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Pronunciation [eliniˈka]
Spoken in Greece, Cyprus, Greek diaspora, Spain.
Total speakers c. 13 million[1]
Ranking 68[2]
Language family Indo-European
Writing system Greek alphabet
Official status
Official language in  Greece[3]
 European Union[5]

Recognised minority language in:
Regulated by No official regulation
Language codes
ISO 639-1 el
ISO 639-2 gre (B)  ell (T)
ISO 639-3 variously:
grc – Ancient Greek
ell – Modern Greek
pnt – Pontic Greek
gmy – Mycenaean Greek
gkm – Medieval Greek
cpg – Cappadocian Greek
tsd – Tsakonian Greek
Greek (ελληνικά, IPA: [eliniˈka] or ελληνική γλώσσα, IPA: [eliniˈci ˈɣlosa]), an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, is the language of the Greeks. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records.[9] In its ancient form, it is the language of classical ancient Greek literature and the New Testament of the Christian Bible. In its modern form, it is the official language of Greece and Cyprus and one of the 23 official languages of the European Union. Spoken by approximately 13 million people,[1] including minority and emigrant communities in numerous parts of the world, its written form uses the Greek alphabet.



Greek has been spoken in the Balkan Peninsula since around the late 3rd millennium BC. The earliest written evidence is found in the Linear B clay tablets in the "Room of the Chariot Tablets", an LMIII A-context (c. 1400 BC) region of Knossos, in Crete, making Greek one of the world's oldest recorded living languages. Among the Indo-European languages, its date of earliest attestation is matched only by the Anatolian languages.
The later Greek alphabet (unrelated to Linear B) is derived from the Phoenician alphabet (Abjad); with minor modifications, it is still used today. The Greek language is conventionally divided into the following periods:
  • Proto-Greek: the assumed last ancestor of all known varieties of Greek which is not recorded. Proto-Greek speakers possibly entered the Greek peninsula in the early 2nd millennium BC. Since then, Greek has been spoken uninterruptedly in Greece.
  • Mycenaean Greek: the language of the Mycenaean civilization. It is recorded in the Linear B script on tablets dating from the 15th or 14th century BC onwards.
  • Ancient Greek: in its various dialects was the language of the Archaic and Classical periods of the ancient Greek civilization. It was widely known throughout the Roman Empire. Ancient Greek fell into disuse in western Europe in the Middle Ages, but remained officially in use in the Byzantine world, and was reintroduced to the rest of Europe with the Fall of Constantinople and Greek migration to the areas of Italy.
  • Koine Greek: The fusion of various ancient Greek dialects with Attic, the dialect of Athens, resulted in the creation of the first common Greek dialect, which became a lingua franca across Eastern Mediterranean and Near East. Koine Greek can be initially traced within the armies and conquered territories of Alexander the Great, but after the Hellenistic colonization of the known world, it was spoken from Egypt to the fringes of India. After the Roman conquest of Greece, an unofficial diglossy of Greek and Latin was established in the city of Rome and Koine Greek became a first or second language in the Roman Empire. The origin of Christianity can also be traced through Koine Greek, as the Apostles used it to preach in Greece and the Greek-speaking world. It is also known as the Alexandrian dialect, Post-Classical Greek or even New Testament Greek, as it was the original language the New Testament was written in.
  • Medieval Greek, also known as Byzantine Greek: the continuation of Koine Greek during Byzantine Greece, up to the demise of the Byzantine Empire in the 15th century. Medieval Greek is a cover term for a whole continuum of different speech and writing styles, ranging from vernacular continuations of spoken Koine that were already approaching Modern Greek in many respects, to highly learned forms imitating classical Attic. Much of the written Greek that was used as the official language of the Byzantine Empire was an eclectic middle-ground variety based on the tradition of written Koine.
  • Modern Greek: Stemming from Medieval Greek, Modern Greek usages can be traced in the Byzantine period, as early as 11th century. It is the language used by modern Greeks and apart from Standard Modern Greek, there are several dialects of it.
History of the
Greek language

(see also: Greek alphabet)
Mycenaean (c. 1600–1100 BC)
Ancient Greek (c. 800–330 BC)
Aeolic, Arcadocypriot, Attic-Ionic,
Doric, Locrian, Pamphylian;
Homeric Greek.
Possibly Macedonian.

