Modern Greek

Modern Greek (Νέα Ελληνικά [ˈnea eliniˈka] or Νεοελληνική Γλώσσα [neoeliniˈci ˈɣlosa] "Neo-Hellenic", historically and colloquially also known as Ρωμαίικα "Romaic" or "Roman", and Γραικικά "Greek") refers to the dialects and varieties of the Greek language spoken in the modern era.

The end of the Medieval Greek period and the beginning of Modern Greek is often symbolically assigned to the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, even though that date marks no clear linguistic boundary and many characteristic modern features of the language arose centuries earlier, between the fourth and the fifteenth centuries AD.

During most of the period, the language existed in a situation of diglossia, with regional spoken dialects existing side by side with learned, more archaic written forms, as with the demotic and learned varieties (Dimotiki and Katharevousa) that co-existed throughout much of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Modern Greek
Νέα Ελληνικά
Pronunciation[ˈne.a eliniˈka]
Native toGreece, Cyprus, Albania (North Epirus), Armenia, Bulgaria, Egypt (Alexandria), Italy (Salento, Calabria, Messina in Sicily), Romania, Turkey, Ukraine (Mariupol), plus diaspora
Native speakers
12 million (2007)[1]
Early forms
Standard forms
Greek alphabet
Greek Braille
Official status
Official language in
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-1el
ISO 639-2gre (B)
ell (T)
ISO 639-3ell
Linguaspherepart of 56-AAA-a


Varieties of Modern Greek include several varieties, including Demotic, Katharevousa, Pontic, Cappadocian, Mariupolitan, Southern Italian, Yevanic and Tsakonian.


Strictly speaking, Demotic (Δημοτική) refers to all popular varieties of Modern Greek that followed a common evolutionary path from Koine and have retained a high degree of mutual intelligibility to the present. As shown in Ptochoprodromic and Acritic poems, Demotic Greek was the vernacular already before the 11th century and called the "Roman" language of the Byzantine Greeks, notably in peninsular Greece, the Greek islands, coastal Asia Minor, Constantinople, and Cyprus.

Modern Greek dialects en
The distribution of major modern Greek dialect areas.[8]

Today, a standardised variety of Demotic Greek is the official language of the Hellenic Republic (Greece) and Cyprus, and is referred to as "Standard Modern Greek", or less strictly simply as "Modern Greek" or "Demotic".

Demotic Greek comprises various regional varieties with minor linguistic differences, mainly in phonology and vocabulary. Due to the high degree of mutual intelligibility of these varieties, Greek linguists refer to them as "idioms" of a wider "Demotic dialect", known as "Koine Modern Greek" (Koini Neoelliniki - 'common Neo-Hellenic'). Most English-speaking linguists however refer to them as "dialects", emphasising degrees of variation only when necessary. Demotic Greek varieties are divided into two main groups, Northern and Southern.

The main distinguishing feature common to Northern variants is a set of standard phonological shifts in unaccented vowel phonemes: [o] becomes [u], [e] becomes [i], and [i] and [u] are dropped. The dropped vowels' existence is implicit, and may affect surrounding phonemes: for example, a dropped [i] palatalizes preceding consonants, just like an [i] that is pronounced. Southern variants do not exhibit these phonological shifts.

Examples of Northern dialects are Rumelian (Constantinople), Epirote, Macedonian,[9] Thessalian, Thracian, Northern Euboean, Sporades, Samos, Smyrna, and Sarakatsanika. The Southern category is divided into groups that include:

  1. Old Athenian-Maniot: Megara, Aegina, Athens, Cyme (Old Athenian) and Mani Peninsula (Maniot)
  2. Ionian-Peloponnesian: Peloponnese (except Mani), Ionian Islands, Attica, Boeotia, and Southern Euboea
  3. Cretan-Cycladian: Cyclades, Crete, and several enclaves in Syria and Lebanon
  4. Southeastern: Chios, Ikaria, Dodecanese, and Cyprus.

Demotic Greek has officially been taught in monotonic Greek script since 1982. Polytonic script remains popular in intellectual circles.


Katharevousa (Καθαρεύουσα) is a semi-artificial sociolect promoted in the 19th century at the foundation of the modern Greek state, as a compromise between Classical Greek and modern Demotic. It was the official language of modern Greece until 1976.

Katharevousa is written in polytonic Greek script. Also, while Demotic Greek contains loanwords from Turkish, Italian, Latin, and other languages, these have for the most part been purged from Katharevousa. See also the Greek language question.


Anatolian Greek dialects
Anatolian Greek dialects until 1923. Demotic in yellow. Pontic in orange. Cappadocian Greek in green, with green dots indicating individual Cappadocian Greek villages in 1910.[10]

Pontic (Ποντιακά) was originally spoken along the mountainous Black Sea coast of Turkey, the so-called Pontus region, until most of its speakers were killed or displaced to modern Greece during the Pontic genocide (1919–1921), followed later by the population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1923. (Small numbers of Muslim speakers of Pontic Greek escaped these events and still reside in the Pontic villages of Turkey.) It hails from Hellenistic and Medieval Koine and preserves characteristics of Ionic due to ancient colonizations of the region. Pontic evolved as a separate dialect from Demotic Greek as a result of the region's isolation from the Greek mainstream after the Fourth Crusade fragmented the Byzantine Empire into separate kingdoms (see Empire of Trebizond).


