What are some common Greek and Turkish words?

There used to be a lot more Turkish words in Greek, but purism and changes in institutions have gotten rid of a lot of them. There are still a fair few in daily use. Nikos Sarantakos’ blog [Page on wordpress.com] has a list of 218 Turkish words that remain in daily use. I am taking out of the list words that are only used in fixed expressions (e.g. χρόνια και ζαμάνια “years and zaman = it’s been a very long time”), and words that I think are somewhat specialised or antiquated, and I reduce them down to the following 140:

Αγιάζι (frost),
Αλάνα (open space),
Γιακάς (collar),
Γιαπί (building site),
Γιαούρτι (yoghurt)
Γιλέκο (vest)
Γινάτι (stubbornness),
Γλέντι (party)
Γούρι (good luck),
Γρουσούζης (jinxed),
Εργένης (bachelor),
Ζόρι (difficulty),
Καβγάς (argument),
Καβούκι (shell),
Καζάνι (cauldron),
Καλούπι (mould),
Κάλπικος (fake),
Καπάκι (lid),
Καρπούζι (watermelon),
Κασμάς (pickaxe)
Κατσίκα (goat)
Κέφι (good mood)
Κιμάς (mincemeat),
Κοτζάμ (huge),
Κοτσάνι (stalk),
Κουβάς (bucket),
Κουμπαράς (piggybank),
Λεβέντης (brave),
Λεκές (stain),
Λούκι (gutter),
Μαγιά (yeast),
Μαγκάλι (brazier),
Μαϊντανός (parsley)
Μανάβης (greengrocer),
Μαράζι (withering away),
Μαραφέτι (gadget),
Μεζές (tapas),
Μενεξές (violet),
Μεντεσές (hinge),
Μεράκι (yearning),
Μουσαμάς (canvas),
Μπαγιάτικο (stale),
Μπακάλης (grocer),
Μπαλτάς (axe),
Μπάμια (okra),
Μπαμπάς (dad),
Μπαρούτι (gunpowder),
Μπατζάκι (shin),
Μπατζανάκης (brother in law),
Μπατίρισα (go broke),
Μπαχαρικό (spice),
Μπεκρής (drunkard),
Μπελάς (trouble),
Μπογιά (paint),
Μπόι (height),
Μπόλικος (plenty)
Μπόρα (downpour)
Μπουλούκι (crowd),
Μπουντρούμι (dungeon),
Μπούτι (thigh),
Μπούχτισμα (fed up),
Νάζι (coyness),
Νταντά (nanny),
Ντιβάνι (divan, sofa)
Ντιπ για ντιπ (totally),
Ντουβάρι (wall),
Ντουλάπι (cupboard),
Ντουμάνι (smoke),
Παζάρι (market),
Παντζάρι (beetroot),
Πατζούρι (window blinds),
Παπούτσι (shoe),
Περβάζι (window sill),
Πιλάφι (rice, pilaf),
Πούστης (faggot [derogatory])
Ρουσφέτι (corruption),
Σακάτης (crippled),
Σαματάς (noise),
Σεντούκι (chest, box),
Σινάφι (guild),
Σιντριβάνι (fountain),
Σιρόπι (syrup),
Σαΐνι (genius),
Σοβάς (plaster),
Σόι (family, lineage),
Σοκάκι (alley),
Σόμπα (heater),
Σουγιάς (pen-knife),
Σουλούπι (shape, form)
Ταβάνι (roof),
Ταμπλάς (stroke),
Ταπί (penniless)
Ταραμάς (taramasalata, fish roe),
Τασάκι (ashtray),
Ταψί (baking tray),
Τεμπέλης (lazy),
Τενεκές (can),
Τεφτέρι (ledger)
Τζάκι (fireplace),
Τζάμι (windowpane),
Τζάμπα (for free, gratis),
Τόπι (ball),
Τσακάλι (jackal),
Τσακμάκι (lighter),
Τσάντα (bag),
Τσαντίρι (tent),
Τσαπατσούλης (messy),
Τσάρκα (stroll),
Τσαντίζω (irritate),
Τσαχπίνης (cunning),
Τσέπη (pocket)
Τσιγκέλι (hook),
Τσιγκούνης (greedy)
Τσιμπούκι (smoking pipe),
Τσιράκι (henchman),
Τσίσα (pee)
Τσομπάνης (shepherd)
Τσουβάλι (sack),
Τσουλούφι (tuft of hair),
Φαράσι (dustpan),
Φαρσί (fluent),
Φιστίκι (peanut),
Φιτίλι (wick),
Φλιτζάνι (cup),
Φουκαράς (poor guy [term of compassion]),
Φουντούκι (hazelnut),
Φραντζόλα (loaf),
Χαβούζα (water tank),
Χάζι (pleasure),
Χαλαλίζω (forgive),
Χάλι (mess),
Χαλί (carpet),
Χαμάλης (porter)
Χάπι (pill),
Χαράμι (waste),
Χαρτζιλίκι (pocket money),
Χασάπης (butcher),
Χατίρι (favour),
Χαφιές (informant),
Χούι (quirk)

Most of these, you would be struggling to replace with a Greek word idiomatically. Please don’t make me provide the Turkish originals for all of them. [But see the admittedly somewhat messy list given as [1] in Achilleas’ answer.]

