Distinguishing Greek and Greek

John Cowan cowan at ccil.org
Fri Mar 18 04:33:45 CET 2005

Doug Ewell scripsit:

> But not a completely different language from "Greek," right?  Because
> otherwise we should be looking for other ways to tag it.

The question of whether two language varieties are or are not
different languages doesn't have any definite answer: it depends on
your purpose.  For example, Ethnologue (and thereby the ISO 639-3 draft)
treats modern standard Arabic as a distinct language from the various
Arabic colloquials; not surprising, given its propensity to splitting
(as opposed to lumping).  Certainly it's closer to standardized demotic
Greek than to anything else.

> > (I actually read Jefsey's remark as meaning that the mailing list
> > had two Greek-speaking persons, and now 3 or 4!)
> You are right.  I stand corrected.

Maybe not.  I was just reporting my first impression, not correcting
you.  In hindsight I think your interpretation is more likely.

John Cowan  cowan at ccil.org  www.reutershealth.com  www.ccil.org/~cowan
[R]eversing the apostolic precept to be all things to all men, I usually [before
Darwin] defended the tenability of the received doctrines, when I had to do
with the [evolution]ists; and stood up for the possibility of [evolution] among
the orthodox -- thereby, no doubt, increasing an already current, but quite
undeserved, reputation for needless combativeness.  --T. H. Huxley

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