The Arousing of Thought

But the change I have witnessed in that language during the last thirty or forty years has been such, that instead of an original independent language coming to us from the remote past, there has resulted and now exists one, which though also original and independent, yet represents, as might be said, a “kind of clownish potpourri of languages,” the totality of the consonances of which, falling on the ear of a more or less conscious and understanding listener, sounds just like the “tones” of Turkish, Persian, French, Kurd, and Russian words and still other “indigestible” and inarticulate noises.

Almost the same might be said about my native language, Greek, which I spoke in childhood and, as might be said, the “taste of the automatic associative power of which” I still retain. I could now, I dare say, express anything I wish in it, but to employ it for writing is for me impossible, for the simple and rather comical reason that someone must transcribe my writings and translate them into the other languages. And who can do this?

It could assuredly be said that even the best expert of modern Greek would understand simply nothing of what I should write in the native language I assimilated in childhood, because, my dear “compatriots,” as they might be called, being also inflamed with the wish at all costs to be like the representatives of contemporary civilization also in their conversation, have during these thirty or forty years treated my dear native language just as the Armenians, anxious to become Russian intelligentsia, have treated theirs.

That Greek language, the spirit and essence of which were transmitted to me by heredity, and the language now spoken by contemporary Greeks, are as much alike as, according to the expression of Mullah Nassr Eddin, “a nail is like a requiem.”

What is now to be done?

Ah . . . me! Never mind, esteemed buyer of my wiseacrings. If only there be plenty of French armagnac and “Khaizarian bastourma,” I shall find a way out of even this difficult situation.

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