The Greek Language

The Greek Language

Mira

with the fox be a fox

With the fox, be a fox.

banjo

Νομω πειθου       Obey the law.

greeks-full

Γνωθι μαθων      Know what you have learned.     These short maxims are Delphic truths, somewhat similar to the Ten Commandments, but without the I Am The Lord Thy God And I Will Spank You quality of the Decalogue.

Where there's hope

τί κοινότατον; Ἐλπίς. Καὶ γὰρ οἷς ἄλλο μηδέν, αὔτη παρέστη.   What is common? Hope. When all is gone, there is still Hope.

bassita

Ακουσας νοει     Perceive what you have heard.

europe-globe_phy3

Have you ever noticed how small Europe is when you’re looking at a globe?  Greenland is almost as large as Europe.  By the way, note that Greenland is ice, and Iceland is green.

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For all the impact that it has made on human history, Europe is small compared to… well, compared to almost any other land, really.

globe

And then look how small Greece is compared to Europe. Can you even see it?

Greek

And yet for us Greece is where it all began.

Adventures-Of-Greg-Jacobs-www.greg-j.com-World-travel-blog-family-holiday-vacation-website-5-Historical-Sites-in-Greece-Olympia

Καιρον γνωθι           Know your opportunity.

Diogenes_-_Max_Clarke

All license plate photographs courtesy of Max Clarke.

janaeaabl

Σεαυτον αιδου       Respect yourself.

alpha kai omega

I am the alpha and the omega, the first and the last.

2009-6-nov-poster

ashley on the street

Ατυχουντι συναχθου     Share the load of the unfortunate.

greekletters

Φιλοφρονει πασιν         Deal kindly with everyone.

cat

Ψεγε μηδενα         Find fault with no one.

greek words in greek

Some Greek words:    Water (hydro, hydor), philosopher, Christ (the annointed one), psyche, ocean, eucharist (thanks, gratitude).

cindy

Άνθρωπος αγράμματος, ξύλο απελέκητο.     An uneducated person is like wood uncarved.

city_of_children_ver2

City of children

greekALPHABET

And we write those words with an alphabet that we received from the Greeks.

Andy John

Φιλιαν αγαπα       Love friendship.

Periander son of kypselos corinthian

Periander  (son) of Kypselos Korinthios (Corinthian)

phoenician2

Before the alphabet was Greek, it was a series of images for the Phoenicians.

bijou

Σοφιαν ζηλου          Long for wisdom.

phonecian

Later these images came to designate syllables instead of a picture of one thing. This was a major advance in human thought.

bathing suits

Μανθανων μη καμνε          Do not tire of learning.

alep

Aleph was originally a picture of an ox and it meant ox. It was only later that aleph came to stand for the sound of A.

120px-Phoenician_beth.svg

Beth or bet, originally a picture of a house, came to represent the sound of B.  B for bathing.

bathing 1919

Υφορω μηδενα         Don’t look down on anyone.

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Gimel, the third image in the Phoenician syllabary, was originally a drawing of a camel. We are reading right to left here, because, after all, this is an eastern script, but actually the people at that time wrote right to left, left to right, or they wrote each line as an ox would plow a field, right to left in one line and left to right in the next.

quote-boustrophedon

This way of writing is called boustrophedon, which literally means ox turning, as she would do at the end of a furrow.

dalet

D    daleth

dance

Τεχνη χρω            Use your skill.

delta-greek-letter-1

door     It could be a door in a tent.   D     The Greeks called it delta.

images

Απ’ έξω κούκλα κι από μέσα πανούκλα.       Outside doll, inside plague.  See the word for doll, κούκλα?  There was once a television program called Kukla, Fran and Ollie. Kukla came from the Greek word for doll κούκλα.

barto

Γαμειν μελλε        Intend to get married.

gnosce te ipsum

Know yourself.   GNOTHI SAUTON. In Latin, Gnosce te ipsum. Notice that the S in SAUTON looks like a C.

studio 54 1982

When the Russian language adopted the Greek alphabet, this C was used for S.  My name in Russian looks like C3M. Sem. Studio 54.

