Greek A History Of The Language And Its Speakers Pdf

greek a history of the language and its speakers pdf

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History of Greek

This is the first attempt to profile the heritage speakers of an endangered spoken-only variety of Vlach Aromanian in Greece. Neither the variety nor its speakers has been investigated before; hence, the study also aims at evaluating the exact state of endangerment of the Sirrako variety, as this is revealed by the language practices and skills of its bilingual speakers.

To this aim, a background questionnaire was developed and administered to 60 bilingual speakers of Vlach Aromanian and Greek including questions on the age of onset of exposure to both languages, early home language practices, current language practices orality and literacy and attitudes toward the heritage and majority language.

Significant variation in language practices, literacy skills, oral input and current competence across three generations of speakers was identified with a substantial decline in heritage language competence in younger bilinguals, verifying our claim of the endangered state of Vlach Aromanian.

This study constitutes the first attempt to provide the linguistic profile of speakers of a heritage and endangered language, namely, a spoken-only variety of Vlach Aromanian VA in the community of Sirrako in Epirus, Northern Greece henceforth VA of Sirrako, i.

The study also aims at evaluating the exact state of endangerment of the VAS language, as this is revealed by the language practices and skills of its bilingual speakers.

To this end, we recruited informants across three generations who are bilingual speakers of VAS and Standard Modern Greek which is the majority language. VA is spoken in various parts of Northern Greece; while linguistic fieldwork has been conducted for other varieties of VA see for example Katsanis and Dinas , Beis , Dinas , Campos , Mavrogiorgos , Mavrogiorgos and Ledgeway , little is known about the variety of VAS.

Varieties of VA are characterized by high degree of microparametric variation Mavrogiorgos , making their study interesting for reasons to do with typological language investigation. In the light of those previous studies, VAS appears to be characterized by different grammatical features with respect to phonology, morphosyntax and lexicon that render the communication between its speakers and speakers of other varieties of VA difficult, even impossible in some cases Katsanis and Dinas While examples 1a and 1b illustrate differences at the level of vocabulary and phonology, respectively, example 2 illustrates a difference at the level of morphology; while VAS exhibits proclitic and enclitic use of definiteness in the genitive, in other varieties of VA, the definite article only procliticises on the noun see also Katsanis and Dinas In example 3 , a case of syntactic divergence is illustrated; while VAS has a very productive gerund, other VA varieties do not and the relevant information is conveyed via Prepositional Phrases.

Besides the fact that this specific variety has not been documented before constituting thus an unchartered variety of VA in Greece, linguistic investigation on VA varieties in Greece has largely focused on the documentation of the language system alone for example, for VA dialects in Macedonia region see Dinas , Bara et al.

Thus, the term refers not only to social factors relating to bilingualism but, crucially, to psycholinguistic ones as well. The study is organized as follows: Section 2 presents information on the use of VAS in the community of Sirrako in the past and currently; while Section 3 presents the methodological design of the present study.

This study aims at exploring the linguistic profile of the bilingual speakers of a heritage spoken-only language which has never investigated before, adding thus to the linguistic research on the documentation and support of endangered languages. The study also aims at evaluating the exact state of endangerment of the VAS language, as this is revealed by the practices and skills of its bilingual speakers. Our aims were achieved by opening new directions of investigation such as building a corpus of the specific variety that will provide detailed documentation of the cross-linguistic interplay between the majority and minority languages of the heritage speakers.

Records of the establishment of a Vlach-speaking community in the area of Sirrako date back to the twelfth century AD Dalaoutis The village is situated on Mount. Access to it had been particularly difficult up to , when the construction of a road connecting it with cities nearby was completed. The nomadic life of the population also resulted in VAS speakers coming in contact with Greek. However, the population was exclusively using the VAS language within the community for all daily activities.

Today, the village is mainly seasonally inhabited, since most community members spend only the summer season in Sirrako see Dalaoutis , Bakalis et al. Due to these new circumstances, the use of the language has been restricted; specifically, only a limited number of individuals can speak VAS.

Around 2, people in the community aged 60 years and over are the last generation that have been raised with VAS as their L1 and have retained to present day both good productive and receptive skills. Most of the younger speakers have only a passive knowledge of the language, that is only receptive skills, if any Dalaoutis , p. VA has been reported as an endangered language by a number of researchers throughout the years e.

In the case of the UNESCO Atlas , the state of endangerment varies from definitely endangered to severely endangered depending on the variety. Given that the village of Sirrako where VAS is spoken is only seasonally inhabited and that the language practices of heritage speakers have dramatically changed, as will also be discussed in the sections presenting the relevant data, we claim that the VAS language is critically endangered perhaps more threatened by other VA dialects which are spoken in larger and more densely populated communities i.

