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Ancient Greek includes the forms of the
Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Greek language spoken in the modern era, including the ...
used in
ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era wa ...
and the
ancient world Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3.0
"History"
from t ...
from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods:
Mycenaean Greek Mycenaean Greek is the most ancient attested form of the Greek language Greek (modern , romanized: ''Elliniká'', Ancient Greek, ancient , ''Hellēnikḗ'') is an independent branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European family of lan ...
(), Dark Ages (), the
Archaic Archaic is a period of time preceding a designated classical period, or something from an older period of time that is also not found or used currently: *List of archaeological periods **Archaic Sumerian language, spoken between 31st - 26th centu ...
period (), and the
Classical Classical may refer to: European antiquity *Classical antiquity, a period of history from roughly the 7th or 8th century B.C.E. to the 5th century C.E. centered on the Mediterranean Sea *Classical architecture, architecture derived from Greek and ...
period (). Ancient Greek was the language of
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was the presumed author of the ''Iliad'' and the ''Odyssey'', two epic poems that are the foundational works of ancient Greek literature. The ''Iliad'' is set during the Trojan War, the ten-year s ...

Homer
and of fifth-century Athenian historians, playwrights, and
philosophers A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, ...
. It has contributed many words to English vocabulary and has been a standard subject of study in educational institutions of the
Western world The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various regions, nations and state (polity), states, depending on the context, most often consisting of the majority of Europe, Northern America, and Australasia.
since the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
. This article primarily contains information about the
Epic Epic commonly refers to: * Epic poetry, a long narrative poem celebrating heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation * Epic film, a genre of film with heroic elements Epic or EPIC may also refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media ...
and
Classical Classical may refer to: European antiquity *Classical antiquity, a period of history from roughly the 7th or 8th century B.C.E. to the 5th century C.E. centered on the Mediterranean Sea *Classical architecture, architecture derived from Greek and ...
periods of the language. From the Hellenistic period (), Ancient Greek was followed by
Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Greek language, Greek spoken and written d ...
, which is regarded as a separate historical stage, although its earliest form closely resembles
Attic Greek Attic Greek is the Greek language, Greek dialect of the regions of ancient Greece, ancient region of Attica, including the ''polis'' of classical Athens, Athens. Often called classical Greek, it was the prestige (sociolinguistics), prestige diale ...
and its latest form approaches
Medieval Greek Medieval Greek (also known as Middle Greek or Byzantine Greek) is the stage of the Greek language between the end of Classical antiquity in the 5th–6th centuries and the end of the Middle Ages, conventionally dated to the Fall of Constantino ...
. There were several regional dialects of Ancient Greek, of which Attic Greek developed into Koine.


Dialects

Ancient Greek was a
pluricentric language A pluricentric language or polycentric language is a language with several interacting codified standard forms, often corresponding to different countries. Many examples of such languages can be found worldwide among the most-spoken languages, incl ...
, divided into many dialects. The main dialect groups are
Attic An attic (sometimes referred to as a ''loft 's Near West Side A loft is a building's upper storey or elevated area in a room directly under the roof (American usage), or just an attic: a storage space under the roof usually accessed by a lad ...
and
Ionic Ionic or Ionian may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Ionic meter, a poetic metre in ancient Greek and Latin poetry * Ionian mode, a musical mode or a diatonic scale Places and peoples * Ionian, of or from Ionia, an ancient region in western An ...
,
Aeolic In linguistics, Aeolic Greek (), also known as Aeolian (), Lesbian or Lesbic dialect, is the set of dialects of Ancient Greek spoken mainly in Boeotia; in Thessaly; in the Aegean island of Lesbos; and in the Greek colonies of Aeolis in Anatolia ...
,
Arcadocypriot Arcadocypriot, or southern Achaean, was an ancient Greek dialect spoken in Arcadia in the central Peloponnese The Peloponnese () or Peloponnesus (; el, Πελοπόννησος, Peloponnesos, ) is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsu ...
, and
DoricDoric may refer to: * Doric, of or relating to the Dorians of ancient Greece ** Doric Greek, the dialects of the Dorians * Doric order, a style of ancient Greek architecture * Doric mode, a synonym of Dorian mode * Doric dialect (Scotland) * Doric C ...
, many of them with several subdivisions. Some dialects are found in standardized literary forms used in
literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the definition has expan ...
, while others are attested only in inscriptions. There are also several historical forms.
Homeric Greek Homeric Greek is the form of the Greek language that was used by Homer in the ''Iliad'' and ''Odyssey'' and in the Homeric Hymns. It is a literary dialect of Ancient Greek consisting mainly of Ionic Greek, Ionic and Aeolic Greek, Aeolic, with a fe ...
is a literary form of Archaic Greek (derived primarily from Ionic and Aeolic) used in the
epic poems This is a list of epic poems. Ancient epics (to 500) Before the 8th century BC *''Epic of Gilgamesh'' (Mesopotamian mythology) *Epic of Lugalbanda (including ''Lugalbanda in the Mountain Cave'' and ''Lugalbanda and the Anzud Bird'', Mesopotamia ...
, the ''
Iliad The ''Iliad'' (; grc, Ἰλιάς, Iliás, ; sometimes referred to as the ''Song of Ilion'' or ''Song of Ilium'') is an in , traditionally attributed to . Usually considered to have been written down circa the 8th century BC, the ''Iliad'' i ...