A couple of these are Rückwanderer [TIL a Rückwanderer (German for “one who wanders back”) is a word that enters another language, develops a new form or meaning there, and is re-borrowed into the original language. • /r/todayilearned], such as φουντούκι < fındık < Ποντικόν, φιστίκι < fıstık < πιστάκιον, τεφτέρι < tefter < διφθέρα.

Answered 2015-10-31 · Upvoted by

Amir E. Aharoni, I have a B.A. in Linguistics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

What is an ergative-absolutive language?

Ergative languages are a very hard thing to wrap your head around, if you don’t speak one. A *very* crude way to explain it is: verbs look like they’re passive by default:

I am slept.
I am killed by the enemy.

If you’re just sitting there, including having something done to you, you’re the subject.  (Absolutive case)
If you do something to someone (transitive verb), you get extra grammar (the ergative case): you are *not* the subject.

In nominative-accusative languages, if you do something to someone, you’re the subject, and whoever has something done to them is the object.

The way linguists explain it is by having S for subjects of intransitive verbs, A for agents of transitive verbs, and O for objects of transitive verbs:

I (S) sleep
The enemy (A) kills me (O)

In nominative-accusative languages, S and A are in the same case (nominative). In ergative-absolutive languages, S and O are in the same case (absolutive).

English actually has an ergative feature tucked away: the –ee suffix. If the verb is intransitive, –ee goes with the subject: I retire, I am a retiree. If the verb is transitive, –ee goes with the *object*: They paroled me, I am a parolee. In ergative-absolutive terms, –ee goes with the noun that would be in the absolutive case.

European languages are nominative-accusative, but a whole lot of languages in the world are ergative-absolutive. A further complication is that some languages are split-ergative: their verbs are nominative-accusative in some tenses, and ergative-absolutive in other tenses.

I said that ergative-absolutive verbs acts as if they are in the passive, which is why “if you’re just sitting there, you’re the subject”. Nominative-accusative languages have a way to flip the subject and object of transitive verbs, and calls that the passive. You guessed it: ergative-absolutive languages have a way to  flip the subject and “object” of transitive verbs: “The enemy is is-killed-ed by me = The enemy kills me”. And that mechanism is called… an anti-passive.

Would Hebrew be better revived if linguists did it?

Language revivals almost never restore the language to what it was. Because the initiatives say they are “revivals” and not “reinventions”, they don’t particularly highlight the fact: but yes, there are much more Yiddish grammar and German calques and Ashkenazi phonology in Modern Hebrew than linguistically there should be—to the extent that Ghil’ad Zuckermann considers “Israeli” a hybrid language from Biblical Hebrew. Because that is what is practical. And indeed, what ben Yeuhda had in mind is not what Modern Hebrew ended up as: even he wasn’t quite as practical as circumstances warranted in the kibbutzim.

And what is practical defeats what is accurate in language revival, because you’re trying to get something up and running, with speakers who are not academic linguists. There are Aboriginal language revivals underway that skip the Ergative–absolutive language — because the uphill battle of restoring an ergative for people who have only ever spoken English is just not worth it. The Tasmanian language revival Palawa kani is probably a hodgepodge linguistically—although the language workers refuse to show their work to academic linguists, because approval from (white) academic linguists is not the point of their exercise.

And you know, that’s fine. Linguists may well mutter that these are just amateurish feel-good exercises. They may even be right. But those exercises are likelier to get something resembling the original language spoken, than an exercise that is much more linguistically accurate—and which the language community feels no ownership of.

And the last thing you want is linguists trying to correct a language revival. Or even worse, someone trying to compromise between the original revival and the corrected revival. Such as happened with the Cornish revival :

(xkcd: Standards)

Greek Alphabet: Why do I always screw up when I try to draw alpha on paper?

