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South African (Transvaal) Greek Glossary from the 40s - UniLang

South African (Transvaal) Greek Glossary from the 40s

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meidei
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South African (Transvaal) Greek Glossary from the 40s

Postby meidei » 2013-09-26, 22:08

Say this nice glossary in this nice blog. It's a short glossary of words unique to South African Greek (an immigrant lect) in the 40s.
It was recorded by none other than poet Seféris, who was serving in the Greek Embassy in Pretoria back then. The poet mentions that all unique words are transferred from English, and are all inflected as regular nouns and verbs. The blogger does note that almost a century after the glossary was composed, Greeks in South Africa might not even recognise those words.

Anyway, I am summarising, do visit the blog if you want to practice your Greek while reading something exciting (well, I find it exciting at least)

Transvaal Greek - origin - Standard Greek (and sometimes a modern English translation in brackets, by me)
μπάισκόπι, το - bioscope : κινηματογράφος.

λόνι – πληθυντικός: τα λόνια – lawn : γρασίδι κουρεμένο, όπως το συνηθίζουν οι Άγγλοι.

μαρκέτα, η – market: η αγορά

αϊσμπόξι, το – ice box: ψυγείο.

μπουκάρω – to book: προνοικιάζω, κλείνω μια δουλειά.

μουβάρω – to move: μετακομίζω — μουβάρ’σε

τίκι, πληθυντικός: τα τίκια – tickey: 3 πένες, μικρό ασημένιο νόμισμα. Αυτός πηγαίνει με το τίκι-τίκι = οικονομά δεκάρα τη δεκάρα. (3 pence of the pre-decimal British Pound)

πικινίκι, πληθυντικός: τα πικινίκια – pick-nick: εκδρομή.

σέρι, πληθυντικός: τα σέρια – share: μετοχές.

πάου, το· πληθυντικός: τα πάη – pound: μονάδα βάρους.

τόρτσι, πληθυντικός: τα τόρτσ(ι)α – torch: ηλεχτρικό φανάρι της τσέπης. (electric torch)

παρκάρω – to park: αράζω το αυτοκίνητο. Παρκάρω το κάρο στη γροσαρία.

κάρο, το – car: αυτοκίνητο – ποτέ ο αραμπάς. (araba from Turkish was the common word in mainland Greece then, the poet was surpised to hear "car" used for mechanical cars, instead of horse-driven ones)

γροσαρία, πληθυντικός: οι γροσαρίες – grocery: μπακάλικο.

φάμαρα, η· πληθυντικός:. οι φάμαρες – farm: φάρμα, αγρόκτημα.

φαμαρίτης, φαμαρίτισσα: farmer

κάφουρας, ο· πληθυντικός:. η καφούρα: κάφρος, ο Αράπης του Τράνσνβαλ. (probably from Kafir, an Arabic term for unbeliever - and the poet uses "κάφρος" to explain "καφούρας", which is a common word in SMG even today)

αϊσκρίμι, το· πληθυντικός. τ’ αϊσκρίμια – ice cream: παγωτό.

μπάρα, η· πληθυντικός. οι μπάρες – bar: το μπαρ, το κρασοπουλειό.

τσίκης, ο· πληθυντικός. η τσίκισσα – cheeky: αδιάντροπος.

κόπι, το· πληθυντικός. τα κόπια – cup: το φλιτζάνι.

στόφα, η - stove: κουζίνα.

στέκι, το – steak: μπιφτέκι.

πίτσα, η - πληθυντικός. οι πίτσες – peach: το ροδάκινο· και πιτσ(ι)ά: η ροδακινιά.

τσίπια, τα – chips: τηγανητές πατάτες – και τσιπού (κατά το ναζού): που αγαπά τις τηγανητές πατάτες: λ.χ. εγώ είμαι τσιπού.

κάνω ένα ντράι – drive: κάνω μια κούρσα με το αυτοκίνητο.

τιρούμι, το· πληθυντικός. τα τιρούμια (tea-room): και τιρουμιτζής, τιρουμιτζού.

γιάρδα, η – yard: η αυλή.

