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Priscian

Laos
10 Posts

Posted - 16 Sep 2006 :  19:23:36  


I am well aware of what the term “Katharevousa” brings up for Modern Greek speakers, but let’s view it in another light. Katharevousa for the non-Greek world could function as a bridge between Classical and Modern Greek. Katharevousa in no way would impose on the language of Greece and Cyprus (Dimothiki), which is solely a Greek internal matter.

Katharevousa as a non-ethnic language could be pan-Hellenic and would join Modern Greek speakers with the larger community of users of Greek, e.g. classicists and students of New Testament Greek (Koine). It could show the world the unbroken tradition from Homer (or Mycenae) through advent of Attic Greek into exiting world of Koine into the richness of Byzantium up to the vitality of Modern Greek-speaking societies.

In the West we have benefited from several Hellenic infusions, which currently are compartmentalized, the Classical world, Christianity, and modern Greece. Katharevousa with a Greek pronunciation (not Erasmusian) would restore the bridges, which are currently are in disrepair by academic specialization, special interests, and cultural secularism.

Greece itself, while cultivating the literary achievements of Dimothiki, would benefit by a long overdue acknowledgment for being the source of ‘our’ culture not only relating democratic institutions and literature, but religion (Christianity). The greatest benefactor would still be the West, where we would see Greek (language) as an unbroken continuum.

Reviving Katharevousa as a medium is no small undertaking and it would be predicated on mutual understanding between Greeks and pro-Hellenists. Katharevousa would entice the non-Greek to study and cherish Greek culture (Dimothiki), while linking it to Koine, Attic Greek, etc.


 

George

Greece
615 Posts

Posted - 18 Sep 2006 :  08:58:34  

 

You have a point, but there is also a problem in my opinion. Greek is already complex with so many dialects, wouldn’t be excessive to add one more – which, if not anything else, won’t make one able to read neither old nor modern poets, while learning a main dialect one immediately can read the works of that dialect and have a natural first step wherefrom to expand his study to other natural dialects too?

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Priscian

Laos
10 Posts

Posted - 19 Sep 2006 :  07:49:14  

 

Dear George:

Your reply is very good! As a Greek speaker living in Greece, you are a better judge than I am.

I am cognizant that using Katharevousa would be something of an ideal and perhaps an esoteric one at that. The 'raison d'etre' for Katharevousa ceased in 1976, i.e. to purify Greek in alignment with Classical Greek, and its wrongful use vis-à-vis Dimothiki has long since passed.

The variety (dialect) designated under Katharevousa would simply bridge the West with the Greek world. It has the advantage of being an Atticized Dimothiki, which functions as a segue between Classical (and Koine) Greek and the real Greek-speaking world of Greece. Since Katharevousa employs the 'natural' pronunciation instead of the 'reconstructed', it would re-introduce Greek phonology to the West.

The richness of the Greek language lies in its totality, e.g. Homer through the philosophers weighed in the words of St. Paul, while inhaling Byzantine fecundity, interpreted by a modern of Athens or Nicosia. The whole of Greek is lost without the continuum and the need of a bridge (subset), which is wonderfully provided for by Katharevousa.

The designation of Katharevousa is loaded with negative images and perhaps should be relexified "Pan-Hellenic," the form which recognizes all stages of the Greek language and celebrates its dialects.

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George

Greece
615 Posts

Posted - 19 Sep 2006 :  12:26:24  

 

I wouldn't say that katharevousa "recognizes all stages of the Greek language". E.g. in katharevousa the genitive of (let's say) katharse can be only katharseos, while in demotike it is equally correct if the genitive is katharseos or katharses (nominative also can be katharsis or katharse, while in katharevousa is can't be but katharsis). Of course, as demotike I mean the language of modern Greek poets, from Solomos to Elytis, and not the ridiculous artificial suggestions by Psycharis, etc.

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Priscian

Laos
10 Posts

Posted - 22 Sep 2006 :  16:41:36  

 

Dear George:

Interesting post!

Yes, Katharevousa does contain the four cases (five with the vocative) of Attic Greek, but it does incorporate Dimothiki features in its verbal paradigm.

The problem with Katharevousa is its name and its association with unpopular political movements of the past. However, as a language it is not without its merits. Dimothiki is the de jure language of Greece and Cyprus and it should be celebrated. Still the possibility of Katharevousa is enormous as a 'bridge' builder.

All Greek expressions have legitimacy and these should be fostered. Katharevousa (along with the Greek dialects, e.g. Tsakonian) is disappearing as an expressive medium of Hellenic thought.

I am aware as a non-Greek, I have to be sensitive to how the speakers of the language see their situation in Greece and on Cyprus.

George, I am glad you responded to my postings. Thank you!

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