If you’re writing in the context of Maths, then it is important to differentiate alpha from Roman a in the context of handwriting, and then it’s a matter of working out an alpha that works for you; typically it will be some variant of: (See How to handwrite in Greek ; option 1)
If on the other hand you’re writing alpha in the context of Greek, then you know what? The usual handwritten Roman a
is what Greeks write their alpha as too. (See above, option 2, although option 1 is not that unusual.) Check out for example May I see a pic of your handwriting? – page 5 – Off-Topic Discussion – GameSpot

Why doesn’t English have diacritics?

Been thinking about this question for a little while. I don’t have a firm answer, but I do have some idle chatter.

tl;dr (a) English does not have consonant diacritics because England isn’t in Eastern Europe.
English does not have vowel diacritics because (b) initially neither did French, and (b) by the time diacritics could have been introduced (printing), English vowel phonology was both in flux and massively complex, so there’d have been little point trying to fix things.

Things like diacritics are like memes and other epidemic-like phenomena: they can occur in different places independently, they diffuse, they have carriers (in this case, influential cultures).

Diacritics on consonants in Europe seem to be an Eastern European thing; the Western choice is digraphs instead. (Polish does both, and I think there was some vacillation between the two in Eastern Europe.) Digraphs in Western Europe use <-h> as the default (by analogy with Latin’s transliteration of Greek: <ph ch th>). In fact, the three consonant diacritics I can think of in Western Europe all originated as digraphs: ss > ß, cz > ç, nn > ñ. The Eastern European meme of haceks did not make it West.

Oh, and there’s a fourth digraph in Western Europe, that turned into a letter. <w> from <uu>. Old English had a distinct character, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wynn <ƿ>; but there was no continuity between the writing of Old English and Middle English. So there was at least some innovation in English (alongside German).

For vowels, there were two options. Digraphs was the early default, and in the Early Middle Ages, I’m not sure *any* Western vernacular used diacritics. Diacritics came in gradually (don’t remember when); first the diacritics that were available from Greek, acute grave and circumflex/tilde; then others, like slashes. Some digraphs also turned into diacritics, like German ue > ü, or Danish oa > å.

Diacritics were introduced to Western vowels in the (um) later Middle Ages or Renaissance, as a cleanup activity, and got entrenched with printing. English did not take them up, and I think there were two factors in play.

1. The Middle English vowel system was prodigious, and only got more prodigious. The digraphs employed to cope with it were quite messy: oa oo ou ea ee ie, plus final e to lengthen vowels sometimes, and no intrinsic way of lengthening a i. Unlike other languages, there wasn’t a single letter that kept being used, to turn into a diacritic, the way umlauts happened. The spelling system was too messy to tidy up, when the opportunity was there.

And there wasn’t a vowel feature simple and recurring enough to fix with acutes, the way other languages did. Stress, there would be little point in indicating: it was too irregular in Middle English to begin with, because of the extreme Romance influence. Vowel quality again would have been to drastic a change, given how messy English vowels were, and that there were too many digraphs already entrenched.

God knows there were attempts; the Ormulum for example made up its own orthography, and there were attempts at spelling revision since the 16th century. But any change would have had to be more radically than you could get away with without a strong central language authority regulating it. (I’m not convinced that the absence of an English Academie means that the English are intrinsically more freedom-loving than the French, either; again, it’s memes that take root or not due to lots of random factors.)

2. When tidy-up could have happened, with the invention of printing, the Great English Vowel Shift was underway. So fixing the representation of vowels would have been like nailing down jelly.

So I think English has no diacritics, not because its phonology is easier than other Western languages’, but because it is harder.

Why are Greeks called Greek in English, Yunan in Turkish and Arabic, Ellines in Greek?

Thx for A2A.

The Wikipedia treatment of the topic, Names of the Greeks, is pretty damn good.

Basic story:

The Classical Greek term for Greeks, Hellenes, had not generalised until early Classical times. Before then, Greek tribes used local terms for themselves, and any peoples that came in touch with them would pick up those local terms, rather than Hellenes. Hence:

* Homer predates the generalisation of Hellenes, and his word for Greeks (who he contrasts with the non-Greek Trojans) is Achaeans. In Homer, the Hellenes themselves are only one Greek tribe; in later usage, so were the Achaeans. It is likely that the Hittites used a variant of Achaeans, Ahhiyawa, to refer to Greeks.
* The Persians were first in contact with the Ionian Greeks, so they called Greeks Yunan. Peoples of the Middle East who learned of the Greeks via the Persians, or whose cultural heritage came from those who did, stuck with that term.
* The peoples of Italy came to refer to Greeks as Graeci, possibly from the name of a tribe in Western Greece that they first contacted. Peoples who learned of the Greeks via the Etruscans (e.g. the Romans), or  whose cultural heritage came from those who did, stuck with that term.
* The Greeks themselves came to abandon the term Hellenes, which came to mean “pagan”, and used Rhomaioi “Romans” instead, because they belonged to the East Roman empire. The term Hellenes was revived in wide use in the 19th century.
* And so Wikipedia informs me, the Georgians call Greece Saberdzneti, from the Georgian word for wisdom.

