Greek

Greek is spoken by the 12 million inhabitants of Greece and Cyprus, and it belongs to an independent branch of the Indo-European language family.

The history of the language can be traced from Proto-Greek, an assumed theoretical language from which all dialects of Greek are descended, via Mycenaean and Ancient Greek to the Demotic or Standard Modern Greek as is spoken in Greece today.

Greek has the longest history of any living Indo-European language, dating back to the middle of 2nd millennium BC, as was shown by Michael Ventris in his decipherment of Linear B. In 1953 he deciphered the Minoan Script Linear B after recognising that the script was written in an archaic form of ancient Greek. The tablets dated to the middle of 2nd millennium BC.

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Sample text in Greek

An extract from the Greek version of the Little Prince translated by Dimítris Zormipalás and published by Athanasios Psychogios.

Ο μικρός πρίγκιπας (the Little Prince)

Όταν ακόμη ήμουν έξη χρονών, είδα μια υπέροχη ζωγραφιά σ' ένα βιβλίο για το Άγριο Δάσος, που είχε τον τίτλο «Αληθινές Ιστορίες». Έδειχνε ένα τεράστιο φίδι, το βόα, που καταβρόχθιζε κάποιο αγρίμι. Να ένα αντίγραφο κείνης της ζωγραφιάς.

When I was six years old, in a book about primeval forests, called 'True Stories from Nature', I saw a magnificant drawing. It was a picture of a boa constrictor in the act of swallowing an animal. Here is a copy of the drawing.

The Lords prayer in Greek

The wiki (from where this was taken) includes a transliteration.

Πάτερ ἡμῶνo

Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς·
ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου·
ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου·
γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου,
ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς·
τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον·
καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν,
ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀφίεμεν τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν·
καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν,
ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ.
[Ὅτι σοῦ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία καὶ ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας.
ἀμήν.]

Learning Greek

Greek is written using the Greek alphabet (of 24 letters descended from the Phoenician alphabet).

The words and phrases on SurfaceLanguages are written using the Greek script and also in a romanized version. This attempts to match the sounds of the Greek alphabet as closely as possible to those of the Roman alphabet.

The Greek alphabet is phonetic and straight-forward to learn. Learn the Greek alphabet.

The Greek language

Greek nouns have gender and can be masculine, feminine or neuter. The definite articles for masculine, feminine and neuter nouns are o, ή and τo respectively (in the nominative case). The man 'άντρας', the woman 'ή γυναίκα' are examples of masculine and feminine nouns (in the nominative). Nouns decline and can be either nominative, vocative, accusative or genitive. Definite and indefinite articles decline. (The indefinite article exists only in the singular).

Adjectives decline and vary according to the noun described. Many adjectives (in the nominative) end in -o if the word is masculine, -η if it is feminine and -o if it is neuter.

Resources

Phrases ordered by topic.
Learn the Greek alphabet
Basic Greek grammar
Learning Greek in three months
English words derived from the Greek
Greek words from the FSI Greek language course
fsi-languages.yojik.eu
BBC Greek
www.greek-language.com

Learning Method

Original

Language family

Language isolate of the Indo-European family.