Posted by Tracey on January 04, 2001 at 09:07:04:
In Reply to: Greek language posted by Michelle on January 03, 2001 at 09:56:05:
: a Greek friend of mine told me that Greek is the oldest
: european language, and that most other languages come
: from greek. Is this true. I guess it explains why there
: are so many greek words in english.
Greek, Sanskrit, and Hethitian are the oldest languages of
the Indogerman language family of which we have written sources.
There is no scientific evidence identifying
"the oldest one" of these three languages.
Not to forget, there are languages as old or older in other parts of the world
(South America, Asia, aso.) that either have no written remains because they
used less lasting media or did not have a writing but an oral tradition.
The reason why you find so many words of greek origin in English is because
the history of the English language was shaped by the Romans who after taking
over Greece in terms of reign also took over parts of the Greek Academic Tradition
by employing Greek teachers for their children. So when the Romans occupied
England, elements of Greek and Latin were added to English. The second influential wave
of Greek (by way of Greek incorporated into Latin) came when the Normans invaded Anglo-Saxon England in the
11th century BC.
Apart from these influences, for many centuries all "educated Europeans" learned
Ancient Greek as well as Latin as these were the languages of science and almost all books
(on philosophy, religion, science) in European/Mediteranean culture were written in these languages.
Thus, today we have many words on the more educated level of English that are of Greek origin.
Hope to have been of assistance,
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