Cappadocian (Καππαδοκικά) is a Greek dialect of central Turkey of the same fate as Pontic; its speakers settled in mainland Greece after the Greek genocide (1919–1921) and the later Population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1923. Cappadocian Greek diverged from the other Byzantine Greek dialects earlier, beginning with the Turkish conquests of central Asia Minor in the 11th and 12th centuries, and so developed several radical features, such as the loss of the gender for nouns.[11] Having been isolated from the crusader conquests (Fourth Crusade) and the later Venetian influence of the Greek coast, it retained the Ancient Greek terms for many words that were replaced with Romance ones in Demotic Greek.[11] The poet Rumi, whose name means "Roman", referring to his residence amongst the "Roman" Greek speakers of Cappadocia, wrote a few poems in Cappadocian Greek, one of the earliest attestations of the dialect.[12][13][14][15]


Rumeíka (Ρωμαίικα) or Mariupolitan Greek is a dialect spoken in about 17 villages around the northern coast of the Sea of Azov in southern Ukraine and Russia. Mariupolitan Greek is closely related to Pontic Greek and evolved from the dialect of Greek spoken in Crimea, which was a part of the Byzantine Empire and then the Pontic Empire of Trebizond, until that latter state fell to the Ottomans in 1461.[16] Thereafter, the Crimean Greek state continued to exist as the independent Greek Principality of Theodoro. The Greek-speaking inhabitants of Crimea were invited by Catherine the Great to resettle in the new city of Mariupol after the Russo-Turkish War (1768–74) to escape the then Muslim-dominated Crimea.[17] Mariupolitan's main features have certain similarities with both Pontic (e.g. the lack of synizesis of -ía, éa) and the northern varieties of the core dialects (e.g. the northern vocalism).[18]

Southern Italian

Areas in Southern Italy where the Griko and Calabrian dialects are spoken

Southern Italian or Italiot (Κατωιταλιώτικα) comprises both Calabrian and Griko varieties, spoken by around 15 villages in the regions of Calabria and Apulia. The Southern Italian dialect is the last living trace of Hellenic elements in Southern Italy that once formed Magna Graecia. Its origins can be traced to the Dorian Greek settlers who colonised the area from Sparta and Corinth in 700 BC.

It has received significant Koine Greek influence through Byzantine Greek colonisers who re-introduced Greek language to the region, starting with Justinian's conquest of Italy in late antiquity and continuing through the Middle Ages. Griko and Demotic are mutually intelligible to some extent, but the former shares some common characteristics with Tsakonian.


Yevanic is a recently extinct language of Romaniote Jews. The language was already in decline for centuries until most of its speakers were killed in the Holocaust. Afterward, the language was mostly kept by remaining Romaniote emigrants to Israel, where it was displaced by modern Hebrew.


Tsakonian (Τσακωνικά) is spoken in its full form today only in a small number of villages around the town of Leonidio in the region of Arcadia in the Southern Peloponnese, and partially spoken further afield in the area. Tsakonian evolved directly from Laconian (ancient Spartan) and therefore descends from Doric Greek.

It has limited input from Hellenistic Koine and is significantly different from and not mutually intelligible with other Greek varieties (such as Demotic Greek and Pontic Greek). Some linguists consider it a separate language because of this.

Phonology and orthography

Spoken Modern Greek

A series of radical sound changes starting in Koine Greek has led to a phonological system in Modern Greek that is significantly different from that of Ancient Greek. Instead of the complex vowel system of Ancient Greek, with its four vowel-height levels, length distinction, and multiple diphthongs, Modern Greek has a simple system of five vowels. This came about through a series of mergers, especially towards /i/ (iotacism).

Modern Greek consonants are plain (voiceless unaspirated) stops, voiced stops, or voiced and unvoiced fricatives. Modern Greek has not preserved length in vowels or consonants.

Modern Greek is written in the Greek alphabet, which has 24 letters, each with a capital and lowercase (small) form. The letter sigma additionally has a special final form. There are two diacritical symbols, the acute accent which indicates stress and the diaeresis marking a vowel letter as not being part of a digraph. Greek has a mixed historical and phonemic orthography, where historical spellings are used if their pronunciation matches modern usage. The correspondence between consonant phonemes and graphemes is largely unique, but several of the vowels can be spelt in multiple ways.[19] Thus reading is easy but spelling is difficult.[20]

A number of diacritical signs were used until 1982, when they were officially dropped from Greek spelling as no longer corresponding to the modern pronunciation of the language. Monotonic orthography is today used in official usage, in schools and for most purposes of everyday writing in Greece. Polytonic orthography, besides being used for older varieties of Greek, is still used in book printing, especially for academic and belletristic purposes, and in everyday use by some conservative writers and elderly people. The Greek Orthodox Church continues to use polytonic and the late Christodoulos of Athens[21] and the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece[22] have requested the reintroduction of polytonic as the official script.

