The official language of Greece is Greek. It belongs to the Hellenic subdivision of the Indo-European language group. It is also one of the oldest languages globally. At present, Greek exists in its modern form with many dialects in various regions in Greece. One of the regional dialects of Greek is Tsakonian. It is famous in the Tsakonian regions of Peloponnese and is divided into Propontis, Northern, and Southern dialects. The second regional language is Cretan Greek. Although it is slightly different with standard Greek, it is rarely used in its written form. Pontic Greek is another regional dialect that is used in Pontus and by Caucasus Greeks living in south Caucasus part of Greece. Maniot Greek, an additional territorial dialect, is spoken in Mani area. Cappadocian and Yevanic Greek dialects are still in existence but are on the verge of extinction. Cypriot Greek dialect is spoken by Greek Cypriots residing in different parts of the country. There are 24 letters of the Greek alphabet. These letters are mainly used as symbols in science and mathematics. Examples include α for the letter a, β for letter b, π for letter p, and so forth.

In Greece, 99% of the population uses Greek although not necessarily as the first language. Among the minority languages, Turkish has about 128,380 speakers. Romani language has about 160,000 speakers, while, Armenian has 20,000 speakers. The main foreign languages found in Greece are English, French, German, and Italian with 51%, 8.5%, 9%, and 8% respectively.

Greek is one of the most challenging languages to learn mainly because of the complexity of alphabetical characters. Common useful phrases used in Greece include Γειά σου pronounced as ‘YAH-soo’ to mean hello, Χάρηκα πολύ pronounced as ‘HA-ree-ka po-LEE’ which translates to nice to meet you, Ευχαριστώ pronounced as ‘eff-kha-ri-STOE’ to mean thank you, and so forth.

Greece is home to a variety of other languages besides Greek and its regional dialects. There are ten minority languages in the country. Albanian is the largest minority language in Greece. The second indigenous language is Turkish whose speakers makeup part of the Greece Muslim minority. These Turkish speakers are popularly known as western Thrace Turks. The third minority language is Romany. The dialect used in Greece is called Balkan Romani. Russian is also an indigenous language commonly found in Northern Greece and Greek Macedonia. Georgian is widely used in Salonika and other areas in Greek Macedonia. Other minority languages in Greece are Armenian, Aromanian, Macedonian, Ladino, and Urum.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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