Koine Greek (c. 330 BC–330)*
Medieval Greek (330–1453)
Modern Greek (from 1453)
Cappadocian, Cheimarriotika, Cretan,
Cypriot,Demotic, Griko, Katharevousa,
Pontic, Tsakonian, Maniot, Yevanic

*Dates (beginning with Ancient Greek) from D.B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids 1997), 12.
The tradition of diglossia, the simultaneous existence of vernacular and archaizing written forms of Greek, was renewed in the modern era in the form of a polarization between two competing varieties: Dimotiki, the vernacular form of Modern Greek proper, and Katharevousa, meaning 'purified', an imitation of classical Greek, which was developed in the early 19th century and used for literary, juridic, administrative and scientific purposes in the newly formed modern Greek state. The diglossia problem was brought to an end in 1976 (Law 306/1976), when Dimotikí was declared the official language of Greece and it is still in use for all official purposes and in education, having incorporated features of Katharevousa and giving birth to Standard Greek.
Historical unity and continuing identity between the various stages of the Greek language is often emphasised. Although Greek has undergone morphological and phonological changes comparable to those seen in other languages, there has been no time in its history since classical antiquity where its cultural, literary, and orthographic tradition was interrupted to such an extent that one can easily speak of a new language emerging. Greek speakers today still tend to regard literary works of ancient Greek as part of their own rather than a foreign language.[10] It is also often estimated that the historical changes have been relatively slight compared with some other languages. According to one estimation, "Homeric Greek is probably closer to demotic than twelfth-century Middle English is to modern spoken English."[11] Ancient Greek texts, especially from Biblical Koine onwards, are thus relatively easy to understand for educated modern speakers. The perception of historical unity is also strengthened by the fact that Greek has not split up into a group of separate national daughter languages, as happened with Latin.
Greek words have been widely borrowed into other languages, including English: mathematics, astronomy, democracy, philosophy, thespian, athletics, theater, rhetoric etc. Moreover, Greek words and word elements continue to be productive as a basis for coinages: anthropology, photography, isomer, biomechanics, cinema, physics etc. and form, with Latin words, the foundation of international scientific and technical vocabulary, e.g. all words ending with "-logy" ("discourse"). An estimated 12% of the English vocabulary has Greek origin, while numerous Greek words have English derivatives.[12]

Geographic distribution

Greek is spoken by about 13.1 million people,[1] mainly in Greece and Cyprus, but also worldwide by the large Greek diaspora. There are traditional Greek-speaking settlements in the neighbouring countries of Albania, the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey, as well as in several countries in the Black Sea area such as Ukraine, Russia, Romania, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, and around the Mediterranean Sea, Southern Italy, Israel, Egypt, Lebanon and ancient coastal towns along the Levant. The language is also spoken by Greek emigrant communities in many countries in Western Europe, especially the United Kingdom and Germany, in Canada and the United States, Australia, as well as in Argentina, Brazil and others.[citation needed]

Official status

Greek is the official language of Greece, where it is spoken by almost the entire population.[13] It is also, nominally alongside Turkish, the official language of Cyprus, though Turkish has seen limited official use by the Republic of Cyprus since the Turkish invasion of 1974.[4] Because of the membership of Greece and Cyprus in the European Union, Greek is one of the organization's 23 official languages.[5] Furthermore, Greek is officially recognized as a minority language in parts of Italy and Albania,[6] as well as in Armenia and Ukraine.[7]

