2009-04-14

Little Grammar of Early Modern Greek

First up, it's very little. I mean, srsly, very very little. But: the TLG has been entering Early Modern Vernacular Greek works for a little while into its corpus. The proofreaders are classicists, and they have on occasion tried to make these texts much more Classical than they need to be. (ποτέ in Modern Greek is NOT an enclitic.) To help avoid that kind of thing, I've put up some summary notes on how Early Modern Greek grammar differs from the Classical Greek they're familiar with. It's pretty slapdash and not referenced; it's certainly not purporting to be a reference grammar. (And right now, the treatment of what's happened with the imperfect is just embarrassing.) But if anyone out there has some suggestions or things they're curious about, I'll be happy (and surprised) to add to it.

Note that this is expressly intended as an Early Modern Vernacular grammar (the stuff the proofreaders are proofreading), not a Contemporary Modern Greek grammar. Greek linguistic development has actually gone backwards because of diglossia, so there will be things about Early Modern Greek grammar which will strike Modern Greek speakers as wrong. The story of how particular changes got reverse or split is interesting in itself, and may lead to marginalia down the road.

2 comments:

  1. Maybe the next person to do a dictionary here could start at Nu, just as the OED3 has started at M? Not only will it fill the gaps, but it'll improve the quality at Alpha, assuming that dictionary editors get better as they go on.

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  2. You have followed me as desired! Mwahaha! Welcome!

    That would be eminently sensible; Greek lexicography has suffered a lot from the Start At Alpha thing. The Greek dialect dictonary (1933- ) is up to delta (a draft of the whole thing is in place after a lot of pushing, but no idea when it gets out). The big Diccionario Griego-Español (1980-), which aims to supersede LSJ, is not only stuck at epsilon; IT'S JUST GONE BACK AND REDID VOLUME 1! People, you're not going to run out of new texts; just move forward. That's mercifully what Trapp's doing—he'll do the supplement AFTER finishing the whole thing.

    But yeah, anything from 800 AD to 1800 AD after pi is currently very poorly served in Greek lexicography, and it really shows in the lemmatisation I'm doing: there's a lot more initial sigmas and taus in the words the lemmatiser has no idea about than there should be.

    The lexicographers are getting better, which gets noticeable over a 200 year span; the current lexica are all 20th century though, so the work in progress is not as uneven as elsewhere. I freaked out when I saw how pathetic the Grimm dictionary volumes that the Grimms actually worked on were. Which is why they're redoing A-F—but only when the whole thing finished, 150-odd years later, not 25 years in.

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