|Local name:||Ελληνικά (ellīniká)|
|Language family:||Indo-European > Hellenic|
|Native speakers:||~ 13.1 millions (Ethnologue.com, 2002)|
|Script:||The Greek Alphabet|
|Official in:||Greece, Cyprus|
|Spoken mostly in:||Greece, Cyprus|
Greek is a language that can be proud of its well-recorded history; the first records date from ~1400 BC. Those were written in Linear B. Around 800-900 BC, the Greek started writing their language with the Phoenician alphabet, with some minor changes. This alphabet is still in use today, and has been the predecessor for the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets.
Even though the Greek spoken today differs significantly from Ancient Greek, the language has changed only little at a time, and most words in today’s Greek are inherited from ancient times. Loanwords mostly come from Latin, Venetian and Turkish, and, in modern times, from French and English. Many languages in Europe and the Middle East have also borrowed many Greek words, mostly through Latin and Arabic, as well as scientific neologisms.
From having been spoken in Ancient Greece, Greek was spread as a lingua franca over most of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Near East. The New Testament was written in Greek as a result of this. The Byzantine Empire used Greek as its official language.
During much of the last 150 years, there has been a diglossia in Greek, with two standards: Katharevousa, a learned variety based on Classical Greek, and Dimotiki, a popular variety based on the actual spoken language. The standard used in Greece and Cyprus since 1976 (with a simplified spelling introduced in 1982) is based on Dimotiki.
Aesop’s native language was Greek, so the Ancient Greek contribution below could be seen as the ‘original’ story.
Ancient Greek: “ΒΟΡΕΑΣ ΚΑΙ ΗΛΙΟΣ”
Speaker: Ivo Age at recording: 31 (2007) Transliteration system: “Ancient scientific” L1 Reference: The speaker’s native language is Estonian Comment: Since there is no uniform pronunciation of Ancient Greek in modern times, so this is just one possibility.
Βορέας καὶ Ἥλιος περὶ δυνάμεως ἤριζον· ἔδοξε δὲ αὐτοῖς ἐκείνῳ τὴν νίκην ἀπονεῖμαι, ὃς ἂν αὐτῶν ἄνθρωπον ὁδοιπόρον ἐκδύσῃ.
καὶ ὁ Βορέας ἀρξάμενος σφοδρὸς ἦν· τοῦ δὲ ἀνθρώπου ἀντεχομένου τῆς ἐσθῆτος μᾶλλον ἐπέκειτο.
ὁ δὲ ὑπὸ τοῦ ψύχους καταπονούμενος ἔτι μᾶλλον καὶ περιττοτέραν ἐσθῆτα προσελάμβανεν, ἕως ἀποκαμὼν <ὁ Βορέας> τῷ Ἡλίῳ μεταπαρέδωκε.
κἀκεῖνος τὸ μὲν πρῶτον μετρίως προσέλαμψε· τοῦ δὲ ἀνθρώπου τὰ περισσὰ τῶν ἱματίων ἀποτιθεμένου σφοδρότερον τὸ καῦμα ἐπέτεινε, μέχρις οὗ πρὸς τὴν ἀλέαν ἀντέχειν μὴ δυνάμενος ἀποδυσάμενος ποταμοῦ παραῤῥέοντος ἐπὶ λουτρὸν ἀπῄει.
ὁ λόγος δηλοῖ, ὅτι πολλάκις τὸ πείθειν τοῦ βιάζεσθαι ἀνυστικώτερόν ἐστι.
Boreas kai Hēlios peri dynameōs ērizon: edoxe de autois ekeinōi tēn nikēn aponeimai, hos an autōn anthrōpon hodoiporon ekdysēi.
kai ho Boreas arxamenos sphodros ēn: tou de anthrōpou antechomenou tēs esthētos mallon epekeito.
ho de hypo tou psychous kataponoumenos eti mallon kai perittoteran esthēta proselambanen, heōs apokamōn <ho Boreas> tōi Hēliōi metaparedōke.
kakeinos to men prōton metriōs proselampse; tou de anthrōpou ta perissa tōn himatiōn apotithemenou sphodroteron to kauma epeteine, mechris hou pros tēn alean antechein mē dynamenos apodysamenos potamou pararrheontos epi loutron apēiei.
ho logos dēloi, hoti pollakis to peithein tou biazesthai anystikōteron esti.