Iliad
'' and the ''
Odyssey The ''Odyssey'' (; grc, Ὀδύσσεια, Odýsseia, ) is one of two major ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following pe ...
'', and in later poems by other authors. Homeric Greek had significant differences in grammar and pronunciation from Classical Attic and other Classical-era dialects.


History

The origins, early form and development of the Hellenic language family are not well understood because of a lack of contemporaneous evidence. Several theories exist about what Hellenic dialect groups may have existed between the divergence of early Greek-like speech from the common
Proto-Indo-European language Proto-Indo-European (PIE) is the theorized common ancestor of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( ...
and the Classical period. They have the same general outline but differ in some of the detail. The only attested dialect from this period is
Mycenaean Greek Mycenaean Greek is the most ancient attested form of the Greek language Greek (modern , romanized: ''Elliniká'', Ancient Greek, ancient , ''Hellēnikḗ'') is an independent branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European family of lan ...
, but its relationship to the historical dialects and the historical circumstances of the times imply that the overall groups already existed in some form. Scholars assume that major ancient Greek period dialect groups developed not later than 1120 BC, at the time of the
Dorian invasion The Dorian invasion is a concept devised by historians of Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th ce ...
s—and that their first appearances as precise alphabetic writing began in the 8th century BC. The invasion would not be "Dorian" unless the invaders had some cultural relationship to the historical
Dorians The Dorians (; el, Δωριεῖς, ''Dōrieîs'', singular , ''Dōrieús'') were one of the four major ethnic groups into which the Greeks, Hellenes (or Greeks) of Classical Greece divided themselves (along with the Aeolians, Achaeans (tribe) ...
. The invasion is known to have displaced population to the later Attic-Ionic regions, who regarded themselves as descendants of the population displaced by or contending with the Dorians. The Greeks of this period believed there were three major divisions of all Greek people – Dorians, Aeolians, and Ionians (including Athenians), each with their own defining and distinctive dialects. Allowing for their oversight of Arcadian, an obscure mountain dialect, and Cypriot, far from the center of Greek scholarship, this division of people and language is quite similar to the results of modern archaeological-linguistic investigation. One standard formulation for the dialects is: * West Group ** Northwest Greek **
DoricDoric may refer to: * Doric, of or relating to the Dorians of ancient Greece ** Doric Greek, the dialects of the Dorians * Doric order, a style of ancient Greek architecture * Doric mode, a synonym of Dorian mode * Doric dialect (Scotland) * Doric C ...
* Aeolic Group ** Aegean/Asiatic Aeolic ** Thessalian ** Boeotian * Ionic-Attic Group **
Attic An attic (sometimes referred to as a ''loft 's Near West Side A loft is a building's upper storey or elevated area in a room directly under the roof (American usage), or just an attic: a storage space under the roof usually accessed by a lad ...
**
Ionic Ionic or Ionian may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Ionic meter, a poetic metre in ancient Greek and Latin poetry * Ionian mode, a musical mode or a diatonic scale Places and peoples * Ionian, of or from Ionia, an ancient region in western An ...
*** Euboean and colonies in Italy *** Cycladic *** Asiatic Ionic *
Arcadocypriot Greek Arcadocypriot, or southern Achaean, was an ancient Greek dialect spoken in Arcadia in the central Peloponnese and in Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially called the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an islan ...
** Arcadian ** Cypriot West vs. non-West Greek is the strongest-marked and earliest division, with non-West in subsets of Ionic-Attic (or Attic-Ionic) and Aeolic vs. Arcadocypriot, or Aeolic and Arcado-Cypriot vs. Ionic-Attic. Often non-West is called 'East Greek'. Arcadocypriot apparently descended more closely from the Mycenaean Greek of the Bronze Age. Boeotian had come under a strong Northwest Greek influence, and can in some respects be considered a transitional dialect. Thessalian likewise had come under Northwest Greek influence, though to a lesser degree.
Pamphylian Greek Pamphylian is a little-attested and isolated dialect of Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often rough ...
