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Greek language

language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

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).

Native to Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Turkey, Abkhazia, Albania, Egypt, Romania, France, Ukraine and in the Greek diaspora
Native speakers 13.1 million  (2009)[1]
Language family
Standard forms
Writing system Greek alphabet
Greek Braille
Official status
Official language in  Greece
 European Union
Recognised minority language in
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
yej – Yevanic
tsd – Tsakonian

56-AAA-a (varieties:

56-AAA-aa to -am)
Spoken Greek

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.

Related pagesEdit


  1. "Greek language". SIL International. 2009. 
  2. "Greek". Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Retrieved 8 December 2008. [dead link]
  3. Jeffries, Ian (2002). Eastern Europe at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century: A Guide to the Economies in Transition. Taylor & Francis. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-203-46910-1. 
  4. Hellenic Republic: Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Italy: The Greek Community
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "List of declarations made with respect to treaty No. 148". Council of Europe. Retrieved 8 December 2008. 

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