Modern Greek, Demotic

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Summary

Modern Greek ( or "Neo-Hellenic", historically and colloquially also known as "Romaic" or "Roman", and "Greek") refers to the dialects and varieties of the Greek language spoken in the modern era.

Details

Demotic Greek (Δημοτική): Strictly speaking "Demotic" refers to all popular varieties of Modern Greek which followed a common evolution path from Koine and have retained a high degree of mutual intelligibility to the present day. As shown in Ptochoprodromic and Acritic poems, Demotic Greek was already before the 11th century the vernacular, "Roman" language of the Byzantine Greeks, notably in peninsular Greece, the Greek islands, coastal Asia Minor, Constantinople and Cyprus.

Today, a standardised variety of Demotic Greek is the official language of the Hellenic Republic (Greece) and Cyprus, and is referred to as the "Standard Modern Greek", or less strictly simply as "Modern Greek" or "Demotic".

Demotic Greek comprises various regional varieties with minor linguistic differences, mainly in phonology and vocabulary. Due to their high degree of mutual intelligibility, Greek linguists refer to those varieties as "idioms" of a wider "Demotic dialect", known as "Koine Modern Greek" (Koini Neoelliniki - 'common Neo-Hellenic'). Most English-speaking linguistics tend to refer to them as "dialects", emphasising degrees of variation only when necessary. Demotic Greek varieties are divided into two main groups, Northern and Southern.

The main distinguishing feature common to Northern variants is a set of standard phonological shifts in unaccented vowel phonemes: becomes , becomes , and and are dropped. The dropped vowels' existence is implicit, and may affect surrounding phonemes: for example, a dropped palatalizes preceding consonants, just like an that is pronounced. Southern variants do not exhibit these phonological shifts.

Examples of Northern dialects are Rumelian, Epirote, Thessalian, Macedonian, Thracian.

The Southern category is divided into groups that include variety groups from:

  1. Megara, Aegina, Athens, Cyme (Old Athenian) and Mani Peninsula (Maniot)
  1. Peloponnese (except Mani), Cyclades and Crete, Ionian Islands, Northern Epirus, Smyrna and Constantinople
  1. Dodecanese and Cyprus.

Demotic Greek has officially been taught in monotonic Greek script since 1982. Polytonic script remains popular in intellectual circles.

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External Links

  • WikipediaPortal for the Greek Language (modern & ancient)Hellenic National CorpusILSP PsychoLinguistic Resource (online tools and information)Audio example of Modern GreekOnline course "Filoglossia" by ILSP

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