The island of Cyprus is a divided nation with the Greek Cypriots living in the Southern part of the island and Turkish Cypriots living in the Northern part of the island in the Turkish Republic of Cyprus, which is also known as Northern Cyprus. The status of Northern Cyprus as an independent country is only recognized by Turkey as technically the entire island is under the Republic of Cyprus. Greek and Turkish are the official languages of the Republic of Cyprus while in Northern Cyprus the only language that is recognized is Turkish. Greek is from the Indo-European language family and uses the Greek Alphabet with 24 letters. Turkish is from the Turkic Languages and has 29 letters in its alphabet.

According to the 2011 Census, the Republic of Cyprus had 679,883 Greeks, 34,814 English speakers, 24,270 Romanian speakers, 20,984 Russians, and 18,388 Bulgarians. After the fighting that divided the island, most of the Turkish Cypriots fled to the North leaving behind only 1,405 Turkish speakers in the South. In Northern Cyprus, the only language recognized is Turkish although English is also used widely.

The following are some examples of some useful and common Turkish phrases: “Merhaba” (“Hello”), “Hos geldiniz” (“Welcome”), “Tesekkur ederim/ sagol” (“Thank you”) “Benim adum…” (“My name is…”), “Nasilsiniz?” (“How are you?”) “Evet” (“Yes”), “Hayur” (“No”), “Gunaydin” (“Good Morning), and “Ne kadar?” (“How much is it?”). The Greek language has the following commonly used phrases “Kalimera” (“Good Morning”), “Kalinikta” (“Good Night”), “Kherete” (“Goodbye”), “Yassou” (“Hello”), “Ti kanis?” (“How are you?”), “Efkharisto” (“Thank you”), “Parakalo” (“You’re welcome”), “Ne” (“Yes”), “Ohi” (“No”), “Signomi” (“Sorry”), and “Borite na me?” (“Can you help me?”).

The Republic of Cyprus recognizes two minor languages: Armenian, that is spoken by the Armenian Cypriots and Cypriot Arabic which is used by the Maronite Cypriots. A third minority language, Kurbetcha, is used by the Cypriot Roma although it is not officially recognized. The country also has a couple of immigrant languages like English, Romanian, Russian, and Bulgarian. In Northern Cyprus, English, though not officially recognized, is taught as a second language in government schools. The Greek language is also spoken by the few Greek Cypriots who are in the North Cyprus.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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