(Τέτοιες λέξεις είναι πολύ συνηθισμένες και λέγουνται χωρίς καμιά ξενική προφορά -από τους μετανάστες της πρώτης γενιάς- σε κουβέντες ελληνικές. Κλίνουνται ολωσδιόλου αβίαστα και φυσιολογικά).
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Re: South African (Transvaal) Greek Glossary from the 40s

Postby modus.irrealis » 2013-09-26, 23:39

That's pretty interesting (and the comments in the link are interesting too). But many of these words are common among Greek-Canadians, so I wonder why some of these words were borrowed (I guess independently) by different group. Of the words listed
μαρκέτα, η
μουβάρω [although we have present μουβέρνω, aorist μούβαρα]
κάρο, το
μπάρα, η
στόφα, η
στέκι, το
γιάρδα, η

are all really common.

παρκάρω – to park: αράζω το αυτοκίνητο. Παρκάρω το κάρο στη γροσαρία.

Is this a mistake? Or did παρκάρω establish itself in Greece at a much later time.

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Re: South African (Transvaal) Greek Glossary from the 40s

Postby meidei » 2013-09-29, 23:38

But many of these words are common among Greek-Canadians, so I wonder why some of these words were borrowed (I guess independently) by different group.

I guess it's because back then, a Greek in South Africa and a Greek in Canada didn't have much contact, so the compiler thought they were unique to SAf. In both cases, they are words an immigrant would need if they worked in an English-speaking country. (If you have more Canadian Greek words, please share!)

Of those, I only know "στέκι" for steak (but it's also means "one's usual place to hang out", which might be a separate but homophonous word)

Is this a mistake? Or did παρκάρω establish itself in Greece at a much later time.

It's seems like they used to say "αράζω το αμάξι" in Greece until (relatively) recently. I heard αράζω used instead of παρκάρω on Greek TV shows, but I didn't know how common it is, thought it was dialectal or slang.
In Cyprus, all car-related terminology comes from English, so we have always said παρκάρω.
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Re: South African (Transvaal) Greek Glossary from the 40s

Postby modus.irrealis » 2013-10-05, 9:27

meidei wrote:
But many of these words are common among Greek-Canadians, so I wonder why some of these words were borrowed (I guess independently) by different group.

I guess it's because back then, a Greek in South Africa and a Greek in Canada didn't have much contact, so the compiler thought they were unique to SAf. In both cases, they are words an immigrant would need if they worked in an English-speaking country.

Makes sense.

(If you have more Canadian Greek words, please share!)

At first I didn't know how many I would be able to list off the top of my head, but there's a few, so here's some (some of these words are more common than others, and the standard Greek word might be the usual one):

ρεφερής = (sports) referee
χάκι = hockey (rarely χόκεϊ), similarly κέκι, not κέικ, and μένιου not μενού.
φένα = fan
τρόκι = truck
χοτέλι = hotel
πινότσι = peanut
τικέτο = ticket
μπάξι = box
κόρι = quarter (coin)
σέντζι = cent
τελεβίζιο = television
φρίζα = freezer

The interesting thing is that the words are almost always loaned as words that can be inflected, while it seems to be the normal thing nowadays in Greece to have loans be indeclinable. (I had no idea until I first visited Greece, for example, that ταξί was not (in the standard language) a normal noun with ταξιά as the plural.)

I can't think of any verbs other than μουβέρνω. The usual thing is to just use κάνω + English word (but that might be more into mixed-language rather than loans as such).

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Re: South African (Transvaal) Greek Glossary from the 40s

Postby meidei » 2013-10-05, 10:27

Thanks a lot!

The interesting thing is that the words are almost always loaned as words that can be inflected, while it seems to be the normal thing nowadays in Greece to have loans be indeclinable. (I had no idea until I first visited Greece, for example, that ταξί was not (in the standard language) a normal noun with ταξιά as the plural.)

Yes, that stands out a lot and makes it all the more interesting.
Expat Greek seems to be way more conservative, in a way. Not only everything is inflected, but they do more phonological adjustments, while in Greece and Cyprus we stopped inflecting recent loans and we accept some foreign sound clusters (for example, while Greek only allows the word-final consonant to be /n/ or /s/, we now say /keik/, /mobail/ or even /gugl/, which I suppose an expat would pronounce /gugli/ in Greek).
Also, χάκι, μπάξι make sense if you actually live in an Anglophone country, but over here we would use /o/, inspired by the spelling.

