The official language of Greece is Greek, spoken by 99% of the population. In addition, a number of non-official, minority languages and some Greek dialects are spoken as well. The most common foreign languages learned by Greeks are English, German, French and Italian.
|Languages of Greece|
|Regional||Cretan, Cappadocian, Pontic, Maniot, Tsakonian, Yevanic|
|Minority||Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish, Russian, Romani, Bulgarian, Armenian|
|Signed||Greek Sign Language|
Modern Greek language (Νεοελληνική γλώσσα) is the only official language of the Hellenic Republic, and is spoken by some 99.5% of the population — about 11,100,000 people (though not necessarily as a first language). Standard Modern Greek is the officially used standard, but there are several non-official dialects and distinct Hellenic languages spoken as well. Regional spoken dialects exist side by side with learned, archaic written forms. All surviving forms of modern Greek, except the Tsakonian language, are descendants of the common supra-regional (koiné) as it was spoken in late antiquity. As such, they can ultimately be classified as descendants of Attic Greek, the dialect spoken in and around Athens in the classical era. Tsakonian, an isolated dialect spoken today by a dwindling community in the Peloponnese, is a descendant of the ancient Doric dialect. Some other dialects have preserved elements of various ancient non-Attic dialects, but Attic Koine is nevertheless regarded by most scholars as the principal source of all of them.
Cappadocian Greek (Καππαδοκικά) is a Hellenic language originally spoken in Cappadocia and since the 1920s spoken in Greece. It has very few speakers and was previously thought to be extinct. The Cappadocians rapidly shifted to Standard Modern Greek and their language was thought to be extinct since the 1960s.
Cretan Greek is spoken by more than 500,000 people on the island of Crete, as well as in the Greek Diaspora. It is rarely used in written language, and differs much less from Standard Greek than other varieties. The Cretan dialect is spoken by the majority of the Cretan Greeks in the island of Crete, as well as by several thousand Cretans who have settled in major Greek cities, notably in Athens, and in areas settled by Ottoman-era Cretan Greek Muslims (the so-called Cretan Turks), such as the town of Al-Hamidiyah in Syria.
Cypriot Greek (Κυπριακή διάλεκτος) is spoken by Greek Cypriots, in Cyprus about 659,115(in 2011) and many of them settled in many Greek cities, and in many other parts of the world including Australia, Canada and the Americas the total speakers are about 1.20 million people.
Pontic Greek (Ποντιακή διάλεκτος) is a Hellenic language originally spoken in Pontus and by Caucasus Greeks in the South Caucasus region, although now mostly spoken in Greece by some 500,000 people. The linguistic lineage of Pontic Greek stems from Ionic Greek via Koine and Byzantine Greek
The little-spoken Tsakonian language (Τσακωνική διάλεκτος) is used by some in the Tsakonia region of Peloponnese. The language is split into three dialects: Northern, Southern, and Propontis. The language is spoken by 1,200 people.
A Jewish dialect of Greek (Ρωμανιώτικη διάλεκτος) spoken by the Romaniotes, Yevanic is almost completely extinct today. There are a total of roughly 50 speakers, around 35 of whom now reside in Israel. The language may still be used by some elderly Romaniotes in Ioannina.
Greek Sign Language (Ελληνική Νοηματική Γλώσσα) is the sign language of the Greek deaf community. It has been legally recognised as the official language of the Deaf Community in Greece and is estimated to be used by about 42,000 signers (12,000 children and 30,000 active adult users) in 1986.
Since the 1990s, large numbers of Albanian immigrants have arrived in Greece, forming the largest immigrant group (443,550 in the 2001 census).
Unlike the recent immigrants from Albania, the Arvanites are a centuries-old local Albanian-speaking community in parts of Greece (and mainland Albania), especially in the south. Their language, now in danger of extinction, is known as Arvanitika. Their number has been estimated as between 30,000 and 140,000. Many have been assimilated into modern Greek culture.
Of the 35,000 Armenians in Greece today, some 20,000 speak the language.
In Greece, Slavic dialects heteronomous with standard Macedonian is spoken; however, the speakers do not all identify their language with their national identity. The 1951 census recorded 41,017 Macedonian speaking Greek citizens (most of them bilingual). These Macedonian speakers in Greece vary on how they describe their language - most describe it as Macedonian and proclaim an Ethnic Macedonian national identity, although there are smaller groups, some of which describe it as Slavic and espouse a Greek national identity. Some historicals consider the local Macedonian dialect as a Bulgarian dialect. Some prefer to identify as dopii and their dialect as dopia which mean local or indigenous in Greek.