Worldwide, policies adopted for the maintenance and revitalization of endangered languages involve a variety of different goals, namely, increasing the number of speakers and increasing their proficiency or the domains of language use. As regards maintenance and revitalization of spoken-only languages, some of the practices adopted include documentation and linguistic archives, increase in the prestige of the language, educating and informing the general public and speakers themselves about the importance of language maintenance Reyhner and Tennant , Haokip , Fakhrurrazi Recently, Jones and Mooney focused on the possibility of revitalizing endangered spoken-only languages through the development of writing systems i.

However, only few of the European and global praises for spoken-only endangered languages is adopted for the support of the VAS language. Crucially, VAS is not a dialect or variety of Greek and therefore its maintenance is not supported through state policies. The only support that the VAS language receives nowadays is indirect, by the local community itself, mainly, by means of cultural festivals.

Although language is not targeted in such gatherings, one has more chances of hearing older speakers use the variety. Recently, members of the community have organized teaching of the variety to young children in afternoon classes. Those classes take place outside the community, in nearby cities where members of the community have moved.

In these classes, the lesson is restricted to oral exposure to the language Dalaoutis, pc. Thus, the nonexistent state policies in support of VAS along with the nonconsistently adopted attempts to support the maintenance of the VAS add to the endangerment state of the variety.

A background questionnaire that targeted language input and output measures in both languages i. The measures included in the questionnaire were based on key literature on the development of bilingual language abilities focusing both on language in childhood and later in life Gathercole a , b , c , De Houwer , Gathercole and Thomas , Paradis et al. In what follows, the application of these key measures in the current questionnaire is discussed.

Areas that concern ethnographic and educational background are detailed in Section 3. The first critical factor is the AoO of exposure to the languages; the age at which an individual comes in contact with the two or more language systems has been shown to decisively affect language development Paradis and Genesee , Granfeldt et al. Meisel studied the acquisition of gender by bilingual children, a language property that had received much attention in bilingual psycholinguistic investigation and reported that sequential bilingual children with AoO of exposure to French at 3;7 performed significantly worse in determiner gender marking tasks than simultaneous bilingual children, that is, children who were exposed to the language from birth up to the age of 3.

This critical finding highlights that for grammar the age of 3 is a turning point in language development and, thus, needs to be included in the classification criteria for language exposure measurements when profiling bilingualism. Although there is no consensus as regards the exact AoO of exposure to the languages of a bilingual which can be used as a baseline for different types of bilingualism, since factors like the grammatical phenomenon a investigated, the languages involved and the amount of exposure for an overview, see Tsimpli can affect results, the age range of 3—4 is defined as critical by a number of other researchers working on bilingualism see, for example, Montrul , Paradis , Unsworth b , Blom and Bosma , Schulz and Grimm Consequently, our informants were grouped as follows: speakers exposed systematically to both languages from birth were identified as simultaneous bilinguals; while participants who were exposed to the second language after the age of 3 were identified as sequential bilinguals with L1, the language they were exposed to up to the age of 3, and L2, the language they were exposed to in the pre-school age but after the critical age of 3.

With regard to language input, the literature has shown that measures of input quantity have been employed to explain variation in several grammatical phenomena Gathercole a , b , c , Montrul and Potowski , Unsworth et al. Recent research has also interestingly pointed out the positive effect of the quality of input in bilingual development as this was measured in terms of biliteracy exposure Oller and Eilers , Gathercole and Thomas , Crago and Genesee , Prentza et al.

Given that VA does not have a written from, literacy measures in our study considered literacy practices and schooling in Greek as well as any other languages that our participants used regularly. Findings on the role of home language practices are contradictory; some studies report positive effects of the extensive use of the minority language at home De Houwer , La Morgia , others report no effects Goldberg et al.

Additionally, the overall amount of input has shown to be critical across the lifespan Gathercole et al. Finally, our questionnaire included questions on the self-reported competence of speakers in VAS as well as attitudinal questions on the importance of VAS to speakers, therefore, comprising not only quantitative but qualitative indices too.

Self-reported competence in the minority language has been used as a measure to profile heritage speakers Kondo-Brown , Marian et al. Self-assessed language competence in the heritage language has been shown to correlate with home language practices and to predict differences among bilingual groups as well as linguistic development over time see Kondo-Brown and Jia on heritage speakers of Japanese and Chinese, respectively. Considering this body of research, the questionnaire developed for our study consisted of four sections summarized in Table 1 : a General Ethnographic Information and Educational Background, b Early Home Language Practices, c Current Language Practices and d Attitudes toward the Endangered and Majority Languages.

