Tag Archives: Greece



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.




The Acropolis had been on my list of places to see for a very long time. The danger of being disappointed was therefore much  greater. There are, however, places that are larger than life and the Acropolis is one of those. The site, which dominates the city, has everything to impress, despite the inevitable erosion showing in  its majestic constructions. The moment was all  the more moving because the democratic values originating from  this place seem to have been  floundering lately.

For the grammarian that  I am, the emotion also came from the fact that ancient Greece is also the birthplace of Western grammar. The era  when philosophers explored  the faculty of language, reflected on the parts of speech, and saw the noun as   representing  substance, instead of being a SN, and before becoming a mortally boring matter for generations of school children who have never reconciled with his “rules”.

It was worth waiting Greece !