, spoken in a small area on the southwestern coast of Anatolia and little preserved in inscriptions, may be either a fifth major dialect group, or it is Mycenaean Greek overlaid by Doric, with a non-Greek native influence. Regarding the speech of the
ancient Macedonians The Macedonians ( el, Μακεδόνες, ''Makedónes'') were an ancient tribe that lived on the alluvial plain around the rivers Haliacmon and lower Vardar, Axios in the northeastern part of Geography of Greece#Mainland, mainland Greece. Ess ...
diverse theories have been put forward, but the epigraphic activity and the archaeological discoveries in the Greek region of Macedonia during the last decades has brought to light documents, among which the first texts written in
Macedonian Macedonian most often refers to someone or something from or related to Macedonia (disambiguation), Macedonia. Macedonian may specifically refer to: People Modern * Macedonians (ethnic group), the South Slavic ethnic group primarily associated w ...
, such as the
Pella curse tablet The Pella curse tablet is a text written in a distinct Doric Greek Doric, or Dorian ( grc, Δωρισμός, Dōrismós) was an Ancient Greek dialect. Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern Peloponnese as well as in Sicily, Epirus ...
, as Hatzopoulos and other scholars note. Based on the conclusions drawn by several studies and findings such as
Pella curse tablet The Pella curse tablet is a text written in a distinct Doric Greek Doric, or Dorian ( grc, Δωρισμός, Dōrismós) was an Ancient Greek dialect. Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern Peloponnese as well as in Sicily, Epirus ...
, Emilio Crespo and other scholars suggest that ancient Macedonian was a Northwest Doric dialect, which shares isoglosses with its neighboring Thessalian dialects spoken in northeastern
Thessaly Thessaly ( el, Θεσσαλία, translit=Thessalía, ; ancient Aeolic Greek#Thessalian, Thessalian: , ) is a traditional geographic regions of Greece, geographic and modern administrative regions of Greece, administrative region of Greece, co ...
. Most of the dialect sub-groups listed above had further subdivisions, generally equivalent to a city-state and its surrounding territory, or to an island. Doric notably had several intermediate divisions as well, into Island Doric (including Cretan Doric), Southern Peloponnesus Doric (including Laconian, the dialect of
Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek Doric or Dorian ( grc, Δωρισμός, Dōrismós) was an . Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern as well as in , , , , , some islands in the southern and some cities on the south east coast of ...

Sparta
), and Northern Peloponnesus Doric (including ). The
Lesbian A lesbian is a Homosexuality, homosexual woman.Zimmerman, p. 453. The word ''lesbian'' is also used for women in relation to their sexual identity or sexual behavior, regardless of sexual orientation, or as an adjective to characterize or ...
dialect was
Aeolic Greek In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langu ...
. All the groups were represented by colonies beyond Greece proper as well, and these colonies generally developed local characteristics, often under the influence of settlers or neighbors speaking different Greek dialects. The dialects outside the Ionic group are known mainly from inscriptions, notable exceptions being: *fragments of the works of the poet
Sappho Sappho (; el, Σαπφώ ''Sapphō'' ; Aeolic Greek In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling t ...

Sappho
from the island of
Lesbos Lesbos or Lesvos (, also ; el, Λέσβος, Lésvos ) is a Greek island located in the northeastern Aegean Sea The Aegean Sea ; tr, Ege Denizi is an elongated embayment A bay is a recessed, coastal body of water that directly conn ...
, in Aeolian, and *the poems of the
Boeotia Boeotia, sometimes alternatively Latinised Latinisation or Latinization can refer to: * Latinisation of names, the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style * Latinisation in the Soviet Union, the campaign in the USSR during the 1920 ...

