GREEK: LANGUAGE OF SCIENCE AND ARTS
The father of all western languages exerted heavy influence on the scientific and technical vocabulary of the entire world, especially in the fields of astronomy, philosophy and anthropology.
Pertaining to the family of the Indo-European languages, beside extinct languages such as Latin and Sanskrit, and “living" languages as English and Neolatine (French, Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, etc.), Greek has aspects that demand care in translations into any other language.
All Tasks, specialized in the translation of large-scale technical documentations, technical standards and technical manuals, maintains a highly qualified team to meet high volume demands of translations for Greek. An Indo-European language, Greek has more than three thousand years of history.
Commencing by the alphabet, derived from Semitic, which emerged in Ancient Greece brought by Phoenician merchants.
Adapted by the Greeks as symbols without phonetic value to represent vowels—which until then were not emphasized—, it may be considered the ancestor of all western alphabets, including Latin. The language, in turn, was influenced by the various dialects of peoples that were part of Ancient Greece.
Nonetheless, Attic Greek, spoken in the Athens region, stands as the dialect of prestige of Ancient Greek.
The cultural dominance of the Athenian Empire and the later adoption of Attic Greek by king Phillip II of Macedon (382-336 BC), forbearer of conqueror Alexander the Great, were key factors to ensure Attic supremacy over other Greek dialects.
The expansion of the Hellenistic Empire legated by Alexander (323 – 31 BC) transformed Greek into a global tongue.
The tongue of conquerors, Greek was considered more sophisticated than Latin, then spoken by the inferior class of the dominated Roman society.
Although Greece today plays but a secondary role within the political-cultural background of Europe, the influence of Greek language over European tongues is so strong that, in 1959, Greek economist Xenophon Zolotas wrote a speech in English almost exclusively making use of Greek-stemmed words.
Tongue of the Homeric poems, today Greek is spoken by approximately 17 million people, in addition to being one of the 23 official languages of the European Union.
It is also recognized as a minority language in countries such as Italy, Albania, Armenia and Ukraine and others that received Greek immigrants, like Australia, United States, Egypt, Turkey and Bulgaria.
Greek has undergone a radical series of pronunciation changes, which rendered a significantly different modern Greek compared to ancient Greek.
Instead of the vowel system of ancient Greek, with four levels of heights in vowels, the difference in duration and multiple diphthongs, modern Greek has a simple five-vowel system.
Like the majority of the Indo-European languages, it is a flexible language, and because of that, translation from Greek into other language requires expert knowledge.
The terminations of variable words change according to the syntactic function.
There are five cases of nouns (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative and vocative); three genders (male, female and neutral); and three numbers (singular, plural, dual and plural).
The verbs have four modes (indicative, imperative, subjunctive and optative); three voices (active, intermediate and passive); and three persons (first, second and third).
Also, it is one of the few Indo-European languages that still preserves the synthetic passive form.
The ancient Greek alphabet has characters whose decoding requires a longer time to familiarize oneself—which requires extra attention when translating documents from Greek into any other language.
However, such issue is offset by the fact that the Greek alphabet has correspondence with the Latin alphabet in most of its letters.
As per modern Greek, it has the same alphabet as the western one.
Despite having a large number of equal words in both modern and ancient Greek, pronunciation and accentuation of modern Greek, its use, syntax and declination are different.
Given that the delicate points of this language are in pronunciation and orthography, and related bibliography in Portuguese is still quite scarce, the efforts in translating documents to Greek should also be cautious and made by specialists.