Ladino, the Judeo-Spanish language, was traditionally spoken by the Sephardic community in Greece, particularly in the city of Thessaloniki, where, at their peak percentage, they made up 56% of the population. However, many of Greece's Jews were murdered in World War II, and a large number emigrated to Israel after 1948. It is maintained today by between 2,000 and 8,000 people in Greece.
In the population of 200,000 to 300,000 Roma, or Gypsy, people in Greece today, the Romani language is spoken widely. Romani is an Indo-Aryan language similar to many Indian languages, due to the origins of the Roma people in northern India. The dialect spoken in Greece (as well as in Bulgaria, Albania, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Romania, parts of Turkey, and Ukraine) is known as Balkan Romani. There are 160,000 Romani speakers in Greece today (90% of the Roma population).
Russian has become widely spoken in Greece, particularly in Greek Macedonia and other parts of Northern Greece, mainly by wealthy Russians settled in Greece and Russian speaking economic migrants who went there in the 1990s. Russian is also spoken as a second or third language by many Georgians and Pontic Greeks from Georgia, Ukraine, and Russia who settled in Greece in large numbers in the same period. The older generation of Caucasus Greeks settled mainly in Salonika, Kilkis and elsewhere in Central Macedonia in circa 1920 also speak Russian as a second language, as do most Greeks who had settled in Czechoslovakia, the USSR, and other Eastern Bloc states following the Greek Civil War, returning to Greece mainly in the early 1990s.
Turkish is one of the most widely spoken minority languages in Greece today, with a speaker population of 128,380 people. These are usually defined as Western Thrace Turks. Traditionally, there were many more Turkish speakers in Greece, due to the long period of rule by the Ottoman Empire, but after the exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey, a much smaller number remain, with even Turkish speaking Greek Muslims forcibly expatriated to Turkey in 1923. The Turkish-speaking population of Greece is mainly concentrated in the region of East Macedonia and Thrace. Turkish speakers also make up a large part of Greece's Muslim minority.
This refers to the hybrid Greco-Turkish dialect spoken by the so-called Urums or those who define themselves as Greek from the Tsalka (mainly Pontians) region of central Georgia and also to the Greco-Tatar dialect spoken by ethnic Greeks in Ukraine and the Crimea. Most speakers of Urum now live in mainly Northern Greece, having left Georgia in the 1990s, although many of those from Crimea and southeastern Ukraine are still living in these areas.
Georgian is widely spoken particularly in Salonika and other parts of Greek Macedonia by economic migrants who settled in Greece in the 1990s. As well as ethnic Georgians, these include those defined as Caucasus Greeks or ethnic Greeks in Georgia, from especially the south of the country and the Tsalka region in the centre.
Aromanian (rrãmãneshti, armãneashti, armãneshce, "Aromanian", or
armãneshce, "Aromanian language"), also known as Macedo-Romanian or Vlach, is an Eastern Romance language, similar to Meglenoromanian, or a dialect of the Romanian language spoken in Southeastern Europe. Its speakers are called Aromanians or Vlachs (a broader term and an exonym in widespread use to define Romance communities in the Balkans).
Aromanian shares many features with modern Romanian, including similar morphology and syntax, as well as a large common vocabulary inherited from Latin. An important source of dissimilarity between Romanian and Aromanian is the adstratum languages (external influences); whereas Romanian has been influenced to a greater extent by the Slavic languages, Aromanian has been more influenced by Greek, with which it has been in close contact throughout its history.Arvanitika
Arvanitika (; Arvanitika: αρbε̰ρίσ̈τ, arbërisht; Greek: αρβανίτικα, arvanítika), also known as Arvanitic, is the variety of Albanian traditionally spoken by the Arvanites, a population group in Greece. Arvanitika is today endangered, as its speakers have been shifting to the use of Greek and most younger members of the community no longer speak it.Balkan Gagauz Turkish
Balkan Gagauz, also known as Balkan Turkic and Rumelian, is a Turkic language spoken in European Turkey, in Dulovo and the Deliorman area in Bulgaria, and in the Kumanovo and Bitola areas of North Macedonia. Dialects include Gajal, Gerlovo Turk, Karamanli, Kyzylbash, Surguch, Tozluk Turk, Yuruk, and Macedonian Gagauz. Although it is mutually intelligible with both Gagauz and Turkish to a considerable degree, it is usually classified as a separate language due to foreign influences from neighboring languages spoken in the Balkans.Bulgarian language
Bulgarian (listen), (български, translit. bălgarski, pronounced [ˈbɤɫɡɐrski]) is an Indo-European language and a member of the Southern branch of the Slavic language family.
