Greece acquires its national dictionary

His life story could provide the makings of a good novel, for Demetrios Georgacas did far more than just teach linguistics at American universities. His was the stuff of the great researchers of the past, a genuine ascetic of Greek letters who devoted the last 25 years of his life to a single purpose. He amassed material from all the sources of Modern Greek in order to write a Greek-English dictionary. Initially his work was intended for American college students but eventually it assumed the dimensions of a national dictionary of Modern Greek that includes translations of the entries into English. The «Modern Greek – English Dictionary» by D.J. Georgacas is not just an international work of reference, available in printed and digital form. The 1,000 or so pages of the first volume (the complete work will be six volumes) contain the distillation of the professor’s massive research. The index cards of which he recorded his 2.5 million textual sources – a unique archive for Modern Greek lexicography – have been brought to Greece. Though the dictionary was funded in the United States, where it was also written and printed, it now belongs to Greece, after a series of happy accidents. The material was laboriously collected during the course of an American program that was funded for many years by the US National Endowment for the Humanities, but the collection – a unique data bank of Modern Greek – is now located at the Greek Language Center (CGL) in Thessaloniki. It was donated by Barbara Georgacas on the death of her husband.