> 
> Andrew J. Birch
> Palma de Mallorca, Spain 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> ______________________________________________ 
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