Characteristics of the language across its history

The phonology, morphology, syntax, and vocabulary of the language show both conservative and innovative tendencies across the entire attestation of the language from the ancient to the modern period. The division into conventional periods is, as with all such periodisations, relatively arbitrary, especially since at all periods, Ancient Greek has enjoyed high prestige, and the literate borrowed heavily from it.
Across its history, the syllabic structure of Greek has varied little: Greek shows a mixed syllable structure, permitting complex syllabic onsets, but very restricted codas. It has only oral vowels, and a fairly stable set of consonantal contrasts. The main phonological changes occurred during the Hellenistic and Roman period (see Koine Greek phonology for details), and included:
  • replacement of the pitch accent with a stress accent
  • simplification of the system of vowels and diphthongs: loss of vowel length distinction, monophthongization of most diphthongs, and several steps in a chain shift of vowels towards /i/ (iotacism)
  • development of the voiceless aspirated stop consonants /pʰ/ and /tʰ/ to the voiceless fricatives /f/ and /θ/, respectively; the similar development of /kʰ/ to /x/ may have taken place later (these phonological changes are not reflected in the orthography: both the earlier and later phonemes are written with φ, θ, and χ)
  • possibly development of the voiced stop consonants /b/, /d/, /ɡ/ to their voiced fricative counterparts /β/ (later /v/), /ð/, /ɣ/
In all its stages, the morphology of Greek shows an extensive set of productive derivational affixes, a limited but productive system of compounding[14], as well a rich inflectional system. While its morphological categories have been fairly stable over time, morphological changes are present throughout, particularly in the nominal and verbal systems. The major change in nominal morphology was the loss of the dative case (its functions being largely taken over by the genitive); in the verb, the major change was the loss of the infinitive, with a concomitant rise in new periphrastic forms.
Pronouns show distinctions in person (1st, 2nd, and 3rd), number (singular, dual, and plural in the ancient language; singular and plural alone in later stages), and gender (masculine, feminine, and neuter), and decline for case (from six cases in the earliest forms attested to four in the modern language).[15] Nouns, articles, and adjectives show all these distinctions but person. Both attributive and predicative adjectives agree with the noun.
The inflectional categories of the Greek verb have likewise remained largely the same over the course of the language's history, though with significant changes in the number of distinctions within each category and their morphological expression. Greek verbs have synthetic inflectional forms for:
  • mood — Ancient Greek: indicative, subjunctive, imperative, and optative; Modern Greek: indicative, subjunctive[16], and imperative (other modal functions are expressed by periphrastic constructions)
  • number — singular, plural (archaic Greek also had a dual number, although it was of rare use)
  • voice — Ancient Greek: active, middle, and passive; Modern Greek: active and medio-passive
  • tense — Ancient Greek: present, past, future; Modern Greek: past and non-past (future is expressed by a periphrastic construction)
  • person — first, second, third, second person formal form
  • aspect — Ancient Greek: imperfective, perfective (traditionally called aorist), perfect (sometimes also called perfective, see note about terminology); Modern Greek: perfective and imperfective
Many aspects of the syntax of Greek have remained constant: verbs agree with their subject only, the use of the surviving cases is largely intact (nominative for subjects and predicates, accusative for objects of most verbs and many prepositions, genitive for possessors), articles precede nouns, adpositions are largely prepositional, relative clauses follow the noun they modify, relative pronouns are clause-initial. But the morphological changes also have their counterparts in the syntax, and there are also significant differences between the syntax of the ancient and that of the modern form of the language. Ancient Greek made great use of participial constructions and of constructions involving the infinitive, while the modern variety lacks the infinitive entirely (instead having a raft of new periphrastic constructions) and uses participles more restrictedly. The loss of the dative led to a rise of prepositional indirect objects (and the use of the genitive to directly mark these as well). Ancient Greek tended to be verb-final, while neutral word order in the modern language is VSO or SVO.
Greek is a language distinguished by an extensive vocabulary. The majority of the vocabulary of ancient Greek was inherited, but it does include a number of borrowings from the languages of the populations that inhabited Greece before the arrival of Proto-Greeks. Words of non-Indo-European origin can be traced into Greek from as early as Mycenaean times; they include a large number of Greek toponyms. The vast majority of Modern Greek vocabulary is directly inherited from ancient Greek, although in certain cases words have changed meanings. Words of foreign origin have entered the language mainly from Latin, Venetian and Turkish. During older periods of the Greek language, loan words into Greek acquired Greek inflections, leaving thus only a foreign root word. Modern borrowings (from the 20th century on), especially from French and English, are typically not inflected.


Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European language family. The ancient languages which were probably most closely related to it, ancient Macedonian (which some linguistic scholars suggest is a dialect of Greek itself) and Phrygian, are not well enough documented to permit detailed comparison. Among living languages Greek seems to be most closely related to Armenian (see also Graeco-Armenian) or the Indo-Iranian languages (see Graeco-Aryan).

Writing system

Greek alphabet alpha-omega.svg
Greek alphabet
Αα Alpha Νν Nu
Ββ Beta Ξξ Xi
Γγ Gamma Οο Omicron
Δδ Delta Ππ Pi
Εε Epsilon Ρρ Rho
Ζζ Zeta Σσς Sigma
Ηη Eta Ττ Tau
Θθ Theta Υυ Upsilon
Ιι Iota Φφ Phi
Κκ Kappa Χχ Chi
Λλ Lambda Ψψ Psi
Μμ Mu Ωω Omega
Obsolete letters
Digamma uc lc.svg Digamma Qoppa uc lc.svg Qoppa
San uc lc.svg San Sampi uc lc.svg Sampi
Other characters
Stigma uc lc.svg Stigma Sho uc lc.svg Sho
Heta uc lc.svg Heta

Greek diacritics
Linear B was the first script used to write Mycenaean Greek, the earliest form of Greek attested. It is basically a syllabary, that was finally deciphered by Michael Ventris and John Chadwick. Another similar system used to write the Greek language was the Cypriot syllabary.
Greek has been written in the Greek alphabet since approximately the 9th century BC. In classical Greek, as in classical Latin, only upper-case letters existed. The lower-case Greek letters were developed much later by medieval scribes to permit a faster, more convenient cursive writing style with the use of ink and quill. The variant of the alphabet in use today is essentially the late Ionic variant, introduced for writing classical Attic in 403 BC.
The modern Greek alphabet consists of 24 letters, each with a capital (majuscule) and lowercase (minuscule) form. The letter sigma has an additional lowercase form (ς) used in final position.
Majuscule form
Minuscule form
α β γ δ ε ζ η θ ι κ λ μ ν ξ ο π ρ σ τ υ φ χ ψ ω
In addition to the letters, the Greek alphabet features a number of diacritical signs: three different accent marks (acute, grave and circumflex), originally denoting different shapes of pitch accent on the stressed vowel; the so-called breathing marks (rough and smooth breathing), originally used to signal presence or absence of word-initial /h/; and the diaeresis, used to mark full syllabic value of a vowel that would otherwise be read as part of a diphthong. These marks were introduced during the course of the Hellenistic period. Actual usage of the grave in handwriting had seen a rapid decline in favor of uniform usage of the acute during the late 20th century, and it had only been retained in typography.
In the writing reform of 1982, the use of most of them was abolished from official use in Greece[citation needed]. Since then, Modern Greek has been written mostly in the simplified monotonic orthography (or monotonic system), which employs only the acute accent and the diaeresis. The traditional system, now called the polytonic orthography (or polytonic system), is still used internationally for the writing of Ancient Greek.
Greek has occasionally been written in the Latin alphabet in the past, especially in areas under Venetian rule or by Greek Catholics (and called Fragolevantinika or Fragochiotika)[citation needed], and more recently is often written in the Latin alphabet in online communications (called Greeklish).[17]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Greek language". SIL International. 2009. 
  2. ^ "Languages by number of speakers". SIL International. 2009. 
  3. ^ ""Enthologue report for language code: ell". 
  4. ^ a b "The Constitution of Cyprus, App. D., Part 1, Art. 3".  states that The official languages of the Republic are Greek and Turkish. However, the official status of Turkish is only nominal in the Greek-dominated Republic of Cyprus; in practice, outside Turkish-dominated Northern Cyprus, Turkish is little used; see A. Arvaniti (2006): Erasure as a a means of maintaining diglossia in Cyprus, San Diego Linguistics Papers 2: 25-38. Page 27.
  5. ^ a b "EEC Council: Regulation No 1 determining the languages to be used by the European Economic Community". Council of Europe. 
  6. ^ a b c "Greek". Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Retrieved 2008-12-08. 
  7. ^ a b c d "List of declarations made with respect to treaty No. 148". Council of Europe. Retrieved 2008-12-08. 
  8. ^ "An interview with Aziz Tamoyan, National Union of Yezidi". Retrieved 2008-12-08. 
  9. ^ "Greek language". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 2008-11-04. 
  10. ^ Browning, Robert. Medieval and Modern Greek. Cambridge University Press, 1983. ISBN 0521299780
  11. ^ Margaret Alexiou (1982): Diglossia in Greece. In: William Haas (1982): Standard Languages: Spoken and Written. Manchester University Press ND. ISBN 0389202916, 9780389202912
  12. ^ "Greek language". Columbia Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2008-12-08. 
  13. ^ "Greece". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 23 January 2010. 
  14. ^ Angeliki Ralli, Μορφολογία [Morphology], Ekdoseis Pataki: Athens, 2001, pp. 164-203
  15. ^ The four cases that are found in all stages of Greek are the nominative, genitive, accusative, and vocative. The dative/locative of Ancient Greek disappeared in the late Hellenistic period, and the instrumental case of Mycenaean Greek disappeared in the Archaic period.
  16. ^ There is no particular morphological form that can be identified as 'subjunctive' in the modern language, but this term is sometimes encountered in descriptions, though the most complete modern grammar (Holton et al. 1997) does not use it, calling certain traditionally 'subjunctive' forms 'dependent', and for this reason most Greek linguists advocate abandoning the traditional terminology (Anna Roussou and Tasos Tsangalidis 2009, in Meletes gia tin Elliniki Glossa, Thessaloniki, Anastasia Giannakidou 2009 "Temporal semantics and polarity: The dependency of the subjunctive revisited", Lingua); see Modern Greek grammar for explication.
  17. ^ Jannis Androutsopoulos, "'Greeklish': Transliteration practice and discourse in a setting of computer-mediated digraphia" in Standard Languages and Language Standards: Greek, Past and Present online preprint


