x

Culture

Celebrating International Greek Language Day

February 10, 2021

ATHENS – This year, we celebrated International Greek Language Day, February 9, with people from around the world who are learning Greek as 536 students explain why they are learning Greek in a video created with the collaboration of schools and institutions from 54 countries under the coordination of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Diaspora Greeks Konstantinos Vlasis.

The Deputy Minister’s remarks in honor of International Greek Language Day follow:

“International Greek Language Day is not just a reminder of our language’s uninterrupted continuity through time, but also a recognition of its timeless global contribution. It is precisely this recognition that is the essence of the annual celebration of our language.

“The Greek Language is over 5,000 years old, with its proto-Greek form dating to from about 3,000 BC to the current day. In spite of the changes it has undergone over the millennia, it is the thread linking defining moments over the course of thousands of years into a single historical timeline. Its history travels so far back in time that it is universally recognized as the language that first codified higher lexical references not only to abstract and but also to technical concepts, that established universal values and laid the foundations for and shaped the key notions of western civilization. “According to the French academic Jacqueline de Rimilly, ‘if Greece asked for Greek loanwords to be removed from our language, western civilization would collapse.’ This legacy is unquestionably a multiplier of our country’s soft and structural power.

“The Greek Language is an emotion. Intrinsically linked to the Greek national identity, the hearts and minds of Greeks, who discovered the magic of expression and the wealth of their spiritual world in its words. In its words, they found a way to establish themselves through time and to create. The Greek Language is a poetic language. Greece is rightly proud of its two Nobel Laureates, George Seferis and Odysseas Elytis, who sculpted in the Greek language in a unique way. It is the language of Dionysios Solomos, who gave us the Hymn to Liberty, our national anthem. Honoring our national poet every year on 9 February, we remember his words: ‘Does anything else occupy my mind but liberty and language?’ His excellent knowledge of Italian and his long residence in Italy were no obstacle to his narrating his aesthetic, linguistic and life’s progress in Greek. A narration that is etched into the birth of modern Greece. The millions of Greeks and many philhellenes in every corner of the world today are living examples of its unparalleled charm.

“But what makes our Language unique is that it is in essence an attitude to life. In their effort to interpret the world, the Greeks created words that give meaning to existence, guide us to what is actual, what exists, and what is transcendent. Words that precisely signify singular notions, ideas and values. Democracy, Philosophy, Dialogue. This has been characteristic of the Greek Language throughout its history.

“Through the Greek Language, the language of the Gospels and the Church Fathers, the universal human message of Truth, Faith, Charity and Peace was spread and is still being spread today.

“‘Since Homer’s time, we have spoken, sighed and sung the same language,’ George Seferis writes, capturing the timelessness, the emotional riches and the attitude to life and essence as they are reflected in the Greek Language. We all have a duty to teach it in order to preserve and pass on the Greek Culture.”

RELATED

(THE CONVERSATION/AP) An important piece of early Christian history, the Crosby-Schøyen Codex, is up for auction at Christie’s in London.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

2 Germans, a Spaniard and a Senegalese Killed in Building Collapse in Spain’s Mallorca Island

MADRID (AP) — Spain's National Police on Friday gave details on four people killed when a building housing a bar and restaurant club collapsed on the island of Mallorca.

NEW YORK – The New York Times has reported that “an aide to Mayor Eric Adams who served as his longtime liaison to the Turkish community has turned against him and is cooperating with the corruption investigation into Mr.

BOSTON – Crowds flocked to the Greek Festival of the St.

The news about air travel lately hasn't been pleasant.

Beyond the issues in Crete and our own in America, as we wrote in our ‘Analysis’ in last week’s edition, Patriarch Bartholomew has unfortunately ensnared himself in problems with the majority of local Orthodox Churches worldwide, with few exceptions such as those of Greece, Alexandria, and Cyprus, due to the granting of Autocephaly to Ukraine, which has proven to be ill-timed and ill-suited.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.