Polytonic diacritics

Discussion in 'Ελληνικά (Greek)' started by Scholiast, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member


    I wonder whether readers of this column are aware of this, and if so, what kind of realistic traction this "Citizens' Movement" may have? Is it a hobbyhorse ridden by a tiny minority of enthusiastic cranks, or a campaign with a serious prospect of widespread endorsement? Here is the link:

    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
  2. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    The first. Definitely.
  3. sotos Senior Member

    Counting the people who write in polytonic, yes, they are a minority. However, all texts do not have equal weight. You find many modern books, literary magazines and other written material in polytonic, like this ( Σημείωση επιμελητή: Αφαίρεση συνδέσμου προς εμπορικό ιστότοπο)
    It is unlikely that the state will ever restore polytonic, but who cares? The polytonic diacritics will be around for long time, symbols of a Greek cult, snobbery or resistance.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2013
  4. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    Thanks, Sotos - and indeed ireney - for answering this query.

    Professionally I teach classical Greek (in the UK), and I am also aware that in academic publications, scholars writing in modern Greek still tend to deploy the accents and breathings, if only from a sense of pedantic "classicism". And to me the written language looks naked without them. But of course I know that they were an Hellenistic invention (by Callimachus in Alexandria?) completely alien to Sophocles or Plato - presumably in an effort to preserve the "classical" Attic pronunciation against the overwhelming tide of the κοινἠ, in a world in which everyone's second language was Greek. Much as English purists these days may try to shield the language of Shakespeare and the AV of the Bible from Internet English.

    I always tell my students that they can forget the accents. But (in classical Greek) they must observe the breathings and the iota subscripts.

    καλά χρονιά!

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