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  • Writer's pictureStefanos Karampalis

Facts About Greek Language

Updated: Apr 30, 2022

Greece is famous as the birthplace of some of the most respected intellectuals of history: Socrates and Plato. Their work still continues to inspire many after passing years of their death. Also, their work has been translated into several languages. This has inspired many people to learn the Greek language, so that they can better understand the way ancient Greeks thought, or they can get to know more about the Greek culture.

The Greek language is a language that everybody knows about; it appears as one of those dialects that have been around from the very beginning. There are many interesting facts about the Greek language, but the following ones are the most prominent.

Hellenic language

Greek is a Hellenic language. The Greek language is gotten from Proto-Greek, the primary type of Greek spoken during the third thousand years BC. It later advanced into Ancient Greek, which was spoken during the Antiquity. Present-day Greek developed after the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453. Greek is the oldest recorded living language, with written record traversing more than 34 centuries.

Isolate language

The uniqueness of the Greek language can be described in the way that this language is not part of any language family. These sorts of languages are called language isolates. The Greek language is simply the language that speaks for itself.

Western literature

Greek literature holds a significant spot in the world, particularly in Europe. Poems, for example, the Iliad and the Odyssey have formed the literature of the world for quite a long time. Greek has also affected different dialects, mathematics, astronomy, and philosophy. Numerous English words identified with these fields are of Greek origin. Alongside Latin, Greek is utilized for making new words in English and different languages.

Three genders

The Greek language uses three types of genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter. Therefore, the word “the” can take three shapes: in the masculine form, it is ο; in feminine form, it is η; and in neuter form, it is το.

The longest word in literature

It's said that the longest word actually to show up in literature is found in Assemblywoman, a play written in 391 BCE by Greek writer Aristophanes. It has an astounding 171 letters and refers to a fictional dish comprising of a few unique kinds of meat.

The first use of vowels

It may look a shock to you since we know that vowels play a significant role in language. However, the Greek language has a long, antiquated history. It has been around since the ninth century BCE. The Greek language is the first to use vowels.

Right to Left

Like modern-day Hebrew and Arabic, Ancient Greek was composed from right to left. At that point it experienced a time of boustrophedon, implying that lines shifted back and forth between right-to-left and left-to-right content. These days, it's composed only from left to right.

The Question Mark is a Semicolon

The Greek language is unique and different from English. Also, it has different punctuation. The question mark for Greek is a semicolon (;). It does not use this one (?).

There are more exciting facts about Greek language that I will share in later articles. Stay tuned!

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