The Greek vowel letters and digraphs with their pronunciations are: ⟨α/a/, ⟨ε, αι/e/, ⟨η, ι, υ, ει, οι, υι/i/, ⟨ο, ω/o/, and ⟨ου/u/. The digraphs ⟨αυ⟩, ⟨ευ⟩ and ⟨ηυ⟩ are pronounced /av/, /ev/, and /iv/ respectively before vowels and voiced consonants, and /af/, /ef/ and /if/ respectively before voiceless consonants.

The Greek letters ⟨φ⟩, ⟨β⟩, ⟨θ⟩, and ⟨δ⟩ are pronounced /f/, /v/, /θ/, and /ð/ respectively. The letters ⟨γ⟩ and ⟨χ⟩ are pronounced /ɣ/ and /x/, respectively. All those letters represent fricatives in Modern Greek, but they were used for occlusives with the same (or with a similar) articulation point in Ancient Greek. Before mid or close front vowels (/e/ and /i/), they are fronted, becoming [ʝ] and [ç], respectively, which, in some dialects, notably those of Crete and the Mani, are further fronted to [ʑ] or [ʒ] and [ɕ] or [ʃ], respectively. Μoreover, before mid or close back vowels (/o/ and /u/), ⟨γ⟩ tends to be pronounced further back than a prototypical velar, between a velar [ɣ] and an uvular [ʁ] (transcribed ɣ̄). The letter ⟨ξ⟩ stands for the sequence /ks/ and ⟨ψ⟩ for /ps/.

The digraphs ⟨γγ⟩ and ⟨γκ⟩ are generally pronounced [ɡ], but are fronted to [ɟ] before front vowels (/e/ and /i/) and tend to be pronounced [ɡ̄] before the back vowels (/o/ and /u/). When these digraphs are preceded by a vowel, they are pronounced [ŋɡ] and [ɲɟ] before front vowels (/e/ and /i/) and [ŋ̄ɡ̄] before the back (/o/ and /u/). The digraph ⟨γγ⟩ may be pronounced [ŋɣ] in some words ([ɲʝ] before front vowels and [ŋ̄ɣ̄] before back ones). The pronunciation [ŋk] for the digraph ⟨γκ⟩ is extremely rare, but could be heard in literary and scholarly words or when reading ancient texts (by a few readers); normally it retains its "original" pronunciation [ŋk] only in the trigraphγκτ⟩, where ⟨τ⟩ prevents the sonorization of ⟨κ⟩ by ⟨γ⟩ (hence [ŋkt]).

Syntax and morphology

Plaque de la rue Psaron (Réthymnon)
Street sign in Rethymno in honor of Psara island: Psaron (in genitive) Street, historic island of the 1821 Revolution

Modern Greek is largely a synthetic language. Modern Greek and Albanian are the only two modern Indo-European languages that retain a synthetic passive (the North Germanic passive is a recent innovation based on a grammaticalized reflexive pronoun).

Differences from Classical Greek

Modern Greek has changed from Classical Greek in morphology and syntax, losing some features and gaining others.

Features lost:

Features gained:

  • gerund
  • modal particle θα (a contraction of ἐθέλω ἵναθέλω ναθε' ναθα), which marks future and conditional tenses
  • auxiliary verb forms for certain verb forms
  • aspectual distinction in future tense between imperfective (present) and perfective (aorist)

Modern Greek has developed a simpler system of grammatical prefixes marking tense and aspect, such as augmentation and reduplication, and has lost some patterns of noun declension and some distinct forms in the declensions that were retained.

Most of these features are shared with other languages spoken in the Balkan peninsula (see Balkan sprachbund), although Greek does not show all typical Balkan areal features, such as the postposed article.

Because of the influence of Katharevousa, however, Demotic is not commonly used in its purest form. Archaisms are still widely used, especially in writing and in more formal speech, as well as in some everyday expressions, such as the dative εντάξει ('OK', literally 'in order') or the third person imperative ζήτω! ('long live!').

Sample text

The following is a sample text in Modern Greek of the Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (by the United Nations):

Άρθρο 1: Όλοι οι άνθρωποι γεννιούνται ελεύθεροι και ίσοι στην αξιοπρέπεια και τα δικαιώματα. Είναι προικισμένοι με λογική και συνείδηση, και οφείλουν να συμπεριφέρονται μεταξύ τους με πνεύμα αδελφοσύνης.

— Modern Greek in Greek alphabet

Arthro 1: Oloi oi anthropoi genniountai eleutheroi kai isoi stin axioprepeia kai ta dikaiomata. Einai proikismenoi me logiki kai syneidisi, kai ofeiloun na symperiferontai metaxy tous me pneuma adelfosynis.

