A diachronic study of the Greek translations of two eighteenth century French texts: Montesquieu’s Persian Letters and Voltaire’s Zadig

April 5, 2018 4:00 pm


Ourania Tomara’s PhD thesis studies the translations into Modern Greek of two works of the French Enlightenment. It examines the ideological hallmarks of the Greek Enlightenment in light of the sociocultural reality of the Greek-speaking world, in order to elucidate the origins of the language controversy as well as the various forces shaping translations and language at that time. It also explores the ideological affinities between Montesquieu, Voltaire and the Greek Enlightenment, as well as the reception of the two writers in Greece. The art of translation is separately analysed and discussed, as is language as key to a novel methodological approach towards translation in the Greek-speaking world of the 19th century. Throughout the thesis, linguistic matters are addressed against the backdrop of ideological developments. The approach to the individual works is intended to reveal the linguistic choices that were made, how these affected the lexicological development of the language, and the sociocultural context in which this occurred. The thesis concludes with an extensive lexicological analysis of terms found in the corpus, predicated on a comparison of the different translations of the two works in question, from the 19th century to the present. The semantic evolution of the terms studied is traced in detail, using a wide range of literary sources and dictionaries, going back to the 1700s.

Based on this historical cultural and lexicological groundwork, a number of conclusions are drawn. In the end, this study of the language and vocabulary reveals certain tendencies and, more generally, sheds new light on the dynamics and advancement of the Modern Greek lexicon as a whole.

Ourania Tomara is a translator and a Ph.D. with studies at the Ionian University, Inalco and Paris-Sorbonne University. As a former member of the adjunct teaching staff of the University of Athens, she has taught courses on the translation of journalistic, legal, political and financial texts and her research interests lay with terminology, lexicology, as well as Translation Didactics. Since March 2018, she is a temporary agent with the Greek Unit of the Directorate-General for Translation of the European Parliament working as a translator.

Edited by Flaminia Paternoster, Communication and Terminology Trainee at TermCoord

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