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Greek Dialects (BCP Advanced Language) [Paperback]

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Pages   373
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   1.2 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 25, 2007
Publisher   Duckworth Publishers
ISBN  1853995568  
EAN  9781853995569  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
This is a revised edition of "The Greek Dialects" published by Chicago University Press in 1955. It was comparatively clear and concise, and it became the standard introduction and reference work on questions of dialect. This edition largely retains the book's original virtues.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
indisensable if you go beyond just most classical greek  Oct 1, 2008
handy relevé on the subject which allows us to understand the ancient greek language much deeply, the book is infested with too many typos which are annoying for supposed readers who normally encounters cited dialectal words for the first time in this book. the book has a table of errata which, as my impression goes, would correct only half of the errors, and itself has some typos... this important flaw rips one star, unfortunately.
i recommend to associate to this book the «Morphologie historique du grec» (isbn 2252033975) by P. Chantraine. this book explains the attic&homeric morphology with method of comparative linguistics, citing forms from indoeuropean languages but also from dialectal greeks including the mycenean.
OUT OF THE ATTIC  Apr 20, 2007
In the greatest era of ancient Greek literature, the 5th century BC and prior, the Greek-speaking community was not large nor even particularly extensive. Greece itself is a smallish country, and even when we have added the Greek settlements in Asia Minor, Sicily, Cyprus and the nearer islands we have not exactly built up a vast population. Yet this one language in that period was spoken in something like 50 clearly distinct dialects. It was only after the Macedonian empire was established that Attic, the dialect of Athens, became dominant in popular speech as it had long been in literary idiom and Greek finally became almost as unified as Latin had been from the start and so remained through the long centuries of Rome's expansion and dominion.

Buck's clear and methodical categorisation of the dialects came too early to benefit from the decipherment of the Linear B tablets. The discovery of a dialect so ancient naturally affects how we trace the lineage of the later dialects. However the impact of this discovery is not as drastic as we are sometimes led to think, and it has plenty of parallels in classical scholarship. Back in the 19th century Baehrens redrew the hierarchy of the MSS of Catullus. More recently Enoch Powell's The Evolution of the Gospel upset the adherents of the usual view of the sequence of their authorship, a view more dependent on divine revelation than on scientific textual criticism, and the consequences of that are far more subversive of our culture than anything Linear B can do. How Buck groups and categorises the dialects will long continue to be subject to later analysis. What does not go away is his patient and methodical exposition of two things - in what ways they differ and what the linguistic processes are behind this differentiation.

For the serious modern student of ancient Greek I should say that Buck needs to be introduced earlier into the process than was done in my time. So long as you stick with Attic, you can treat Greek as a matter of declensions and conjugations the way we do with Latin. The next step in my time was Homer, which seemed like a different language, and we were `taught' a good number of things that were plain nonsense but nonsense the examiners had also been taught, and especially things we had to remember by rote with no idea of how they came to mean what we were told they meant. Zigzag back from there to Herodotus, whose Ionic dialect is actually the nearest to Attic, and the memory-strain was becoming excessive without a proper concept of how and why such-and-such a formation came to signify what it signified. Add in then the lyric poets and we were finding that exactly the same word might be a future indicative in Attic but an aorist subjunctive in the Aeolic dialects and there was a real need for a road-map, but nobody was providing that unless one picked Comparative Philology as a special subject.

There is no real point in blundering through without a theoretical basis for it all, because that involves straining the memory and dulling the intellect. No doubt Buck has been superseded in all manner of ways, but if you are serious about getting to grips with the wonderful Greek language this book needs to be by your hand at quite an early stage. Any initial difficulty it may give you is repaid a thousandfold as you gain the unique thrill of confidence that comes from the understanding of ancient Greek.
Useful though sadly predates understanding of Mycenaean and laryngeals  Sep 26, 2005
Carl D. Buck's THE GREEK DIALECTS: Grammar, Selected Inscriptions, Glossary is the standard handbook for understanding the world outside of Attic and is an essential resource for the classicist or Indo-Europeanist.

The grammar is divided into phonology, inflection, word-formation and syntax. In the phonology section, Buck simply lists each Proto-Greek phoneme and how it varies in each dialect. In the section on inflection, he sketches the ramifications of phonological differences in noun declension and verb conjugation. Ditto for the section on word formation. "Syntax" for Buck mainly means differences in the uses of the cases and verb moods. What is most helpful about the grammar is that he lists the peculiarities of each dialect. This enables Greek students trained in Attic to know what to expect before they approach a work in Ionic, such as Herodotus. The second part of that work, dealing with inscriptions, shows what evidence we have for each of the Greek dialects.

The real drawback to Buck's work is its age. Last revised in 1955, it predates the understanding of Mycenaean data gained by the deciphering of Linear B, which somewhat importantly changes our view of the dialects. He also wrote before widespread acceptance of laryngeal theory, which complicates the issue of differing prothetic vowels. Nonetheless, in spite of its age, THE GREEK DIALECTS is a book worth making use of. Now, if only some modern scholar could make the necessary updates...
The Best Book for Ancient Dialects  Dec 20, 2001
This book, originally called Introduction to the Study of the Greek Dialects, is the simplest and best book for getting into the subject. All the others, if you can find them, are large, complex, and almost always in German (or worse--Latin!). Buck (author also of the superb Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the Principle Indo-European Languages, q.v.) writes in a pleasant and easy-going English all throughout. (Because he kicks it old-school...)

The book however, even though it's the fullest and most accessible one in English, is rather hard to get in the United States; but there's an exact reprint by Bristol Classical Press (ISBN 185399556-8) and you can get it quickly "dispatched" (id est, "sent") to you from this The price is fair and the overseas Royal Mail is way worth getting your hands on this very important book (which I started reading as soon as I opened it).

There are two parts to it: "Grammar of the Dialects" (Phonology, Inflections, Word-Formation, Syntax, Summaries, and Survivals; 180pp) and "Selected Inscriptions" (by region, 120pp). There're also some appendices, including a nice little glossary.

For modern Greek dialects--which are honestly much more interesting--the standard and best introductory work is N. G. Kontosopoulos (also spelled Kondosopoulos), Dialektoi kai Idiomata tis Neas Ellinikis (Dialects and Idioms of Modern Greek, 1981--ISBN 960-333-257-7), though you may have to go to Athens to get it.

Albert Thumb though, who wrote the Handbuch der griechischen Dialekte (on ancient Greek) also wrote a Handbuch der neugriechischen Volkssprache, which is excellent (though NOT for begining language-learners) and has been translated into English as Handbook of the Modern Greek Language (Library of Congress Catalogue Number 64-23434). After a Smyth-like (but not nearly so boring) description of grammar, there are a hundred pages of "folk" and "artistic" texts, with thirty pages in dialect (incl. Pontic, Magna Graecian, Cypriot, and even some Tsaconian) and a glossary.

For the ancient stuff though, go with Buck; you'll love it.
I hope this helps. Best of luck!

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