— Modern Greek in Roman Transliteration, faithful to script

Árthro 1: Óli i ánthropi yeniúnde eléftheri ke ísi stin aksioprépia ke ta dhikeómata. Íne prikizméni me loyikí ke sinídhisi, ke ofílun na simberiféronde metaksí tus me pnévma adhelfosínis.

— Modern Greek in Transcription, faithful to pronunciation

[ˈarθro ˈena ‖ ˈoli i ˈanθropi ʝeˈɲunde eˈlefθeri ce ˈisi stin aksioˈprepia ce ta ðiceˈomata ‖ ˈine priciˈzmeni me loʝiˈci ce siˈniðisi | ce oˈfilun na simberiˈferonde metaˈksi tuz me ˈpnevma aðelfoˈsinis]

— Modern Greek in IPA

Article 1: All the human beings are born free and equal in the dignity and the rights. Are endowed with reason and conscience, and have to behave between them with spirit of brotherhood.

— Gloss, word-for-word

Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

— Translation, grammatical


  1. ^ Nationalencyklopedin "Världens 100 största språk 2007" The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007
  2. ^ Jeffries 2002, p. 69: "It is difficult to know how many ethnic Greeks there are in Albania. The Greek government, it is typically claimed, says there are around 300,000 ethnic Greeks in Albania, but most Western estimates are around the 200,000 mark ..."
  3. ^ "Greek in Hungary". Database for the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Public Foundation for European Comparative Minority Research. Archived from the original on 29 April 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  4. ^ "Italy: Cultural Relations and Greek Community". Hellenic Republic: Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 9 July 2013. The Greek Italian community numbers some 30,000 and is concentrated mainly in central Italy. The age-old presence in Italy of Italians of Greek descent – dating back to Byzantine and Classical times – is attested to by the Griko dialect, which is still spoken in the Magna Graecia region. This historically Greek-speaking villages are Condofuri, Galliciano, Roccaforte del Greco, Roghudi, Bova and Bova Marina, which are in the Calabria region (the capital of which is Reggio). The Grecanic region, including Reggio, has a population of some 200,000, while speakers of the Griko dialect number fewer that 1,000 persons.
  5. ^ Tsitselikis 2013, pp. 294–295.
  6. ^ "Language Use in the United States: 2011" (PDF). United States Census. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  7. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Modern Greek". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  8. ^ Based on: Brian Newton: The Generative Interpretation of Dialect. A Study of Modern Greek Phonology, Cambridge 1972, ISBN 0-521-08497-0
  9. ^ Dimitriadis, Alexis. "On Clitics, Prepositions and Case Licensing in Standard and Macedonian Greek". In Alexiadou, Artemis; Horrocks, Geoffrey C.; Stavrou, Melita. Studies in Greek Syntax.
  10. ^ Dawkins, R.M. 1916. Modern Greek in Asia Minor. A study of dialect of Silly, Cappadocia and Pharasa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  11. ^ a b Dawkins, R.M. 1916. Modern Greek in Asia Minor. A study of dialect of Silly, Cappadocia and Pharasa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  12. ^ Δέδες, Δ. 1993. Ποιήματα του Μαυλανά Ρουμή. Τα Ιστορικά 10.18–19: 3–22. (in Greek)
  13. ^ Meyer, G. 1895. Die griechischen Verse in Rabâbnâma. Byzantinische Zeitschrift 4: 401–411. (in German)
  14. ^ "Greek Verses of Rumi & Sultan Walad". Archived from the original on 8 October 2017.
  15. ^ The Greek Poetry of Jalaluddin Rumi
  16. ^ Dawkins, Richard M. "The Pontic dialect of Modern Greek in Asia Minor and Russia". Transactions of the Philological Society 36.1 (1937): 15–52.
  17. ^ "Greeks of the Steppe". The Washington Post. 10 November 2012. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  18. ^ Kontosopoulos (2008), 109
  19. ^ cf. Iotacism
  20. ^ G. Th. Pavlidis and V. Giannouli, "Spelling Errors Accurately Differentiate USA-Speakers from Greek Dyslexics: Ιmplications for Causality and Treatment" in R.M. Joshi et al. (eds) Literacy Acquisition: The Role of Phonology, Morphology and Orthography. Washington, 2003. ISBN 1-58603-360-3
  21. ^ ""Φιλιππικός" Χριστόδουλου κατά του μονοτονικού συστήματος". News. Retrieved 2007-02-23.
  22. ^ "Την επαναφορά του πολυτονικού ζητά η Διαρκής Ιερά Σύνοδος". News. Retrieved 2007-02-23.

Further reading

  • Ανδριώτης (Andriotis), Νικόλαος Π. (Nikolaos P.) (1995). Ιστορία της ελληνικής γλώσσας: (τέσσερις μελέτες) (History of the Greek language: four studies). Θεσσαλονίκη (Thessaloniki): Ίδρυμα Τριανταφυλλίδη. ISBN 960-231-058-8.
  • Vitti, Mario (2001). Storia della letteratura neogreca. Roma: Carocci. ISBN 88-430-1680-6.

