By Deborah Levine Gera
The resource and nature of earliest speech and civilization are puzzles that experience intrigued humans for lots of centuries. This booklet surveys historical Greek perspectives on those questions. It discusses the harmonious language of the golden age, the capacity through which language was once first invented, and a few old "linguists" defined by way of Homer and Herodotus.
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Additional info for Ancient Greek ideas on speech, language, and civilization
17 a false, im possible appellation, now supplies his real name in full: he is Odysseus, sacker of cities, son of Laertes, who lives in Ithaca (9. 504-5; compare 259-66, 364-'7). Odysseus' mention of his true name acts as a flash of illumination for the blind giant, who now comprehends an earlier prediction concerning his loss of sight. The enlightened Cyclops does not respond with stones this time, but with the force of words. Polyphemus is able, at long last, to bend language to his needs, and he carefully repeats, word for word, Odysseus' name, epithet, patronym and country of origin, when he prays to his father Poseidon to punish him (9.
Some of these philosophical languagea were based on sounds, that IS were phonetic tongues, meant to be sp oken, while others used 'real characters', that is, written or grap hic symbols which referred to things themselves rather than wor ds. ould, it was thought, be read by everyone, no matter what theIr native tongue. )" Thinkers who conceived such universal languages, men such as ComeniU8 and Wilkins, realized that existing knowledge needed to be compre hended, codified, and organized in order to create a philosophical language.
47<)-80). who thinks that this i• • Babylonion tnoditioa. n" 4Q4�4 frr. �: 1 (p. a �nesi. 1 1 (p. •8 8vber). � EoIwI . and Stone ( I WS)• • I X-l l ; Rubin 1<198. 3 10-1 1 and Ihe funMr oouIUSdloft It It is difficult to 8ssi(il'n bmbulus an exact datt'. and estinleftlS ..... tro. Irly 3rd to mid-1St cent. �. Baldty 1'165. 1 2. lnd FerJIUoon 1975. 34 2. Language in the Golden Age carry on two conversations at once. The two tongues are a physical manifestation which is, we are told, partly the work of nature and partly a deliberate contrivance (2.
Ancient Greek ideas on speech, language, and civilization by Deborah Levine Gera