Mangling Greek

Πρέσβυς: ἄγε δὴ σὺ βασιλεὺς ἅττα σ᾽ ἀπέπεμψεν φράσον
λέξοντ᾽ Ἀθηναίοισιν ὦ Ψευδαρτάβα.

Ψευδαρτάβας: ἰαρταμὰν ἐξάρξαν ἀπισσόνα σάτρα.

Πρέσβυς: ξυνήκαθ᾽ ὃ λέγει;

Δικαιόπολις: μὰ τὸν Ἀπόλλω ‘γὼ μὲν οὔ.

Πρέσβυς: πέμψειν βασιλέα φησὶν ὑμῖν χρυσίον.
λέγε δὴ σὺ μεῖζον καὶ σαφῶς τὸ χρυσίον.

Ψευδαρτάβας: οὐ λῆψι χρῦσο χαυνόπρωκτ᾽ Ἰαοναῦ.

Ambassador: Come tell the Athenians what the king sent you here for.
Pseudartabas : Iartaman exarxan apissona astra
Ambassador: Do you understand what he is saying?
Dikaiopolis: No I don’t, by Apollo.
Ambassador: He says the king will send you some gold. Now you tell us about the gold more loudly and clearly.
Pseudartabas: No takey goldy, big asshole Ionian.

Aristoph. Ach. 100

I have been to Greece quite a few times and all the guidebooks tell you how delighted the locals will be if you try to speak their language. I have a few words of modern Greek and combined with a few words of Ancient Greek, the locals should have been over the moon whenever I spoke to them. I can categorically state that the guidebooks are completely wrong. As soon as I start speaking, they interrupt and talk to me in English. Whenever I manage to get more than a few words out I realise it is because I am speaking to a baffled Italian or Bulgarian tourist to whom I probably just seem mad. It seems that the ancient Greeks also didn’t like foreigners mangling their language as the parody of the Persian speaking Greek above shows.

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