External links


Dictionaries and glossaries



Athanasios Christopoulos

Athanasios Christopoulos (Greek: Ἀθανάσιος Χριστόπουλος; May 1772 – 19 January 1847) was a Greek poet.

Cypriot Greek

Cypriot Greek (Greek: Κυπριακά) is the variety of Modern Greek that is spoken by the majority of the Cypriot populace and Greek Cypriot diaspora. It is considered a divergent variety as it differs from Standard Modern Greek in various aspects of its lexicon, phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and even pragmatics, not only for historical reasons, but also because of geographical isolation, different settlement patterns, and extensive contact with typologically distinct languages.

Greek Braille

Greek Braille is the braille alphabet of the Greek language. It is based on international braille conventions, generally corresponding to Latin transliteration. In Greek, it is known as Κώδικας Μπράιγ Kôdikas Mpraig "Braille Code".

There are actually two Greek braille alphabets, which differ in the assignment of a few letters: Modern Greek Braille used in Greece, and International Greek Braille for Greek letters or words used in mathematics or otherwise embedded in English and other languages.

Greek alphabet

The Greek alphabet has been used to write the Greek language since the late ninth or early eighth century BC. It is derived from the earlier Phoenician alphabet, and was the first alphabetic script to have distinct letters for vowels as well as consonants. In Archaic and early Classical times, the Greek alphabet existed in many different local variants, but, by the end of the fourth century BC, the Eucleidean alphabet, with twenty-four letters, ordered from alpha to omega, had become standard and it is this version that is still used to write Greek today. These twenty-four letters are: Α α, Β β, Γ γ, Δ δ, Ε ε, Ζ ζ, Η η, Θ θ, Ι ι, Κ κ, Λ λ, Μ μ, Ν ν, Ξ ξ, Ο ο, Π π, Ρ ρ, Σ σ/ς, Τ τ, Υ υ, Φ φ, Χ χ, Ψ ψ, and Ω ω.

The Greek alphabet is the ancestor of the Latin and Cyrillic scripts. Like Latin and Cyrillic, Greek originally had only a single form of each letter; it developed the letter case distinction between uppercase and lowercase forms in parallel with Latin during the modern era. Sound values and conventional transcriptions for some of the letters differ between Ancient and Modern Greek usage, because the pronunciation of Greek has changed significantly between the fifth century BC and today. Modern and Ancient Greek also use different diacritics. Apart from its use in writing the Greek language, in both its ancient and its modern forms, the Greek alphabet today also serves as a source of technical symbols and labels in many domains of mathematics, science and other fields.

Greek language

Greek (Modern Greek: ελληνικά [eliniˈka], elliniká, "Greek", ελληνική γλώσσα [eliniˈci ˈɣlosa] (listen), ellinikí glóssa, "Greek language") 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.

Greek literature

Greek literature dates from ancient Greek literature, beginning in 800 BC, to the modern Greek literature of today.

Ancient Greek literature was written in an Ancient Greek dialect. This literature ranges from the oldest surviving written works until works from approximately the fifth century AD. This time period is divided into the Preclassical, Classical, Hellenistic, and Roman periods. Preclassical Greek literature primarily revolved around myths and include the works of Homer; the Iliad and the Odyssey. The Classical period saw the dawn of drama and history. Three philosophers are especially notable: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. During the Roman era, significant contributions were made in a variety of subjects, including history, philosophy, and the sciences.

Byzantine literature, the literature of the Byzantine Empire, was written in Atticizing, Medieval and early Modern Greek. Chronicles, distinct from historics, arose in this period. Encyclopedias also flourished in this period.

Modern Greek literature is written in common Modern Greek. The Cretan Renaissance poem Erotokritos is one of the most significant works from this time period. Adamantios Korais and Rigas Feraios are two of the most notable figures.

Greek military ranks

Modern Greek military ranks are based on Ancient Greek and Byzantine terminology, even though the ranks correspond to those of other Western armies. For example, ancient hoplite unit of approximately 100 men, the lochos, is today the name for a company of soldiers; its commander, as in ancient times, is a lochagos, while his lieutenants are called ypolochagoi — literally, "sub-captains" — a modern neologism. A sergeant is known as a lochias. A tagmatarchis (major) commands a tagma (battalion) and so forth. Thus, every officer or non-commissioned officer is in the land and air forces is generally named after the type of unit he commands, with the suffix -agos (from agein, "to lead") or -archos / arches (from archein, "to rule").

Griko dialect

Griko, sometimes spelled Grico in Salento is the dialect of Italiot Greek spoken by Griko people in Salento and (sometimes spelled Grecanic) in Calabria. Some Greek linguists consider it to be a Modern Greek dialect and often call it Katoitaliótika (Greek: Κατωιταλιώτικα, "Southern Italian") or Grekanika (Γρεκάνικα), whereas its own speakers call it Greko (Γκραίκο, in Calabria) or Griko (Γκρίκο, in Salento). Griko and Standard Modern Greek are partially mutually intelligible.

