Greek Language Facts

Interesting Greek Language Facts

If you’re thinking about learning Greek it’s always good to know a little about the origins and history of the language you are learning. Here, Cactus Language offers up our most interesting Greek language facts:

1. The Origins

Greek is a Hellenic language derived from Proto-Greek, the first form of Greek spoken during the 3rd millennium BC. It later evolved into Ancient Greek, which was spoken during the Antiquity. Modern Greek emerged after the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453. Greek is the oldest recorded living language, with written records spanning over 34 centuries.

2. The Speakers

There are around 13 million native Greek speakers, mainly in Greece and Cyprus, but also in Italy, Albania, Turkey. The Greek diaspora, which can be found in Western Europe, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia, Brazil and other countries, is also using Greek on a daily basis.

3. The Loanwords

Greek has significantly influenced Western literature, languages, mathematics, astronomy and philosophy. Many English words related to these fields are of Greek origin. Along with Latin, Greek is still used for creating new words in English and other languages.

4. The Longest Word

With 182 characters when transliterated into English, Lopado­temacho­selacho­galeo­kranio­leipsano­drim­hypo­trimmato­silphio­parao­melito­katakechy­meno­kichl­epi­kossypho­phatto­perister­alektryon­opte­kephallio­kigklo­peleio­lagoio­siraio­baphe­tragano­pterygon is the longest Ancient Greek word. It is a fictional dish and was created by Aristophanes in his comedy Assemblywomen.

5. The Alphabet

The word “alphabet” is actually formed of “alpha” and “beta”, the two first letters of the Greek alphabet.


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