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How Has the Greek Language Influenced the English Language?

In: English and Literature

Submitted By stefaniya
Words 908
Pages 4
The research question is “How has the Greek language influenced the English language?”. We chose language as our subject because we were interested in how people developed a way in which we can communicate orally as well as express and comprehend written thoughts. We think that this topic is worth of study because we will investigate and understand how several English words have been influenced by the Greek language. Numerous words in English have Greek roots. The relevance of the question is to find out how the Greek language influenced and affected the English language.

Ancient Greek Dialects
Different variants of the early Greek alphabet suited to local dialects. There were three major dialects in ancient Greece: Aeolic, Doric and Ionic (of which Attic was a branch). Each of these were from different tribes, the Aeolians lived in the islands of the Aegean, the Dorians, from the Greek coast of Peloponnese, including Crete, Sparta and other parts of West Coast Asia Minor. The Ionians settled in the West coast of Asia Minor including the Smyma.

Ancient Greek Language
The first Europeans to read and write with an Alphabet were the Ancient Greeks. The Ancient Greek language eventually led to all modern European languages.(In text ) The Greek language has a very long and rich history stretching all the way from the thirteenth century B.C. to the present.

Linear B (13th century B.C.) is the earliest form of the language. The first surviving script for Greek writing was the Linear B which was discovered in 1953. It was used for the archaic Mycenaean dialect. When Mycenaean civilization was destroyed, there was a period of roughly five hundred years, when writing was either not used, or either that there was nothing that survived.

Classical Greek is the form of Greek used by writers from Homer (8th century B.C.) through Pluto (4th century B.C.) The Classical Greek alphabet was derived from the Phoenicians as was that of Hebrew. Classical Greek existed in many dialects of which three were primary: Doric, Aeolic, and Ionic (of which Attic was a branch).

In the fourth century B.C. Athens was conquered by King Philip of Macedonia. Philip’s son, Alexander the Great was tutored by the Greek philosopher, Aristotle. Alexander the Great set out to conquer the world and spread the Greek culture and language. Alexander the Great spoke Attic Greek, therefore it was this dialect that was spread. This dialect was spoken by the famous Athenian writers. This was the beginning of the Hellenistic age.

As the Greek language spread across the world and met other languages it was altered. The dialects also interacted with each other. Eventually this adaption resulted in what today we call Koine. “Koine”(κοινή) means “common”. Koine describes the common, everyday form of the language, used by everyday people. Koine was a simplified form of Classical Greek and unfortunately many of the subtleties(the state of being subtle) of Classical Greek were lost therefore this confused many scholars. Koine has allowed Alexander's combined Army to communicate with itself and the language also taught the inhabitants of the land he conquered, making Greek a world language. This then allowed the Greek language to flourish during the Hellenistic period.

The Greek Alphabet
From the beginning of the classical period, Greek has been written in the Greek alphabet, which was derived from the Phoenicians. The Greek language originated in Greece; yet, it was only written after 750 BC. The Greeks adopted an alphabet from Phoenician traders.The Greek alphabet consisted 24 letters which represented different sounds. The alphabet made it easier for the Greeks to write down their stories and songs. Also record keeping became easier.

Greek Language Influenced the English Language
Ancient Greek had a very strong influence on Latin, and thus on English and all the languages of Europe. More than half of English words, perhaps not always the most common ones, come from Latin, and many of those words Latin took from Greek.
For example the word “FAMA” gave us fame, famous and infamous and “NOTA” gave us note, notice and notable etc.

Note: The Roman’s did not have lower-case letters, thus Latin words are written in upper-case.

Now, some of the words that English took from Latin were words that Latin had borrowed from Ancient Greek, For example AUTOS in Greek meant “self” and from it we get automatic, autograph

The Greek language has had a tremendous influence on the English language. In our everyday lives we use Greek root words and definitions all the time. Just like the Greek alphabet was used in Greece, alphabets around the World today are used to express and comprehend thoughts. Also the Greek language influenced the Latin. Without Ancient Greek, Latin might have not existed as well as English. Without languages we can easily say that the world would be a different place. No other language gains more than English from researches into the past because it has borrowed so much of its vocabulary from so many diverse sources. Also many languages have been influenced by English. Though English was not directly influenced by the Greek language, it was more directly influenced by the Latin. However, Ancient Greek is probably the main language to thank as Latin was strongly influenced by Ancient Greek. So thanks to the 24-letter Greek alphabet and language the language we know and love today exists.

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