Diogenes- Call for Contributions

The editors of Diogenes are welcome to announce the Call for Contributions for the next issue of Diogenes to be published in October 2019. The deadlines for contributions is the 30th of May!




Fifteen Shades of Goat: Exploring South Italian Varieties of Greek and their Revitalisation

Presented by Francisco Lopez-Santos Kornberger
(University of Birmingham)

The Whitting Room, Arts Building (R436), University of Birmingham
17:15, Wednesday 28 March

The language has a stunning richness in the lexis of the pastoral world, with, for instance, 9 different words for different types of fig (e.g. affàci, apochìdi, klostò, karapòzzulo), and more than 15 words to describe the colours of a goat (e.g. rusocèfalo, kasbopò, rusokàpulo, sparedda, mavropò), but still has no word for electric light, fridge, television, or radio. When these objects entered people’s everyday life, the speakers had already decided that the language was too old to be spoken by their children and therefore they did not upgrade Greko for the modern society. (M.O. Squillaci 2017: 16-17)
In Apulia and Calabria, the southernmost regions of the Italian peninsula, one can find speakers of unique varieties of Greek, the existence of which dates back to either millennia-old or ninth-century migrations. Due to their particular position in central Mediterranean, and their relative isolation from other Greek communities during the last millennium, these varieties of Greek (Griko in Salento and Greko in Calabria) are markedly different from the varieties spoken in Greece and Cyprus. In this informal presentation, I will summarise some particularities of Griko and Greko, the way in which the social background of their speakers shaped their language, and the wide range of attitudes towards it from the speakers and the surrounding, Romance-speaking population. I will also bring in plenty of anecdotes from my visits to Apulia and Calabria, my attempts to learn the language and contribute to its revitalisation, and some potential benefits of learning Griko for Byzantine, Ottoman, and Modern Greek researchers.