Language


DIALECTS & IDIOMS OF ANCIENT GREECE

The language of Greece is an Indo-European language that exists for the last thirty-four centuries. It is one of the official languages of the European Union and thirteen million people speak Greek in Greece and Cyprus. The first written form of the language was found on the Disc of Phaestos in the Minoan Palace of Knossos, known as Linear A that has not been fully deciphered until today. Linear B is the earliest form of the written language of Greece and the first record of any European language. Linear B was recorded on the remains of the Mycenaean Civilization in the early 13th century. However, the settlements of the civilization were collapsed and the writing form of Linear B disappeared after the destruction of the Mycenaean Greeks. During the 9th century BC, a new script was introduced based on the Phoenician syllabary with symbols being reused to represent the Greek vowels. During the Classical Years (6th-4th century BC), Greece was divided in numerous states and each of them had a separate dialect of Ancient Greek. At that time, Athens established a cultural, economical and political centre for the Greek world, and the Attic dialect was the common language. Attic dialect is considered to be the most influential language that was spoken in Athens while Ionic exerted also a significant influence for oratory and philosophical prose spoken in Greek cities across the Aegean Sea. Then, the dialect that was produced was called Attic-Ionic, widely used in the Hellenistic Years. The language that became the lingua franca in the Eastern Mediterranean was Koine Greek, or else called Hellenistic Greek, which was a combination of various dialects of Ancient Greece and eventually became the common dialect. Following the conquests of Alexander the Great, the Attic dialect was expanded to the East. This led to a mixing dialect, which was the beginning of the Koine/Hellenistic Greek and became the official language of the Roman Empire. It was also the official language of the New Testament Christian Bible and the basis for the development of the Modern Greek that was developed through the Byzantine Years. Atticism was a movement that was developed during the Hellenistic period as a reaction against Koine Greek, which treated the Attic dialect as the sole acceptable standard language for prose writing, which dominated the composition of literature in the Byzantine Years until the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Throughout the Byzantine Years, Medieval Greek was the official language that was utilized until the fall of the Byzantine Empire. While the written form of Medieval Greek resembled Modern Greek in syntax and grammar, the spoken form was based on Koine Greek. In the 11th century, the roots of Modern Greek were traced having many dialects including Demotic Greek, Katharevousa, Pontic, Cappadocian, Italian and Tsakonia. The written form of Modern Greek is the Greek alphabet with the written accents that were simplified later in a monotonic form.