Parliamo greco [senza saperlo]


The Greek language, since it first came into contact with the populations of ancient Italy, has never stopped influencing their languages. It is the result of this continuous and substantial influence that we attempt to give an overall view, one which is as clear and comprehensive as possible. In this work, which is not and does not intend to be a history of the Greek language, the current state of relations between Greek and other European (or should we say Indo-European) languages is examined. Over 3,000 Greek words, be they loans or anti-loans, minute changes, a vast repertoire of proper names of Greek origin, roots, suffixes, prefixes, constitute a powerful tool for dialogue between the languages examined here, which, as a result can be revealed to be closer than previously imagined.

A second phenomenon, that of the calques, or the translation of Greek words into Latin, which had already begun in archaic Rome with Andronicus and continued with authors such as Plautus and Cicero, led to the creation of Latin neologisms, but with a deeply Greek soul. Parallel loans and anti-loans and calques therefore allow us to say that the provocation “We speak Greek” is not so far from reality. However, it is essential for this work to try to highlight how much this linguistic heritage, which has deeply penetrated into various languages, can be used to put modern European languages in communication with each other and ensure that they can recognize each other as sisters. The Greek language, which is in the DNA of European languages, continues to be used to create extraordinary neologisms and is in fact not only a tool for decoding, but also one for the production of concepts. Even today Greece continues to remind us that, willingly or unwillingly, every person that has come into contact with this language receives from it an archetypal, flexible, creative heritage, capable of rediscovering the need to feel part of a human community, beyond the political boundaries, more or less existing today.

47 Items

Data sheet

Maria Mattioli
Saggi & Critici
Column Number