Provence-Alpes-Cote-D'Azur

The Greeks decided to visit the côte d’azur quite early in their history.

trapeze

The azure coast.

cotedazur

Antibes was founded in the 4th century BCE  by  a colony of Phoenicians established in Marseilles.

cameraphile

The name Antibes was originally Antipolis, which meant opposite the city, facing the city, in Greek. Anti  opposite and Polis city.

Procido-naples

Naples was originally nea polis, new city.  Every language has a phrase for new town. Newton. In Russian it’s Novgorod.  In Spain, Cartagena was a corruption of the Roman Carthago Nova, new Carthage, and Carthage itself meant ‘new town’ in Phoenician.

accordion violin

Αγαθους τιμα         Honor good men.

map of Grenoble

Grenoble was once called Gratianopolis, the city of Gratian, a Roman emperor from the fourth century of our era.

coffee

Επαινει αρετην                 Praise virtue.

saint-tropez2-lc

Saint-Tropez was originally known as Athenopolis, city of Athena.

think_of_laura_02

Ευλογει παντας            Speak well of everyone.

palermo_city_map

Palermo was once Panormos, derived from Greek pan all, everything, and ormos, meaning a port.

Catanzaro+sign

See that town at the top of the map above, Lamezia Terme? Big Brother and the Holding Company flew into that town recently (September 2014) to do a gig in Catanzaro, which is on the Ionian Sea, a beautiful hilltop city only about twenty-five kilometers away from Lamezia Terme. The city between two seas (Mediterranean and Ionian).  This entire region was Magna Graecia, great Greece. There are still towns here in Catania where people speak Greek.

grace_kelly_magazine_cover_L3MAsoG.sized

The Greeks called her principality Héraklês monoikos, Hercules, the Solitary, because the strongman had a temple in Monaco (monoikos).

map-nice-france

Nice is Nike. The entire settlement was dedicated to Thêa Nikaia, goddess of victory.

AntonyandCleopatraGreekPoster

This film is called Anthony and Cleopatra in English. In Greek it is something like Under the Shadow of the Pyramids. Do you see who’s starring in it?   Tsarlton Eston (Charlton Heston).  You can pry my spear from my cold, dead hands.

TRIPOLI STAMP

Καλον ευ λεγε              Praise the good

2009BBHC-Tripoli-2009

Tripoli, a town on the Peloponnesian peninsula, where Big Brother and the Holding Company played in 2009, was once called treis polis, three cities.

Epinoia_-_Max_Clarke

 Ευπροσηγορος γινου         Be courteous.                                                               Photo:   Max Clarke

BKS.0960000

Από την πόλη έρχομαι, και στην κορφή κανέλα.       From the city I come and cinnamon on the mountain.     This is a nonsensical, surreal phrase, but the word κανέλα (cinnamon) is interesting because it came down into Spanish.

dark eyed family

Ομιλει πραως               Live together meekly.

cinnamon1

There is a restaurant in Tucson called El Güero Canelo which means the paleface cinnamon, or, as we would say, the strawberry blonde. Let’s face it, it basically means ‘honky.’  Anyway that canelo, canela in the Greek saying above is a direct descendent of κανέλα, cinnamon.

greek all about my mother

All About My Mother

cig

Φιλοις βοηθει                     Help your friends.

Lynda Carter Debra Wingere

Beautiful women.  Do you recognize them?

Elizabeth_Gillies15

Αρχε σεαυτου                 Control yourself.

