Xenophon Zolotas: The politician who gave speeches in English using Greek words


There’s only day before we celebrate International Greek Language Day on February 9 and to mark the occasion, we just had to have a look at the historical speeches of Greek politician and economist, Xenophon Zolotas.

Born in Athens on 26 April 1904, Zolotas studied economics at the University of Athens, and later studied at the Leipzig University in Germany and the University of Paris in France.

From November 23, 1989 to April 11, 1990, Zolotas also served as the Prime Minister of Greece.

Zolotas was even Director of the Bank of Greece in 1944–1945, 1955–1967 (when he resigned in protest at the regime), and 1974–1981.

Xenophon Zolotas.

It was in this role as Director of the Bank when he first appeared in front of an audience at an International Bank for Reconstruction and Development conference in 1959.

At the time, Zolotas began his speech in English but with Greek words to emphasise the wealth of the Greek language and the fact that countless Greek words enrich English.

“I always wanted to address this Assembly in Greek, but I realised that if I did it would be incomprehensible. I discovered, however, that I could make my speech in Greek, which would still be English to everyone,” Zolotas said at the time.

He then preceded to complete his speech, whilst also grabbing international attention and shifting opinions around Greece and the Civil War.

Small excerpt from one of his speeches:


I eulogize the archons of the Panethnic Numismatic Thesaurus and the Oecumenical Trapeza for the orthodoxy of their axioms methods and policies, although there is an episode of cacophony of the Trapeza with Hellas.

With enthusiasm we dialogue and synagonize at the synods of our didymous Organizations in which polymorphous economic ideas and dogmas are analyzed and synthesized. Our critical problems such as the numismatic plethora generate some agony and melancholy. This phenomenon is charateristic of our epoch.

But, to my thesis we have the dynamism to program therapeutic practices as a prophylaxis from chaos and catastrophe. In parallel a panethnic unhypocritical economic synergy and harmonization in a democratic climate is basic. I apologize for my eccentric monologue.

I emphasize my eucharistia to your Kyrie to the eugenic and generous American Ethnos and to the organizers and protagonists of this Ampitctyony and the gastronomic symposia.

Source: Famagusta News.




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