From those words, only φρίζα is in common use in Cyprus, albeit loosing ground to the standard Greek term κατάψηξη (which in Greece is a noun signifying the action of freezing, but in Cyprus we use it to signify the device that does the freezing, which in Greece they call καταψήκτης)
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Re: South African (Transvaal) Greek Glossary from the 40s

Postby dimos » 2013-10-05, 18:34

modus.irrealis wrote:μουβέρνω

lol

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Re: South African (Transvaal) Greek Glossary from the 40s

Postby Aóristos » 2013-10-06, 13:28

meidei wrote:From those words, only φρίζα is in common use in Cyprus, albeit loosing ground to the standard Greek term κατάψηξη (which in Greece is a noun signifying the action of freezing, but in Cyprus we use it to signify the device that does the freezing, which in Greece they call καταψήκτης)

Isn't it spelled as κατάψυξη and καταψύκτης? :whistle:

In American Pizzonese, btw, we call it a fríse, and its bottom accomplice the friggidiera. I wonder what they call it in Italy…

It's difficult for me to imagine having to resort to using these Anglicisms in Greek, because I know most of their equivalents in SMG. It's a perfectly sufficient language on its own.
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Re: South African (Transvaal) Greek Glossary from the 40s

Postby meidei » 2013-10-06, 20:31

Yes, you are right, upsilon is needed there. Well, how the hell uses that word anyway :ohwell: :P

I don't really know about Greece, but if you use too much Greek neologisms here, you'd come across very awkward. (In Greece, you'll have to use plenty of Gallisms, or at least that's the impression I have from my contacts there).
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Re: South African (Transvaal) Greek Glossary from the 40s

Postby modus.irrealis » 2013-10-07, 7:42

dimos wrote:lol

It wouldn't be so funny if you were used to it ;).

meidei wrote:Yes, that stands out a lot and makes it all the more interesting.
Expat Greek seems to be way more conservative, in a way. Not only everything is inflected, but they do more phonological adjustments, while in Greece and Cyprus we stopped inflecting recent loans and we accept some foreign sound clusters (for example, while Greek only allows the word-final consonant to be /n/ or /s/, we now say /keik/, /mobail/ or even /gugl/, which I suppose an expat would pronounce /gugli/ in Greek).

The primarily-Greek-speaking part of the Greek-Canadian community is fairly old, so I don't know if "google" has really been loaned yet. You would hear γκούγκελ.

Also, χάκι, μπάξι make sense if you actually live in an Anglophone country, but over here we would use /o/, inspired by the spelling.

Or perhaps North American anglophone country. Maybe the British pronunciation sounds more like ο than α?

From those words, only φρίζα is in common use in Cyprus, albeit loosing ground to the standard Greek term κατάψηξη (which in Greece is a noun signifying the action of freezing, but in Cyprus we use it to signify the device that does the freezing, which in Greece they call καταψήκτης)

Interesting, for me the "Greeker" word is also κατάψηξη, especially if you say something like βάλ' το στην κατάψυξη. Is that not common in Greece? But maybe in sentences like that it's not directly referring to the appliance itself. Next time I talk with my family, I'll ask what they would call it if they went shopping for one.

And I forgot another important example, the name of my hometown, which Greeks there call Τορό[d]ο and it's declinable, so του Τορόντου, while Greece Greek people I know say Τορό[nt]ο and going by the wikipedia article, it's indeclinable.

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Re: South African (Transvaal) Greek Glossary from the 40s

Postby meidei » 2013-10-07, 10:56

Or perhaps North American anglophone country. Maybe the British pronunciation sounds more like ο than α?

Yeah, I actually remember noticing it in the past but I kept making mistakes in my posts because I was tired from commuting. British Cypriots and older Greek Cypriots who lived through the colonial times do use <ο> in most of those words, and you can correlate that with BrE using a rounded vowel there (a lower vowel than Greek <o>, but same roundness)

But maybe in sentences like that it's not directly referring to the appliance itself. Next time I talk with my family, I'll ask what they would call it if they went shopping for one.

Yup, do ask that question :)
Now, we should actually be careful not mixing the freezing compartment of a normal fridge with an actual autonomous freezer/φρίζα. Again, my knowledge of Greece's contemporary word usage is limited.
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