The adventures of words
Have you ever considered the journeys and journeys that words make over the centuries? They travel from one culture to another, from one country to another, from one people to another. Merchants, intellectuals, books, media, etc. are the vehicles that convey the words. Along the way, the meaning of the words often changes, is enriched, interpreted in a different way or misinterpreted, adapted to new situations, serves new needs. The routes are two-way, never in one direction.
For example: We often hear that the Greek language has borrowed thousands of words in other languages, mainly through Latin. Let’s watch a video from Spain, where teachers and students of ancient Greek express their gratitude for the words, letters and arts inherited from ancient Greek culture, not only in Spain but throughout Europe.
Thank you Greece!
On the other hand, there are thousands of words in the Greek vocabulary that we have borrowed, both from the languages of the peoples with whom we live or have come in contact in the past (Turks, Slavs, Albanians, Arabs), and from English, the international language of the times. us.
Exercises: words from foreign languages in Greek
img1A third case of λέ well-traveled words are counter-loans, ie words that were born in a language and return to it as a loan. But let us read the article by G. Babiniotis from the newspaper “To Vima”, which explains the term with interesting examples.
Vocabulary “Nosti” PUBLISHED: 13/09/2009 06:49
By G. Babiniotis
“Nostos”, the return to the homeland (from the verb neomai “I return”), not only characterized “the sweet anticipation of returning home” that ended in delicious, but also gave “the mental pain that this anticipation gives birth to”, nostalgia. In fact, it was the French who resorted to Greek lexical sources, being the first to create the pain of hunger, nostalgia. Thus, in another way, the word returned to its “lexical homeland”.
The return of a word as a loan in the language from which it originated is characterized as a counter-loan, as a loan repayment, as a return of a word in the language in which it was born. One of the most revealing processes of the operation of language in the meeting place of peoples and cultures is counter-loans. They are testimonies of adventure in the life of words and together examples of how these pre-eminently spiritual creations, which are the words, evolve conceptually passing from language to language, from people to people, to often return to their place of origin thus performing the “lexical νόστο »τους.
Who waited e.g. that the most meticulous meaning of the ancient Greek word grammar would return after centuries to the modern Greek language as glamor! With the usual Latin language bridge, the word passed from Greek to Old French and from there to Old English, where the original meaning “grammar”, as knowledge of the few educated, took the character of “occult knowledge” and, consequently, “Of magic”, to evolve through Scotland (glammar) to the meaning of “magical beauty” (19th century) and then – in the form of glamor – to “charm, glamor” with which it returned to Greek.
Another interesting development was the ancient Greek word penalty. Through Latin and Old Norman again, the Greek penalty ended up in the English penalty, to return (as a counter-loan) to the Greek as a penalty, a term in football!
Didn’t anyone “cut off his head” that the very Italian dish can not be related to Greek? Well, the square started from the (already ancient) Greek square (ie street), female. of the adjective broad, through Latin. platea (“wide road” in the city), passed in Italian as piazza (originally plaza), from where already in the medieval years it returned to Greek as a square.
The surprise culminates in the origin of the gondola ave. I translate what is written about it in the most authoritative English dictionary, in the Random House Webster΄s College Dictionary, gondola entry: boat », fem. του επιθ. κόντουρος «κοντός, κυριολ. boat with a tail “from the late Greek short + Greek. -ouros from Greek. tail “. Boat, then, with a short tail, the Italian. gondola (gondola) returned to Greek as a gondola!
And because it does not mean summer without the most French plage (French plage), let’s watch the etymology of the word. It came from the French. plage, loan from ital. piaggia “slope-beach”, derived from medieval Latin plagia “sloping ground”, which dates back to arch. Greek. sideways (the), “sides” (mainly military term), no. του επιθ. lateral.
And of course it does not mean summer without tourism and tours (I called the tours and tournaments). But how well known to non-experts that all these French words (tour, tourisme, tourn e, tournoi) that passed into Greek (in English and other languages) are a product of borrowing from Greek. word lathe. This ancient Greek. word, through Latin again (tornus and r. tornare “I turn the wheel, the lathe”), gave the French. tourner “I turn, I turn” from where the tour. So the lathe returned to Elliniki as a tour.
The list of such words (counter-loans) is long and the commentary would take many pages. Here I will give only a few hints. I will mention that the calf and the ham started from the Greek. turn! The carnation from the nut leaf, the turnover from the round, the solid from the mass, the callus from the comb, the sofa from the cone, the cannon from the barrel, the canteen from the thorn, the cord from the string , the coupon from kolafos (kolafos – late Latin colaphus- Old French colp – coup), the cretin from Christianos, the lasagna from arch. lasagna (“tripod as the base of vessels and vessels”), the lantern from the lamp, the almond from the almond, the jam from the honeysuckle, the gunpowder from the pyrite, the rain and the hail from the north, the ballet – ball from the arch. ball, the box from the compass (“box”), the boutique from the warehouse, unionism by the unionist, the taxi by the taximeter, the script by the stage, the pose by the pause, etc. These are just a few examples.
Because there is a danger of thinking that these are “made etymologies” (paretymologies) according to the model of the Greek father of Vardalos in “Marriage in Greek”!… -, I hasten to clarify that the examples come from the field of scientific etymology and are in all reliable etymological dictionaries or interpretive dictionaries with etymology. For words related to English, a cursory glance at the Dictionary I mentioned (Random House-Webster) or other related Dictionaries will convince the reader of the truth of what is being said.
Mr. George Babiniotis is Professor of Linguistics, President of the Hellenic Foundation for Culture, former Rector of the University of Athens.
Εφ. The step