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George Hatzidakis, founder of the linguistic science in Greece, persuades the Greek government to establish via Royal Decree a special Committee assigned to compile and publish the “Comprehensive Dictionary of the Greek Language, from its first emergence to the present”. The first Minister who embraced this idea and submitted the relevant Decree to the king was S.E. Stais (Government Gazette, November 8th 1908, issue Ι/280).

The aim of the establishment of the Dictionary was, as mentioned in the first volume by the Director of the Center at the time A. Papadopoulos, for the nation to obtain its own dictionary, given that “only few of the dictionaries, eitehr general or dialectal compilied from Korais’ era onward satisfy the needs of the linguist science and, even more importantly, concisely convey a general picture of the entire Modern Hellenistic Koine and its idioms”. The dictionary was called “Historical” since it included the etymology of words with their phonetic alterations, as well as the syntactic and semantic modifications that occur in the process of the natural evolution of the Greek language, being alive and spoken for 28 centuries.

The initial name of the Center was “Historical Dictionary of the Greek Language” as was conceived by G. N. Hatzidakis, i.e. not restricted to the new modern greek Koine and its idioms, but cohesive, a grand thesaurus of the ancient, medieval and modern language. The Center operated under the auspices of the Ministry of Education. The goal of the first Committee was to embark on the publication by 1921, year of the 100th anniversary of the Greek Revolution. The first Presidential Board of the Committee consisted of Konstantinos Kontos, Georgios Hatzidakis and Simos Menardos. After Kontos’ death, the president’s position was occupied by Stefanos Dragoumis, who was succeeded by G. N. Hatzidakis in 1912.


The new financial and legal arrangements made by Eleftherios Venizelos’ government provided a dynamic impetus to the project. The Prime Minister decided to support it financially and morally, so on March 30th 1914 the Greek Parliament voted for the Law 220 “About the compilation of the Dictionary”, which was published on April 10th 1914. With this law the financial support of the project was ensured.


The initial target of embarking on the publication by 1921 was not fulfilled both for internal and external reasons. The following year, 1922, was a landmark in modern Greek history that delayed the publication of the Dictionary.


With the Presidential Decree of March 14th 1927 and according to the National Assembly's constitutional decision in March 18th 1926, the Center came under the jurisdiction of the Academy of Athens, to which it belongs until today. Since then the Center has been supervised by the Supervisory Committee composed by members of the Academy of Athens. The members of the first Committee were George N. Hatzidakis, Dimitrios Kabouroglou, Socratis Kougeas, Konstantinos Diovouniotis and Antonios Keramopoulos. The law 4398/1929 “Regarding the Organisation of the Academy of Athens” will henceforth determine the operation of the Center.


In accordance with the Legislative Decree 4545/1966 the “Archive of Toponyms and Proper Names” was attached to the “Compilation Center of the Historical Dictionary of the Modern Greek Language”.


In accordance with the Law on Research (Law 1894/1990) ILNE was recognised as a research Center and its Compilers, i.e. the research staff, were assigned research positions on the basis of committee review.


The Academy of Athens, becoming aware of the shift to the Ceter's primary objectives from the Dictionary's compilation to the focus on linguistic research, decided to rename it into “Research Center of Modern Greek Dialects - ILNE” (the abbreviation “ILNE” standing for “Historical Dictionary of Modern Greek”).