  • W. Sidney Allen, Vox Graeca - a guide to the pronunciation of classical Greek. Cambridge University Press, 1968-74. ISBN 0-521-20626-X
  • Robert Browning, Medieval and Modern Greek, Cambridge University Press, 2nd edition 1983, ISBN 0-521-29978-0. An excellent and concise historical account of the development of modern Greek from the ancient language.
  • Crosby and Schaeffer, An Introduction to Greek, Allyn and Bacon, Inc. 1928. A school grammar of ancient Greek
  • Dionysius of Thrace, "Art of Grammar", "Τέχνη γραμματική", c.100 BC
  • David Holton, Peter Mackridge, and Irene Philippaki-Warburton, Greek: A Comprehensive Grammar of the Modern Language, Routledge, 1997, ISBN 0-415-10002-X. A reference grammar of modern Greek.
  • Geoffrey Horrocks, Greek: A History of the Language and Its Speakers (Longman Linguistics Library). Addison Wesley Publishing Company, 1997. ISBN 0-582-30709-0. From Mycenean to modern.
  • Brian Newton, The Generative Interpretation of Dialect: A Study of Modern Greek Phonology, Cambridge University Press, 1972, ISBN 0-521-08497-0.
  • Andrew Sihler, "A New Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin", Oxford University Press, 1996. An historical grammar of ancient Greek from its Indo-European origins. Some eccentricities and no bibliography but a useful handbook to the earliest stages of Greek's development.
  • Herbert Weir Smyth, Greek Grammar, Harvard University Press, 1956 (revised edition), ISBN 0-674-36250-0. The standard grammar of classical Greek. Focuses primarily on the Attic dialect, with comparatively weak treatment of the other dialects and the Homeric Kunstsprache.

External links

General background

Standard Greek edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Pontic Greek edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Language learning




Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Greek (Ελληνικά "Hellenic") is an Indo-European language, spoken today by 15-22 million people, mainly in Greece. It is one of the world's oldest recorded living languages.


Ancient Sources


  • Holy shadows of the dead, I’m not to blame for your cruel and bitter fate, but the accursed rivalry which brought sister nations and brother people, to fight one another. I do not feel happy for this victory of mine. On the contrary, I would be glad, brothers, if I had all of you standing here next to me, since we are united by the same language, the same blood and the same visions.

