2009-10-21

Lerna: Hitler finds out that the Greek language has no more than 200000 words

Travelling as I am in the U.S., I'm going to be light on blogging here at Hellenisteukontos (well, even lighter than usual); any blogging I do is going to be travelogues in The Other Place (once I'm somewhere worth traveloguing about.) But I've just found out that Stazybo Horn, honoured member of Team Fortier who has also stopped by and commented here, has taken That Downfall video, and subtitled it... with reference to the Lerna Myth. And a shout out to this Lerna thread! A blessing on your house, Stazy!

(To view Greek subtitles, turn on Closed Captioning, bottom right control next to Volume and Full Screen. My annotated translation into English follows.)

THEODORE ANDREAKOS,* Educ. Insp. (Ret'd), Hon. Prof. Tech Coll.: The longhairs* are counterattacking. They have occupied Wordpress and are heading towards Blogger. They include Sarantakos, Neostipoukeitos, and from the other flank Lexilogia and Periglwssio. From the eastern front, we have opuculuk,* nickel and yannisharis.Theodore Andreakos: prominent letter-writer in the recent debate in the Athens press over the word count of Greek.
longhairs: advocates of Demotic, from their bohemian appearance in the 1900s.
opuculuk: opuculuk.blogspot.com, URL of The Other Place, where Yr Obt Svt posts from.

ADOLF: Have Kounadis* attack them, with the ten million words.Antonis Kounadis: member of the Academy of Athens (representing Engineering), whose April talk on the gajillion words of Greek launched the whole Lerna saga in the Athens press and the blogosphere.
THEODORE ANDREAKOS, Educ. Insp. (Ret'd), Hon. Prof. Tech Coll.: Mein Führer... Kounadis...
EURIPIDES STYLIANIDES:* Kounadis is a laughing stock. They've reduced the word count to 200,000.Euripides Stylianidis: Minister for Education in 2008, taken in by the Lernaean Myth in a speech. Notoriously, the speech included a folk etymology of έντερο "intestine" as ἐντὸς ῤέω "I flow within"
ADOLF: ... The following will stay behind. Andreakos, Kounadis, Stylianidis, and Adonis-Spyros.*Adonis Georgiadis: Greek right wing politician, publisher, author, and TV host. Prominent in nationalist philippics on the Greek language. His original name is Spyros, and his critics delight in pointing out the affectation of his name change.
ADOLF: FUCK MY IN-TEST-INE!* We'd talked through Kounadis' mission! How did he manage to mess it up?! What do I keep collecting Liddel–Scotts for him for? You've forgotten all your graves and rough breathings*—I won't even mention your iota subscripts! You can't recite a single iamb in Aeolic!in-test-ine: See above, έντερο.
Graves and rough breathings: the polytonic accentuation system, a rallying point of linguistic conservatives after the disuse of Puristic Greek.

ADONIS GEORGIADIS: The man of many devices...*The man of many devices : the beginning of the Odyssey: Iambic in Modern Greek translation, at least.
ADOLF: We'd already got up to 120 million words!
ADONIS GEORGIADIS: Mein Führer, Euripy did try...
ADOLF: The TLG says as much! 5,000,000 words! Even English has overtaken us! What the fuck are you learning in your academies anyway? Just how to stick clubs up omegas' privates?* Sarantakoses and Tipoukeitoses! They should be impaled on the Colossus' torch! Hanged on the Themistoclean Walls! Them and Maria and Diver and Pi-Squared. And that Stazy.clubs up omegas' privates: A humorous verse in 1964 by Dinos Christianopoulos lamented that the abolition of iota subscript would deprive the Greek script of "its smallest obscenity": omega with iota subscript, ῳ, which looks slightly like a depiction of anal sex if your mind is dirty enough. With the iota subscript long abolished, the verse is routinely brought up in any discussion of the polytonic.
I never went to any academies. But I have glorified my language, by turning the world into mincemeat. Linguists! What did I sit and learn duals and infinitives for? 120 volumes,* I read them one by one. I even read about the God of the Jews.* He too was in my language. Millions of words; not one fewer! 120 volumes: As was pointed out in the letter-writing saga, if Greek really did have five million words, Liddell-Scott would have 120 volumes, not just one (or two, depending on the edition).
God of the Jews: The Septuagint is included in the TLG corpus.