Eliz filled with holy ghost

Elizabeth filled with the holy spirit.  See the word pneúmatos? That means spirit, which is close to respiration, breath, pneuma.  Our tires are pneumatic because they are filled with air.

young_queen_elizabeth_with_puppy_by_azuresky25-d532asv

  • Το κουκλάκι μας     une belle
    eyes
    Σαυτον ισθι                   This is another way to say Know yourself.

gwcb_m10

polly

Photo:     Polly Belinda Rendall

mapmoria2

Roughly four thousand years ago, the first Indo Europeans settled in the Peloponnesian peninsula.

domenico

These were Myceneans, Ionians, Dorians, Achaeans and other Greek tribes.

800px-NAMA_Linear_B_tablet_of_Pylos

They brought their language with them, although early on they wrote in a script called Linear B.

fanbeauty

Linear B was descended from a script called Linear A that has still not been deciphered.

2009-nov-macedonia

Here are some Greek words you use every day, although they are often embedded in other words and phrases:  Ana- from low to high (anabolic steroids), cognate with English on.  Cata- down, from high to low (catastrophe, cataclysm).  Palino- backwards (palindrome).  Callo- beautiful (callopygian, calligraphy).

SYSTHSO

Talk about calligraphy. Here is an introduction to the band that I wrote out and spoke from the stage when we were in Greece. This has to be the worst Greek handwriting that I have ever seen.  I wrote this quickly in a dark green room shortly before we went on. First I introduce Peter, then Dave,  then Ben Nieves and then Mary Bridget Davies (MBD).

karoll

They seemed to understand what I was saying.  At least they clapped in all the right places.

alcohol

Αυτά που θες ξενέρωτος, τα κάνεις μεθυσμένος.                In vino veritas.          What you wish sober, you act out drunk.

erin everly

Μηδεν αγαν                     Nothing to excess.

dionysus

We used to do a song called Cuckoo. I loved that tune. Peter Albin played guitar on it, and I played bass.

2009-nov-alex

Cuckoo might be the oldest song in the English language.

koukaki

Ένας κούκος δε φέρνει την Άνοιξη.         One cuckoo doesn’t bring the spring.

frankie norstad

Φιλοσοφος γινου         Be a seeker of wisdom.

2009-6-nov

Elise and I took the bus from Athens to Tripoli on the Peloponesian peninsula.

book bed

Η βιβλιοθήκη είναι το φαρμακείο του μυαλού.                The library is a pharmacy for the mind.

CasinodeParisGreekPoster

Αλυπως βιου                            Live without sorrow.

Socrates_-_Max_Clarke

Θυμου κρατει                 Control anger.                                       Max Clarke photograph

funeral-flowers

Suffixes and prefixes:     -trope turn towards (heliotrope, turn towards the sun, Zoetrope turn towards life).   -phile  lover (She is a homophile).  -lâtre who venerates (idolater).  Théo god (theocracy).

grace

ηβων εγκρατης           As a youth self disciplined.

anastase boots

  • Τι ωραία που είναι να τους έχεις του ποδιού σου     feet shot

sabe

Ti kaneis anastash? kala? pos perases ta xristougena? sou eyxomai kalh xronia na xeis k oti epithimeis na xeis k oti den sou efere to 2010 na sto ferei to 2011.

greek

This is the way Greeks write to each other on the internet when they don’t have the keyboard for the Greek alphabet.

anastasios

This is called Greeklish. Lots of English words and the use, for example, of ‘anastash’ for the name Anastásios.

halloweenpinup_1

Τα Greeklish (Γκρίκλις), από τις λέξεις greek (ελληνικά) και english (αγγλικά), γνωστά και ως Grenglish, Λατινοελληνικά ή Φραγκολεβαντίνικα, είναι η ελληνική γλώσσα γραμμένη με το λατινικό αλφάβητο.

greeklish

This is English:   I think of Greeklish as the writing of Greek with the Roman alphabet, but here is an example of the writing of English with the Greek alphabet (Grenglish).  It’s your language.  Can you decipher it using the alphabet below?  It says: If you are Greek, please write in Greek and be proud of your language. When you write in Greeklish, it looks that stupid.  Thank you.

