Thracian Loquation or Saracen Speak? The ‘Bastardisation’ of Greek in the Byzantine period
Presented by Michael Burling
The Whitting Room (Arts 436), University of Birmingham
5:15 PM 16th March 2016
The nature of Byzantine Studies requires active engagement with a diverse number of fields within the discipline, in order to analyse the material culture and textual evidence. Perhaps one of the most overlooked disciplines of Byzantine Studies is, however, the Greek language itself. Despite being one of the core skills in the arsenal of a Byzantinist, there is no definitive study of Medieval Greek, and most rely upon training in Classical Greek instead. What are the consequences of this for Byzantine Studies? This presentation intends to explore some of the drawbacks of this situation, and how a more informed knowledge of Medieval Greek can greatly advance our understanding of Byzantium. The origins of the deviation from Classical Greek in the Late Antique and Byzantine period will be approached through five other languages, investigating linguistic exchange from multiple angles, in the hope of drawing conclusions about the nature and extent of corruption in the Greek language, past and present.