ISO 5428

ISO 5428:1984, Greek alphabet coded character set for bibliographic information interchange, is an ISO standard for an 8-bit character encoding for the modern Greek language. It contains a set of 73 graphic characters and is available through UNIMARC. In practice it is now superseded by Unicode.

Leaf vegetable

Leaf vegetables, also called leafy greens, salad greens, pot herbs, vegetable greens, or simply greens, are plant leaves eaten as a vegetable, sometimes accompanied by tender petioles and shoots. Although they come from a very wide variety of plants, most share a great deal with other leaf vegetables in nutrition and cooking methods.

Nearly one thousand species of plants with edible leaves are known. Leaf vegetables most often come from short-lived herbaceous plants, such as lettuce and spinach. Woody plants of various species also provide edible leaves.

The leaves of many fodder crops are also edible for humans, but usually only eaten under famine conditions. Examples include; alfalfa, clover, most grasses, including wheat and barley. These plants are often much more prolific than traditional leaf vegetables, but exploitation of their rich nutrition is difficult, due to their high fiber content. This can be overcome by further processing such as drying and grinding into powder or pulping and pressing for juice.

Leaf vegetables contain many typical plant nutrients, but since they are photosynthetic tissues, their vitamin K levels are particularly notable. Phylloquinone, the most common form of the vitamin, is directly involved in photosynthesis. This causes leaf vegetables to be the primary food class that interacts significantly with the anticoagulant warfarin.

List of modern Greek poets

This article is concerned with modern Greek poets. For earlier artists, see List of Ancient Greek poets.

This is a list of modern Greek poets (years link to corresponding "[year] in poetry" article):

Andreas Kalvos (1792–1869)

Dionysios Solomos (1798–1857)

Evanthia Kairi (1799–1866)

George Tsimbidaros-Fteris (1891–1967)

Andreas Laskaratos (1811–1901)

Aristotelis Valaoritis (1824–1879)

Kostis Palamas (1859–1943)

Athos Dimoulas (1921–1985)

Constantine Cavafy (1863–1933)

Nikos Kazantzakis (1883–1957)

Angelos Sikelianos (1884–1951)

Kostas Varnalis (1884–1974)

Napoleon Lapathiotis (1889–1944)

Giannis Skarimpas (1893–1984)

Kostas Karyotakis (1896–1928)

Giorgos Seferis (1900–1971)

Andreas Empeirikos (1901–1975)

Maria Polydouri (1902–1930)

Nikos Engonopoulos (1907–1985)

Yannis Ritsos (1909–1990)

Nikos Kavadias (1910–1975)

Alexander Mátsas (1910–1969)

Odysseus Elytis (1911–1996)

Nikiforos Vrettakos (1912–1991)

Nikos Gatsos (1915–1992)

Takis Sinopoulos (1917–1981)

Miltos Sachtouris (1919–2005)

Nanos Valaoritis (b. 1921)

Aris Alexandrou (1922–1978)

Manolis Anagnostakis (1925–2005)

Nikos Karouzos (1926–1990)

Nikos Fokas (b. 1927)

Kiki Dimoula (b. 1931)

Tassos Denegris (1934–2009)

Manolis Aligizakis(b. 1947)

Dimitri Kitsikis (b. 1935)

Katerina Gogou (1940–1993)

Kyriakos Charalambides (b. 1940)

Yannis Kondos (b. 1943)

Lefteris Poulios (b. 1944)

Demetris Th. Gotsis (b. 1945)

Christoforos Liontakis (b. 1945)

Vassilis Steriadis (1947–2003)

Jenny Mastoraki (b. 1949)

Dimitris Varos (b. 1949)

Dimitris Kraniotis (b. 1950)

Antonis Fostieris (b. 1953)

Sotiris Kakisis (b. 1954)

Haris Vlavianos (b. 1957)

Alexis Stamatis (b. 1960)

Dimitris Lyacos (b. 1966)

Yannis Livadas (b. 1969)

Modern Greek Enlightenment

The Modern Greek Enlightenment (Greek: Διαφωτισμός, Diafotismos, "enlightenment," "illumination") was the Greek expression of the Age of Enlightenment.

Modern Greek art

Modern Greek art is art from the period between the emergence of the new independent Greek state and the 20th century.

As Mainland Greece was under Ottoman rule for all four centuries, it was not a part of the Renaissance and artistic movements that followed in Western Europe. However, Greek islands such as Crete, and the Ionian islands in particular were for large periods under Venetian or other European powers' rule and thus were able to better assimilate the radical artistic changes that were occurring in Europe during the 14th-18th century. The Cretan School and in particular the Heptanese School of art are two typical examples of artistic movements in Greece that followed parallel routes to Western Europe.

As such, there were different artistic trends in the emerging Greek society. Modern Greek art can be said to have been predominantly shaped by the particular socioeconomic conditions of Greece, the large Greek diaspora across Europe, and the new Greek social elite, as well as external artistic influences, predominantly from Germany and France.

