The Representation of Modern Greek in Ancient Greek Textbooks

A Linguistic Perspective


  • Jerneja Kavčič University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Slovenia



Modern Greek, Ancient Greek, semantics, lexicon, didactics


Focusing on Agnello and Orlando (1998), Elliger and Fink (1986), Weileder and Mayerhöfer (2013), Mihevc-Gabrovec (1978) and Keller and Russell (2012), I discuss attempts at introducing elements of Modern Greek into teaching its ancient predecessor. My analysis, which is based on the etymologies of LKN (Λεξικό της Κοινής Νεοελληνικής), shows that approximately half of the words in the textbooks investigated in this study retain the same written forms and meanings in Modern Greek as in Ancient Greek; the term word in this analysis subsumes headwords introducing lexical entries. On the other hand, words with the same written forms and different meanings in Ancient and Modern Greek are significantly less frequent, accounting for 5 to 11% of all words in the textbooks. Furthermore, these textbooks contain between 12 and 16% of words that retain the same meaning in Ancient and Modern Greek, and also show significant formal change. As a result, their written forms are different in Ancient than in Modern Greek. It is also found, however, that at least some inflected forms of the words belonging to the latter class retain in the modern language the same written forms and meanings as in Ancient Greek. These data suggest that it is possible to introduce elements of Modern Greek into teaching its ancient predecessor without drawing attention to grammatical and semantic differences between Ancient and Modern Greek. Based on these data I also evaluate at the end of the article existing attempts at incorporating elements of Modern Greek into teaching the ancient language.


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How to Cite

Kavčič, J. (2020). The Representation of Modern Greek in Ancient Greek Textbooks: A Linguistic Perspective. Journal for Foreign Languages, 12(1), 75–93.