Local language idioms are affected nowadays at an ever-accelerating rate. Aware of this sad reality from a very early age, I set as my goal the hoarding of the linguistic wealth of Kythnos. Now, most of the entries in the book at hand constitute the body of a local myth that has ceased to be spoken. This retreat happened rapidly, especially during the last decades, not only at the verbal level but also at the pronunciation level.
The study and recording of an idiom and the compilation of a dictionary is an extremely difficult and painstaking process, while the experiential knowledge of the idiom that the researcher deals with is also necessary. From this point of view, I was particularly lucky, since I grew up next to my grandmother Katernio Martinou (1910-2003) who, although illiterate, was an important carrier of many and varied elements of the folk culture of our island. From there I recorded unadulterated, without admixtures of readings, a wide spectrum of material from the oral folk tradition of Kythnos. For the specific issue, the case of the grandmother finds an absolute match in the phrase of N. Kazantzakis about Alexis Zorba: "This man didn't go to school, that's why his mind was broken." It is worth noting that I heard the language idiom of the village (Dryopidas) as a child when I visited the island, but mainly I learned it from my grandmother in Athens, where she lived for years without ever abandoning the language and the customs she had learned in her place. . With her narratives, embellished with flowers, and with her melodious accent, she brought to mind the island of Athens. Later, when, growing up, I recorded more systematically the folklore elements of the island, I also began to collect linguistic material of the Country, since some differences between the two villages in the local folklore are evident, and which are mentioned both in the relevant chapter and in the glossary that follows. The distinction of the relevant idiomatic phenomena at the phonological, grammatical and lexical level are marked in parentheses as: (in the Country), (in the Village).
The creators of this book are essentially the people of the place, most of them absent now, with whom I socialized since I was a child and had the good fortune to listen to their banter but also to learn so much... When they left, they took an entire world with them and their language was the gaiety, where the birds had a purpose and chirped according to the vernacular couplet. Let this book be a small offering in their memory.
FROM THE FOREWORD BY M. G VARVOUNIS
This book not only preserves words, grammatical and syntactic phenomena, phrases and elements of local pronunciation. Mainly, through these linguistic elements he saves the ethos and the way of the people of older generations, of those people who preserved what they received and passed it on to their descendants, continuing the golden chain of the tradition of the Genus. It rescues the "joy of life" of those who, without asking for much, and without having almost anything, lived almost everything, having spent their lives in their place, and rested in its soil, having taken care to perpetuate their generation and culture , in the face of those born.
This last statement not only emphasizes the value of the book, but also describes the responsibility of its readers regarding its reception: an essential and imperative responsibility towards our heritage, beyond the cosmopolitan sense of a general and abstract Cultural Heritage, far from the Intangible Cultural Heritage imposed by dominant international centers of decisions and regulations, which is often unfortunately connected by various bodies with manifestations of localism, which was designed to deconstruct the classic folkloric approach to popular culture. A responsibility and at the same time an obligation to be alert and informed, which will have as a starting point our interest in our cultural and related national identity, and as an end public folklore events, which will not suffer either from nationalism, or from neutrality.
The moderation and sobriety that always distinguish the writings of Mr. Giorgis Venetoulias are, I think, the best guides for achieving these goals. And here, in my opinion, lies the deepest and most essential aspect of his folklore work, as reflected in his books published from time to time, and of course also in this important edition.