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Review It’s all Greek: Borrowed words and their histories

'It’s All Greek' is really a play on words. The phrase 'It’s all Greek to me' is a way of saying ‘I don’t understand anything.’ In this case, Tulloch is making the point that Greek is the origin of many commonly used English words. His book, subtitled 'Borrowed Words and Their Histories', explains the origin and meaning of 260 words and phrases used in English with roots in ancient Greek.

In his introduction, Tulloch claims that Greek is the longest continuously spoken and written language in Europe. A variety of Greek was being used in 1500 BCE, and Homer was using it to narrate the Iliad and the Odyssey in the 8th Century BCE. Latin dates from the 3rd century BCE. The Celtic, Slavonic and Germanic languages date from the 6th century CE. Greek, he explains, is especially common in science and technology but also in household implements and food.


Maurice Cassidy. A news editor at 7DNews.com, an international online news website, and former Director of the Executive Centre at International House, London. He is also past Chair of Business English UK and has travelled widely internationally, inspecting language schools and training teachers.


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