Along with the closely related Macedonian language (collectively forming the East South Slavic languages), is a member of the Balkan sprachbund. The two languages have several characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages: changes include the elimination of case declension, the development of a suffixed definite article and the lack of a verb infinitive, but it retains and has further developed the Proto-Slavic verb system. A major such development is the innovation of evidential verb forms to encode for the source of information: witnessed, inferred, or reported.
It is the official language of Bulgaria, and since 2007 has been among the official languages of the European Union. It is also spoken by minorities in several other countries.Cappadocian Greek
Cappadocian, also known as Cappadocian Greek or Asia Minor Greek, is a mixed language spoken in Cappadocia (Central Turkey). The language originally diverged from the Medieval Greek of the Byzantine Empire following the Seljuq Turk victory at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. As a result of the population exchange between Greece and Turkey in the 1920s, all Cappadocian Greeks were forced to emigrate to Greece where they were resettled in various locations, primarily to Central and Northern Greece. The Cappadocians rapidly shifted to Standard Modern Greek and their language was thought to be extinct since the 1960s. In June 2005, Mark Janse (Ghent University) and Dimitris Papazachariou (University of Patras) discovered Cappadocians in Central and Northern Greece who could still speak their ancestral language fluently. Many are middle-aged, third-generation speakers who take a very positive attitude towards the language, as opposed to their parents and grandparents. The latter are much less inclined to speak Cappadocian and more often than not switch to Standard Modern Greek.Demotic Greek
Demotic Greek (Greek: δημοτική γλώσσα, dimotikí glóssa [ðimotiˈci], "language of the people") or dimotiki (Greek: δημοτική, dimotikí), is the modern vernacular form of the Greek language. The term has been in use since 1818. Demotic refers particularly to the form of the language that evolved naturally from Ancient Greek, in opposition to the artificially archaic Katharevousa, which was the official standard until 1976. The two complemented each other in a typical example of diglossia until the resolution of the Greek language question in favour of Demotic.Doric Greek
Doric, or Dorian, was an Ancient Greek dialect. Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern Peloponnese as well as in Sicily, Epirus, Southern Italy, Crete, Rhodes, some islands in the southern Aegean Sea and some cities on the south east coast of Anatolia. Together with Northwest Greek, it forms the "Western group" of classical Greek dialects. By Hellenistic times, under the Achaean League, an Achaean-Doric koiné language appeared, exhibiting many peculiarities common to all Doric dialects, which delayed the spread of the Attic-based Koine Greek to the Peloponnese until the 2nd century BC.It is widely accepted that Doric originated in the mountains of Epirus in northwestern Greece, the original seat of the Dorians. It was expanded to all other regions during the Dorian invasion (c. 1150 BC) and the colonisations that followed. The presence of a Doric state (Doris) in central Greece, north of the Gulf of Corinth, led to the theory that Doric had originated in northwest Greece or maybe beyond in the Balkans. The dialect's distribution towards the north extends to the Megarian colony of Byzantium and the Corinthian colonies of Potidaea, Epidamnos, Apollonia and Ambracia; there, it further added words to what would become the Albanian language, probably via traders from a now-extinct Illyrian intermediary. Local epigraphical evidence is restricted to the decrees of the Epirote League and the Pella curse tablet (both in the early 4th century BC) as well to the Doric eponym Machatas, first attested in Macedonia (early 5th century BC).Greek Sign Language
The Greek Sign Language (ENN) is the natural language of the community. It is a complete language that uses the same types of grammatical mechanism that exist in the oral language
The ENN has been legally recognized as the official language area of the Corinthian community for educational purposes in Greece since 2000. The Greek Semantic Language is estimated to be used by some 40,600 scholars. According to A. The term "sign language" can be used with the term "noun language", but this has not been accepted by the Deaf community.
On December 19, 2013, he presented the Declaration on the Constitutional Recognition of the Greek Semantic Language.Greek language
Greek (Modern Greek: ελληνικά elliniká) is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.
The Greek language holds an important place in the history of the Western world and Christianity; the canon of ancient Greek literature includes works in the Western canon such as the epic poems Iliad and Odyssey. Greek is also the language in which many of the foundational texts in science, especially astronomy, mathematics and logic and Western philosophy, such as the Platonic dialogues and the works of Aristotle, are composed; the New Testament of the Christian Bible was written in Koiné Greek. Together with the Latin texts and traditions of the Roman world, the study of the Greek texts and society of antiquity constitutes the discipline of Classics.
