Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, western Asia Minor, Greece, and the Aegean Islands, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were previously used. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Coptic, and many other writing systems.
Interesting Facts About the Greek Language And Greece
- It’s estimated that around 30% of the English vocabulary consists, directly and indirectly, of words of Classical Greek origin. Most of them are technical and scientific terms.
- Words of Greek origin are often used at the beginning of a word, such as:
aero from ἀήρ [aeer], air
auto from αὐτός [aftos], self
- Human history in Greece goes back to 120,000 BC, with evidence found in the Petralona cave from a northern Greek province. Greece is recognized as the birthplace of Western civilization, starting with the Cycladic civilization in 3200 BC.
- Greece has more than 2,000 islands including all sizes, of which ~170 are inhabited.
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Where Is Greek Spoken?
Greek is the official language of Greece, which is also called the Hellenic Republic. Greek belongs to the Hellenic branch of the Indo-European language family, and is spoken by about 13 million people mainly in Greece and Cyprus, where it is an official language. and is also one of the official languages of the Republic of Cyprus. There are big Greek and Cypriot communities in the US, the UK, Australia, Germany, Canada, Chile, South Africa and Russia, but also in neighbouring countries, such as Albania, Bulgaria and Turkey.
History Of the Greek Language
Greek has been spoken in the Balkan Peninsula since around the late 3rd millennium BC. The earliest written evidence is a Linear B clay tablet found in Messenia which dates to between 1450 and 1350 BC, making Greek the world’s oldest recorded living language.