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How the ancient Greek language came to affect modern English

Backtracking through the history of the English language, it is clear that the language had no direct contact with any Greek people. On the other hand, French-speaking armies invaded England under William the Conqueror, in 1066. Under his reign, French became the court's language. Over time, thousands of French words became part of the English language. This article addresses how the Greek language affected modern English.

Koine and the Hebrew Bible

As for Greek words, they arrived as souvenirs which were brought by scholars to England. Greek itself is a mixture of dialects including Mycenean, Doric, Aeolic and Ionic/Attic. When Alexander the Great conquered large areas of the world, soldiers from different parts of Greece talked to each other in what came to be known as Koine. Koine was the language of administration in the Greek Empire. It was the language that was used to translate the Hebrew Bible.

Evolution: Greek, Latin, French and English

Greek and Latin remained the languages of classical study till the 18th century. England had direct contact with Latin only because the Romans ruled over the country for
400 years. Hence, some words were adopted by the English language. The Romans admired Greek civilisation. This is why Greek words changed into Latin, then to French and from there, into the English language. Here is an example of this transformation: kaligraphia, calligraphia, calligraphie and then calligraphy.

Renaissance and Greek revival

Greek life and Greek writing have always been studied by English scholars. It is still part of the curriculum for some schools. The Renaissance, from the 14th to the 17th century, created a sudden desire for information on Greek classical writings about history, culture and literature. The invention of the printing press by Gutenberg in 1440, fuelled this desire for learning. It created a wish to learn the Greek letters.

Parthenon and Epidaurus

Ideas borrowed from Greece Greece has given people the idea of democratic republics. It is universally accepted as the cradle of Western civilisation. The world has acquired the idea of the Olympics from Ancient Greece. Greek ruins, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites, yearly attract millions of tourists who are eager to find out everything about Greece. Tourism sites on Greece and Greek are in demand. Learning Greek has always been a good option for students. Children Children are attracted by the Greek language, by the beaches and the classical style of Greek clothes. Ancient Greece clothing consisted of a peplos (tunic) and a himation (cloak). Greek kids wore a chlamys (short cloak) and women wore an epiblema (shawl). A petasos (hat) was worn by men. A perfect place for great beaches and for learning the language is Greece. This will undoubtedly bring in more Greek words into the English language.

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