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Short Account of the Modern Greek Language, its Origin and


[Froni Dallaway's Constantinople Ancient and Modern.]

•' r> ETWEEN the Romeika, or *J modern Greek language, »nd the ancient, a fimilar analogy may be found, as between the Latin and the pure Italian; for languages, no leCs than governments, have their revolutions and their periods. The Greek claims the higheft antiquity, and perhaps after the Arabic has been preferved longer than any other; from the irruption and domination of other nations its purity has been eventually corrupted, as from Grecian conquefts the Egyptian lapfed into the Coptic, qnd the Arabic into the Syriac.

*< When Conftantine eftablifhed his new capital, *ib many Roman citizens followed htm, that the Greek language adopted many Latiuifms, and, once corrupted, the more readily admitted the idiom and words of the French and Venetian invaders, at the commencement of the thirteenth century. The eftablifliment of the Ottoman empire extended the change, by the adoption of fo many Turkifli phrafes and words, and the Romefjta, or vernacular dialed, as it now

prevails, was univerfally eftablilh* ed. Not that one mode of expreffion only is in ufe. The inhabitants of the Morea and the coafts of the Adriatic partake much of the Venetian; the Zanders of the Archipelago and the Smyrniotes mix Venetian with Turkilh. Tie Greeks of the Fanal fpeak almoft clallically, whilft thole of the appall te town of Pera have the moft vulgar pronunciation.

"The leading caufe of deviation from the ancient Greek has been the great ufe of contractions, and the blending by that means fevend words into one.

"At what era the modem pro* nunciation was adopted it would be difficult to determine with any degree of preciflon. The more learned of the inhabitants of the Fanal ftrongly contend, that however their language has been debafed by the alloy of others, that the pronunciation of the remoteft times is continued to them, pure and without variation. This queftion, fo much agitated at the revival of literature, is foreign to my prefcnt purpofe, and it may be neceflary

eeflary to fubjoin the more promi- ancient Greek or Latin. It retains

nent diflincYions *. Certain it is, the articles and inflexion of cafes,

that the modern Greek, pronounc- but has neither duals nor aorifh.

ed as the ancient in England, would The tenfcs are formed by the verb3

be as unintelligible to them as the lubftantive.

Italian at Rome or the French at "A fummary account, which my

Paris, if we fpoke or read them ex- prefent limits allow me only to of

arftiy as they are fpelled, giving tlie fer of a language fo little known in

letters and fyllables the fame power Europe, may be confidered as uo

as to thole in our own language. unacceptable curiofity by fome

"The Romeika refembles in its readers.

conftrucYion the Italian and French, "The grammar of Simon Por

and rejects the tranfpofition of the tius was the earlieft attempt. Pere

** * The ancient alphabet and character are retained by the moderns, who are ill verfed in or negligent ot orthography, both in their epiftolary corrcfpondence and monumental infcriptions. Their printed books are tolerably correft. Some of then) write the eharafter very neatly. In their books for the church fervice the capital letters are grotefqucly made and ornamented, departing entirely from the antique and liniple form.

"Without entering into too wide a digreffion, I fhall remark only the different powers given to letters which in the combination of fyllables produce a found fo different from that which wc have been accuftomed to hear given them.

"B, connected with fyllables, is pronounced as ou: v, and is expreffed by the modem Greeks by a * after a /j. t &%ai\tlt, •ca/ilifia/*nms, amio/ti.

"A and ©, as the hard or foft ik of the Englifh: 5t», tken. Mr. Knight, in Ms ingenious treatife entitled * An Analytical Effay on the Greek Alphabet,' 410. 1791, obferves, that 'the ancient manner of pronouncing 6, was indifputably that which is

• dill preferred by the modern Greeks, the Copts, and the Englifh, that is, by a eon'(trained afpiration between the tongue and upper teeth. All the other European 'nations pronounce it as a mute confonant, and throw the afpiration on the next

* fuccceding vowel.' P. 13. A is fyllabically formed by r after »: wsrra, panda.

"E has a found of frequrnt recurrence, and with a certain nicety of articulation it expreffed indifcriminately with the diphthongs m and 01: which mode feems to have' teen adopted from the French. It has a broad tone, as t in I re, or our a \nfatt.

"4> for/, as in pkihfrphy—the diphthong au is univcrfally iv, as avror, autet.

"V has a foft tone betwecr. the g andjr of the Englifh; as 1 la,*','.*, Panagia. Two */y are tig, as in the ancient AyyiXtrt.

"1 medial as tt, and final asiv in humanity.

"K incipient as with us. X incipient very guttural.

"N final is generally quiefrent, and when preceded by two vowels, the latter is likewifc funk: To »ip»»> to m,i—ro x/aain, to krajy.