SECRETARY: Hush, Lady Madonna...*Hush, Lady Madonna: Despina "Madonna" is a plausible first name, but this is an allusion to the folksong verse beloved of Greek irredentists: "Hush, Lady Madonna, and cry not so; after years and times pass, they will be ours once more." The song gave its title to Herzfeld's influential critique of the politicisation of Greek folklore
ADOLF: A pity I copied so much just to break my hand in.* Now where will I find 60 million terms? That's it. We've dipped the boat. Sarantakos has pulled our pants down. But if you think I'm going to start using monotonic accentuation, you're mistaken. I'd rather lick a kouros' "pears".* 200,000 words, he says...to break my hand in: An allusion to a comment by Cornelius, the polytonicist gadfly of Sarantakos' blog, that he used to voluntarily copy out polytonic texts in school "to break his hand in", gratified to find Babiniotis is now recommending the same. "My mother would say that was contrary to any paedagogical principle; I replied it was the monotonic system that was contrary."
pears: απίδια, euphemism for αρχίδια "balls"

9 comments:

  1. Antonis Kounadis: member of the Academy of Athens (representing Engineering), whose April talk on the gajillion words of Greek launched the whole Lerna saga in the Athens press and the blogosphere.

    Forgive me, but I must say . . . it's truly astonishing that anyone in Greece, especially the Athenian press, actualy gives a hoot about this "whole Lerna saga." Truly astonishing. Greece is being deliberately destabilized by the influx of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants and they're worried about word counts. (If I'm not mistaken, doesn't Mackridge in his new book talk about the influence of these (illegal) immigrants on the futute of the Greek language?) Moreover, comparing Greek and barbarian languages is like comparing apples and nuts---"nuts" as in "bolts and nuts."


    A humorous verse in 1964 by Dinos Christianopoulos lamented that the abolition of iota subscript would deprive the Greek script of "its smallest obscenity": omega with iota subscript, ῳ, which looks slightly like a depiction of anal sex if your mind is dirty enough.

    LOL---I've never thought of omega as looking like buttocks. Voluptuous boobs? Yes. And as for the iota subscript, it's kinda puny---relatively speaking, of course---to look like a (Greek) penis . . . by my measurement standards, anyways.

    Just saying . . . but then again, I don't have a dirty mind. ;-)

    "Hush, Lady Madonna, and cry not so; after years and times pass, they will be ours once more."

    ΑΛΗΘΩΣ---Πάλι με χρόνια με καιρούς, πάλι δικά μας θα 'ναι.

    Count me, too, as one of those "Greek irredentists," (which reminds me, I have dentist's appointment soon) N. :-)

    Enjoy your travels . . . and stay away from the restaurant tourist traps! I'll see you over at the other blog.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fixed translation of "break my hand in": Stazybo Horn has pointed out to me the comment on Sarantakos' blog he was alluding to.

    ReplyDelete
  3. @ Peter : Well, as you'll have gathered from The Other Place, we don't have the same politics (and I admit it's easy for me to be multiculti when I don't live there, but some locals do to). But, even I did concede this was a peril to the republic,

    * The debate was only in the Letters to the Editor and speechifying from the odd academian, so it wasn't exercising the press.
    * The press are hardly concerning themselves with grave matters of state anyway.
    * The ideology of Greece has always centred around language, whether from the left or the right; so someone who cares about Greekdom, left or right, cares about whether Greek has five bajillion words, or whether people are lying about Greek having five bajillion words. Remember Solomos' "Do you think I have anything else in my mind but liberty and language?" («Μήγαρις έχω άλλο στο νου μου πάρεξ ελευθερία και γλώσσα;») Interesting to google that phrase: both sides of politics cite it...

