We’ve talked about Greeklish in the past and how we Greek Americans have managed to chop, dice and throw in a food processor English words and make them sound Greek.
Add an “i” to any foreign word, and it becomes Greek. Lemon becomes lemoni and pepon, peponi. At the end of the day, however, it’s not that big of a deal, and all foreign cultures outside their homeland butcher the English language, part of the assimilation process I guess. What is not excusable however is what the native Greeks are doing which is the reverse of Greeklish, and that’s the ΙΝΓΚlish they use on media outlets and everyday life.
During a ride to work one morning sick and tired of listening to what Trump tweeted I tuned to Greek radio to see what the patriotes were up to and within a minute the ΙΝΓΚlish began. “Θέλεις να γίνεις το talk of the town”? said the add followed by a political discussion about “μπάτζετ” “πρότζεκτ” and “ντιμπέιτ”. Who are these people talking to? Greeks or Californians?
We give the world 150,000 Greek words, and in return, if we forget the spanakopita in the oven and burn down our secondary kitchen in the garage we are in a bad “μουντ” the rest of the day? Speaking of bad “μουντ,” I remembered an incident that scared me for life. There I was around ten years old in my foustanela outfit holding on for dear life as the train (eleveta) was making its way down Market Street in Philadelphia for the annual Greek parade.
Everyone on the train was looking at me, so I lowered my head, and the Greek red cowboy hat fell on the floor. My mother quickly picked it up and gave me a look that made me feel like I embarrassed my family and Kolokotronis who probably turned in his grave.My parents both started their speech about Greek heroes and how ancient Greek civilization and language shaped the western world.
My Greek Taliban mother started with the old “εμείς δώσαμε τα φώτα” argument and was quick to point out that there are thousands of Greek words that occupy math books, medical and physics journals and how I should be proud to be wearing my Greek kilt. I wanted no part of it. Fast forward now some forty years later and we have the Greek media who in their attempt to be “τρεντι” have left millions of Greeks who don’t speak English behind.
As a kid, I remember some foreign words being used because there was no counter Greek word to describe them and they had to do mostly with technological advancements and foreign imports that Greece didn’t have (car parts, computers, etc.), but that’s not what I’m talking about here. On Greek TV there are programs like “Χοτ Σιτ” (Hot Seat not Hot Shit) and “Χοτ Σίτις” Hot Cities).
The irony here of course is, that we, Greeks living abroad, fight daily to preserve our identity and our language by not letting our children play soccer. Practices are on Tuesdays and Thursday after school, getting in the way of them learning how to become good Christians – with some Greek language thrown in – and the patriotes in Greece when puzzled about something say “OUAOU” (WOW).
Anyway, I’ll just use my “Κομπιούτερ” now (remote) to turn on my “Φλατ Είτζ Ντι Τι-βι” (HD TV) and tune into “πράιμ τάιμ ζόουν” so that I can do a “κολέξιον” (collection) of more INΓΚlish.