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Athens Travel Guide

The Greek Language



Greek language(Dhimotiki), an frequent language in Greece with its origins dating back 3,500 years and an uninterrupted literary history which makes it one of the oldest remaining branches of the Indo-European family of languages. It is the language of one of the major civilizations of the world and of one of the greatest literatures of all time. Many modern scientific and technical words in English and other Western languages are derived from Greek, and it has been estimated that 12% of the English vocabulary is of Greek origin.

Greek explains various linguistic features that are utilized with Romanian, Albanian and Bulgarian , and has absorbed many foreign words (primarily of western European or Turkish origin). Due to the movement of Philhellenism in the 19th century in the rest of Europe, which emphasized the modern Greeks' ancient heritage, these strange influences were excluded from official use via the usage of Katharevusa, a somewhat artificial form of Greek purged of all foreign influence and words, as the official language of the Greek state. In 1976, however, the Greek parliament voted to make Dhimotiki, the modern dialect of Athens, the official language, making Katharevusa obsolete. Today, it is spoken by approximately 17 million people in Greece, Cyprus, Albania, Bulgaria, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Italy, Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldavia, Romania, Egypt and emigrant communities around the world.

Greek has a wide diversity of dialects of varying levels of common fluency, which in addition to official diversity (Standard Modern Greek ), include the Cypriot, Pontic, Cappadocian, Griko (Calabrian Greek) and Tsakonian (the only surviving representative of ancient Doric Greek) varieties. Yevanic, also known as Romaniote or Judeo-Greek, is the language of the Greek Jews (Romaniotes), and survives in small communities in Greece, New York and Israel. In addition to Greek, several Greeks in Greece are bilingual in other languages. Such languages include Arvanitic, Aromanian (also known as Vlach), Slavic (also known as Dopia), Russian, Italian and Turkish. In the diaspora, most Greeks also speak the languages of the areas in which they live.

English and French are also used as well as, to a lesser degree, German. Tourism is one of the largest trades in Greece, so tourists should get by with a basic comprehension of some of these languages. The main matter with a holiday in Greece is that you can feel totally ignorant. The Greek alphabet diverges from the Roman one used in most Western countries, and not all street signs are written in both. But here are some useful phrases for you with the phonetic spelling.

Characteristics of Greek Language


Both the nouns and verbs of Ancient Greek were vastly modified. Verbs had active, middle, and passive voices; indicative, subjunctive, optative, and imperative moods; singular, dual, and plural numbers; and many tenses. This method was applied in other latin and greek based languages like Spanish, where the verb conjugation it's similar. You can conjugate all verbs at www.freeconjugation.com.

Nouns had three genders (masculine, feminine, and neuter) and five cases (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, and vocative). Unlike Latin, Greek had a word for the definite article. Three accent marks are used in Greek, the acute (), the grave (`), and the circumflex (). In Ancient Greek they denoted a pitch accent related to the length of vowels, but in Modern Greek they serve as a stress accent. A symbol known as a rough breathing over an initial vowel represented the h sound in Ancient Greek, while the symbol for a smooth breathing over an initial vowel made clear the absence of aspiration. Although still retained today, the breathing marks no longer indicate pronunciation. In punctuation, the semicolon (;) stands for the question mark, and a raised dot denotes the semicolon and colon.





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