Greek Influence on English Language ~ All About English Literature

For Exclusive Notes and Analysis

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Greek Influence on English Language

Greek Influence on English Language

The revival of Greek learning in Western Europe at the beginning of 16th century opened up a new vista (i.e. Greek) from which the English vocabulary was greatly enriched. But the pre-Renaissance period was not altogether blank of Greek borrowings. Further in the hands of able writers and thinkers like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Homer, Aeschylus, Euripides, Sophocles, the potentialities of this language for expressing accurate distinction have been cultivated to the highest point.

Long before the Renaissance English contained a certain number of Greek words, such as ‘geography’, ‘theology’, ‘logic’, ‘academy’, ‘Bible’, ‘harmony’, ‘ecstasy’, ‘diphthong’, ‘nymph’ ‘poetry’, ‘theatre’, ‘tragedy’, ‘tyrant’ etc.

The contributions of Greek to the English vocabulary mainly consist and in the supply of technical and scientific terms. Names of almost all sciences have come from Greek, such as biology, anthropology, zoology, botany, chemistry, physics, mathematics, astrology, astronomy etc. Medical science has taken a large number of words from Greek such as ‘psychology’ (mind), ‘neurology’ (nerve), ‘hepatic’ (liver),  ‘cardiology’ (heart), ‘phlebotomy’ (vein), ‘nephrology’ (kidney), ‘diagnosis’, ’tuberculosis’, ‘symbiosis’,  ‘clinic’,  ‘larynx’ etc. Many technical terms have been  made by putting  together two Greek words e.g. ‘telegram’, ‘telephone’, ‘phonograph, ‘photography’, ‘lithography’, ‘ophthalmoscope’, ‘microscope’, ‘telescope’ etc.

According to Margaret Schlauch “Classical Greek made a special contribution to English in connection with the study of grammar and rhetoric.” The words ‘grammar’ and ‘rhetoric’ derive from Greek language. Other significant words in this class are ‘parenthesis’, ‘anaphora’, ‘irony’, ‘climax’, ‘bathos’, ‘elegy’, ‘antithesis’, ‘oxymoron’, ‘protagonist’ etc.

Sometimes hybrids have been made by adding Greek suffixes and prefixes to English words. Thus the Greek prefixes ‘anti-‘ (antisocial), ‘hyper-‘ (hyper-sensitivity) ‘infra-‘ (infrared), ‘a-‘ (amoral) have been joined to many English words. The Greek suffix ‘-ology’ has been added to words of Latin English origin as in ‘sociology’.

Now we may note some of the Greek words adopted since the 16th century: ‘alphabet’ ‘drama’, ‘dilemma’, ‘chorus’ ‘hubris’, ‘basis’, ‘theory’ etc: 17th century; ‘orchestra’, ‘pandemonium’, ‘museum’, ‘hyphen’, ‘dogma’ etc.: 18th century; ’bathos’ and ‘philander’. The 19th century saw the coming of words like ‘phase’, ‘acrobat’, ‘agnostic’, ‘pylon’ etc.


