Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Language of Leonidas Lives On

Back in 2009 I blogged that there are parts of Greece that still speak an ancient dialect (Ancient Greek Still Spoken in the Peloponnese!?). This Greek dialect is known as Tsakonian, and can trace it's heritage back almost 3000 years. In fact, Tsakonian is the direct descendant of the ancient Doric used by the Spartans!

Recently I came across a fantastic-looking documentary on how people in the Eastern Peloponnese (Southern Greece) are trying to preserve this historic tongue. Called A Groussa Namou (Our Language), it shows how the native Tsakonians are starting to lose their unique form of speech and what they're doing to preserve it. Here is a description from the website:

In the Eastern Peloponnese, in a remote region in the shadow of Mt Parnon, live the Tsakonians, a stubborn group of native Greeks. For 3,000 years now, they have been speaking an ancient dialect, the only surviving representative of the Doric language. They never abandoned it, not even when the Attic-based Koiné (from which Modern Greek derives) became the first common dialect of all Greeks and the lingua franca of the entire Mediterranean. Having survived for a great many centuries, the Tsakonian dialect entered a period of neglect in the 1960s, and may currently be approaching its end...This movie is about the loss of identity: what it means to know that your language will have vanished in a hundred years’ time.

If you have a love for history and languages, check out this Youtube clip and listen to what the Spartans may have actually sounded like! Or if you're so inclined, you can instantly download the documentary and watch it by going to their website.

1 comment:

Carla said...

How interesting. A little like Cornish, perhaps, which declined to almost zero in the late 19th C, though efforts are underway to revive it.