Greek and Spanish comparison

Filia   Tue Sep 04, 2007 5:47 am GMT
As many (or few) may know, Modern-Greek and Spanish are similar in pronunciation, and fair in lexicon mutuality. I would to give readers an sample of how Spanish-speakers would be able to get the gist of these following phrases and words. Observe and Listen.

Domates = Tomates

pOso kostIzi to dhomAtio; = Cuánto cuesta un dormitorio?

Fruto = Fruta

Thelo = Quiero

Ti ora ine; = Qué hora es?

Pos se lene; = Cómo se llama?

Me lene Angelo = Me llamo Ángel

Leksico = Dicionario / Léxico

Periodiko = Periódico

Vivlio / Vilvia = Libro

Antio = Adiós

etc. etc. etc.

The resemblence and mutuality (as shown here) is strikingly similar.
Calliope   Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:25 am GMT
Josh is right. Any lexical similarity between Greek and Spanish is a result of whatever lexical similarity there was between Greek and Latin, basically. Phonemically yes, very similar.
Guest   Tue Sep 04, 2007 4:19 pm GMT
"Domate" was not a Latin word, nor "Periodiko"
Calliope   Tue Sep 04, 2007 4:50 pm GMT
Okay, so Spanish took some Greek words in directly from Greek. So did English (eg periodical), so did many languages. Those are loans though and they exist between way too many languages. This doesn't demonstrate any common lexical roots.

I can assure you that the reason why I can understand some Spanish, is because I speak a couple more Romance languages, not because I am a native Greek speaker.
K. T.   Tue Sep 04, 2007 5:42 pm GMT
I'm glad that someone introduced this topic. We used to have Greek news on the TV and I'd listen to it and think, "Whaaaaa?" It was like listening to Spanish, but I couldn't understand most of it. I knew the word "Thelo", but I never thought about it being like "Quiero"; is "Qu" related to "The"? I'm not a linguist, just a polyglot, so I'd be interested in what those with a linguistic background think about this. In Spanish "Te" is used without the "h" for words that originally had the theta.
Guest   Tue Sep 04, 2007 5:54 pm GMT
I remember that I was in a train station in Athens and there was a Spanish speaker and the Greek officials could not help him because they only spoke Greek and and English. I spoke to the Spanish speaker to help him. If Greek and Spanish were so similar, I don't think this would have been a problem.

Earlier on the same trip, I was on the phone with some Italians who could not speak English. They suggested that I use Spanish. It worked.

My point: Even if Greek and Spanish have similar sounds, it's the vocabulary that counts, not the phonemes.

I'd wager, however, that it wouldn't be difficult for Spanish speakers to pick up the words quickly in Greek. I've noticed that Japanese can pick up Spanish and Spanish speakers can pick up Japanese fairly quickly as far as the sounds go and that counts for something.

It's easier when one doesn't have to learn a new sound system.


So Greek, Italian, Spanish and Japanese may be similar as far as some sounds are concerned
K. T.   Tue Sep 04, 2007 5:57 pm GMT
Aack, there should be a question mark at the end of my last post.

How many languages have sounds similar to those languages?
Guest   Tue Sep 04, 2007 6:04 pm GMT
Have you noticed that Spain, Italy, Greece and Japan are more or less on the same latitude?
Guest   Tue Sep 04, 2007 6:06 pm GMT
I don't think Japanese and Spanish sound anything alike, japanese is like ching yan xui koon and spanish is just like beatiful latinized sounds.
K. T.   Tue Sep 04, 2007 6:36 pm GMT
Ching yan xui koon? I'm sorry, but I don't get that at ALL. Japanese doesn't sound like that. If that is a joke, I'm afraid I missed it. Could you be thinking about some form of Chinese?

I speak Japanese and Spanish (but not as a native), but I haven't really learned any Greek (except tourist words)...Italian does have many of the same vowels to my ears.

Latitude. O-kay. I can understand that, but how does that correlate to language? Just a fun fact?
Calliope   Tue Sep 04, 2007 6:48 pm GMT
Just a fun fact. Japanese has some very different sounds than Greek and Spanish, I can't see the similarity at all.

Italian has some common sounds, but again, they have some completely different ones than Spanish and Greek (for example how they have closed/open e sounds). Intonation is very different too (not going into the vocabulary thing, I think we established that Greek and Romance languages are not mutual intelligible in any degree).

Spanish can throw me off. If I hear Spanish speakers talk, but from a distance, meaning I can only hear a mumble thing, I can easily get confused and think someone is speaking Greek. Even though the intonation is not exactly the same, it is similar; besides, we both use the same vowel sounds - that is, just the basic ones (not all the same consonant sounds, though).
Guest   Tue Sep 04, 2007 6:54 pm GMT
"Italian has some common sounds, but again, they have some completely different ones than Spanish and Greek (for example how they have closed/open e sounds). "

It depends on the italian dialect you are talking about. Standard Italian (based on the Toscan dialect) distinguish between open-closed e and o, but Northern dialects not, so you find many people in Italy (nearly a third of the Italian population) who do not make that distinction. Anyway, considering I'm a Spanish speaker, I can't see big differences between open and closed e/o.
K. T.   Tue Sep 04, 2007 7:03 pm GMT
Then, Calliope, you've had the same experience with Spanish as I've had with Greek (from the opposite position) something is there, maybe the music of the language at a distance.

Spanish and Japanese don't have the same music, but the vowels are pretty much the same. The consonants are not all the same-especially "r"...
OïL   Tue Sep 04, 2007 8:02 pm GMT
Juste une supposition: vu l'énorme prestige du grec dans la Rome antique, se pourrait-il que les Romains aient cherché, par snobisme, à donner à leur langue une allure phonétique similaire, conservée dans une certaine mesure en italien et spécialement en espagnol?

En ce cas, le fait que le castillan sonne un peu comme le grec ne serait pas entièrement un hasard.
Spaniard   Tue Sep 04, 2007 8:46 pm GMT
Well, maybe we should look a little closer than Greece...

Castilian was born next to what it's today the Basque Country. In the Iberian peninsula Castilian is the only language with exactly 5 vowel sounds, just like Basque. Besides this strong hint Castilian like basque often changes the initial "f" - which does not exist in Basque - to a mute "h", just to mention one.

In other words... Castilian is - probably - the latin spoken by the Basques or - at least - has very strong Basque influence.

Did Castilian take the five vowel sounds from Basque or from Latin? Why didn't this happen to French, Galician-Portuguese or Catalan which have more than 5 vowel sounds?