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Greeklish

From Academic Kids

Greeklish, a portmanteau of the words Greek and English, also known as Grenglish or Latinoellinika/Λατινοελληνικά or Frankolevantinika/Φραγκολεβάντικα or ASCII Greek, is Greek language written with the Latin alphabet. It is an example of transliteration.

Contents

Introduction

Greeklish is commonly used on the Internet when Greek people communicate by email, IRC or Instant Messaging. Sometimes it is also used in SMS.

History

In the past it was difficult to make computers recognize Greek characters, because not all operating systems or applications had support for Greek. Today, because modern software supports a lot of languages including Greek, it is much easier for Greeks to communicate in their mother tongue, Modern Greek, over the Internet. However a lot of people still use Greeklish, maybe because it is faster to type and they do not have to worry about orthography and grammar.

It is reported by some people that the first modern usage of Greeklish appeared in EMY (Ethniki Meteorologiki Ypiresia), the national meteorological service of Greece, several decades ago and certainly before the Internet.

Orthographic and phonetic Greeklish

Greeklish may be orthographic or phonetic.

Lack of standard

There are many ways to write Greeklish. As there is no commonly accepted method of transcribing Greek characters into Latin ones between the Greek Internet users, everyone uses their own way.

ELOT, The Greece's Standards Organization, have proposed a standard transliteration, used by the British Council, but not by the general public. But only this ASCII Greek respects the original Greek orthography and allows an automatic, fully reversible transliteration.

Books written in Greeklish

Giannis Androutsopoulos (see References) talks about "Exegesis", a book in Greeklish that was published by Oxy Publications in 2000. The Greeklish transliteration was based on the Greek translation of the original book written by Astro Teller. A novel about Artificial Intelligence, it describes a computer program that has acquired a "mind" of its own. The original book was written entirely in the form of e-mail messages, something that prompted Mr. Androutsopoulos and his collaborators to publish a version of it in Greeklish.

Web sites written in Greeklish

Most personal or informal web sites were written in Greeklish in the past. Today this is not the case, as the use of Greeklish on a web site is considered inappropriate. However there are still many Greek web sites which utilize Greeklish.

Greek companies which use Greeklish

Some Internet Service Providers in Greece use both Greek and Greeklish in their emails. For example, the corporate announcements sent to users via email are usually written in English, Greek, and Greeklish.

Use in business communication

Use of Greeklish for business purposes or business communication is considered as a lack of business ability or respect, by some.

Current trends

Around 2004 a hostile movement against Greeklish appeared in many Greek online Web discussion boards (fora) where Greeklish was the primary "language" of communication. Administrators threat to ban users who continue to use Greeklish, making the use of Greek mandatory, but using Greeklish failed to become a serious reason to get banned. Examples include the Translatum Greek Translation Forum (http://www.translatum.gr/forum/), the Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network Forum (http://www.awmn.gr/forum/), the adslgr.com Forum (http://adslgr.com/) and the Greek Technological Forum (http://www.greektechforum.com/). The reason for this is the fact that text written in greeklish is considerably less aesthetically pleasing, and also much harder to read, compared to text written in the greek alphabet. A non-greek speaker/reader can guess this by this example: τηισ ισ ηαρδ το ρεαδ would be the way to write "this is hard to read" in English but utilizing the greek alphabet!

On Greek IRC and IM, most of the times only Greeklish is used.

It is considered by many that Greeklish is dangerous for the cultural integrity of the Greek language.

However, others disagree and support Greeklish. Some university professors have proposed the official use of the Latin alphabet in the Greek language for the sake of its modernization.

Examples

  • Greek: Καλημέρα, πως είσαστε; (good morning, how are you?)
  • Greeklish 1: kalimera, pos isaste?
  • Greeklish 2: kalhmera, pws eisaste?
  • Typing as if the keyboard layout were set to Greek, when it is actually set to US English: Kalhm;era, pvw e;isasteq
  • Greek: Θήτα (theta)
  • Greeklish 1: thita
  • Greeklish 2: 8hta
  • Greeklish 3: uita
  • Typing as if the keyboard layout were set to Greek, when it is actually set to US English: U;hta

As you can see, it is very common to use the number 8 for the letter Θ/θ (theta), or the letter u (probably because u and theta are on the same key on the Greek computer keyboards) or the combination th. For the letter Ε/ε (epsilon) usually Greeks use the English letter e. But most commonly 3 is used for the letter Ξ/ξ (ksi) (because of the visual resemblance).

References

Apo ta fragoxiotika sta greeklish ("Από τα φραγκοχιώτικα στα greeklish") - Published September 5 1999 on a major Greek newspaper (TO VIMA Tis Kyriakis, ΤΟ ΒΗΜΑ Της Κυριακής) by Giannis Androutsopoulos (Γιάννης Ανδρουτσόπουλος), a linguist researcher at the University of Heidelberg: Discusses the historical usage of the Latin alphabet for writing Greek, giving references even from 1930's. The article is available online in this page (Greek language): http://tovima.dolnet.gr/demo/owa/tobhma.print_unique?e=B&f=12688&m=B03&aa=1 . It was published (http://www.rzuser.uni-heidelberg.de/~iandrout/greekmail/greekmail.htm) on researcher's personal pages at Heidelberg some years before and so can be found via the Internet Archive.

Greeklish-to-Greek conversion

Since the appearance of Greeklish there have been numerous attempts to develop applications for automatic conversion from Greeklish to Greek. Most of them can cope with only some of Greeklish transliteration patterns and can be found and downloaded in the Internet. The first complete system for automatic transcription of Greeklish into Greek, obtaining correct spelling is All Greek to Me!  (http://www.ilsp.gr/greeklish/), developed and provided by Institute for Language and Speech Processing (http://www.ilsp.gr/)

External links

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