Celebrating International Greek Language Day

Sunset view of the blue dome churches of Santorini, Greece, Europe.

February 9 has been declared international Greek language day in hopes of sparking interest in the language worldwide. The date coincides with Commemoration Day of Greece’s ‘national poet, Dionysios Solomos, whose lyrics are featured in the Greek National Anthem.

In its press release, regarding this year’s celebration, the Ministry of Education writes: “It is important to learn and love the Greek language, because of its virtues but mainly because it has expressed a great culture, that shaped and codified the first and statutory layer of the upper vocabulary and the basic concepts of Western civilization. Over the centuries, its contribution has been decisive as a means of enhancing and spreading Greek culture and today, it is considered as one of the world’s oldest languages”.

The celebration was formulated by the Federation of Greek Communities and Fraternal Organizations of Italy in 2016, and continues to spread worldwide for the third year in a row.

Education Counselor Georgios Kosyvas stated, “This day is expected to highlight the constant contribution of the Greek language to the development of the European and international culture. Our aim is to promote and disseminate the Greek language trying at the same time to render its projection and reinforcement an issue of paramount importance, both for the Greek schools and for the international community. “

To celebrate the event, find three apps below to brush up on your Greek:

Duolingo: https://www.duolingo.com/course/el/en/Learn-Greek-Online

Memrise: https://www.memrise.com/courses/english/greek/

Mondly: https://www.mondly.com/

2 COMMENTS

  1. Our present world with most countries enjoying the fruits of Democracy as Pericles defined it, Theater of tragedy and comedy, Philosophy, Olympic Games,Greek Bible, Oath of Hippocrates for the Physicians of the World , statues, mosaics, music, museums,architecture, Geometry, Astronomy,Psychology,Plato who influenced Christianity and was distireted in Communism, Aristotle who studied and wrote about all things and concepts inspiring the Republicans in USA ,are true participants of Ecumenical Hellenism

  2. What is little known is that it was the Greeks who wrote Europe’s first language. The script, known as Linear B, was extant from 1450-1200 B.C., i.e. 500 years before the Hellenes introduced vowels into our alphabet and 1000 years before the Hellenes established Western civilisation. More accurately Mycenaean Greek, it was “a difficult and archaic Greek, but Greek nevertheless”. Thus wrote Michael Ventris, an English architect, who deciphered the script in 1952. His decipherment has been hailed as the greatest intellectual achievement in archaeological decipherment ever, surpassing that of Champollion, who deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphics. Linear B is a syllabic script, i.e. it is made up of 87 syllabic signs — each a consonant followed by a vowel — e.g. ma, ne, ri, so, tu, etc., are some of the deciphered signs. Thus to write the word banana would need three signs: ba-na-na. Sir Arthur Evans discovered clay tablets bearing unknown signs, which he termed Linear B, at the palace of Knossos near today’s Heraklion in Crete in 1900. Prof. Blegen of the University of Cincinnati discovered similar tablets in 1939 at Pylos, in the south-western Peloponnese in Greece. It was one of these clay tablets — the “tripod tablet” — that unequivocally proved the decipherment in 1953.

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