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The Greek language is threatened with corruption thanks to the use of the Internet and computers, according to a gaggle of Greek intellectuals, who have written to their government urging it to stem the erosion of their mother tongue.

The Times reports that 40 Greek intellectuals, including philosophers, archaeologists and politicians, have circulated a manifesto which argues that use of computers is responsible for bastardising the language of Aristotle.

The result is Greeklish, which sounds to us like a garnish, but is actually an unpalatable mix of Greek and English-based computer terms.

The blame for creation of this modern-day Trojan Horse, which threatens to corrupt the national tongue, is laid squarely at the door of the IT industry, which the intellectuals argue is involved in an "unholy plot" to foist Greeklish on the Greek public. Worse still, many are collaborating with this alien invasion.

Many Greeks write emails in Latin characters even though computers are sold with Greek language software. Greek has a polysyllabic vocabulary and it is often easier to communicate using something approximating to English - something that drives defenders of the Greek language wild with indignation.

According to The Times, the manfisto claims "it is unthinkable that we Greeks should accept the alienation of our script by abolishing some elements and replacing them with foreign characters".

Some 14 letters of the 24 letter Greek alphabet are shared with Latin.

The whole affair is reminiscent of French concerns about the corruption of their language. However, looking at the examples of Greeklish, we have to say the results are even worse. A laptop computer becomes kompiuteraki (which sounds like a wine past its best) in Greeklish, likewise to surf the Net becomes serfaro and, our personal favourite, a rock musician becomes rockatzis. So now you know how to write an email to your Greek friend about Demis Roussos... ®

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