Modern Greek literature

Modern Greek literature refers to literature written in common Modern Greek, emerging from the late Byzantine era in the 11th century AD. During this period, spoken Greek became more prevalent in the written tradition, as demotic Greek came to be used more and more over the Attic idiom and the katharevousa reforms.

The migration of Byzantine scholars and other émigrés from southern Italy and Byzantium during the decline of the Byzantine Empire (1203–1453) and mainly after the fall of Constantinople in 1453 until the 16th century, is considered by some scholars as key to the revival of Greek and Roman studies and subsequently in the development of the Renaissance humanism and science. These emigres were grammarians, humanists, poets, writers, printers, lecturers, musicians, astronomers, architects, academics, artists, scribes, philosophers, scientists, politicians and theologians. They brought to Western Europe the far greater preserved and accumulated knowledge of their own civilization.

The Cretan Renaissance poem Erotokritos is undoubtedly the masterpiece of this early period of modern Greek literature, and represents one of its supreme achievements. It is a verse romance written around 1600 by Vitsentzos Kornaros (1553–1613). The other major representative of the Cretan literature was Georgios Chortatzis and his most notable work was Erofili. Other plays include The Sacrifice of Abraham by Kornaros, Panoria and Katsourbos by Chortatzis, Fortounatos by Markos Antonios Foskolos, King Rodolinos by Andreas Troilos, Stathis (comedy) and Voskopoula by unknown artists.

Much later, Diafotismos was an ideological, philological, linguistic and philosophical movement among 18th century Greeks that translate the ideas and values of European Enlightenment into the Greek world. Adamantios Korais and Rigas Feraios are two of the most notable figures. In 1819, Korakistika, written by Iakovakis Rizos Neroulos, was a lampoon against the Greek intellectual Adamantios Korais and his linguistic views, who favoured the use of a more conservative form of the Greek language, closer to the ancient.

The years before the Greek Independence, the Ionian islands became the center of the Heptanese School (literature). Its main characteristics was the Italian influence, romanticism, nationalism and use of Demotic Greek. Notable representatives were Andreas Laskaratos, Antonios Matesis, Andreas Kalvos, Aristotelis Valaoritis and Dionysios Solomos.

After the independence the intellectual center was transferred in Athens. A major figure of this new era was Kostis Palamas, considered "national poet" of Greece. He was the central figure of the Greek literary generation of the 1880s and one of the cofounders of the so-called New Athenian School (or Palamian School). Its main characteristic was the use of Demotic Greek. He was also the writer of the Olympic Hymn.

Modern Greek literature is usually (but not exclusively) written in polytonic orthography, though the monotonic orthography was made official in 1981 by Andreas Papandreou government. Modern Greek literature is represented by many writers, poets and novelists. Major representatives are Angelos Sikelianos, Emmanuel Rhoides, Athanasios Christopoulos, Kostis Palamas, Penelope Delta, Yannis Ritsos, Alexandros Papadiamantis, Nikos Kazantzakis, Andreas Embeirikos, Kostas Karyotakis, Gregorios Xenopoulos, Constantine P. Cavafy, Demetrius Vikelas, Georgios Vizyinos, while George Seferis and Odysseas Elytis have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Other writers include Manolis Anagnostakis, Nicolas Calas, Georgios Drosinis, Kiki Dimoula, Maro Douka, Nikos Engonopoulos, Nikos Gatsos, Iakovos Kambanelis, Nikos Kavvadias, Andreas Karkavitsas, Kostas Krystallis, Dimitris Lyacos, Petros Markaris, Lorentzos Mavilis, Jean Moréas, Stratis Myrivilis, Zacharias Papantoniou, Dimitris Psathas, Ioannis Psycharis, Aristomenis Provelengios, Alexandros Rizos Rangavis, Vasilis Rotas, Miltos Sahtouris, Antonis Samarakis, Giannis Skarimpas, Dido Sotiriou, Georgios Souris, Alexandros Soutsos, Panagiotis Soutsos, Georgios Stratigis, Angelos Terzakis, Kostas Varnalis, Vassilis Vassilikos, Elias Venezis, Demetrios Bernardakis and Nikephoros Vrettakos.

Modern Greek phonology

This article deals with the phonology and phonetics of Standard Modern Greek. For phonological characteristics of other varieties, see varieties of Modern Greek, and for Cypriot, specifically, see Cypriot Greek § Phonology.

Modern Greek theatre

Modern Greek theatre refers to the theatrical production and theatrical plays written in the Modern Greek language, from the post-Byzantine times until today.


Phi (; uppercase Φ, lowercase φ or ϕ; Ancient Greek: ϕεῖ pheî [pʰé͜e]; Modern Greek φι fi [fi]) is the 21st letter of the Greek alphabet.

In Archaic and Classical Greek, it represented an aspirated voiceless bilabial plosive ([pʰ]), which was the origin of its usual romanization as ⟨ph⟩. During the later part of Classical Antiquity, in Koine Greek (final centuries BC), its pronunciation shifted to that of a voiceless labiodental fricative ([f]).

