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Reviews 125 cient Mythological Form: Kazantzakis's Drama Odysseus"; and Evangelia Tsarucha-Szabó's "Kazantzakis and Hungary." In the last two, the notes remind us of the extensive bibliography dealing with Kazantzakis' work—and more generally with modern Greek literary and political subjects—in Hungarian and Russian, unfortunately out of bounds for most researchers outside of the socialist countries. Peter Bien Dartmouth College Olga Eleftheriades, Modern Greek: A Contemporary Grammar. Palo Alto: Pacific Books. 1985. Pp. xxvi + 546. $24.95. Falling somewhere between a pedagogical grammar and a reference grammar, Olga Eleftheriades' Modern Greek: A Contemporary Grammar provides a fairly comprehensive description of the grammatical systems of the modern Greek language. The resulting grammar is "contemporary" in its choice of the variety of Greek to describe , for no artificial separation is made of katharevousa elements and dimotiki elements, and learned features are included in the description in those areas where Greek speakers, under conditions of ordinary usage, clearly use them (e.g., fixed phrases with genitive objects of prepositions, such as apóhrónu, meta harás, etc.). This work is not, however, "contemporary" in its linguistic orientation, i.e., in the theoretical assumptions that underlie the description, for it is very much a traditional grammar, focussing on the various wordclasses of the language largely as defined by function. The book thus suffers from some of the same problems that traditionally-based grammatical descriptions generally do, for example, vague definitions of parts of speech (nouns are said [p. 88] to "name," among other things, "conditions," but then so do verbs, said [p. 250] to "indicate," among other things, "conditions of being," and a similar case could be made for adjectives as well). After a brief history of the Greek language, Eleftheriades presents, in 15 chapters, including a mammoth (176-page) chapter on the verb, not only the generalizations and rule-governed aspects of the grammar of modern Greek but also considerable detail on matters concerning individual words, forms, subclasses, etc. Thus—as an essential part of any work aiming to be comprehensive and one of the real merits of the present book—a fair bit of space is devoted to 126 Reviews irregularities and idiosyncrasies, and quite a number of tables and lists of relevant forms (e.g., of different kinds of adverbs, of the principal parts of most irregular verbs, etc.) are provided. The topics covered in the 15 chapters are: the sound system, the writing system, introduction to morphology and syntax, articles, nouns, adjectives, numerals, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, interjections , words with more than one usage, and word order in modern Greek sentences. Except for the chapter on word order and comments scattered throughout on usage, e.g., in the verb chapter concerning the use of the moods, especially the subjunctive forms with tha, na, as, however, little is said about Greek syntax. For example, the construction of comparative and equative clauses deserves more than the few pages Eleftheriades devotes to them, as does also the syntax of reciprocal expressions, and even the chapter on word order contains some weak points (e.g., vague statements such as "indirect questions are attached to the main clause either in their original form or slightly changed and adjusted" [p. 529], no mention of the possibility of inversion of subordinate clause elements to the left of na, etc.). This absence of clear information on syntax is a shortcoming, to be sure, but it is one that this book shares with most traditional grammars of Greek. While Modern Greek contains generally a good, sound description of the facts of Greek grammar, nonetheless there are a few points throughout, generally matters of detail still important, to which one might take exception, among these are the following: p. 1: ancient Attic Greek was not "an offspring of the Ionic," but rather a "sibling" dialect to it (other facts about the ancient dialectal situation are simplified to the point almost of being misleading and not very useful) p. 2: the ancient Doric dialect survives to a certain extent in the modern Tsakonian dialect of the Peloponnesos p. 4: nothing is said about the period around 1821 in the discussion of the formation of katharevousa p...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3265
Print ISSN
0738-1727
Pages
pp. 125-127
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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