Friday, August 16, 2019

Greek Influence on English Language

Indirect and direct borrowings Since the living Greek and English languages were not in direct contact until modern times, borrowings were necessarily indirect, coming either through Latin (through texts or various vernaculars), or from Ancient Greek texts, not the living language. Some Greek words were borrowed into  Latin  and its descendants, the  Romance languages. English often received these words from  French. Their phonetic and orthographic form has sometimes changed considerably.For instance,  place  was borrowed both by Old English and by French from Latin  platea, itself borrowed from Greek ( ) ‘broad (street)'; the Italian  piazza  and Spanish  plaza  have the same origin, and have been borrowed into English in parallel. The word  olive  comes through the  Romance  from the Latin word  oliva, which in turn comes from the Greek (elaiwa). [1][2]  A later Greek word,   (bouturon)[3]  becomes Latin  butyrum  and eventually Engl ish  butter. A large group of early borrowings, again transmitted first through Latin, then through various vernaculars, comes from Christian vocabulary:  bishop  < episkopos  Ã¢â‚¬Ëœoverseer'),  priest  < (presbyteros  Ã¢â‚¬Ëœelder'), and  church  <  ? (kyriakon). [4]  In some cases, the orthography of these words was later changed to reflect the Greek spelling:  e. g. quire  was respelled as  choir  in the 17th century. Many more words were borrowed by scholars writing in post-classical Latin. Some words were borrowed in essentially their original meaning, often transmitted through classical Latin:  physics,iambic,  eta,  necromancy. A few result from scribal errors:  encyclopedia  < ‘the circle of learning', not a compound in Greek;  acne  (skin condition) < erroneous lt; ‘high point, acme'. Others were borrowed unchanged as technical terms, but with specific, novel meanings:  telescope  < †˜far-seeing' refers to an  optical instrument for seeing far away;  phlogiston  < ‘burnt thing' is a supposed  fire-making potential. But by far the largest Greek contribution to English vocabulary is the huge number of scientific, medical, and technical  neologisms  that have been coined by  compounding Greek roots and affixesto produce novel words which never existed in the Greek language:  utopia  (1516, ‘not' + ‘place'),  zoology  (1669, ),  hydrodynamics  (1738, + ),  photography(1834, + ),  oocyte  (1895, + ),  helicobacter  (1989, + ). Such terms are coined in all the European languages, and spread to the others freely—including to Modern Greek. Traditionally, these coinages were constructed using only Greek morphemes,  e. g. metamathematics, but increasingly, Greek, Latin, and other morphemes are combined, as intelevision  (Greek – + Latin  vision),  metalinguistic  (Greek + Lati n  lingua  + Greek - + Greek - ), and  garbology  (English  garbage  + Greek - . These  hybrid words  were formerly considered to be ‘barbarisms'. Many Greek affixes such as  anti-  and  -ic  have become  productive  in English, combining with arbitrary English words:  antichoice,  Fascistic. Most learned borrowings and coinages follow the classical Latin  Romanization system, where ‘c' represents ? etc. , with a few exceptions:  eureka  (cf. heuristic),  kinetic  (cf. cinematography),krypton  (cf. cryptic). Some Greek words were borrowed through Arabic and then Romance:  alchemy  ( or ),  elixir  ( ),  alembic  ( ),  botargo  ( , and possibly  quintal  ( < Latincentenarium (pondus)). Curiously,  chemist  appears to be a  back-formation  from  alchemist. In the 19th and 20th centuries a few learned words and phrases were introduced using a more or less direct transliteration of Ancient Greek (r ather than the traditional Latin-based morphology and dropped inflectional endings),  e. g. nous  ( ),  hoi polloi  ( ). Some Greek words have given rise to  etymological doublets, being borrowed both through an organic, indirect route, and a learned, direct route into English:  anthem  and  antiphon  ( ,frantic  and  frenetic  ( ),  butter  and  butyr(ic)  ( ),  bishop  and  episcop(al)  ( ),  balm  and  balsam  ( , probably itself a borrowing from Semitic),  blame  and  blasphemy( ),  box  and  pyx(is)  ( ),  choir  and  chorus  ( ),  trivet  and  tripod  ( / -),  slander  and  scandal  ( ),  oil,  olive,  oleum, and  elaeo-  ( );  almond  and  amygdala( );  dram  and  drachma  ( );  paper  and  papyrus  ( );  carat  and  keratin  ( , -). [5][6] Finally, with the growth of tourism, some words reflecting modern Greek ulture have been borrowed into Englishà ¢â‚¬â€many of them originally borrowings into Greek themselves:  retsina,  souvlaki,taverna  (< Italian),  ouzo  (disputed etymology),  moussaka  (< Turkish < Arabic),  baklava  (< Turkish),  feta  (< Italian),  bouzouki  (< Turkish),  gyro  (the food, a calque of Turkish  doner). ————————————————- [edit]Greek as an intermediary Many words from the  Hebrew Bible  were transmitted to the western languages through the Greek of the  Septuagint, often without morphological regularization:  pharaoh  ( ),  seraphim( , ,  paradise  ( < Hebrew < Persian),  rabbi  ( ). ————————————————- [edit]The written form of Greek words in English Many Greek words, especially those borrowed through the liter ary tradition, are recognizable as such from their spelling. Already in Latin, there were specific