Some statistical data on carryovers

At the department of Classics in Ljubljana, students have to learn, at the undergraduate level, a list of Ancient Greek words and their meanings from the textbook Erika Mihevc Gabrovec Grščina: teksti in vaje za pouk grščine. This list contains appx. 58.000 Ancient Greek words. (The number includes all the inflected forms.) These words include:

  1. 9 carryovers, that is words with the same meaning and form in Ancient and in Modern Greek (leaving aside the accent). These words are κακά, κατά, μία, ἄξια, ἀνάξια, πιστά, ἄπιστα, τί, in addition to ἀνά, which is learned expression in Modern Greek (and is thus not very common).
  2. Carryovers according to our variety of the Erasmian pronunciation. These words include the same sounds as true carryovers, in addition to those that are pronounced in Modern Greek diffferently than what was the case in Ancient Greek. However, their pronunciation in our variety of the Erasmian pronunciation is roughly the same as in Modern Greek (namely φ, χ, ου, ω, ρ, double consonants). Examples of these words include: φίλος, φίλους, ἀκούω, ἔχω, πόλεμος, πολέμου μέλι, μέλιτος. They amount at 511 words (120 are marked as learned words in LKN), which is less than 1% of all words learned in Ancient Greek classes. However, some of these words are very frequent in Modern Greek (e.g. ἔχω, ἔχετε, μένετε, πού, ακούω, κακός, κακού…).
  3. Finally, there are words that are pronounced in our tradition of the Erasmian pronunciation in roughly the same manner as in Modern Greek. However, their meaning in Modern Greek is different than in Ancient Greek. Examples include: μάλιστα, ἔπος, κράτος. The number of these words is 24.

In this analysis, I followed the etymologies of Λεξικό της Κοινής Νεοελληνικής (LKN), assuming that a word has different meaning in Ancient Greek than in Modern Greek, if this is indicated in the etymologies of LKN. For instance, the words παιδεύω and δουλεύω have the following etymologies in LKN:

  • παιδεύω: [αρχ. παιδεύω `ανατρέφω, εκπαιδεύω΄(η σημερ. σημ. μσν.)]
  • δουλεύω: [ελνστ. δουλεύω, αρχ. σημ.: `είμαι σκλάβος΄]

On the other hand, I assume that a word has the same meaning in Ancient and in Modern Greek, if the etymology in LKN suggests that there is no semantic difference between Ancient and Modern Greek, e.g., the words έχω, κρέας, μέλι, which have the following etymologies:

  • έχω: [αρχ. ἔχω]
  • κρέας: [αρχ. κρέας]
  • μέλι: [αρχ. μέλι]