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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Greek/latin vs greek

dear maria- i was just wondering where greek and latin came
from and whether either of them is derived or has had a major
influence on the other.

Dear Megan,

here are my answers to your questions.

1st. QUESTION: “Where Greek and Latin came from?”
Both Greek and Latin came from a geographic area close to the Aral Sea, in Central Asia.
Both Greek and Latin belong to the Indo-European(or Aryan) family of languages, i.e. an unrecorded prehistoric language spoken some time before 2000 B.C. in an area between and including India and Europe.
Indo-European is in fact the name given by scholars for geographic reasons to the large and well-defined family that includes most of the languages of Europe, past and present, as well as those found in a vast area extending across Iran and Afghanistan to the northern half of the Indian subcontinent. In modern times the family has spread by colonization throughout the Western Hemisphere (see below).

2nd. QUESTION:” Is either of them derived or has had a major influence on the other?”.
First of all, since both Greek and Latin have the same origin because they both derive from the language spoken by the so-called Indo-European( or Indo-Aryan)tribes, we cannot say that Latin derives from Greek or vice versa.

As for the major influence one has had on the other, we can say that this did not happen from the point of view of grammar or syntax, while with regard to the use and spread of these languages, we can say that each of them has had a great influence on culture and civilization, however in different times.
In fact GREEK was not only the 'lingua franca' of the empire of Alexander the Great, when it became the common language(‘koinè diàlektos' in Greek) among speakers of different languages in the eastern Mediterranean, but was widely used throughout the E Mediterranean area in Roman times too, before Latin ousted it under the Roman influence.

Later, i.e. from the 2nd.century BC on, it was LATIN that began to be widely used throughout the East Mediterranean area and moreover in all Europe west of the Rhine and south of the Danube.
The Roman Empire was in fact the dominant power in the entire Mediterranean basin, most of Western Europe and large areas of northern Africa, as it comprised many countries from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea and the Black Sea, i.e. Italy of course, modern England, Scotland, Portugal, Spain, France, Western Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Hungary, Austria, Jugoslavia, Romania, Albania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Armenia, Syria, Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Israel, Lebanon and Northern Africa from Morocco to Egypt.

So, Latin, which originally was merely the language spoken in Latium, the region of Central Italy where Rome was founded in 753 BC, became the 'lingua franca' used for communication among people of different mother tongues, like today English which is now what Latin was at the time of the Roman Empire, and Greek at the time of the Hellenistic World.

Hope this can be helpful to you.
Have a nice day.

The Indo-European languages have the same characteristics with respect to vocabulary and grammar so that have led many scholars to postulate that they are all descended from an original parent language, called Proto-Indo-European.
One theory of the origin of the individual Indo-European languages suggests that, as the ancient speakers of Proto- Indo-European migrated or moved away from each other, losing contact, their language broke up into a number of tongues.
These tongues later also split up still further, eventually giving rise to the many modern Indo-European languages that are:
-ROMANCE GROUP[ Latin and then Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian]
-GERMANIC GROUP [English, German, Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish]
-GREEK GROUP[Ancient and Modern Greek]
-SLAVIC GROUP[Russian, Polish, Bulgarian, Serbo-Croatian, Slovenian, Czech]

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