Finally, Greek like Latin and Sanskrit, is beyond doubt, a dead language, but it is still effective through English and other European tongues. It has a wonderful capacity of being precise and thus feeding the needs of modern science and technology. Mario Pei in his work Language for Everybody commented “The civilization of the Greeks and Romans forms the basis of our western culture.”

~~~~~*~~~~~
Share:

Follow Me in Social Media

Get Free Updates

Tags

A Doll's House (1) A Renouncing of Love (1) Absurd Drama (2) African English Literature (2) Agyeya (1) Alexander Pope (7) American Literature (26) Amitav Ghosh (3) Analyses (22) Anglo-Saxon Period (1) Aravind Adiga (1) Arthur Miller (5) Australian Literature (2) Beowulf (3) Bertrand Russell (2) Bible (1) Biographies (12) Book Review (2) British Literature (106) Broad Notes (94) Character Analysis (2) Charles Dickens (1) Charles Lamb (2) Charlotte Bronte (2) Chetan Bhagat (2) Chinua Achebe (1) Christopher Marlowe (2) Classical Literature (2) Composition (4) Creative Writing (5) D. H. Lawrence (1) Daniel Defoe (1) Diaspora (4) Drama (1) Dream Children: A Reverie (1) E-book Download (12) Edmund Spenser (1) Edward Fitzgerald (1) Edward II (3) Elizabethan Era (2) English Language (15) English Literature (9) English Literature Quiz (8) Escapism (1) Essay (12) Essays (12) Eugene O'Neill (7) Explanations (3) Feminism (3) Francis Bacon (4) Frankenstein (4) Free E-book Download (5) Free PDF Download (4) Genre (1) Geoffrey Chaucer (1) George Eliot (4) George Herbert (1) George Orwell (1) Girish Karnad (1) Hard Times (1) Heart of Darkness (1) Henrik Ibsen (1) Henry Vaughan (2) Historical Novel (6) History of English Literature (22) Indian Drama (2) Indian English Poetry (1) Indian Fiction (3) Indian Writing in English (33) Indo-Anglican Literature (32) Interesting Facts (9) Interpreter of Maladies (2) Jane Austen (2) Jane Eyre (2) Jayanta Mahapatra (2) Jhumpa Lahiri (3) John Donne (5) John Dryden (1) John Keats (4) Joseph Addison (1) Joseph Conrad (1) Keki N. Daruwalla (1) Kenilworth (3) Kim (1) Knowledge and Wisdom (1) Leo Tolstoy (1) Linguistics (2) Literary Criticism (5) Literary Essay (9) Literary Facts (1) Literary MCQ (4) Literary Photo Album (1) Literary Terms (14) Literary Trends (1) Literary Types (7) Lord of the Flies (1) Lyric (1) M. K. Anand (2) Mac Flecknoe (1) Macbeth (7) Mahadevi Verma (2) Man Eater of Malgudi (2) Mark Twain (1) Mary Shelley (4) Mathew Arnold (1) Midnight's Children (1) Modern Poetry (3) Modernism (1) Motivational Short Story (21) My Penning (1) Nayantara Sahgal (1) Notes (25) Novel (60) Novels (5) O' Henry (1) Ode to a Nightingale (1) Ode to the West Wind (1) Oedipus Rex. Oedipus the King (2) Of Friendship (1) On Fame (1) Online Quiz (8) Othello (1) P B Shelley (1) P. B. Shelley (1) Paulo Coelho (2) Philological Notes (10) Phonetics (3) Picaresque Novel (5) Plays (41) Poetry (52) Popular Literature (1) Post Colonial Literature (1) Post Colonialism (1) Pride and Prejudice (2) Prosody (3) Quiz (6) Quotations (6) R. K. Narayan (2) Rabindranath Tagore (2) Random Quiz (6) Rape of the Lock (5) Realistic Fiction (1) Restoration Era (2) Rhetoric (2) Robert Browning (1) Robinson Crusoe (1) Romantic Poetry (2) Romanticism (2) Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1) Rudyard Kipling (1) Salman Rushdie (2) Samuel Beckett (3) Sarojini Naidu (1) Seven Ages of Man (1) Shakespearean Influence (2) Shakespearean Plays (11) Shakespearean Sonnets (4) Sheridan (4) Short Notes (10) Short Stories (9) Soliloquy (1) Songs of Innocence (1) Sons and Lovers (1) Sophocles (1) Sri Aurobindo (1) Substance Writing (1) Summary (8) Sylvia Plath (1) T. S. Eliot (2) Texts (10) The Adventure of Tom Sawyer (1) The Alchemist (1) The Crucible (3) The Emperor Jones (7) The Golden Light (2) The Guide (1) The Mill on the Floss (4) The Namesake (1) The Pulley (2) The Rivals (5) The Shadow Lines (3) The Sunne Rising (5) The Superannuated Man (1) The Town Week (1) The White Tiger (1) The Winter's Tale (2) Things Fall Apart (1) Thomas Hardy (2) Thomas Wyatt (1) Toni Morrison (6) Tragedy (3) Tughlaq (1) Untouchable (2) Waiting for Godot (2) Walter Scott (3) Way of the World (1) William Blake (2) William Golding (1) William Shakespeare (14) William Wordsworth (3) Word Notes & Annotations (1) Word Notes & Anotations (2)