The romanization of the Modern Greek phoneme is therefore usually ⟨f⟩.

It may be that phi originated as the letter qoppa and initially represented the sound /kʷʰ/ before shifting to Classical Greek [pʰ]. In traditional Greek numerals, phi has a value of 500 (φʹ) or 500,000 (͵φ). The Cyrillic letter Ef (Ф, ф) descends from phi.

As with other Greek letters, lowercase phi is used as a mathematical or scientific symbol. Some uses, such as the golden ratio, require the old-fashioned 'closed' glyph, which is separately encoded as the Unicode character U+03D5 ϕ GREEK PHI SYMBOL. The modern Greek pronunciation of the letter is sometimes encountered in English (as ) when the letter is being used in this sense.

Romanization of Greek

Romanization of Greek is the transliteration (letter-mapping) or transcription (sound-mapping) of text from the Greek alphabet into the Latin alphabet. The conventions for writing and romanizing Ancient Greek and Modern Greek differ markedly, which can create confusion. The sound of the English letter B (/b/) was written as β in ancient Greek but is now written as the digraph μπ, while the modern β sounds like the English letter V (/v/) instead. The Greek name Ἰωάννης became Johannes in Latin and then John in English, but in Greek itself has instead become Γιάννης; this might be written as Yannis, Jani, Ioannis, Yiannis, or Giannis, but not Giannes or Giannēs as it would have been in ancient Greek. The masculine Greek word Ἅγιος or Άγιος might variously appear as Hagiοs, Agios, Aghios, or Ayios, or simply be translated as "Holy" or "Saint" in English forms of Greek placenames.Traditional English renderings of Greek names originated from Roman systems established in antiquity. The Roman alphabet itself was a form of the Cumaean alphabet derived from the Euboean script that valued Χ as /ks/ and Η as /h/ and used variant forms of Λ and Σ that became L and S. When this script was used to write the classical Greek alphabet, ⟨κ⟩ was replaced with ⟨c⟩, ⟨αι⟩ and ⟨οι⟩ became ⟨æ⟩ and ⟨œ⟩, and ⟨ει⟩ and ⟨ου⟩ were simplified to ⟨i⟩ (more rarely—corresponding to an earlier pronunciation—⟨e⟩) and ⟨u⟩. Aspirated consonants like ⟨θ⟩, ⟨φ⟩, initial-⟨ρ⟩, and ⟨χ⟩ simply wrote out the sound: ⟨th⟩, ⟨ph⟩, ⟨rh⟩, and ⟨ch⟩. Because English orthography has changed so much from the original Greek, modern scholarly transliteration now usually renders ⟨κ⟩ as ⟨k⟩ and the diphthongs ⟨αι, οι, ει, ου⟩ as ⟨ai, oi, ei, ou⟩. Modern scholars also increasingly render ⟨χ⟩ as ⟨kh⟩.The sounds of Modern Greek have diverged from both those of Ancient Greek and their descendant letters in English and other languages. This led to a variety of romanizations for names and placenames in the 19th and 20th century. The Hellenic Organization for Standardization (ELOT) issued its system in cooperation with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1983. This system was adopted (with minor modifications) by the United Nations' Fifth Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names at Montreal in 1987, by the United Kingdom's Permanent Committee on Geographical Names for British Official Use (PCGN) and by the United States' Board on Geographic Names (BGN) in 1996, and by the ISO itself in 1997. Romanization of names for official purposes (as with passports and identity cards) were required to use the ELOT system within Greece until 2011, when a legal decision permitted Greeks to use irregular forms (such as "Demetrios" for Δημήτριος) provided that official identification and documents also list the standard forms (as, for example, "Demetrios OR Dimitrios"). Other romanization systems still encountered are the BGN/PCGN's earlier 1962 system and the system employed by the American Library Association and the United States' Library of Congress."Greeklish" has also spread within Greece itself, owing to the rapid spread of digital telephony from cultures using the Latin alphabet. Since Greek typefaces and fonts are not always supported or robust, Greek email and chatting has adopted a variety of formats for rendering Greek and Greek shorthand using Latin letters. Examples include "8elo" and "thelw" for θέλω, "3ava" for ξανά, and "yuxi" for ψυχή.

Varieties of Modern Greek

The linguistic varieties of Modern Greek can be classified along two principal dimensions. First, there is a long tradition of sociolectal variation between the natural, popular spoken language on the one hand and archaizing, learned written forms on the other. Second, there is regional variation between dialects. The competition between the popular and the learned registers (see Diglossia), culminated in the struggle between Dimotiki (Demotic Greek) and Katharevousa during the 19th and 20th centuries. As for regional dialects, variation within the bulk of dialects of present-day Greece is not particularly strong, except for a number of outlying, highly divergent dialects spoken by isolated communities.

Origin and genealogy
Writing systems
Promotion and study
Ages of Greek

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