The Greek language is part of the Indo-European language family, although it is a very independent branch of this family of languages. Greek forms the Hellenic branch. Out of all of the Indo-European languages, the Greek language has the longest and most documented history. There are an impressive 34 centuries of Greek documentation, with the Greek alphabet being in use for the majority of this time.
In the Mediterranean, the Greek language was and is spoken widely. In the period of Classical Antiquity, spanning hundreds of years, the Greek language became the official language of the Byzantine Empire. Modern English also took many words from the Greek language, with over 50,000 English words having Greek roots. This is particularly true of the sciences, where original Greek words are often used for medical labeling.
Historically, there are six periods of the Greek language. There are Proto-Greek, Mycenaean Greek, Ancient Greek, Koine Greek, Medieval Greek and Modern Greek. Ancient Greek is the language that was used primarily in the Classical period of the Ancient Greek civilization, and was widely spoken throughout the Roman Empire. Koine Greek is a fusion language, in a way, as it combined several Greek accents and language diversions that were spoken at the time. The dialect of Athens, or Attic as it was known, was a central element to this fusion, and became the first common Greek dialect.
Medieval Greek, also known as Byzantine Greek, is a term that covers many parts of the language, from varieties of Koine Greek right up to Modern Greek. Modern Greek itself was used as far back as the 11th century, although amazingly, a thousand years later, very little has changed in terms of grammar and linguistics.
These days, the Greek language is the official language of both Cyprus and Greece. It is spoken by over 13 million people, though these speakers are not only native to Greece or Cyprus, but in many diaspora communities throughout the world.
Many countries have communities of Greek speakers, such as the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Russia, Germany, Egypt, South Africa, Brazil, France, Belgium and Argentina. However, there are also several countries that have a significant number of speakers of the Greek language, such as Albania, Turkey, Italy, Armenia, Ukraine and Romania. In these countries, the Greek language is recognized as a minority language.
Used in many older Christian texts, the Greek language continues to be used in many rituals in certain churches today, such as Eastern Orthodox and Greek Orthodox Christian. It was also used for several epic poems such as the Iliad and the Odyssey. Both Plato’s and Aristotle’s philosophical works were also written in ancient Greek.
The Greek language is a fascinating one, in terms of language, because for around a thousand years, the key components of the language have remained the same. The language has a mixed syllable structure, allowing for relatively complex combinations of sounds, although the vowels and consonants are very reliable in terms of phonological changes.
During the Koine Greek era of the Greek language was when certain changes were made that we still see today. These changes included the substitution of the pitch accent with a stress accent, a simplification of the vowel system, and a development of voiceless fricatives.
Pronouns make a distinction between first, second and third person, as well as quantity and gender. There are three gender forms: masculine, feminine and neutral. Because the Greek language is so old, it carries an extensive vocabulary with many borrowed words. The Greek language uses its own alphabet of 24 letters, which can make it a little difficult to pick up for English speakers.
Why Learn The Greek Language?
Studying the “Classics”, a course that many Universities around the world offer today, constitutes learning Latin text, Roman traditions, and Greek texts and society. It is considered a rather higher class of degree or higher education, and shows a keen interest in history and philosophy.
Greece itself is a diverse and bustling country, drawing in over 16.5 million tourists a year. It is a surprising hotspot for Chinese tourists, with the many religious and historical buildings being a cultural magnet for many people.
The country of Greece is a developed one, with many opportunities for business and economic growth. There are several science and technology parks and developments. The Greek language may be considered to be fitting only for a relaxing holiday to Greece, but Greece is a relatively over-looked country in terms of business, and learning the language could certainly be more useful in making commerce connections.