Medieval Greek - Vocabulary, Script, Influence On Other Languages - Loanwords From Other Languages

Loanwords From Other Languages

Especially at the beginning of the Byzantine Empire, Medieval Greek borrowed numerous words from Latin, among them mainly titles and other terms of the imperial court’s life like Αὔγουστος (Ávgoustos “Augustus”), πρίγκιψ (prinkips, Lat. princeps “Prince”), μάγιστρος (mágistros “Master”), κοιαίστωρ (kyéstor, Lat. quaestor “Quaestor”), ὀφφικιάλος (offikiálos, Lat. officialis “official”). In addition, Latin words from everyday life entered the Greek language, for example ὁσπίτιον (ospítion, Lat. hospitium “hostel”, therefore “house”, σπίτι - spiti in Modern Greek ), σέλλα (sélla “saddle”), ταβέρνα (tavérna “tavern”), κανδήλιον (kandílion, Lat. candela “candle”), φούρνος (foúrnos, Lat. furnus “oven”) and φλάσκα (fláska, Lat. flasco “wine bottle”).

Other influences on Medieval Greek arose from contact with neighboring languages and the languages of Venetian, Frankish and Arab conquerors. Some of the loanwords from these languages have been permanently retained in Greek or in its dialects:

  • káltsa (κάλτσα) from Ital. calza "stocking"
  • dama (ντάμα) from Fr. dame "dame"
  • gouna (γούνα) from Slav. guna "fur"
  • louloúdi (λουλούδι), probably from Alban. lule "flower"
  • pazári (παζάρι) from Turk. pazar (itself derived from Persian), "market, bazaar"
  • chatzi- (χατζι-) from Arab. hajji "Mecca pilgrim", used as a name affix for a Christian after a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

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