Boeotia
n poet
Pindar Pindar (; grc-gre, Πίνδαρος , ; la, Pindarus; c. 518 – 438 BC) was an Ancient Greek lyric poet from Thebes. Of the canonical Canonical may refer to: Science and technology * Canonical form In mathematics Mathematics (from ...

Pindar
and other lyric poets, usually in Doric. After the conquests of
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title ...

Alexander the Great
in the late 4th century BC, a new international dialect known as
Koine Koine Greek (;. Modern , ), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the common supra-regional form of Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Gre ...
or Common Greek developed, largely based on
Attic Greek Attic Greek is the Greek language, Greek dialect of the regions of ancient Greece, ancient region of Attica, including the ''polis'' of classical Athens, Athens. Often called classical Greek, it was the prestige (sociolinguistics), prestige diale ...
, but with influence from other dialects. This dialect slowly replaced most of the older dialects, although the Doric dialect has survived in the
Tsakonian language Tsakonian (also Tsaconian, Tzakonian or Tsakonic; Tsakonian: , ; Greek: ) is a Hellenic language which is both highly divergent from other spoken varieties of Modern Greek The linguistic varieties of Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''K ...
, which is spoken in the region of modern Sparta. Doric has also passed down its aorist terminations into most verbs of
Demotic Greek Demotic Greek or Dimotiki ( el, Δημοτική Γλώσσα, , , lit. "language of the people") was a colloquial vernacular form of Modern Greek, in common use from the founding of the Greek state in 1821 until the resolution of the Greek langu ...
. By about the 6th century AD, the Koine had slowly metamorphosed into
Medieval Greek Medieval Greek (also known as Middle Greek or Byzantine Greek) is the stage of the Greek language between the end of Classical antiquity in the 5th–6th centuries and the end of the Middle Ages, conventionally dated to the Fall of Constantino ...
.


Related languages

Phrygian is an extinct
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with those of the northern Indian subcontinent and the Iranian Plateau. Some European languages of ...
language of West and Central
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
, which is considered by some linguists to have been closely related to
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
.Brixhe, Cl. "Le Phrygien". In Fr. Bader (ed.), ''Langues indo-européennes'', pp. 165-178, Paris: CNRS Editions. Among Indo-European branches with living descendants, Greek is often argued to have the closest genetic ties with
Armenian Armenian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Armenia, a country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia * Armenians, the national people of Armenia, or people of Armenian descent ** Armenian language, the Indo-European language spoken ...
(see also
Graeco-Armenian Graeco-Armenian (or Helleno-Armenian) is the hypothetical common ancestor of Greek and Armenian that postdates Proto-Indo-European Proto-Indo-European (PIE) is the theorized common ancestor of the Indo-European language family. Its proposed ...
) and
Indo-Iranian languages The Indo-Iranian languages (also Indo-Iranic languages or Aryan languages) constitute the largest and southeasternmost extant branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European language family. They have more than 1.5 billion speakers, stretch ...

Indo-Iranian languages
(see
Graeco-Aryan Graeco-Aryan, or Graeco-Armeno-Aryan, is a hypothetical clade A clade (), also known as a monophyletic group or natural group, is a group of organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as a ...
).