300-tourkikes-lexeis-pou-leme-kathimerina-xoris-na-to-katalavoume-1-315x236

I understand, of course, the purist point of view that Greek should always be written with the Greek alphabet.

greeklish2

Sometimes, though, you have to write an e mail to someone and you don’t have a Greek keyboard.  What are you going to do?  I must admit that I have written Greeklish many times.

greeklish

More Grenglish (English written with the Greek alphabet).  Can you read it?   Fuck lifestyle.

phak

I’m sure it meant something at the time.

comp-

People, mostly young people the world over, use the keyboard Roman letters to write their own language. Chinese do it. Japanese do it. Russians do it. Greeks do it. Anyone whose language uses another alphabet besides Roman has probably, at one time or another, used the alphabet we use on the computer keyboard to write their language. It’s a matter of expediency.

Ikaros_-_Max_Clarke

 μεσος δικαιος        As of middle age, just.                                      Photo:   Max Clarke

tatoopicture1

Η περιέργεια είναι η αρχή της σοφίας.

jam session 1922

Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.

anglika

It’s all English to me.

Xmas

Can you read this? It’s in English.  Well, sort of, anyway.

japanese music

πρεσβυτης ευλογος            As an old man, sensible.

GREEKLISH6

Greek pride:    Our language, the mother of languages.

stop_greeklish

I speak and write Greek and not greeklish.

but

2009-8-nov

Set  list       Athens        8 November 2009

Klarino_Clarinet_-_Max_Clarke

Παις ων κοσμιος ισθι             As a child be well behaved.

fiveklarina

Πλουτει δικιως               Acquire wealth justly.

pontikosavvatovrado

Οταν λείπει ο γάτος, τα ποντίκια χορεύουν.  Quando la gatta non è in paese, i topi ballano.

naakt

When the cat isn’t in the country, the mice dance, or, as we would say, When the cat’s away, the mice will play.

mir

Τυχη μη πιστευε            Do not trust fortune.

updo-ancient-greece

Ομορφιαααά!

omorphe

  • ομορφηηη!         beautifullll!

constantina delimetrou

Xρόνια Πολλά κοριτσάκι. Όλα τα καλά      Happy birthday, Constantína, all the best to you.   Πολύχρονη κι αγαπημένη, Κωνσταντίνα!

happy-birthday-card-w_-balloon

xronia polla theie na ta ekatotiseis…!  kai oti epithimeis..!

phone

Φθιμενους μη αδικει                     Do not wrong the dead.

1953 Triumph Mayflower

Yes, the word automobile is Greek.  So is car, for that matter.

Greek Cart

The word for this in Greek was karo, cart.

Xponia Polla

kalh xronia na exoyme k na ta poume apo konta sto neo etos sthn australia k panta me ygeia

independance

The Greek soul’s urge for independence is always strong.

three

Επαγγελου μηδενι            Make promises to no one.

greek_6101

kalimera 3adelfe..    na loipon pou gnwristikame estw kai mesa apo to facebook!      w = omega   3 = e epsilon

ukulele fly

Τω βιω μη αχθου.               Do not be discontented with life.

BRAVO

Μπράβο στην Χριστίνα         Hooray for Christina           Some strange ones  MP = B       NT = D

riverblues

My friend Milena:  tha ton poioume ton kafe alla egw ton poino me poli zaxarh.        egw = ego = I

dafuq2

Απολαυστικός Γεωργακοπουλος, αν και δεν συμφωνώ για το deal breaker του Ποταμιου.  I wrote a whole web log about the word ‘apolaustic.’  I had no idea that it was also a name in Greek.

topic_1631

Απολαυστικός       Apolaustic in English means seeking a life of pleasure or enjoyment, but it is different from ‘hedonistic’ in that the pleasure may be mental, spiritual, physical.

selini

On the other hand…     ΓΝΩΡΙΜΙΕΣ ΓΙΑ ΑΠΟΛΑΥΣΤΙΚΟ ΣΕΞ

umrao-singh-sher-gil

Επι νεκρω μη γελα           Do not make fun of the dead.

