Tag Archives: diglossia

Byzantine Period

In the 4th century, the Roman Empire was divided and the Eastern Roman Empire arose with Constantinople as the capital city. The official language of the Eastern Roman Empire was Latin, but Greek was the language spoken, the language of the Church and education. Latin is slowly displaced from every aspect of public life. Gradually, the word Romans came to mean ‘the Greeks of the Eastern Roman Empire’ and Romania was Byzantium. Continue reading Byzantine Period

The Language Issue

Diglossia, which started in Byzantine times, the vast difference between the spoken language of the people, which was the descendant of the Koine, and the archaic language of scholars, education, and the Church, continued well into the modern era.

At the end of the 18th century and the beginning of Greek Enlightenment, there were two different camps of Greek scholars: a. those who cultivated archaism and pinned on it their hopes for the nation’s cultural renaissance, and b. those fighting archaism and suggesting the establishment of the people’s language – or as close to it as possible – as the medium of education and literature. Those latter ones believed that archaism was actually an obstacle for the education of the people, since they could not understand the language of instruction. Continue reading The Language Issue