The metro station Syntagma, which means Constitution in Greek is in the heart of Athens. It is a  demonstration led by a Greek general at the Palais Royal (now the Greek Parliament) in 1843, demanding a constitution for the country that gave its name to this  stop. In French, however, “syntagme” is a grammatical term that means group of words. One needs the help of  etymology to understand  the link between the two meanings. In Greek, “syntagma” means thing arranged, composition, doctrine, organization, putting together : the  link between the two words becomes transparent. And for the linguist that I am, to pass every day by the  Syntagma stop is a small moment of grammatical happiness.


2 thoughts on “Words”

  1. Every town I was in in Greece had a Syntagma Square, from Athens all around the Peloponnese. They were all lovely, and all symbolized that constitution. So interesting when you look at the etymology of the word and what it means when woven into another language.


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