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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.

Medieval Greek, also known as Byzantine Greek,[1] is a cover term for all forms of the Greek language that were spoken and written during the time of the Byzantine Empire. It is conventionally dated as beginning some time between the fourth and sixth centuries and lasting until the mid-fifteenth century.

"Medieval Greek" refers not to a linguistically homogeneous form of Greek, but a whole spectrum of divergent varieties within the developing system of Greek diglossia.[2] The spoken vernacular language developed on the basis of earlier spoken Koine Greek, and reached a stage that in many ways resembles present-day Modern Greek in terms of grammar and phonology by the turn of the first millennium AD. Written literature reflecting this demotic Greek begins to appear around 1100. Side by side with the spoken vernacular, most written Greek maintained consciously archaic forms. These forms can be further subdivided into different stylistic registers. They ranged from a moderately archaic style employed for most every-day writing and based mostly on the written Koine of the Bible and early Christian literature, to a highly artificial learned style, employed by authors with higher literary ambitions and closely imitating the model of classical Attic, in continuation of the movement of Atticism in late antiquity.


See also


  1. ^ There is a pending petition for an ISO639-3 code of Medieval Greek: gkm SIL
  2. ^ Toufexis, Notis (2008). "Diglossia and register variation in Medieval Greek". Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 32: 203–217. Retrieved 2009-10-31. 

Further reading

  • Andriotis, N. History of the Greek language.
  • Tonnet, Henri. Histoire du grec moderne.
  • Horrocks, G. Greek: A history of the language and its speakers.

External links



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