What is written in those documents Page on www.keelpno.gr and  Page on www.keelpno.gr? It’s written in Greek and Google Translate doesn’t manage to translate it. I need it for an important factcheck, thank you!

PDF 1: The Centre for Control and Prevention of Diseases (KEELPNO) in the Ministry of Health is informing the public of a case of serious extended gastroenteritis in a Dutch tourist aged 79 who was staying in the island of Kos. Because of the severity of his condition he has been airlifted and hospitalised in the Intensive Care Unit of a private hospital in Athens. Because of the initial negative lab results, further examinations are underway to rule out the prospect of infectious gastroenteritis that could threaten public health. A team of KEELPNO scientists has gone to Kos to carry out further epidemiological investigation and find any possible further cases, in collaboration with the local authorities. While waiting for the final microbiological results, KEELPNO recommends that as with all outbreaks of infectious disease, people should carefully apply all hygienic measures around the consumption of water and food, and careful hand hygiene in all cases.

PDF 2: On the case of acute infectious gastroenteritis with serious complications of the Dutch Tourist, KEELPNO states that the initial lab check in the Central Laboratory of Public Health in Vari and the Regional Lab of Public Health in Thessaly has not confirmed the existence of the cholera bacterium. Lab investigations are continuing with further molecular checks. KEELPNO remains on alert to fully investigate the incident.

What is this greek dish?

Konstantinos Michailidis‘ and Alex Giannakakos‘ answer are the same. Kritharaki is Risoni (Orzo (pasta)), and Giouvetsi is meat with risoni.

On Stella pasta’s web site (Stella – Μακαρόνια), their risoni is advertised as Φτιάξτε ονειρεμένο γιουβέτσι για όλη την οικογένεια και πείτε «Stella κύριοι! Σας μιλάω εκ πείρας!»  (“Make a dreamy giouvetsi for the whole family and say ‘Stella gentlemen! I speak from experience.'”)  (“I speak from experience” is the slogan at the start of the poster.)

Love giouvetsi…

What does “opoulos” mean at the end of Greek names?

Literally, it comes from the word for “bird”, πουλί, which is originally from Latin. (There is a minority opinion that it comes from πώλος, “foal”.) The word has ended up being used as a diminutive, and Greek patronymic surnames are formed as diminutives. Diminutives in Greek vary by region, which means that you can tell someone’s region of ancestry from their surname.

opoulos is the default suffix and diminutive of the Peloponnese. Exceptionally, while Standard Modern Greek is based on the Peloponnese, –opoulos is not the default diminutive: –aki is (used in Central Greece). –opoulo is used more narrowly in Standard Modern Greek, though, to denote young animals (γουρουνόπουλο, “piglet”), and children of nationalities (εγκλεζόπουλο, “English kid”).

So Papadopoulos means “son of a priest”, as Konstantinos Konstantinides says, but originally παπαδόπουλο means “priestling”.

Will languages other than English eventually die out?

I’m not as sanguine as other respondents on this.

If history and human and society go on as they have done, then yes, there are centripetal and centrifugal pressures on language: communities want to be understandable within each other, but communities also want to sound distinct from each other. The community you identify with in your daily (or weekly) linguistic interactions determines the boundaries of your language.

But in a future where transhumanism is a possibility—as is the extinction of humanity—I’m not sure we can assume that things will go on as they have.

Things have already changed significantly, even without robot overlords or global catastrophe. The centripetal forces are getting stronger, and the centrifugal forces are getting weaker.

The community of interaction, which used to be at most the villages feeding into the local market town, has become the nation under nationalism and mass media, which has led to mass die-off of dialects, and attenuation in social status of regional languages. This is an attenuation which is often the precursor to language death: a language that only gets used in the hearth, and has retreated from the public domain, does not compete well with languages with full Ausbau (Abstand and ausbau languages).

And that trend is only increasing. Many communities and contexts of interaction are now global. If a university course in IT in Greece is conducted in English, that means that there’s already one professional domain that Greek has given up on. And that really is how it starts.

Yes, people in Athens will still want to sound different from people in New York. But you don’t need a separate language like that, or even a separate dialect. A separate accent would do. That in itself won’t guarantee the survival of Greek.

Collapse of national languages in the face of English would require comprehensive undermining of the nation-state, as other respondents have argued. But that’s really not unimaginable.