Sauvage Noble & Greek Language
Koine Greek is part of the legacy left by Alexander the Great's imperial conquests which united Asia Minor, the north of &rica, and the vast territories of the Persian empire. Though his death saw the end of the empire he had forged, there remained a common Greek language, Koine, that continued to be spoken in the lands he conquered. This became the common language of the Mediterranean basin and the ancestor of Modern Greek.
The Greek language, as we know it today, had its origin during the classical era, though it has undergone a considerable number of changes. In our day, in its modern form, demotik?r 'popular' Greek is the official language of Greece and Cyprus. It is also a recognized minority language in Italy, Turkey, and Albania.
Greek is part of the Indo-European family of languages. The earliest form of Greek is thought to have originated in the 14th century BCE in Cretan inscriptions. Mycenaean Greek is distinguished from later Classical or Greek of the 8th century BCE and after, when texts came to be written in the Greek alphabet.
Various theories about the origins of the Greek language exist. One suggests that it originated with a migration of proto-Greek speakers into Greece, which is dated to any period between 3200 BC to 1900 BC. Another theory holds that Greek evolved in Greece itself out of an early language of Indo-European origin.
The Greek language including Attic and Modern Greek, is written in a non-Latin script. Greek is one of the richest surviving languages in the world today, with a vocabulary more than 600,000 words. Some scholars have stressed the similarity of Modern Greek to millennia old Greek languages. The extent of Modern Greek's commonality with ancient Greek has been extensively reviewed and debated. It is claimed that a "reasonably well educated" speaker of the modern tongue can read the ancient dialects, but it is not made very clear how much of that education consists of exposure to vocabulary and grammar obsolete in normal communication.
The Greek language spoken in both in the Hellenistic and Byzantine eras is nearer to Modern Greek. From 1934 to 1976 there was an attempt to impose a purified language, an attempt to correct centuries of natural linguistic changes) as the only acceptable form of Greek in Greece.
After 1976, Dimoti'ci, "speech of the people" was finally accepted by the Greek government as both the de facto and de jure forms of the language. A large number of words and expressions have remained unchanged through the centuries, and have found their way into a number of other languages, among them Latin, Italian, German, French and English. Some examples of these include mostly terminology names, such as astronomy, philosophy, democracy and anthropology.
Jacob Lumbroso is a world traveler and an enthusiast for foreign languages and cultures. He writes articles on history and languages and recommends Pimsleur Greek courses for learning Modern Greek.