Η Σελήνη σου δείχνει με ποια άτομα μπορείς να έχεις ερωτική ταύτιση!

aphro

darwin

Προγονους στεφανου           Crown your ancestors.

mar

Κυριε ελεησον!     Kyrie eleison      We said this phrase when we were altar boys.   Lord have mercy!

Moros_-_Max_Clarke

This license plate photographed by Max Clarke has the word fool on it. A sopho moros (sophomore) is a wise fool.

lupiino

Νεωτερον διδασ           Teach a youngster.

lob

If you were going to write the English word love with Greek letters, it might look like the last word above. LOB. The Greek word for love might look more like the first word PHIL. Philos.     Feel the love.

Sir Nicholas Winton with some of the people, then children, who he saved from the Nazis in 1939

Sir Nicholas Winton with some of the people, then children, whom he saved from the Nazis in 1939.          Ήρωας      Hero

look

Αποντι μη μαχου            Do not oppose someone who is absent.

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Μια χαρά, λέμε…

2009-15-nov

Συν Αθηνά και χείρα κίνει.      Literally,  With Athena and moving the hands.      Heaven helps those who help themselves.  Elise on the Acropolis.

athena

γλαῦκ’ Ἀθήναζε / εἰς Ἀθήνας     Owls to Athens.   Owls can also mean drachmas.    Owls to Athens is like coals to Newcastle.  They have a lot of owls in Athens, because the owl is the sacred bird of Athena.

left

Φειδομενος μη λειπε             Do not stop to be thrifty.

athina

pou eisai?  athina

2009-4-nov-exchange

We change some money.

jennifer

Κινδυνευε φρονιμως       Venutre into danger prudently.

doublekitchen(1)

Κακιαν μισει                 Despise evil.

karla

Απεχθειαν φευγε               Flee enmity.

pi4

ἀεὶ ὁ θεὸς ὁ μέγας γεωμετρεῖ τὸ σύμπαν       Always the great god geometrizes everything.    This is a saying of Plato (Πλάτων) and it has been turned into a mnemonic for memorizing π (pi).     π = 3.1415926…   Look at the number of letters in Plato’s saying.  ἀεὶ = 3.   ὁ = 1   θεὸς = 4    ὁ = 1   μέγας = 5      γεωμετρεῖ = 9    τὸ = 2   σύμπαν = 6

mutter

Σαν την αγκαλιά της μητέρας καμία.

mousika organa

The nine Muses

taverna bacchos

Χρόνια πολλά στις μανούλες όλου του κόσμου!

kubrick_photo_02

Επι ρωμη μη καυχω           Do not boast in might.

eisodos

Eisodos      entrance

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γλυκουλααα μμμ ♥  φωναραα μμ σε αγαπαω πολυυυ αδερφουλα μμ ♥ και παντα θα μαι διπλα σου να το ξερεισ ♥

Pathos_-_Max_Clarke

Pathos can be feeling (pathos, pathetic, sympathy) and it can be disease (pathology, sociopath).   Max Clarke

marl

Δοξαν μη λειπε                Do not abandon honor.

kantyli_name_sign

Mens’ names:  Johnny, Michael, Constantine, Nicholas, Panayiotes, Evangelos (which means good messenger in Greek).

poor lamb

χαχαχαχα          χ = the ch in Scottish loch = a heavy, breathed H sound      The pig says ‘Happy Easter.’  Do you think the lamb is going for it?

XaXa

So, χαχαχαχα is how Greek people write the sound of laughing.

pamela

Ομονοιαν διωκε          Pursue harmony.

bouzouki

η καλή μουσική και το καλό το σεξ        ακούγονται δυνατα

hand

Beautiful music.  Give him a hand.

