Aperçu d’une histoire de la langue grecque by Antoine Meillet

By Antoine Meillet

The echoes of Greek are heard in lots of sleek languages. for instance, the summary vocabulary of the fashionable ecu languages derives mostly from the vocabulary of the Greek philosophers and students, no matter if without delay or through Latin writers who have been knowledgeable in accordance with the Greek culture. First released in 1913, Antoine Meillet's historical past of Greek indicates how the language, derived initially from Indo-European, built over the years according to sociological and geographical components. Meillet argues that its complexity is because of the consistent borrowing of vocabulary and grammar from modern languages and neighborhood dialects. regardless of - or due to - its versatile and ever-changing nature, and the inability of consistency in utilization among person urban states, Greek finally grew to become the language of significant works of literature, philosophy and technology.

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Toutefois le systeme avait ses points faibles. L'amuissement de Vs intervocalique devenue h, de y intervocalique, et, a partir du debut de l'epoque historique, de F intervocalique a entraine la rencontre d'un grand nombre de voyelles. Or, des voyelles en hiatus continuent malaisement a former deux syllabes distinctes. Elles le peuvent en une certaine mesure quand il s'agit de mots brefs qu'une fusion de deux voyelles defigurerait: veoq par exemple a pu conserver son e et son o en deux syllabes distinctes alors meme que le F qui les separait avait disparu depuis longtemps; l'aspect du mot ne s'est done pas trop eloigne de celui qui est conserve dans le Sanskrit ndvab « nouveau » ou dans le latin nouos (nouus a l'epoque imperiale).

On voit bien comment (SasiXeu? a donne (kcnXsuw, comment etXog (vocatif ^i'Xe) a donne ©iXdw, comment SfjXo? pi'£w de ipiq, IpiSo? p£§jyw. ^w, -a^w a depasse ensuite plus ou moins les limites premieres de son emploi. Au lieu d'un type en -yu>, le grec s'est procure ainsi, par suite de l'elimination du y, huit ou dix types productifs de denominatifs dont chacun a son role particulier. opuaaw ou - u A. MBILLET. 144 on Thu Nov 04 15:44:18 GMT 2010. 004 Cambridge Books Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010 3 3d PREHISTOIRE DU GREC represente -6y- ; fSppuy?

Mais le changement a ete plus tardif et moins general : a la difference de y, le w s'est conserve en grec commun, et, surtout a 1'initiale des mots, il se pronongait encore au debut de l'epoque historique dans une grande partie des parlers grecs ; c'est ce que Ton appelle le digamma, F ; on avait ainsi yCkiFoq en face de KAUTOV L'amuissement de F a eu lieu, dans la plupart des parlers, a date historique ; en Laconie, il n'a jamais ete complet, etun parler de Laconie, le tsaconien, a aujourd'hui encore des w initiaux continuant \e F ancien ; seul de tous les grands groupes dialectaux, l'ionien-attique a perdu F avant l'epoque des premiers textes.

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