How Greek Language is Studied and Researched in Ukraine

←2018. – Vol. 13

Golubovska Iryna

Doctor of Science, Full prof.

Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Institute of Philology



Study of the Greek language has a long tradition in Ukraine. It goes back to KyevanRus’being determinedby the close contacts of Ukrainians and Greeks, by the necessity in economical and spiritual communication. In the XVI-th – XVII-th centuries the Greek language was taught at the so called fraternal schools. Within the activities of Lviv fraternal school Arseniy Elassonskiy, who trained the pupils of this school, wrote the grammar book of the Greek language. At Kyiv-Mohyla Academyfounded by Petro Mogyla in 1632 there was a 12-year program of the Greek language teaching. In the XVIII-th century at collegiums of Odessa, Poltava, Kharkiv, Kherson, Chernivtsithe Old Greek language was taught. In the XIX-th century at the new-born universities in such cities as Odessa, Kharkiv, Lviv the programs of historical-philological departments presupposed the study of the Old Greek language, history, philosophy, culture. Kyiv University of Saint Volodymyr founded in 1834 from the day of its foundation had the chair of the Greek language. Such prominent specialists in the field of classical philology as I. Neikirkh, M. Skvortsov, F. Mischenko, A. Sonni, F. Knauer, J. Kulakovskij, I. Tsvetajev and others delivered the courses in Greek culture, Old Greek language; made translations from the Old Greek into Russian. M. Skvortsov had translated Plato’s dialogues, F. Mischenko had made translations of the pieces of Fukidid, Polybius, Herodot. Later on, in a century, “Histories” by Herodot were translated into Russian by the prominent Ukrainian scholar A. Biletskiy. In Kharkiv university academician of Russian and Ukrainian Academies V. Buzeskul had been teaching the Old Greek language for about 40 years.

Lvivuniversity was and is one of the mightiest centers of Hellenistic studies. A prominent classical philologist, mycologist S. Lurje beginning from 1953 had been heading the classical department in Lviv University. He is the author of the first written out of Greece monograph “Language and Culture of Mycenaean Greece” (1957). It is hard to overestimate the contribution into the development of Hellenistic Studies of such scholars as J. Kobiv, A. Sodomora, L. Glushchenko, B. Cherniukh and other Lviv classics.

From the sixties of the XX-th century there began the history of the New Greek teaching in Kyiv University. It is closely connected with the activities of A. Biletskiy and and T. Chernyshova. Starting from 1958 they prepared about 57 neohellenists. Among them such prominent scholars as O. Ponomariv and N. Klimenko who were the founders of the Chair of Hellenistics in Kyiv National University in 1999. Since then the New Greek language is taught as the first language (as the second it started in 1995 at the Department of foreign philology). Thanks to the efforts of professors O. Ponomariv, N. Klimenko, F. Nikitina, Greek embassy in Ukraine the Chair of Hellenistics had been founded and made a great contribution into the development of Hellenistic studies in Ukraine. A new generation of Hellenists was prepared. It is now represented by young, but in the same time already experienced scholars as A. Savenko, S. Perepliotchikova, A. Stoliarova, T. Liubchenko and many others.

After this short introduction into the history of the Greek language teaching in Ukraine I’d like to pay some attention to the scientific studies of the New Greek language in modern Ukraine.

This trend might be divided into two streams:

  1. Translation Studies presented by A.Savenko, translator and researcher of literary works of the prominent Greek writers Nikos Kazandzakis and StratisMiryvilis. To this stream also belongs the scientific activity of S. Perepliotchikova, who analized the translations of N. Kazandzakis novels into Ukrainian.
  2. Studies in the New Greek language which in their turn might be divided into such three substreams as: 1)language as a function; 2) language’s realization in speech under the pragmatic point of view; 3) language as a bearer of ethnic mentality and culture. All of these substreams were headed by the prominent Ukrainian scholar N. Klimenko who has recently passed away leaving behind the mighty scientific methodological background for the further effective studies in the field of neohellenistics.

Let’s take a look into each of them.

Being a specialist in the field of general linguistics I’d like to deal primarily with the studies in the sphere of linguistics’ theory.

