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By Peter Mackridge

It is a background of the nice language controversy that has occupied and empassioned Greeks -- occasionally with deadly effects -- for over 200 years. It starts off within the overdue eighteenth-century whilst a gaggle of Greek intellectuals sought to strengthen a brand new, Hellenic, nationwide id along the conventional id provided by way of Orthodox Christianity. the resultant controversy fascinated with the language, fuelled at the one hand by means of a wish to advance a kind of Greek that expressed the Greeks' courting to the ancients, and at the different by means of the various teams' contrasting notions of what the nationwide photo so embodied will be. The purists sought after a written language as regards to the traditional. The vernacularists -- later referred to as demoticists -- sought to compare written language to spoken, claiming the latter to be the made of the unbroken improvement of Greek because the time of Homer. Peter Mackridge explores the political, social, and linguistic reasons and results of the talk in its many manifestations. Drawing on quite a lot of facts from literature, language, historical past, and anthropology, he lines its results on spoken and written different types of Greek and exhibits its influence on these in use this day. He describes the efforts of linguistic elites and the kingdom to accomplish language standardization and independence from languages equivalent to Turkish, Albanian, Vlach, and Slavonic. this can be a well timed ebook. The feel of nationwide and linguistic id that has been inculcated into generations of Greeks because the commence of the battle of Independence in 1821 has, within the final 25 years, acquired blows from which it could no longer get better. Immigration from japanese Europe and in different places has brought new populations whose religions, languages, and cultures are reworking Greece right into a nation rather assorted from what it's been and to what it as soon as aspired to be.

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Extra resources for Language and National Identity in Greece, 1766-1976

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Greek political and cultural geographies, real and imagined During the period between 1760 and Greek independence around 1830, Greeks found themselves caught up in power struggles and realignments among no fewer than six empires: the Ottoman, Venetian, Russian, Holy Roman (in practice, the Habsburg monarchy), French, and British. The Ottoman empire was home to the vast majority of the Orthodox Christians who lived outside the Russian empire. The Venetian empire controlled the Ionian Islands until it was destroyed by France in 1797.

For the relationship between the Greek dialect of Cyprus and Greek-Cypriot identity see Karoulla-Vrikki 2004, 2005, and 2008/9. 92 2 The preconditions for the Greek language controversy In order to understand how and why the Greek language controversy materialized in the late eighteenth century one needs to investigate the geographical spread of the Greek language, the places where the Greeks lived, and who was considered to be Greek. In this chapter I aim to sketch out the historical, geographical, social, cultural, and ideological background to the emergence of the controversy.

However, the Greek situation was never as simple as Ferguson’s binary opposition – or the above examples – would suggest. In the early stages of the period covered in this book, it is more helpful to talk about polyglossia than diglossia, while today Greeks live in a situation not of diglossia but of monoglossia. Yet the fact that Beaton can describe this monoglossia as polyphony 86 shows how much variety and freedom of choice there is to be found in contemporary Greek – a healthy and normal situation that contrasts with the earlier pathological situation in which the Greek language found itself.

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