Greek language

overview: Greek language
(see also: Greek writing/Greek alphabet)
Mykenisch (approx. 1600-1100 v. Chr.)
oldGreek (approx. 800-300 v. Chr.)
Äolisch, Arkadisch Kyprisch,
Attisch, Dorisch, Ionisch
Koine (approx. 300 v. Chr. - 300 n. Chr.)
Byzantine Greek (approx. 300-1453)
NewGreek (since 1453)
Griko, Jevanisch, Kappadokisch,
Pontisch, Tsakonisch, Zypriotisch

Greek (ελληνική γλώσσα altgr. hellēnikē glōssa neugr. ellinikí glóssa) is a indogermanische language, which represents its own branch of this language family. A closer relationship seems to have existed only to the antique Macedonian language.

Greek a writing tradition of 3400 years has. With exception of the Chinese language no other living language is so long in writing delivered to time over one. The meaning of the Greek language is not to be underestimated. The western culture was coined/shaped considerably by the culture of the antique Greece. Some the most important works of world history, like the writings of Platon and Aristoteles or the new will, on oldGreek were written. A multiplicity of old-Greek words as foreign words entrance into many modern languages found.

Table of contents


of origins

as a member of the indogermanischen language family descends the Greek from the indogermanischen original language . One assumes itself the original language in the 3. Millenium v. Chr. into the single languages divided. The Greek trunks probably penetrated in several waves around 2000 v. Chr. to Greece. There they met a culturally more highly standing Urbevölkerung, which one calls Pelasger. The language of the Pelasger is unknown, but it can be proven as substrate in the Greek one. In addition leaning words belong as θάλασσα thalassa („sea “) and νῆσος nēsos („island “) as well as numerous place names such as Κόρινθος (Korinth) and Παρνασσός (Parnass). The pelasgische language (or languages) was not indogermanisch probably, over a connection with the minoischen language of Crete is speculated. The Greek was affected also by an unknown indogermanische language, which possibly stood become extinct Illyri close.

Mykeni time

major item: mykenisches Greek

the oldest written certifications of the language are in linear writing B written. They meet 14 starting from that. Century v. Chr. - thus in mykenischer time as very short texts on Transportamphoren, where they designate contents. Longer texts on numerous Tontäfelchen, likewise purely practical nature, were found in archives of some mykenischer palaces. They originate from the beginning 12. Century v. Chr. After destruction of most well-known mykenischen palaces in 12. Jh. the linear writing B was lost . The Kypri Silbenschrift on Cyprus remained however in the 3. Century v. Chr. in use.

classical time

major item: OldGreek language

Anfang der Ilias
at the beginning of the Ilias

toward end of the dark centuries, probably around 800 v. Chr., took over the Greeks the phönizische writing system and modified it by the introduction of vowel characters. One of the most well-known early examples of the new alphabetical writing shows the so-called. Nestor cup. In classical time a multiplicity of dialects , to the most important can be recognized counts (this very day in the schools as oldGreek taught) Atti, Ioni, the Dorisch - northwestGreek, Äoli and Arkadisch Kypri.

Standing homerischen the Epen, which are Ilias and the odyssey , at the beginning of of the written excessive quantity, for example in an artistic language form, which used words from different dialects, often according to the requirements of the Metrums , generally speaking however Ionisch with äolischer coinage are written.

light sneezing tables time

major item: Koiné

the political, economic and cultural supremacy of Athens in 5. Century v. Chr. the attischen dialect spoken there the basis of a supraregional informal language (Koiné, Greek κοινή , the common one or general one), those made by conquests Alexanders of the large one in 4. Century v. Chr. to the world language and lingua franca ascended.

Also in the Roman realm Greek apart from latin office language remained, this also due to the cultural dependence of the Romans on the Greeks. In the eastern half of the realm Greek was already since the brightism the dominating language. Under the influence of strange languages and the continuing dialects took place in relation to Atti some simplifications in the grammar and the sound existence. This led again and again, in particular in 2. Century, to efforts toward a cleaning of the Greek language under resort to the classical Attisch (Attizismus).


major item: Byzantine Greek

such a settled form of the oldGreek became after the division of the Roman realm (395) the office and literature language of the eastRoman realm. The last important works in old-Greek language (Prokopios, Agathias) originated in in 6. Century. East Rome became after the abolishment of latin office language around 630 finally from the Roman to the Byzantine realm; a little later, in the course, the production of literary works on oldGreek triumphed to the Arab expansion. The everyday language of the Byzantine realm knows there already clear differences in grammar and discussion (from now on many vowels simply as “i” expressed) up. Usually it is accepted that at the latest around 700 the discussion of the colloquial language had approximated very strongly to those of the today's Greek - straight in view on the vowels and Diphthonge. Since that time can be considered oldGreek as “dead language”.

In Syria and Egypt Greek remained first still after Arab conquest for some decades office language, before it lost this function starting from approximately 700 to the Arab.

modern times

major item: NewGreek

during the occupation of Greece by the osmanische realm instruction in Greek language was officially forbidden. However it lived in the everyday life of the Greeks (and often taught of priests secretly) away, changed however due to small writing knowledge and gel honouring SAMness lacking again relatively strongly. After the modern establishment of state the Katharévousa in such a way specified became (Greek καθαρεύουσα, pure language; the bases were created by Korais) official instruction and office language, one „artificially “created Standardsprache, which conserved the vocabulary of the Koiné oriented at the classical Attisch again artificially, however within to a large extent again-Greek coined/shaped discussion and grammar structures. Only 1976 became the people language (Dimotikí, Greek δημοτική) finally the language of the national administration and the science; however many Katharévousa words were transferred to the Dimotikí. Only the orthodox church and some ore-conservative circles still hold for the written use to the Katharévousa.

way of writing

in the process of thousands of years changed the Greek language often in the discussion, remained however constant owing to various efforts around keeping clean of the language to a large extent the Orthographie. In brightistic time the accents introduced to the Greek writing language (acute, grave and circumflex) and symbols for breath sounds (white spirits more asper and white spirits lenis) were still until recently used. By decree No. 297 of the Greek president of 29. April 1982 the breath characters were abolished and the accents by only one indication (Tonos) were replaced, which indicates the stressed syllable. The Tonos looks like an acute, is not identical however not to it (in university code Tonos and acute are represented by different codes). In particular literary texts are printed however until today often still with breath characters and accents - all the same whether it concerns Dimotikí or Katharévousa.


the Greek language and writing had immense influence on the development of Europe: Both latin and the cyrillic alphabet were developed on the basis of the Greek alphabet. The back meditation on Greek, released among other things by the escape of many Byzantiner into the west after the case Konstantinopels, nearly forgotten in the west , 1453, was one of the main sources of the Renaissance and the human (see also: Philhellenismus).

This very day scientific technical terms are coined/shaped gladly under resort to Greek ( and latin) words.

The new will was originally printed in brightistic Greek written ( see Bible Greek) and the first time by Erasmus of Rotterdam.


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