NEWS

Greek will standardize

The Greek language is not so much threatened by borrowed words as by its isolation on a European level and reduced presence in new means of communication, such as the Internet. On the other hand, the language will be strengthened and standardized by being taught to migrants. Local dialects will suffer, however, explained Spyros Moschonas, a lecturer in linguistics at Athens University. «But it will have a problematic existence within the EU, especially after enlargement. Unfortunately, there is no official language policy. On the other hand, the disappearance of dialects is set to continue. For example, Cypriot Greek is converging with common Greek.» Word borrowing, once regarded as the language’s Achilles’ heel, no longer constitutes a significant danger. «Pressures will continue to exist, but will not be a particular problem. For example, in information technology, the initiative to Hellenize terms and programs was taken by the market, not by the Academy of Athens. We will always use some English terms in technology, but I don’t think that’s so important. It’s more important that Greek does not lose the game… especially on the Internet.» But Greek education appears not to be able to shake its fear of other languages. «Multilingual education is not one of the State’s priorities,» Moschonas said. «School today does not provide the smallest opportunity for using other languages. Thus, bilingual children, e.g. Greeks from the former Soviet Union, are basically being asked to forget their own language, which, quite apart from everything else, would be a useful tool in their lives.» «A multilingual education,» he asserted, «would certainly not be detrimental to the Greek language.»