Language as a function. The thesis for the Candidate degree in Philology “Transitivity as a Type of Verb Valency in Modern Greek”(2009)by T. Liubchenko, within which the major types of predicates characteristic for the New Greek language are presented, the interaction between transitivity and verb valency is also shown.

Within the Thesis for the Candidate degree in Philology “Syntax of the Accusative Case in Modern Greek” (2009) by Z. Pavlovska the Accusative case functions were described in the context of diachronic transferring of Genitive and Dative cases functions in the Old Indoeuropean language to the Accusative case in the New Greek. The updated semantic classification of the verb predicatives governing the Accusative case is being presented. It is proved that in Modern Greek language the ergative system of the Old Indoeuropean language is reconstructed with the help of special class of verbs (ergative and transmissive).

Thesis for the Candidate degree in Philology “Grammatical Gender in the System of Noun Categories in Modern Greek” (2011) by O. Tyshchenko.This category is described in the context of its semantization and lexicalization. It is shown that this grammatical category is in unstable and variable state thanks to the coexistence in Modern Greek of demotic and catharevousa.

Thesis of V. Ardonceau “Semantic and Syntactical Structure of Impersonal Sentences in Modern Greek” is devoted to the study of the peculiarities of impersonality category in Modern Greek language. It is done in the terms of functional-semantic field; the center and the periphery of this field are being modeled on the grounds of the lingual forms’ belonging to morphological, lexical, syntactic and phraseological language levels. The reasons of infinitive disappearance which had a direct impact on the category of impersonality in Modern Greek are being investigated.

Thesis by M. Kositskyy “Analitical and Synthetical Tendencies in Morphology and Compounding of the Modern Greek Language” (2015)focuses on analytical and synthetical peculiarities of Modern Greek language which are characteristic for the morphological and word-formative levels. The phenomenon of analyticity and syntheticityis shown on the different levels of language structure.

Language’s realization in speech under the pragmatic point of view.Thesis of A. Stoliarova “A Communicative and Pragmatic Aspects of the New Greek Legislative Documents (based on the Greek Criminal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and Other Legal Texts) (2007) is focused on the analysis of communicative and pragmatic peculiarities of the Modern Greek legislative texts. Lingual means of cohesion and coherence are being studied in the context of their macrostructure on the material of the legislative documents. This stuff is also considered under pragmatic point of view; such metalanguage as the addresser, the addressee, the communicative intention, the pragmatic goal, the presupposition, which mark a pragmatic approach, are used for the purposes of the pragmatic analysis. This linguistic work done on the material of Modern Greek language appeared to be the first in Ukraine which had as its methodological background the ideas of communicative linguistics, pragmatics and textology.

Language as a bearer of ethnic mentality and culture. Thesis of Y. Zharikova “The Rumeic Phraseology in its Relation with the Ukrainian and Greek Phraseological Systems” (2013) is devoted to the peculiarities of Azov Greeks’ language functioning in Ukraine. The author’s attention is focused on the phraseological systems of the three languages – Rumeic, Modern Greek and Ukrainian. Both structural and anthropological approaches are being exercised, i. e. synonymy, antonymy, polysemy, thematic groups of phraseological units are being studied alongside with features of ethnic mentality conveyed with the help of phraseological entities of the three languages.

And, finally, the thesis of Y. Kozhukhovska“Concept JOURNEY in Modern Greek Poetry of the XX-th century: aspects of culture and ethnolinguistics” (2018) is completed in the frames of the anthropological linguistics and is devoted to the study of the ways of verbalization of the concept JOURNEY on Modern Greek linguoculture on the basis of poetical discourse. The author comes up with conceptual cognitive analysis fulfilled with the help of the frame-slot modeling. This linguistic work appears to be the first one inspired by cognitive ideas (highly characteristic for the contemporary linguistics) and accomplished on the material of Modern Greek language.

So, as we have seen, there was and there still exists the mighty tradition in Greek language teaching and Greek language investigation in Ukraine. The logic of the strengthening friendship relations between our countries puts forward the urgent need in the further development of cross-language and cross-cultural Greek-Ukrainian links.