What Languages Are Spoken in Greece

languages sproken in greece

What Languages Are Spoken in Greece

(Last Updated On: May 6, 2022)

Languages Spoken in Greece

How many languages are spoken in Greece? Greek, of course, but how many other ones? The official language of Greece is Modern Greek, also known as Demotic or Hellenic, which originated from the ancient Greek language in the ninth century B.C. The modern Greeks have also borrowed words from other languages spoken in their country over the years – Italian, French, Turkish, and Albanian are just a few examples of this influence.

History and Modernity

The first written monuments in Greek were created long before the onset of a new era – in the XIV-XII centuries. They are written in a Cretan-Mycenaean syllabary that appeared on the island of Crete during the Minoan civilization.

The Greek alphabet appeared a little later in the VII-VII centuries BC. based on the writing of the Phoenicians, and Greek writing reached its peak during the period of the late Roman Empire. It was then that knowledge of Greek was considered mandatory for any educated inhabitant of the empire, and Latin, which was spoken in Ancient Rome, received many borrowings from Greek.

At the beginning of the 20th century, many wealthy Russians immigrated to Greece. The grammar of ancient Greek was notable for its considerable complexity. It was characterized by many prepositions, particles, and pronouns, nouns were declined in three types, and the system of verb tenses seemed very confusing. Must-read blog just for you: how did a language start?

Many people who identify themselves as Bulgarians, Macedonian or Greek speak the Macedonian Slavic dialect. Moreover, the archaic dialect of Sarakatsanika is spoken by Northern Greece’s mountain shepherds. The modern state language of Greece looks much more uncomplicated, and some of its grammatical foundations are similar to those in Russian.

greece population
languages spoken in greece

Communication with Resident

English is accepted for communication with tourists, many Greeks in large cities and resort areas are almost fluent in English, German, French, and Italian, and many European languages are taught in schools at a fairly profound level. Albanian, Bulgarian or Turkish is often used in the province.

It’s no surprise, however, that many native English speakers are unsure whether they can use English to commute during holidays or even study abroad in Greece. Though the number is unknown, Russain is spoken as a secondary or primary language in Northern Greece and Greek Macedonia.

Moreover, the locals themselves are very respectful of the attempts of foreigners to learn at least a few words in Greek. A traveler who can connect a couple of phrases in Greek automatically moves from the category of an idle visitor (“turistas”) to a more “noble” sort of a guest (“Xenos” or “Xeni”).

And therefore, anyone who addresses a Greek, albeit in a broken but local dialect, evokes in them a sincere and, importantly, benevolent desire to help. The well-known talkativeness of the Greeks, which prevents a foreigner from inserting even a word, interferes a little in this, but with a particular skill, this is easily bypassed.

The People Who Inhabit Greece

Before talking about the language of any country, it is worth mentioning the people who speak it. In Greece, 96% of the total population are Greeks. They used to be called Hellenes. These people are very ancient; about two thousand years BC, they inhabited the territory of modern Greece. The largest city is the lovely Athens. Proto-Greek tribes assimilated the local inhabitants of the Pelasgians. The history of the Great Greek civilization began.

The heyday of the culture of the ancient Hellenes began in the fifth century BC. The Greeks gave the world enormous wealth for humanity, including an incredibly logical and concise, beautiful common language. Myths, poems, poems, and philosophical treatises were written on it.

The Official Language of Greece

Greek is a language of Ancient Greece, and its modern form, Demotic Greek, evolved from Koine and Byzantine Greek. It is an independent branch of Indo-European and one of seven main languages that make up a branch known as Hellenic or Greco-Roman within the Western Indo-European family. The earliest surviving written examples are Mycenaean Greek in Linear B from c. 1450 BC to 1100 BC (Late Bronze Age).

Its alphabet has been continuously used since then. Many of them claim to possess an Ethnic Macedonian national identity, describing their language as Macedonian. The ‘Modern Greek’ ancient language, i.e., the standard Greek dialect, is spoken by 99.5 percent of the population, or 11100000 people. This language sowed its seeds in Ancient Greek back in the 6th century.

The Tsakonian dialect has inherited its dialect implications from the Ancient Doric dialect. Furthermore, the elder generation of Caucasus Greeks who settled in Central Macedonia, Salonika, and Kilkis spoke Russian as a second language.

Features of the Modern Greek Language

In the 18th and 19th centuries, a transformation in phonetics began. New Greek appeared. The changes affected the pronunciation of vowels primarily. The longitude and brevity of sounds have lost their former meaning. Various accents were also reduced – acute and dull. Moreover, this dialect is also spoken by Greek Muslims outside of Athens, Crete, and the Ottoman-era Cretans. The Greece Muslim minority, which is approximately around 128380, speaks the Turkish language called the Western Thrace Dialect.

In the case system, too, there was a simplification – the dative case was eliminated. Lost The infinitive disappeared. The Balkan languages had a significant influence on the modern Greek language. Archaisms from ancient Greek are still present with new layers of Slavic, Turkic, and Romanesque. This is also evidenced by various particular local dialects. Furthermore, some 600,000 people living in the areas of the South Caucasus speak the Pontic Greek language.

languages of greece

Foreign Languages Spoken in Greece

The official language of Greece is Greek, which is spoken by virtually all citizens. As with most European countries, many people speak at least one other Hellenic language – usually English. In fact, according to a recent study by Eurostat (the statistical office of the European Union), over 90% of Greeks claim to be able to hold a conversation in English.

Other Commonly Spoken Language In Greece

English is widely spoken in some regions of Greece, especially in popular tourist areas like Athens. It’s also the primary language taught in schools across all levels. Other common languages spoken in Greece include Turkish, Arabic, Spanish, and German. Native speaker of Bulgarian account for 30 000; living in Western Thrace. It is studied in Ancient Greek courses because it was the most common dialect.

languages of greece

Some Statistics and Facts

  • Greek is part of the Indo-European language family and is the only representative of the Greek group in it. It has a long and well-documented history—the longest of any Indo-European language—spanning 34 centuries.
  • About 15 million people consider Modern Greek as their native language. It serves as an essential means of interethnic communication in Albania, Bulgaria, and Romania – countries bordering close to Greece and having close migration processes.
  • The official status of the state language of Greece is also in the Republic of Cyprus. Greek is also one of the languages of the European Union.
  • The language of the inhabitants of most of the Balkan Peninsula is one of the oldest written languages on the planet.
  • Many names that exist in modern realities are of Greek origin, and each of them means something, translated from the language of Ancient Hellas.
  • The Ladino, also called the Judeo-Spanish Language, has about 2,000 and 8,000 speakers in Greece.
  • From the region of Attic Greek comes the modern greek dialects except for the Tsakonian language.

A Set of Essential Words and Phrases for Tourists

Indigenous people of any country are pleased to hear their native speech from foreigners. Therefore, it is so essential for tourists who want to visit different Greek cities has learned at least a couple of phrases. Any Greek will be pleased; by this, you express your respect.

So, here are a few words and phrases that you can learn:

  • The term for greeting and farewell is YASAS (for you), YASU (for you).
  • Good – KALI.
  • Morning – MAYOR.
  • Evening – SPERA.
  • Good – KALA.
  • Thank you – EFRASTO.
  • Please – ORISTE.
  • Sorry – SIGNOMI.
  • No – OOH.
  • Yes – NE.
  • How much does it cost – POSO KANI?
  • Mister – KIRIOS.
  • Mrs. KYRIA.
  • Request – PARAKALO.
  • How are you – TI CANIS.
  • What’s your name – ME LENE.
  • My name is TO ONOMA MU INE.
  • I’m lost – HATYKA.
  • Help me – VOITYSTE ME.
  • Where are you from – APO PU ISE.
  • I am from Russia – IME APO TIN RUSSIA.
  • What is it? – TI INE AFTO?
  • When? – POTE.
  • I want to eat – PINAO.
  • I’m thirsty – DIPSAO.
  • Bon appetit – KALI OREXI.

FAQs

How Many People Speak Greek, And Where Is It Spoken?

Greek is the official language of Greece and Cyprus, as well as one of the European Union’s 24 official languages. It is spoken by at least 13.5 million people in Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Albania, Turkey, and other Greek diaspora nations.

How Many People Speak Greek In Other Countries?

It is spoken by at least 13.5 million people in Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Albania, Turkey, and other Greek diaspora nations.

How Widely Spoken is English in Greece? – How Widely Spoken?

English is the most widely spoken second language in Greece, with 51% of the population saying it. At the very least, this equates to 5,467,200 English speakers. Greek is the most widely spoken language in Greece, with 99 percent of the population speaking it.

What are the top 3 languages spoken in Greece?

The official language of Greece is Greek, which is spoken by the great majority of the population. Macedonian (also known as “Slav-Macedonian” in Greece), Albanian, Turkish (spoken by Muslim groups surrounding the Aegean), Arumanian, and Bulgarian are the other languages spoken.

Is it rude to speak English in Greece?

About half of the Greek people can communicate in English, which is a respectable proportion and one of the highest in Europe. You will be highly safe using English as a visitor in Athens and other tourist sites.

Is Greek a complex language to learn?

Greek is one of the most challenging languages to learn, not just for natural English speakers but also for people who speak Romance languages.

Minority language of Greece?

The largest Minority language spoken in Greece is the Albanian language, spoken by approximately 450,000 Albanian immigrants, as per the 2001 census.

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