MODERN GREEK (Νέα Ελληνικά or Νεοελληνική Γλώσσα "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
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.
* 1 Varieties
* 1.1 Demotic * 1.2 Katharevousa * 1.3 Pontic * 1.4 Cappadocian * 1.5 Mariupolitan * 1.6 Southern Italian * 1.7 Yevanic * 1.8 Tsakonian
* 2 Phonology and orthography
* 3 Syntax and morphology
* 3.1 Differences from Classical Greek
* 4 Sample text * 5 References * 6 Further reading * 7 External links
Varieties of Modern Greek
Varieties of Modern Greek
Main article: Demotic Greek
Strictly speaking, Demotic (Δημοτική) refers to all popular
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: becomes , becomes , and and are dropped. The dropped vowels' existence is implicit, and may affect surrounding phonemes: for example, a dropped palatalizes preceding consonants, just like an that is pronounced. Southern variants do not exhibit these phonological shifts.
Examples of Northern dialects are Rumelian , Epirote , Thessalian , Macedonian , Thracian . The Southern category is divided into groups that include variety groups from:
Demotic Greek has officially been taught in monotonic Greek script since 1982. Polytonic script remains popular in intellectual circles.
Main article: Katharevousa
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
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
Main article: Pontic Greek 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.
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
Main article: Cappadocian Greek
Cappadocian (Καππαδοκικά) is a Greek dialect of central
Main article: Rumeíka
Rumeíka (Ρωμαίικα) or Mariupolitan Greek is a dialect spoken
in about 17 villages around the northern coast of the
Sea of Azov
Southern Italian or Italiot (Κατωιταλιώτικα) comprises
both Calabrian and
Griko varieties, spoken by around 15 villages in
the regions of
It has received significant
Main article: Yevanic language
Yevanic is a recently extinct language of
Main article: Tsakonian language
Tsakonian (Τσακωνικά) is spoken in its full form today only
in a small number of villages around the town of
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
A series of radical sound changes starting in
Δδ Delta Ππ Pi
Archaic local variants
* * * * * *
* Diacritics * Ligatures
* ϛ (6) * ϟ (90) * ϡ (900)
USE IN OTHER LANGUAGES
* Bactrian * Coptic * Albanian
* Use as scientific symbols
* v * t * e
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
and the Holy Synod of the Church of
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.
Before mid or close front vowels (/e / and /i /), they are fronted,
becoming and , respectively, which, in some dialects, notably those
The digraphs ⟨γγ⟩ and ⟨γκ⟩ are generally pronounced , but are fronted to before front vowels (/e / and /i /) and tend to be pronounced before the back vowels (/o / and /u /). When these digraphs are preceded by a vowel, they are pronounced and before front vowels (/e / and /i /) and before the back (/o / and /u /). The digraph ⟨γγ⟩ may be pronounced in some words ( before front vowels and before back ones). The pronunciation 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 only in the trigraph ⟨γκτ⟩, where ⟨τ⟩ prevents the sonorization of ⟨κ⟩ by ⟨γ⟩ (hence ).
SYNTAX AND MORPHOLOGY
Modern Greek grammar Areas where
DIFFERENCES FROM CLASSICAL GREEK
* dative case * optative mood * infinitive * dual number * participles (except the past participle) * third person imperative.
* gerund * modal particle θα (a contraction of ἐθέλω ἵνα → θέλω να → θε' να → θα), which marks future and conditional tenses * auxiliary verb forms for certain verb forms * aspectual distinction in future tense between imperfective (present) and perfective (aorist)
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!').
The following is a sample text in
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. —
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
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
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
Nationalencyklopedin "Världens 100 största språk 2007" The
World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007
* ^ 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 ..."
* ^ "Greek in Hungary". Database for the European Charter for
Regional or Minority Languages. Public Foundation for European
Comparative Minority Research. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
* ^ "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
* Ανδριώτης (Andriotis), Νικόλαος Π. (Nikolaos P.)
(1995). Ιστορία της ελληνικής γλώσσας:
(τέσσερις μελέτες) (History of the Greek language: four
studies). Θεσσαλονίκη (
Wikibooks has more on the topic of: MODERN GREEK
* Portal for the Greek Language (modern & ancient) of the Center for the Greek Language * Hellenic National Corpus of the Institute for Language & Speech Processing * Audio example of Modern Greek
* Online course "Filoglossia" by ILSP
* Greek online course "Greek by Radio" from
DICTIONARIES AND GLOSSARIES
* Greek–English Dictionary Georgacas for
* Official website of the Center for the