The relevant information was combined with information from the second section of the questionnaire on Early Home Language Practices to determine the type of bilingualism for participants with regard to AoO of exposure to both languages see Montrul , Paradis , Meisel , Unsworth a, Blom and Bosma , Schulz and Grimm as well as Paradis and Genesse , Marian et al.

In relation to educational background, participants were asked whether they received schooling, where they attended school and up to which level. The place of schooling i. Regarding the coding of this information in the case of primary and secondary education, years of education was documented while tertiary education was coded separately along with information on the domain of study.

The rationale behind these questions, besides the effect of literacy in language development, is that there is great variability in the educational profile of our participants, with the older ones, especially women, being deprived from education primarily due to social reasons i. Moreover, the section included questions on whether VAS was the home language later in life, i. These questions provided information as to the amount of input our participants received early in life and prior to the time of current testing.

The above questions were mainly binary response questions i. Additionally, questions on AoO of exposure to the two languages required participants to state the age at which they came into contact with both languages and the means of exposure. These measures along with information from first section of the questionnaire allowed us to group our speakers as simultaneous and sequential bilinguals according to the criteria set by Meisel see also Montrul , Paradis , Unsworth b, Blom and Bosma , Schulz and Grimm The remaining questionnaire items were related to the frequency of language use measures at the educational setting during childhood; the participants were asked which languages they used in class and during recess and they were given three response options: Greek, VAS or both languages; this constitutes a measure of heritage language input and output in the early years.

Additionally, we added questions on which language they preferred to use when talking to themselves, when cursing, singing or telling stories. All the above were frequency measures i. As for literacy exposure to Greek and other languages they speak e. Finally, participants were questioned on the current self-assessment of VAS with the options being the following: a good comprehension but no production skills, b good comprehension and some difficulties in production and c good comprehension and no difficulties in production see Kondo-Brown , Marian et al.

For these questionnaire items, there was no forced scale for responses and free expression of opinion was given to our bilingual participants. Open-ended questions, albeit not quantifiable, allow participants to freely express their opinions without limiting them to prefabricated scales and answers. Given the above, it was crucial for our study to include these questionnaire items for the complete profiling of VAS—Greek speakers.

The questionnaire was administered to 60 bilingual speakers of VAS and Greek in the form of a structured interview by one of the authors who is an active member of the language community and heritage speaker herself. Although the number of the participants is such that it allows us to perform quantitative analyses which are described in what follows see Lester et al.

The participants were individually interviewed at their homes. For the quantitative analysis of our data, we performed an analysis of variance followed up by t -test comparisons, if necessary, for all between-group pair comparisons. Additionally, chi-square tests were used to assess the significance of frequency measures.

All significant and relevant outcomes appear in parentheses. This classification of bilinguals reflects the changes in the role and use of VAS by the members of the community across three generations with the younger group being exposed to VAS later in life, due to different parental language practices and family environment, which has led to limited heritage language competence, as will be shown in the results that follow.

Table 2 presents the ethnographic and educational background of the participants in the study. The analysis shows great variability across the three groups, with educational background being a key differentiating feature in the profile of bilinguals.

The language practices during the early years of life at home and at the school setting appear to be also distinct across the three bilingual types. With regard to the language practices during childhood at school, it is important to note that all school contexts are monolingual Greek, but some interesting variability is attested with regard to language preferences during recess when interacting with other peers, either monolingual or bilingual.

Additionally, The analysis suggests that the frequency of VAS use by the two older generations of speakers is increased while there is no use of the heritage language by the younger generation within the school context, intensifying the endangered state of VAS among younger sequential bilinguals who acquired VAS as an L2.

We examined the current language practices of bilinguals through the analysis of the current language input and production. Next, we turn to the analysis of the current language input and expression per language. Table 3 shows the relevant measurements for the three generations of heritage speakers of VAS. Additionally, we examined how bilinguals self-assess their language skills in their heritage language; particularly, they were asked to describe their skills selecting one of the three options presented in Table 4 :.

This evidence suggests that despite the reduced input in VAS and the limitations in the oral production of the younger generation of heritage speakers, comprehension skills in VAS remain relatively intact. In the case of the L1VAS-L2GR group, their linguistic profiling in terms of AoO of exposure to VAS aligns with the identification of VAS as their L1; while for the simultaneous bilinguals, despite the L1 status of both languages, VAS is reported as the mother tongue, further accentuating the importance of the heritage language to the speakers themselves in relation to Greek, i.

A follow-up question on the importance of VAS to the bilingual participants as well as to their younger family members [i. It is the element which makes us who we are. This makes me so sad.