Greta_Garbo-smoking-hot-babe-young-after_thumb_585x795

εὕρηκα!   Californians know this verb well.  While Archimedes was taking a bath, he noticed that the level of the water rose as he got in, and he realized that the volume of water displaced must be equal to the volume of the part of his body he had submerged. This meant that the volume of irregular objects could be calculated with precision, a previously intractable problem. He was so excited that he ran through the streets naked and still wet from his bath, crying “I have found it!”

california-state-seal-081008

For Californians, though, Eureka! means the finding of the golden state and the finding of the gold. Archimedes’ word is on the state seal.

Mistinguett

Καιρον προσδεχου            Accept due measure.

Phobos_Deimos_Over_Mars

Δεῖμος καὶ Φόβος        Horror and Fear        Deimos and Phobos, the moons of Mars, are named after the sons of the Greek god of war Ares (Roman Mars).

ed everly

Το κρατουν φοβου              Fear ruling.

2.2

Thank you        ευχαριστουμε      Do you see the word ‘eucharist’ in there?

thanks

A big thank you.

EucharistIII

The noun εὐχαριστία (eucharistia), meaning “thanksgiving,” signifies to Roman Catholics  that Jesus is present body, blood, soul, and divinity in the Holy Eucharist.

miras

Αρρητον κρυπτε           Keep deeply the top secret.

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gynaika-2014-january-01-fullsize

Gynaika = Woman  (gynecology, gynephilia)

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ἦλθον, εἶδον, ἐνίκησα.    Veni, vidi, vici.       As we shall see below, Julius Caesar often spoke Greek, which would be a little like a British general speaking French today. Caesar said these Greek words, instead of ‘I came, I saw, I conquered.’

brutus

καὶ σὺ τέκνον;    You too, child?   On the Ides of March  44 BC, Julius Caesar was murdered by a group of senators, including Marcus Junius Brutus, a senator and Caesar’s adopted son. We are more familiar with the Latin words Et tu, Brute? (And you, Brutus?), which Shakespeare gave to Caesar in Julius Caesar (act 3, scene 1,85).  Notice that the Greek is much more personal.

Aphrodite-Patras

Aphrodite in Patras

patras

Πραττε συντομως             Act quickly.

one

Οφθαλμου κρατει             Control the eye.

patras---athens

Αμαρτανων μετανοει         Repent of wrongdoing.

Patras_Greek_City_-_Max_Clarke

 Σεαυτον ευ ποιει            Treat yourself well.                   Photo:   Max Clarke

patras-carnival-annual-night-parade-2013_1878936

Περας επιτελει μη αποδειλιων     Finish the race without shrinking back.

route

Βιας μη εχου              Do not depend on strength.

Patras-Carnival-Music-Festival_by-carnivalmusic-gr

Γλωτταν ισχε            Restrain the tongue.

patras float

Ευγνωμων γινου              Be grateful.

athens night

Elise and I walked around Athens at night. It was so calm and evocative. Beautiful.

2009-nov

καλλίστῃ      To the most beautiful one.

geisha

Κρινε δικαια             Make just judgments.

Puthagóras

Notice where he put the accent on his name. Pythagóras.  I’ve often wondered why we don’t retain the same stress as in the original. Why do we say Pythágoras?

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  •  pou ise vre omorfoula euge euge…

bus accordian

Maybe it plays Lady of Spain when it goes around corners?

sweden 1905

Ακουων ορα           Observe what you have heard.

Κωνσταντίνος Μάνος          Konstantínos Mános
Merrywang
Ελπιδα αινει                  Praise hope.

mona

Our neighborhood in Athens

2009-nov-Athens-neighborhood

We lived a couple of blocks from this metro station, but we walked everywhere and never took the train.

Back Camera

τὰ πάντα ῥεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει.        Everything flows and nothing remains.                 Heraclitus

2009-4-nov-draw

Sam Andrew  The Archer   Orpheus     (I drew this in Athens.)

τελευτων αλυπος      Reaching the end without sorrow.

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