- This manual is intended not only for those who are more or less familiar with ancient Greek, but also for those who are entirely unacquainted with it, or with other inflectional languages. More attention has therefore been devoted to the explanation of grammatical terminology than would otherwise have been necessary. As regards pronunciation, only one, or at most two letters (γ, χ) need cause any difficulty, and we have the advantage over several other nations in possessing the exact equivalents of δ and θ.
- The difference between the written (Hellenike) and the spoken language (Romaike) is greater than in most languages. Any fairly good ancient Greek scholar can read a modern Greek newspaper with tolerable ease, but the same cannot be said of poetry and prose in the vernacular. Of recent years a violent controversy has been going on as to the respective claims of these two dialects to be considered the genuine modern language. The champions of the pure language (Katharevousa) would abolish all modern words and formations, and reintroduce the old classical vocabulary, grammar, and syntax; on the other hand, the champions of the spoken, popular language (Kathomiloumene) are equally desirous of abolishing everything that savours of antiquity and of employing only the vernacular, with its admixture of Turkish, Italian, and other foreign elements. At the present time, in the written language at least, the “high style” holds the field, although even here the popular dialect is making way, especially in poetry. But the vernacular, though never taught, is everywhere understood, not only in Greece proper, but in Constantinople, Smyrna, and other Turkish seaports, in Alexandria and Cairo, while throughout the Mediterranean it is the general medium of communication for business purposes. Hence, apart from its interest to the scholar, its usefulness is undeniable, and it is to be regretted that so little attention is paid to it in England.
- Considerations of space prevented the inclusion of the literary forms, or a comparison of them with the popular forms; for this the grammars of Mitsotakis and Petraris may be consulted, in the first of which each exercise is also given in both styles, so that the differences can be seen at a glance. In the present Manual, the Grammar, Exercises, and Reading Lessons are intended to illustrate the vernacular; the Vocabulary contains both literary and popular equivalents.
- The following list of books, to almost all of which the compiler desires to express his obligations, may be supplemented by the Bibliography in Thumb’s Handbook. …
- So, … for reasons of space … this does NOT treat of the “Katharevousa” form of modern Greek, other than vocabulary, but with the Demotic.
- This is just as well for, according to Wikipedia: Katharevousa, Katharevousa had gone out of use – apart for official ecclesiastical pronouncements – by the end of the 20th century, not that anyone writing in 1920 would have known this. However, Katharevousa has had an influence on the standardisation of Demotic.
Trubner's Laguage Manuals; Kegan Paul, Trench., Trubner & Co. Ltd., London. c. 1920
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