How has Greek influenced the English language?

Flat Style by Ian Bradley. Privacy Terms. Quick links. Whatever your level, use this forum to discuss all things Koine, Biblical or otherwise, including grammar, textbook talk, difficult passages, and more. I'm not sure what the nature of the Greek was in this period, I know that authors would try to emulate good classical Greek style but I figure there must've been those influenced by vernaculars. What is there in the way of textbooks and readers one could look at?

Greek: a history of the language and its speakers / Geoffrey Horrocks. – 2nd ed. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN

Greek: A History of the Language and its Speakers

Ancient Greek in classical antiquity , before the development of the common Koine Greek of the Hellenistic period , was divided into several varieties. Most of these varieties are known only from inscriptions, but a few of them, principally Aeolic , Doric , and Ionic , are also represented in the literary canon alongside the dominant Attic form of literary Greek. Likewise, Modern Greek is divided into several dialects, most derived from Koine Greek. Ancient Greek literature is written in literary dialects that developed from particular regional or archaic dialects. Ancient Greek authors did not necessarily write in their native dialect, but rather chose a dialect that was suitable or traditional for the type of literature they were writing see belles-lettres.

It is often roughly divided into the following periods: Mycenaean Greek c. Ancient Greek was the language of Homer and of fifth-century Athenian historians, playwrights, and philosophers. It has contributed many words to English vocabulary and has been a standard subject of study in educational institutions of the Western world since the Renaissance. This article primarily contains information about the Epic and Classical periods of the language. From the Hellenistic period c.

There are several theories about the origins of the Greek language. One theory suggests that it originated with a migration of proto-Greek speakers into the Greek peninsula , which is dated to any period between BC and BC. Another theory maintains that the migration into Greece occurred at a pre-proto-Greek late PIE stage, and the characteristic Greek sound-changes occurred later.

Bryn Mawr Classical Review

NOTE: Report may require additional fonts on your system to be viewed correctly. Greek is one of the oldest written languages on the earth, one of the first Indo-European languages ever written, and the language with the longest history of alphabetic graphology on the planet. In the still-today heavily oral culture, there has been, except for one gap early on, some literacy for at least three and a half millennia more than twice as long as our language has existed , wide-spread for about two and a half. And so, the Greeks have always had great access to the minds of their ancestors, and always been aware of the special beauty and power of their own tongue. Indeed, the word barbarian means, basically, one who does not speak Greek, and Greek men and women still debate with one another, what it is that makes the Greeks such a great and peculiar people.

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Greek language , Indo-European language spoken primarily in Greece. It has a long and well-documented history—the longest of any Indo-European language —spanning 34 centuries. There is an Ancient phase, subdivided into a Mycenaean period texts in syllabic script attested from the 14th to the 13th century bce and Archaic and Classical periods beginning with the adoption of the alphabet, from the 8th to the 4th century bce ; a Hellenistic and Roman phase 4th century bce to 4th century ce ; a Byzantine phase 5th to 15th century ce ; and a Modern phase. Separate transliteration tables for Classical and Modern Greek accompany this article. The pronunciation of Ancient Greek vowels is indicated by the transliteration used by the Romans. While it is possible that speakers of Hellenic or pre-Hellenic arrived earlier, there is no linguistic evidence of Hellenic prior to the first half of the 2nd millennium bce on what is now the Greek peninsula, where the language brought by the relevant people s developed into Greek.

Oldest language of the world

Since then, copies have reached exorbitant prices on the second-hand book market. In fact, although the structure and the main content of the text has not changed, the second edition offers noteworthy additions and improvements. Readers without previous knowledge of the text should be aware that Greek is not a handbook. His well-documented survey of more than three thousand years of language history is inspired by a desire to explain the development of the Greek language in its entirety, and to explore the logic of its conservative features.

Modern Greek Language Flashcards. The Modern Greek Teaching Centre is the largest of its kind in the world. The Brainscape system is ideal for language students enabling you to drill down and tackle. With your Modern Greek knowledge, you should be able to read and understand Koine Greek the language that the New Testament was written in with ease.

But do you know which is the oldest language in the world? Armenian Language The Armenian language is also part of the Indo-European linguistic group, which is spoken by the Armenians. Bibles written in the fifth century exist as its earliest appearance. The Armenian language originated in BC.

Its speakers are referred to as Pontic Greeks or Pontian Greeks. Pontic Greek is an endangered Indo-European language spoken by about , people worldwide. The language was brought to Greece in the s after the population exchange between the Christian Pontic Greeks and the Turkish Muslims from their homelands during the population exchange between Greece and Turkey.