    The comparison is inane, and I spent oodles of posts saying as much before I started counting. Of course, people just wanted the count. :-)

    (The count will go up now we've got more Demotic texts in the TLG, but not drastically, maybe a thousand or so lemmata. That's why I set a ceiling at the end of the series at 300,000.)

    ῳ : You mean, you thought instead of what Greeks refer to as "Spanish sex"? Had not occurred to me. Depends on the font, I guess.

    Same goes for the iota subscript...

    Restaurant tourist traps: Oh, I plan to seek them out! That's an experience in itself.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Stazybo Horn was trying to post here and failing, so he mailed me as much. He points out the correction I've made. He also congratulates me on the allocation of roles—as I said at his place, I gave the recitation of the start of the Odyssey to Adonis-Spyros, because I didn't hold the other three fit to recite even half a mangled verse of Homer. And he asks leave to upload a YouTube vid with my translation, which of course goes without saying:

    Έξοχη και η δική σου μεταγραφή, διανομή ρόλων -το κάστινγκ ελληνιστί, και ο σχολιασμός. Θα μπορούσα με την άδειά σου να ανεβάσω και τους αγγλικούς (σου) υπότιτλους στο βιντεάκι;

    Ένα σημείο μόνο δες αν θες, πάλι:

    Το σπάσιμο του χεριού είναι «μπαμπινοκορνηλιακό δάνειο»:

    http://sarantakos.wordpress.com/2009/10/15/1909melas/#comment-13357
    http://sarantakos.wordpress.com/2009/10/15/1909melas/#comment-13365

    Θα μπορούσε να έχει μια καλύτερη μετάφραση;

    ReplyDelete
  5. Stazy has now uploaded a version, incorporating my English as well as his Greek, and the annotations. Thank you again for this!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I guess I should have prefaced my last comment (and probably this one) with "ἂς προσέχῃ ὁ ἀναγνώστης." :)

    The ideology of Greece has always centred around language, whether from the left or the right; so someone who cares about Greekdom, left or right, cares about whether Greek has five bajillion words, or whether people are lying about Greek having five bajillion words.

    This will obviously seem biased, but I like Greek because I enjoy the sound it. Heck, if I were King of the world for a day, I'd abolish any and all words that ended in a letter other than a vowel or n, r, and s. And if I were truly in a pissed off mood that blessed day, I'd abolish any and all languages with an overabundance of consonant sounds in their words.

    I also like the look of Greek: it's very pleasing to the eyes . . . like the Parthenon---unlike German which I find is a terrible strain on the eyes. I am still awed by how languagehat managed to distiguish between "Ausnahmlosigkeit"
    and "Ausnahmslosigkeit" without bursting an eye vessel (or did he?).

    Anyways, notwithstanding its rich vocabulary and countless attributes, it's the aesthestic charms of Greek that make it, for me, the most beautiful language in the world.

    Well, as you'll have gathered from The Other Place, we don't have the same politics . . .

    If you are a believer in international law and treaty conventions, if you are a believer in the democratic principle of one citizen, one vote, if you abhor illegal military and colonial occupations (for example, the theft, rape, and occupation of Cyprus), then, N, you and I share basically share the same politics. And, frankly, that is all I care about. I am not into "blues," "greens," or any other colour of Greece's political spectrum.

    Remember Solomos' "Do you think I have anything else in my mind but liberty and language?" («Μήγαρις έχω άλλο στο νου μου πάρεξ ελευθερία και γλώσσα;»)

    Now that you bring up Solomos' name, I kinda wish---and no disrespect to the great poet---that the founding Fathers of the modern Greek state had chosen the hymn Τῇ Ὑπερμάχῳ Στρατηγῷ as the national anthem. It has nothing to do with religion. Not at all. It's a winner's hymn, pure and simple.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Το κλιπ και αλλού, με ελληνικούς ή αγγλικούς ενσωματωμένους υπότιτλους, χωρίς, ωστόσο, επισημειώσεις. Τα αντίστοιχα αντικλείδια είναι τρισχιλιετής και trisxilieths...

    ReplyDelete

The Other Place (opɯcɯluklɑr)

Powered by Blogger Widgets