"O and A axe ulcd indifcriminately. The double u is the diphthong ev, as in the French.

"IT after /* is b, and before rf, as I«jt«, ifta.

•* Y, ncipient, medial, or final, as«.

"H and the diphthong 11 have likewife the fame found.

'< OX has the. force of oui in French, and correfponds with the Englifh w

"As a mechanical mode of facilitating pronunciation, the following management of the organs of fpeech is recommended, as tending to the acquirement of thofe founds which are mod frequent in the Romeika.

"X, £ before a confonant, as in xfmot, <s Dt'ft pronounced by drawing the tongue (o the throat, and holding it fufpended under the palate with the lips alitdeopen.

"A as dth, which is effected by forcing the tongue againft the upper row of teeth.

"F incipient as gh, more gutturally than in fcnglifh.

"® foftcr than A, which found is produced by placing the point of the tongue between the teeth, almoft clofed with a kind of hifnng.

"But perfc&ivn rnuk depend upon an accurate ear, colloquial facility, and long practice.


Thomas, a capuchin of Paris, cotnpoled another; and Spoil has affixed to his voyage a meagre vocabulary, which he calls ' Petit Dic

* tionaire.' Mavro Kordato's 'Lext

• con" (as I have before obferved) contains the mail fyftematic anaIj'fis. There are grammars extant of Romei'ka, French and Italian, for the, ufe of the natives who acquire thole languages. That of Benardino Pianzola, of Turkifh, Romei'ka, and Italian, printed in the Roman character, is that in moft general acceptation.

"With no pretentions to philological accuracy, I offer a fnmmary fketch, noticing the leading difcriminations, from clafiical Greek, and its analogy to the Italian and grammatical conftrudtion.

"ahticles. ThemodemGrceks retain the articles a, n, 10, as ufed by the ancients, which are conftanlly prefixed to nour.s, as demonftrative of genders, of which the neuter is admitted as one. Plurals feminine are made by the article <*i and the ancient dative, as « rijn;f»K days.

"Nouns are declined by articles, prcpofitions, and inflections. Nouns mafculine and feminine have uuiverfally but three different terminations in both numbers, and the ■neuter but two only. There are rive declenfions arranged according to the termination of the nominative cafe.

"Adjectives are always prefixed to nouns, as in Englitli, excepting by the intervention of a verb, and are declinable with articles peculiar to the three genders. There are likewife five declenfions.

"Comparatives and SuperLatives change the pofitive as the

ancients—o-ofoj, O-o$otijo;, (ro^oraTo;, adding likewife the prcpofitions ■otx,'-; and am; * 0 coS^vsro;

'<ro$GT«To; watpa tu; a>JM;,' a vcrlf wife man.

"diminutives are much ufed in converfation, by the modern Greeks as by the Italians. They join nit and axi to malculme or neuter nouns, and »t£» and sXa to feminine; as, 'afyxmah, uraWaxi,' a little mana little toy: '•i,ix*k*> 'X°in^a>' a little foula little girl; but elpecially to proper names, as

"Pronouns. The genitives of pronouns perfonal are always added to nouns: renrtf^u, o-«T»prs, xeenf Trf, vainffia.;, irariifiraj, iraT*fTS:—— viy, his, her, our, your, their father.

"Perfonal relatives are declinable, and the others are fuppliedby the invariable pronoun ows. There are likewife demonftratives and interrogatives, &c. as in the ancient Greek.

"verbs. There are four kinch: derivative; auxiliary ufu, J am, S^m, I will, and tx"> 'have, which form the tenfes of the other; and anomalous, or imperfonal, which are but few.

"The derivative verbs are aftive, paflive, and deponent only, and are divided into two ehifles, barytone and circumflex, the firmer of which have the accent placed on the laft lyliable but one, as yri~*, / write; and in the paflive 011 the laft fyllable but two, as •yfi^m., / am written. The latter are accentuated on the final fyllable, as ayttau, I love; and in the paflive on the laft but one, as <*»«»««}•«», / am loved. The difference of conjugations is determined by tbefirft perfon prefent and the firlt perton perfeft of die indicative mood. The barytones have four and the circumflex three conjugations.

"There is no infinitive mood, from which tenfes in other languages are ('■educed; but the potential wilh a conjunction is iubttiiutcii.


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On the Latin Terms ufed in Natvral History, by ihe Rev. Jqhh Brand, A. M. &c.

£From the third Volume of the Transactions of the Linnean


"HP HE Latin has been adopted ■*• as the language of natural hiftory; but the latinily of the natural hiftorians has undergone no fmall cenfure.

