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International Greek Language Day Feb 9 (video)

International Greek Language Day, observed on February 9th, highlights the extraordinary role that the Greek language has played in the global development of literacy, science, philosophy and culture.

Officially launched in 2017 to coincide with the annual commemoration of Greece’s national poet, Dionysios Solomos (April 8, 1798 – February 9, 1857), author of the 1823 poem “Hymn to Liberty” – Greece’s national anthem – International Greek Language Day aims to promote awareness of the language’s unparalleled influence on other writing systems around the world.

To commemorate the day, the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted the above video on YouTube – “Things you didn’t know about the Greek language” – including messages of support from Andreas Katsaniotis, Deputy Minister for Diaspora Greeks, and John Chrysoulakis, Secretary General for Greek Abroad and Public Diplomacy.

Video: released by the Greek Foreign Ministry

As the world’s oldest recorded living language, spoken in the same geographical region for around 4,000 years, Greek words have been absorbed into many other Indo-European languages, including English, French and Italian. Around 10% of Spanish words, for example, are borrowed from Greek.

To quote French classicist and writer, Jacqueline de Romilly (1913-2010): “Everyone has to learn Greek, because it is through Greek that one can understand one’s own language.”

The sheer depth and richness of the Greek language, with its vast and poetic vocabulary (5 million words and 70 million word types!), provides the perfect tool to define and express complex thoughts and emotions. Indeed, when English speakers run into difficulty trying to find a more precise way to express an idea or describe an object, the oft-used phrase “the Greeks have a word for it” is a convenient way to get off the hook.

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One comment

  1. Thank you KTG – the video was beautiful and spoke so many simple “truths”.

    I hope the “woke brigade” never insist on any “society enhancing modifications”.

    At 52 seconds in – “Those who think freely, think fairly”. In this current dystopian phase, free independent critical thinking is highly discouraged because then the game will be up i.e. “The Emperor is stark bo**** naked! 🙂

    For me anyway, the Ancient Greek language and particularly the Pontic dialect is somehow akin to having a “Bable Fish”* in the ear!

    *Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy