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 (now a part of Turkey) 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).
|Region||Greece, southern Mediterranean|
|13.4 million (2012)|
Official language in
ell – Modern Greek
grc – Ancient Greek
cpg – Cappadocian Greek
gmy – Mycenaean Greek
pnt – Pontic
tsd – Tsakonian
yej – Yevanic
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.
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. This history is often divided into three parts, ancient Greek, medieval Greek, and modern Greek. The years 330-1453 are called medieval Greek because that's the time of the Byzantine Empire.
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. This is largely because people left Greece and emigrated, meaning they moved to other countries. Countries like the United States and Australia have a large Greek diaspora.
- Greek at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
Ancient Greek at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
Cappadocian Greek at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
Mycenaean Greek at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
Pontic at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
Tsakonian at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
(Additional references under 'Language codes' in the information box)
- "List of Declarations Made with Respect to Treaty No. 148". Council of Europe. Retrieved 8 December 2008.
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Greek". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.