"By the adoption of the Latin as the common language of the fcience, in the degree in which it obtains, new difcoveries in it are propagated with great facility. Other branches of philofophy have not had the fame good fortune; and every European nation is become philofophical: and thus, as Monf. D'Alembert has obferved, he who devotes himfelf to the cultivation of any one of them, if he would keep his knowledge up to the level of its ftate, is reduced to the neceflity of flinging away a very valuable part of his life, in acquiring feven or eight languages.

"But the latinity of the terms in which natural hiftory is written, lias been cenfured: upon this charge the following remarks may "be made.

"Such terms muft be either primitives or derivatives; now either of thefe may be barlarifms, when not found in any good Latin au

thor; or improprieties (verba impropria, Quint.J, when, though fofound, they are not to be found ufed iu the fame, fenfe. This muft be admitted: but it is- here contended, that it does not on this account alone follow that they are fo. This is proved from the practice of the ancient grammarians in the invention of technical terms, in conjunction with the authority of Tul

"Firft.the ufe of a Latin primitive or derivative, in a fenfe in which it doss not occur in any pure Roman writer, is not neceflarily an impropriety, technically fo called; for if a considerable variation from fuch an eftabliihed fenfe were fo, the very grammatical terms of the Roman writers would fall under that cenfure, as for inftance farticulusj an article, (verbum) a verb. When thele terms were firft ufed by grammarians, there was a great variation from their pre-eftabliihed fenfe, and their primary fignificatiofts—a joint, a word.

"It is likewife certain, that if grammar had not been reduced into an art among the Romans, thefe

terms terms would not have been now found in their "technical SenScs in their writings. And if a writer of this age, having reduced the art into a fvftem,h::d prcfentcd the world with the firft. Latin Grammar, and Lad given the fame names, verbum, articulus, to the fame things, his oftence agaiuftpure Infinity, or the pre-eftablifhed good ufe of thofe words, would have been of the fame magnitude as that of the original Lntjn grammarians, and no more; the fame innovations in a language, living or dead, being of equal quality: yet the charge againft the propriety of the terms ufed by fuch a writer, would be the fame in kind as that brought againft the natural hiftorians; but it mult have fallen to the ground—nor would it have been in degree lefs ftrong; for bolder extensions in the fenfe of Latin terms, are not, that I recollect, to be found in the Lexicon of our technical language. Thele faftidious grammatical exceptions are, in principle, exceptions both to the art and the philofophy of grammar. If the naturalists err in this point, they err with the grammatical fathers (cum patribus).

"Secondly, What I have to fay. ril>'jut derivatives not ufed in Latin writers, will be contained in a fhort comment on a patfage in the Academic Qucftions of Cicero, where he aflcrts the rights and privileges of thole who treat on philosophical fubje£h in a language not yet enriched with proper terms, and exemplifies his principles in the formation of a new derivative, an authority from which I apprehend no appeal will be made. The translation of this portage is as follows. The original is placed at the end of this article *.

'•Farro. 'You will allow me the

* fame liberty which has always

• been afiumed by the Greeks, who

'have long purfued thefe refearcLcs; 'that to\ fubje&s I may ap~ 'ply terms which never have lee* 'in ufe.

"Alliens. 'Certainly: but if our 'Latin language will not furnifh 'them, you may have recourfe to 'the Greek.

"Farro. 'I am obliged to you; 'but I will endeavour to expreSs 'my felt in Latin, confining myfelf 'to fuch terms of Greek derivation 'as are already naturalized among 'us, as philofophy, rhotoricprivfio,

• dialectics. I have therefore form'ed the new term Qualitas, to ex'prefs the fenfe of the Greek word 'Iwt»?; which even among them 'is not a word of common ufc, but •confined tothc philofophers. In like

* manner, none of the terms of tbe 'logicians are found m the popular 'language; and the fame is true of 'the terms ofalmoft all the arts: to 'wrerthing*newname<!-mujihegiv:i, 'or thnfe of others transferred to them. 'If the Greek* take this liberty, 'who have cultivated the Sciences 'for ages, how viuchfhongeris the 'renfon itfhould be granted to us, in 'our fir (I attempt to treat upon them J

"Cicero. ' It let ms to me, that 'you will do a work of utility to the 'public, if you nt,t only incrcojitke 'flock of our ideas, which yoB have 'already done, but a (Jo that of our 'words.

"Farro. 'We fliall therefore 'hazard the ufe of new words when 'neceflary, and by your authority.'

"And where the fame neceflity, ariling from the fame Source, exifts, the Same liberty is to be taken. And as Cicero, on this point, is an unexceptionable authority, let u> examine his practice, to See to what degree it may be carried. The word Qualitas,derived from Quale, is now familiarized to the ear. The firft boldnefs of this derivative is only perceived by reflcftion; but it« dears*

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