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The Chronicle of the Morea(s): a chronicle of the Greek language

altResearch academic and writer Dr Erma Vassiliou, will give a lecture entitled The Chronicle of the Morea(s): a chronicle of the Greek language,on Thursday, 2 August 2018, at the Greek Centre, as part of the Greek Community of Melbourne’s seminar series.

The Chronicle of the Morea(s), or The Chronicle of Morea is a 9000 line long history text in political verse relating to the establishment of feudalism in Greece, and most particularly in the Peloponnese, named Morea by the Franks who made their historical mark on thirteenth century Crusader Greece. This unique work was written by an anonymous person, most probably by a gasmule (a son of a Frankish father and a Greek mother). Four versions of the Chronicle are found in eight extant manuscripts: one in French, five in Greek, one in Italian and one Aragonese.

The work was edited for the first time, commented on and translated by Jean Alexandre Buchon (1791-1849) who named the text(s) Book of the Conquest of Morea. It is a most indispensable narrative for the comprehension of history, customs, and mainly of the Greek language, as it was spoken in the 12th and 13th centuries in Greece.

In this first linguistics analysis, the principal and most rewarding areas of research that will be discussed are: a) the uncountable number of loan words, from French into the Greek language, during that period, b) the different use of Ancient Greek as well as Medieval Greek words that coexist harmoniously in the narrative, c) the morphological and phonological adaptation to Greek of Frankish words, as well as d) the abundance of synonyms found in the chronicle. Moreover, the use of e) the Greek prepositions, a fruitful area for additional research, will be presented, and f) the presence of particular grammatical forms forming a surprising revelation with regard the development of the Greek verbal system will be discussed.

Dr Vassiliou is a researcher in Linguistics at the Australian National University Canberra. She is a British citizen Cypriot, living permanently in Australia. She grew up in the Congo and attended bilingual boarding schools from a very young age, both in the Congo and in Athens. She was awarded a Bachelor of Arts in Interpreting/Translating from Deakin University Toorak in 1991, a Graduate Diploma of Studies in Humanities (Linguistics), from La Trobe University Bundoora, in 1993, a Masters in Linguistics from La Trobe University in 1996, and a PhD in Linguistics, also from La Trobe University, in 2002. She has been a Visiting and Research Fellow at the Australian National University since 2005. She worked on a wide range of topics in Historical Linguistics, her main research into languages being on Medieval Cypriot, Contemporary Cypriot, Medieval French, Byzantine Greek and, to a lesser extent, Lingala. Erma is also an awarded poet, a writer and a translator from and into Greek, French and English. Her work The girl with the violin represented her country of birth Cyprus in Vienna, in 2013. Two of her works have been funded by the Australia Council for the Arts: her poetry collection Eoraka, (I have seen) in 1996, and her non-fiction autobiographical work Μπορείς ακόμα κι ονειρεύεσαι-La grande saison des pluies et la petite saison sèche (You can still dream-The long period of rains and the short period of dryness) in 2003.

When: Thursday, 2 August 2018, 7.00pm
Where: Greek Centre, (Mezzanine, 168 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne)

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