During antiquity, Greek was a widely spoken lingua franca in the Mediterranean world, West Asia and many places beyond. It would eventually become the official parlance of the Byzantine Empire and develop into Medieval Greek. In its modern form, Greek is the official language in two countries, Greece and Cyprus, a recognised minority language in seven other countries, and is one of the 24 official languages of the European Union. The language is spoken by at least 13.2 million people today in Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Albania, Turkey, and the Greek diaspora.
Greek roots are often used to coin new words for other languages; Greek and Latin are the predominant sources of international scientific vocabulary.Macedonian language
Macedonian (; македонски јазик, translit. makedonski jazik, pronounced [maˈkɛdɔnski ˈjazik] (listen)) is a South Slavic language spoken as a first language by around two million people, principally in North Macedonia and the Macedonian diaspora, with a smaller number of speakers throughout the transnational region of Macedonia. It is the official language of North Macedonia and a recognized minority language in parts of Albania, Romania, and Serbia.
Standard Macedonian was implemented as the official language of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia in 1945 and has since developed a modern literature. Most of the codification was formalized during the same period.Macedonian dialects form a continuum with Bulgarian dialects; they in turn form a broader continuum with Serbo-Croatian through the transitional Torlakian dialects.
The name of the Macedonian language, as well as is its distinctiveness compared to Bulgarian, are a matter of political controversy in Bulgaria.Megleno-Romanian language
Megleno-Romanian (known as Vlăhește by its speakers, and Megleno-Romanian or Meglenitic and sometimes Moglenitic or Meglinitic by linguists) is an Eastern Romance language, similar to Aromanian or a dialect of the Romanian language. It is spoken by the Megleno-Romanians in a few villages in the Moglena region that spans the border between the Greek region of Macedonia and North Macedonia. It is also spoken by emigrants from these villages and their descendants in Romania and by a small Muslim group in Turkey. It is considered an endangered language.Phaistos Disc decipherment claims
Many people have claimed to have deciphered the Phaistos Disc.
The claims may be categorized into linguistic decipherments, identifying the language of the inscription, and non-linguistic decipherments. A purely ideographical reading is not linguistic in the strict sense: while it may reveal the meaning of the inscription, it would not allow us to identify the underlying language.
A large part of the claims are clearly pseudoscientific, if not bordering on the esoteric. Linguists are doubtful whether the inscription is sufficiently long to be unambiguously interpreted. It is possible that one of these decipherments is correct, and that, without further material in the same script, we will never know which. Mainstream consensus tends towards the assumption of a syllabic script, possibly mixed with ideogram, like the known scripts of the epoch (Egyptian hieroglyphs, Anatolian hieroglyphs, Linear B).
Some approaches attempt to establish a connection with known scripts, either the roughly contemporary Cretan hieroglyphs or Linear A native to Crete, or Egyptian or Anatolian hieroglyphics. Solutions postulating an independent Aegean script have also been proposed.Pomak language
Pomak language (Greek: πομακική γλώσσα, pomakiki glosa or πομακικά, pomakika; Bulgarian: помашки език, pomaški ezik; Turkish: Pomakça) is a term used in Greece and Turkey to refer to some of the Rup dialects of the Bulgarian language spoken by the Pomaks in Western Thrace in Greece and Eastern Thrace in Turkey. These dialects are native also in Bulgaria, and are classified as part of the Smolyan subdialect. Not all Pomaks speak this dialect as their mother language.Pontic Greek
Pontic Greek (ποντιακά, pontiaká) is a Greek dialect originally spoken in the Pontus area on the southern shores of the Black Sea, northeastern Anatolia, the Eastern Turkish/Caucasus province of Kars, southern Georgia and today mainly in northern Greece. Its speakers are referred to as Pontic Greeks or Pontian Greeks.
The linguistic lineage of Pontic Greek stems from Ionic Greek via Koine and Byzantine Greek, and contains influences from Georgian, Russian, Turkish and Armenian. The Ophitic variant of Pontic Greek in eastern Turkey has been identified as the living language that is closest to Ancient Greek.
