[Home]Greek language

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One of the Indo-European languages, brought to Greece by the Achaeans around 1700 BC. Originally there were a variety of spoken dialects, most notably Ionic, Doric?, and Attic?. Attic Greek was the language of Athens; most of the surviving classical Greek literature is in Attic Greek. Alexander the Great, besides being a great military leader, was instrumental in combining these dialects to form Classical Greek. During the Hellenistic? period, a mixing of peoples led to the development of a common form called koinê - the language in which the New Testament was originallly written. From this descended the Greek that was the official language of the Byzantine Empire and finally the modern Greek of today. The earliest written version of the Greek language is known as Linear B.

Greek is famous for its ability to precisely specify syntax - for instance, it has a full 24 forms in the declension of the definite article (4 cases, 3 genders, 2 numbers):

                                     SINGULAR                    PLURAL
                            Masc.    Fem.        Neuter     Masc.      Fem.     Neuter
Nominative (subject)          o        ê           to         oi         ai       ta
Genitive (possessive)         tou      tês         tou        tôn        tôn      tôn
Dative (indirect object+)     tô       tê          tô         tois       tais     tois 
Accusative (direct object)    ton      tên         to         tous       tas      ta

A large of number of words in English, Latin, and so forth, come from Greek.


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Last edited November 30, 2001 10:54 pm by SteveDay (diff)