Modern Sources


  • He was still in a world of Greek gods and sacrifices, of Greek plays and Greek language, though the natives might speak Greek with a northern accent which hardened 'ch' into 'g','th' into 'd' and pronounced King Philip as Bilip.
  • All in all, the language of the Macedones was a distinct and particular form of Greek, resistant to outside influences and conservative in pronunciation. It remained so until the fourth century when it was almost totally submerged by the flood tide of standardized Greek.


  • To speakers of modern Greek the Homeric poems of the 7th century BC are not written in a foreign language. The Greek language has enjoyed a continuous tradition from earliest times until now. [...]
    The only other language which enjoys comparable continuity of tradition is Chinese.
    • Robert Browning, from the book Medieval and Modern Greek. Cambridge University Press, 1983. ISBN 0-521-23488-3
  • [..] yet the historical evolution of the Greek language reveals a continuing identity which cannot be paralleled in any other Indo-European language. It is convenient and correct to separate ancient Greek civilization, but, in the words of Nicholas Bachtin, 'it is neither convenient nor accurate to speak of a modern Greek "language". There is no such thing. There is only the present state of Greek' (Bachtin 1935:11). From Homer to modern demotic, the Greek language has enjoyed a slow, organic and uninterrupted growth, and the major changes can be charted in an unbroken literary tradition. Nor has Greek split up into a group of languages, as Latin into the Romance languages. Finally, Homeric Greek is probably closer to demotic than twelfth-century Middle English is to modern spoken English.
    • Standard Languages: Spoken and Written. By William Haas. Published by Manchester University Press ND, 1982, ISBN 0389202916

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:


Up to date as of January 15, 2010
(Redirected to Greek article)

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia has an article on:
See also greek



Most common English words: conduct « directly « James « #932: Greek » island » special » memory



.From Latin Graecus, from Ancient Greek Γραικός (Graikos), a character in Greek mythology) (a son of Thessalos, the king of Phthia), whom Ἑλλάς (Greece), and Ἕλληνες (Hellenes), were also named after; see also Ἕλλην and Hellen.^ The term Greeks, used by later foreign peoples, was derived from Graecia, the Latin name for a small Hellenic tribe of Epirus, presumably the Hellenes with whom the Romans first had dealings.
  • GREECE 27 January 2010 23:58 UTC [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ One must use the names Greek and Greece as comparative ones.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Greece 27 January 2010 23:58 UTC [Source type: Original source]

^ Last of all, chiefly because of the magic of her name, the land where Hellenism was born has succeeded in shaking off the tyrant and we have again a free Greece.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Greece 27 January 2010 23:58 UTC [Source type: Original source]


countable and uncountable; plural Greeks
Greek (countable and uncountable; plural Greeks)
  1. (countable) An inhabitant, resident, or a person of descent from Greece.
  2. (US, countable) A member of a college fraternity or sorority, which are commonly characterised by being named after Greek letters.^ In 1923, by the terms of the Treaty of Lausanne, Smyrna reverted to Turkey, and more than 1 million Greek residents of Asia Minor were repatriated, as were the Turks resident in Greece.
    • GREECE 27 January 2010 23:58 UTC [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

    ^ One must use the names Greek and Greece as comparative ones.
    • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Greece 27 January 2010 23:58 UTC [Source type: Original source]

    ^ This leads us to a consideration of the second cause that completely ruined the hopes of the three Greek Churches of Alexandria , Antioch , and Jerusalem , namely, Islam .
    • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Greek Church 14 January 2010 13:42 UTC [Source type: Original source]

    (See also Greek system)
    "Was Joe a Greek in college?"
  3. (Can we verify(+) this sense?) (uncountable) Nonsense talk or writing; gibberish.
    "It's all Greek to me."
    • 1857, Gerald Griffin‎, The rivals. Tracy's ambition., page 16:
      .Have we ever yet found a single word of explanation necessary in all our many discourses?^ For this reason in 1893 some laymen at Smyrna founded the Eusebia Society for the diffusion and explanation of the Word of God.
      • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Greek Church 14 January 2010 13:42 UTC [Source type: Original source]