Pontic Greek is an endangered Indo-European language spoken by about 778,000 people worldwide. However, only 200,000–300,000 are considered active speakers. Although it is mainly spoken in Northern Greece, it is also spoken in Turkey, Russia, Armenia, Georgia and Kazakhstan and by the Pontic diaspora. The language was brought to Greece in the 1920s after the expulsion of the Christian Pontic Greeks from their homeland during the 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey. However, it is still spoken in pockets of the Pontus today, mostly by Pontic Greek Muslims in the eastern districts of Trabzon Province. Pontic Greek is considered a dialect of the same language as modern Greek, although reportedly, the speakers of each do not fully understand each other. It is primarily written in the Greek script, while in Turkey and Ukraine the Latin script is used more frequently.Romano-Greek language
Romano-Greek (also referred to as Hellenoromani; Greek: Ελληνο-ρομανική) is a nearly extinct mixed language (referred to as Para-Romani in Romani linguistics), spoken by the Romani people in Greece that arose from language contact between Romani speaking people and the Greek language. The language is expected to be a secret language spoken in Thessaly and Central Greece Administrative Unit. Typologically the language is structured on Greek with heavy lexical borrowing from Romani. Related variants of this language are Dortika. Dortika is a secret language spoken mainly in Athens by traveling builders from Eurytania Prefecture. In both cases, the languages are most likely not native to their speakers.Slavic dialects of Greece
The Slavic dialects of Greece are the dialects of Macedonian and Bulgarian spoken by minority groups in the regions of Macedonia and Thrace in northern Greece. Usually, these dialects are classified as Bulgarian in Thrace, while the dialects in Macedonia are classified as either Macedonian or Bulgarian. Until the official codification of the Macedonian language in 1945 many linguists considered all these to be Bulgarian dialects.Tsakonian language
Tsakonian (also Tsaconian, Tzakonian or Tsakonic; Tsakonian: τσακώνικα, α τσακώνικα γρούσσα; Greek: τσακώνικα) is a modern Hellenic language which is both highly divergent from other spoken varieties of Modern Greek and, from a philological standpoint, is also linguistically classified separately from them. It is spoken in the Tsakonian region of the Peloponnese, Greece. Tsakonian descends from Doric, which was an Ancient Greek language on the Western branch of Hellenic languages, and it is its only living descendant (along with the debatable Maniot dialect of Modern Greek). Although Tsakonian is treated as a dialect of Modern Standard Greek, some compendia treat it as a separate language, since Modern Standard Greek descends from Ionic and Attic which are on the Eastern branch of the Hellenic languages, while Tsakonian (as a descendant of Doric) is the sole surviving member of the Western branch.
Tsakonian is critically endangered, with only a few hundred, mostly elderly, fluent speakers left. It is partially mutually intelligible with Standard Modern Greek.Western Armenian
Western Armenian (Classical spelling: արեւմտահայերէն, arevmdahayerên) is one of the two standardized forms of Modern Armenian, the other being Eastern Armenian. Until the early 20th century, various Western Armenian dialects were spoken in the Ottoman Empire, especially in the eastern regions historically populated by Armenians known as Western Armenia. The spoken or dialectal varieties of Western Armenian currently in use include Homshetsi, spoken by the Hemshin peoples; the dialects of Armenians of Kessab, Latakia and Jisr al-Shughur of Syria, Anjar of Lebanon, and Vakıflı, of Turkey (part of the "Sueidia" dialect.
Forms of the Karin dialect of Western Armenian are spoken by several hundred thousand people in Northern Armenia, mostly in Gyumri, Artik, Akhuryan, and around 130 villages in the Shirak province, and by Armenians in Samtskhe–Javakheti province of Georgia (Akhalkalaki, Akhaltsikhe).As mostly a diasporic language, and as a language that is not an official language of any state, Western Armenian faces extinction as its native speakers lose fluency in Western Armenian amid pressures to assimilate into their host countries. Estimates place the number of fluent speakers of Western Armenian outside Armenia and Georgia at less than one million.Yevanic language
Yevanic, also known as Judæo-Greek, Romaniyot, Romaniote, and Yevanitika is a Greek dialect formerly used by the Romaniotes and by the Constantinopolitan Karaites (In this case the language is called Karaitika or Karæo-Greek). The Romaniotes are a group of Greek Jews whose presence in the Levant is documented since the Byzantine period. Its linguistic lineage stems from the Jewish Koine spoken primarily by Hellenistic Jews throughout the region, and includes Hebrew and Aramaic elements. It was mutually intelligible with the Greek dialects of the Christian population. The Romaniotes used the Hebrew alphabet to write Greek and Yevanic texts. Judaeo-Greek has had in its history different spoken variants depending on different eras, geographical and sociocultural backgrounds. The oldest Modern Greek text, has been found in the Cairo Geniza and is actually a Jewish translation of the book Ecclesiastes (Kohelet).
|States with limited|