conventions for borrowing Greek. So Greek  ? was written as ‘y',   as ‘? ‘,   as ‘? ‘,  ? as ‘ph', and  ? as ‘c'. These conventions (which originally reflected pronunciation) have carried over into English and other languages with historical orthography (like French).They make it possible to recognize words of Greek origin, and give hints as to their pronunciation and inflection. On the other hand, the spelling of some words was refashioned to reflect their etymology:  Middle English  caracter  became  character  in the 16th century. [7] The Ancient Greek diphthongs   and   may be spelled in three different ways in English: the digraphs  ae  and  oe; the ligatures  ? and  ? ; or the simple letter  e. Both the digraphs and ligatures are uncommon in American usage, but the digraphs remain common in British usag e. Examples are: encyclopaedia /encyclop? ia / encyclopedia, haemoglobin / h? moglobin / hemoglobin, oedema / ? dema / edema, Oedipus / ? dipus / Edipus (rare). The verbal ending  - is spelled  -ize  in American English and  -ise  or  -ize  in British English. In some cases, a word's spelling clearly shows its Greek origin. If it includes  ph  or includes  y  between consonants, it is very likely Greek. If it includes  rrh,  phth, or  chth; or starts with  hy-,  ps-,  pn-, or  chr-; or the rarer  pt-,  ct-,  chth-,  rh-,  x-,  sth-,  mn-,  tm-,  gn-  or  bd-, then it is Greek, with some exceptions:  gnat,  gnaw,  gneiss.One exception is  ptarmigan, which is from a  Gaelic  word, the  phaving been added by  false etymology. The word  trophy, though ultimately of Greek origin, did not have a  ? but a  ? in its Greek form, . ——————————â⠂¬â€Ã¢â‚¬â€Ã¢â‚¬â€Ã¢â‚¬â€Ã¢â‚¬â€Ã¢â‚¬â€- [edit]Pronunciation In clusters such as  ps-,  pn-, or  gn-  which are not allowed by  English phonotactics, the usual English pronunciation drops the first consonant (e. g. psychology) at the start of a word; comparegnostic  [n? st? k] and  agnostic  [? gn? st? k]; there are a few exceptions:  tmesis  [tmi? s? s].Initial  x-  is pronounced  z. Ch  is pronounced like  k  rather than as in â€Å"church†:  e. g. character, chaos. Consecutive vowels are often pronounced separately rather than forming a single vowel sound or one of them becoming silent (e. g. â€Å"theatre†Ã‚  vs. â€Å"feat†). ————————————————- [edit]Inflectional endings and plurals Though many English words derived from Greek through the literary route drop the inflectional endings (tripod,  zoology,  pe ntagon) or use Latin endings (papyrus,  mausoleum), some preserve the Greek endings:  tetrahedron,  schema  (cf. cheme),  topos,  lexicon,  climax. In the case of Greek endings, the plurals sometimes follow the  Greek rules:  phenomenon, phenomena;  tetrahedron, tetrahedra;  crisis, crises;  hypothesis, hypotheses;  stigma, stigmata;  topos, topoi;  cyclops, cyclopes; but often do not:  colon, colons  not  *cola  (except for the  very rare technical term of rhetoric);pentathlon, pentathlons  not  *pentathla;  demon, demons  not  *demones;  climaxes, not  *climaces.Usage is mixed in some cases:  schema, schemas  or  schemata;  lexicon, lexicons  or  lexica;  helix, helixes  or  helices;  sphinx, sphinges  or  sphinxes;  clitoris, clitorises  or  clitorides. And there are misleading cases:  pentagon  comes from Greek  pentagonon, so its plural cannot be  *pentaga; it ispentagons  (Greek   / pentagona). (cf. Plurals from Latin and Greek) ————————————————- [edit]Verbs Few English verbs are derived from the corresponding Greek verbs; examples are  baptize  and  ostracize.However, the Greek verbal suffix  -ize  is productive in Latin, the Romance languages, and English: words like  metabolize, though composed of a Greek root and a Greek suffix, are modern compounds. ————————————————- [edit]Statistics The contribution of Greek to the English vocabulary can be quantified in two ways,  type  and  token  frequencies: type frequency is the proportion of distinct words; token frequency is the proportion of words in actual texts.Since most words of Greek origin are specialized technical and scientific coinages, the type frequency is conside rably higher than the token frequency. And the type frequency in a large word list will be larger than that in a small word list. In a typical English dictionary of 80,000 words, which corresponds very roughly to the vocabulary of an educated English speaker, about 5% of the words are borrowed from Greek directly, and about 25% indirectly (if we count modern coinages from Greek roots as Greek). citation needed] ————————————————- [edit]References 1. ^  This must have been an early borrowing, since the Latin  v  reflects a still-pronounced  digamma. The Greek word was in turn apparently borrowed from a pre-Indo-European  Mediterranean  substrate(see also  Greek substrate language), although the earliest attested form of it is the  Mycenaean Greek  e-ra-wa  (transliterated as â€Å"elava†), attested in  Linear B  syllabic script—see  e- ra-wa, Mycenaean (Linear b) – English Glossary 2.   Palaeolexicon, Word study tool of ancient languages 3. ^  Carl Darling Buck,  A Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages  ISBN 0-226-07937-6  notes that the word has the form of a compound + ‘cow-cheese', possibly a calque from Scythian, or possibly an adaptation of a native Scythian word 4. ^  church, on Oxford Dictionaries

No comments:

Post a Comment