      Have my eyes ever spoken in Greek to you, or yours to me in unintelligible Celtic?
    • 1991, Tom Schulman, What About Bob?:
      BOB: "This has to be some kind of test. .I know I hurt them but they have to know I didn't mean it.^ Although the Greeks are fierce guardians of tradition, that doesn't mean they don't know how to have fun - their partiality to partying dates back to Dionysos.
      • Cheap Greece holidays and holiday deals at Thomas Cook 27 January 2010 23:58 UTC [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

      If it's a test... I ate a hot dog." Bob stares at the hot dog like it just spoke Greek.
    • 2000, Francine Rivers, The Scarlet Thread‎, page 159:
      The words might as well have been spoken in Greek for all the sense they made to her, but she knew he was speaking to his son.
    • 2002, “Renewable resources”, Analog Science Fiction & Fact, vol. 122, Sep, page 74: 
      "Hey, is that a ZEVon?" he asked. The two guys-no, it was a guy and a girl, both thin as rails and shivering in their useless Levi jackets and baggy pants-looked up at him as if he'd just spoken Greek.
    • 2004, Guy Kawasaki, The art of the start, page 39:
      For the rest of us, the CEO might as well have been speaking in Greek.


Proper noun

  1. The language of the Greek people, spoken in Greece, Cyprus, south Albania, parts of south FYROM, parts of Bulgaria and parts of Turkey and partially characterised by being written using the Greek alphabet.^ Greece resolved to aid Turkey covertly and encouraged Greek guerrillas to cross the border and attack Bulgarians and Vlachs in Macedonia.
    • GREECE 27 January 2010 23:58 UTC [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

    ^ LingvoSoft FlashCards 2009 English <-> Greek for Windows is part of LingvoSoft Suite - the complete language solution available only from LingvoSoft.
    • Greek English Greek dictionary software Windows. Greek language translation software Windows 13 January 2010 23:55 UTC [Source type: General]

    ^ LingvoSoft Learning Voice PhraseBook 2009 English <-> Greek for Windows is part of LingvoSoft Suite - the complete language solution available only from LingvoSoft.
    • Greek English Greek dictionary software Windows. Greek language translation software Windows 13 January 2010 23:55 UTC [Source type: General]

    It is descended from Proto-Greek via Ancient Greek and other forms of Greek.



  1. Of or relating to Greece, the Greek people, or the Greek language.
  2. Of or pertaining to a fraternity or sorority.
  3. unintelligible, especially regarding foreign speech.



Derived terms

Related terms

See also

External links


Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Modern Greek article)

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection

Greek redirects here. For Ancient Greek, click here. For Koine (Bibical) Greek, click here.
The Acropolis in Athens, Greece
Note: To use this book, your web browser must first be configured to display Greek characters. If the characters in the grey box below appear as blank boxes or garbage, it is not properly configured.
Εδώ πρέπει να φαίνονται οι Ελληνικοί χαρακτήρες!

Simple English

The Greek language is an Indo-European language. It is the official language of Greece (Hellas) and Cyprus. It was first spoken in Greece and was also once spoken along the coast of Asia Minor and in southern Italy. It was also widely used in Western Asia and Northern Africa at one time. In Greek, the language is called Ελληνικά (elliniká).

Greeks write their language using the Greek alphabet. The Latin alphabet (used to write English and many other languages) came from the Greek alphabet. Many other alphabets around the world also came from the Greek one, such as the Cyrillic alphabet. The Greeks got the idea of using an alphabet from the Phoenicians.

Greek has an unbroken history of being a written language for over 3,000 years. This is longer than any other Indo-European language spoken today. Over 15 million people in the world speak Greek now. These speakers mostly live in Greece and Cyprus, but there are also people in other countries around the world who speak the language.

Other pages

Other websites

This language has its own Wikipedia Project.
Wikibooks has more about this subject:

rue:Ґрецькый язык

Citable sentences

Up to date as of December 09, 2010

Here are sentences from other pages on Greek alphabet, which are similar to those in the above article.

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