Preserving linguistic heritage in face of globalization

Greek Language Heritage is the title of a new cultural association aimed at studying and preserving the Greek language, launched on December 18 at the Athens Academy by its president I. Konomis. The purposes of the new association were set out by its board members, Emmanouil Mikroyiannakis, professor of ancient history at Athens University’s School of Philosophy, the former dean of Athens University Vassilis Filias, and the writer Sarantis Kargakos. Founded within the framework of the European Language Year 2001, it will encourage interest in the Greek language, part of the world’s cultural heritage which is in danger of disappearing into the mill of globalization, as with all languages spoken by relatively small populations. The Athens Academy, a large number of intellectuals and artists and ordinary people have taken the project under their wing, as has President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos, who, on his frequent trips to the Greek diaspora, has always emphasized the greatness of an ancient language still spoken as in Homer’s time and in the texts of the ancient philosophers and writers. Also present at the foundation ceremony was Dimitris Papanayotou, director of the president’s press bureau, Onassis Foundation president Stelios Papadimitriou, Professor Vassilis Kyrkos of Athens University’s School of Philosophy, the dean of the National Technical University Themis Stathopoulos, lawyer and parliamentary deputy Alexandros Lykourezos, Manolis Glezos, and playwright Iakovos Kambanellis. Chinese doctor Sou Kai addressed the gathering, speaking in excellent Greek, on the way in which the Greek language had led her to a global perception of things. To coincide with the launch, a collection of rare books dating from 1500-1900 went on show for a few days, unfortunately ending on December 20. It seems a pity that the academy couldn’t have found another space to allow the exhibition to continue. Novabank to buy Sitebank shares. Turkey’s Savings and Deposits Insurance Fund said yesterday it had agreed to sell shares in Sitebank, a small bank with 13 branches held in state receivership, to Greece-based Novabank. The fund said in a statement that Novabank would complete its work to purchase Sitebank’s shares by January 11. The fund provided no other details, including how much Novabank would pay for the shares of Sitebank. (Reuters)

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