Modern Greek

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This paper attempts to examine the relationship between the representation of the Greek language and its history, and the particular nature of Modern Greek reform in the 19th century. Our starting point is that the Greek scholars’ lack of determination to prescribe purist language (a total absence of grammars and monolingual dictionaries), or perhaps a very special view of prescription, is linked to a vision of reform based on Modern Greek founding myths formed in the 19th century. During this period, a set of appraisals, judgements or assumptions generated an image of Greek language history and from this image emerged founding myths on “character”, “nature” and the evolution of the language (the inseparability, uniqueness and conservative character of Greek). Linguistic mythology, as a part of the national ideology, is built within a particular historical context and it appears in a discourse that legitimizes a set of political and cultural goals. These founding myths shape a mental framework within which the objectives and the means of reform are set. In this context, any attempt to compose normative works is explicitly rejected.


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