Rus Articles Journal

What language is spoken by Greeks?

… And still you as in the ancient time, it is wonderful, You each side of the past are great



(Byron about Greek)

Even people, far from linguistics, without effort will be able to identify the English or French speech; on the Swedish will tell “something similar into German“. And here Greek in spite of the fact that it is one of the most ancient and is used in the European country, will guess the few. Let`s understand what language which Greeks speak is.

Language is, first of all, reflection of history of the people and its developed mentality. And history of Greece the richest: throughout centuries Greek was language of communication of people of the ancient world in the Mediterranean countries. Were dealt with its help, and also military, scientific and creative people communicated.

is A little history

Since the II millennium BC. The Balkan Peninsula, Peloponnese and adjacent islands occupied various protogreek nationalities: achaeans, Ionians, eoliyets. After them doriyets pressed. Tribes spoke on own dialects. These strangers managed to suppress local population - pelasg, leleg - and their adverbs.

Within the next centuries of the city-state were at war among themselves, developed new lands, established a commercial and cultural connection. Respectively, their dialects influenced at each other: assimilated and acquired loans.

In the 5th century BC with development of art and literature there was a tendency when any dialect becomes more popular than the others. So, on a doriysky dialect it was accepted to write lyrical poetry, and tragedies were composed only on attic.

In the 4th century BC. Athens gets huge political and cultural authority among neighbors, and the attic dialect of this state becomes a certain standard for all Ancient Greek prose, and a bit later and literatures in general.

In the 3rd century BC after Alexander of Macedon`s gains there is a concept “ to the koyena “ - the uniform “mixed“ language of the people inhabiting its huge empire which basis was the same attic dialect. On the koyena the Greek Gospel is written to this day serve a liturgy in the Greek orthodox Church.

During the blossoming up to the 3rd century AD, Greek to the koyena becomes language of a lingv - franc of the countries of east Mediterranean. In other words, was language of the international communication in certain fields of activity: to trade, science.

Along with colloquial to the koyena approximately with the I guo of century AD. educated people begin to write on the classical attic dialect which again became fashionable among writers. So the diglossia period - parallel coexistence of literary and colloquial languages begins long (to the middle of the 20th century).

After establishment in 146 AD of the Roman protectorate over Greece there was strange: Romans not only did not force Greeks to forget own speech, but also counted for themselves important to learn language of the won people. Writers and poets of Ancient Rome successfully translated the Greek authors and even wrote on - Greek. From Greeks Latin was known by nobody. Only Plutarch in the last years of life tried to learn Latin, but did not succeed in it.

In 395 AD. The Roman state broke up: in the east the Byzantine Empire with the capital of Constantinople was formed. In the 6th century official language of the state became Greek to the koyena. Certainly, for several centuries it onvidoizmenitsya, having submitted influence of other languages: Latin, Slavic, Armenian etc. Later hundreds of years in 1453 the weakened by internal conflicts and crusades, great Byzantium fell under the pressure of Ottoman army.

In 400 years of the Turkish yoke literary Greek did not develop. But it was not forgotten in Europe. All educated people of those time considered necessary to be able to read works of Ancient Greek scientists and poets in the original. By the way, in the Russian pre-revolutionary gymnasiums, learning Greek, meant classical attic dialect.

In many respects thanks to efforts of the Greek Church oral language, though a little “oturechenny“, remained up to finding of independence by Greece in 1930.

“Linguistic wars“ in Greece

at the beginning of the 19th century before free Greeks rose the major question: in what language laws of the independent country will be written and children will begin to talk? The diglossia provided two options: to address language of orthodox Byzantium or to revive an attic dialect of classical Athens, Aristotle and Platon`s language.

As during this period in Europe classicism became fashionable, the second option seemed to the most attractive to Greeks: it would be pleasant to consider himself as lineal heirs of great world culture. But actually such radical return to the past was not represented possible any more.

As a result of furious disputes there was “a language cleared of loans“, of a kafarevus in many respects keeping lexicon and grammar Ancient Greek to the koyena in combination with a pronunciation modern at that time. It became language of management, science and literature: on it books were written and educated people spoke.

But a kafarevusa, according to many linguists, it was far from language of the simple population. For household communication systematized national - of a dimotika which was natural continuation of the same Ancient Greek to the koyena. The spoken language has many the Italian, Slavic, French and Turkish words. It is much simpler than a kafarevusa grammatical and more “live“.

“Linguistic war“ (there were also street fights) continued before reform of 1976 when dimotik it was shown the ropes of the school program. But only in 1982 it became official and only language of the Hellenic Republic. So modern modern Greek as it is called still, language is a national spoken language.

Despite rough history, present Greek nevertheless kept more than 80% of an original lexicon in an invariance. He is the representative of an Indo-European family of languages, but has no “close relatives“ as, for example, Italian or German, t. e only in the group.

In Greek 10 million residents of Greece and the semi-million Greek population of Cyprus communicate today. It is known by the Greeks living worldwide - in Russia, Canada, the USA, England, Australia.

Several features of Greek

For the Russian-speaking person will not make big work to learn to read and pronounce the Greek words: the general letters in the alphabet and there are a lot of similar sounds for which our organs of articulation are already adapted. At some effort it is simple even to get rid of Russian, more rough, accent.

In phonetics the ringing and deaf interdental “Th“ similar English can cause the only difficulty, especially at their neighbourhood with concordants. In Russian these sounds are written down letters “F“ (Athena) or “Ä“ (Lydia) and said respectively.

In Greek there is no uncertain form of a verb inherent in many European languages. In a literal translation the “I Want to Go to Cinema“ offer will sound as “I want I go to cinema“ or “It can buy bread?“ as “He can buys bread?“.

In questions instead of a question mark “?“ habitual to Europeans Greeks put a semicolon “;“.

One more feature is that with proper names Greeks use articles of the corresponding sort, t. e a female name Elena is used with an article of a feminine gender: And Eleni.

In Greek the vocative case (by analogy with Ukrainian) in a masculine gender remained. To call the Greek man, it is necessary to change the termination of his name: About Aggelos - Aggile.

At desire it is simple to understand also grammar which something reminds grammar of Russian: free words order in the sentence, existence of cases and three childbirth.

As for lexicon, linguists consider that the Russian-speaking person without effort will be able to distinguish values of 1000 Greek words.

Studying of the Greek, as well as any foreign language, process interesting and useful as allows to get acquainted with culture of other country more deeply. Besides, the knowledge at least of several phrases will make a trip to Greece much more pleasantly.