Phonology


Differences from Proto-Indo-European

Ancient Greek differs from
Proto-Indo-European Proto-Indo-European (PIE) is the theorized common ancestor of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( ...
(PIE) and other Indo-European languages in certain ways. In
phonotactics Phonotactics (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the period (). A ...
, ancient Greek words could end only in a vowel or ; final stops were lost, as in "milk", compared with "of milk" (genitive). Ancient Greek of the classical period also differed in both the inventory and distribution of original PIE phonemes due to numerous sound changes, notably the following: * PIE became at the beginning of a word (
debuccalization Debuccalization or deoralization is a sound change A sound change, in historical linguistics Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of language change over time. Principal concerns of historica ...
): Latin ', English ''six'', ancient Greek . * PIE was
elided In linguistics, an elision or deletion is broadly defined as the omission of one or more sounds (such as a vowel, a consonant, or a whole syllable) in a word or phrase. However, it is also used to refer more narrowly to cases where two words are r ...
between vowels after an intermediate step of debuccalization: Sanskrit ', Latin ' (where ''s'' > ''r'' by rhotacism), Greek *''genesos'' > *''genehos'' > ancient Greek (), Attic () "of a kind". * PIE became (debuccalization) or (
fortition Fortition, also known as strengthening, is a consonantal change that increases the degree of stricture. It's the opposite of the more common lenition. For example, a fricative or an approximant may become a stop consonant, stop (i.e. becomes o ...
): Sanskrit ', ancient Greek "who" (relative pronoun); Latin ', English ''yoke'', ancient Greek . * PIE , which occurred in Mycenaean and some non-Attic dialects, was lost: early Doric , English ''work'', Attic Greek . * PIE and Mycenaean labiovelars changed to plain stops (labials, dentals, and velars) in the later Greek dialects: for instance, PIE became or in Attic: Attic Greek "where?", Latin '; Attic Greek , Latin ' "who?". * PIE "voiced aspirated" stops were devoiced and became the aspirated stops in ancient Greek.


Phonemic inventory

The pronunciation of ancient Greek was very different from that of Modern Greek. Ancient Greek had long and short vowels; many
diphthong A diphthong ( ; , ), also known as a gliding vowel, is a combination of two adjacent vowel A vowel is a Syllable, syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels are one of the two principal classes of spe ...
s;
double Double may refer to: * Look-alike, a person who closely resembles another person * Double (filmmaking), someone who substitutes for the credited actor of a character * Doppelgänger, ghostly double of a living person * Polish Enigma doubles, repl ...

double
and single consonants; voiced, voiceless, and aspirated stops; and a
pitch accent A pitch-accent language is a language that has word accents in which one syllable in a word or morpheme is more prominent than the others, but the accentuated syllable is indicated by a contrasting pitch Pitch may refer to: Acoustic frequency ...
. In Modern Greek, all vowels and consonants are short. Many vowels and diphthongs once pronounced distinctly are pronounced as (
iotacism Iotacism ( el, ιωτακισμός, ''iotakismos'') or itacism is the process of vowel shift by which a number of vowel A vowel is a Syllable, syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels are one of the t ...
). Some of the stops and glides in diphthongs have become
fricatives Fricatives are consonants manner of articulation, produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two Place of articulation, articulators close together. These may be the lower lip against the upper teeth, in the case of ; the bac ...
, and the pitch accent has changed to a
stress accent In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis includ ...
. Many of the changes took place in the
Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Greek language, Greek spoken and written d ...
period. The writing system of Modern Greek, however, does not reflect all pronunciation changes. The examples below represent Attic Greek in the 5th century BC. Ancient pronunciation cannot be reconstructed with certainty, but Greek from the period is well documented, and there is little disagreement among linguists as to the general nature of the sounds that the letters represent.


Consonants

occurred as an allophone of that was used before velars and as an allophone of before nasals. was probably voiceless when word-initial (written ). was assimilated to before voiced consonants.


Vowels

raised to , probably by the 4th century BC.


Morphology

Greek, like all of the older
Indo-European languages The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, based on speech and gesture (spoken language), Signed language, sign, or o ...
, is highly inflected. It is highly archaic in its preservation of
Proto-Indo-European Proto-Indo-European (PIE) is the theorized common ancestor of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( ...
forms. In ancient Greek,
noun A noun () is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning. In many l ...

noun
s (including proper nouns) have five cases (
nominative In grammar, the nominative case (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ), subjective case, straight case or upright case is one of the grammatical cases of a noun or other part of speech, which generally marks the subject (grammar), subject o ...
,
genitive In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as ...
,
dative In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as we ...
,
accusative The accusative case (abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or phrase ...
, and
vocative In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as ...
), three
genders Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between, femininity and masculinity. Depending on the context, these characteristics may include biological sex, sex-based social structures (i.e., gender roles), or gende ...
(
masculine Masculinity (also called manhood or manliness) is a set of attributes, behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or, see spelling differences) is the Action ...
,
feminine Femininity (also called womanliness or girlishness) is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with women A woman is an adult female Female (symbol: ♀) is the sex of an organism that produces the large non-mob ...
, and neuter), and three
numbers A number is a mathematical object A mathematical object is an abstract concept arising in mathematics. In the usual language of mathematics, an ''object'' is anything that has been (or could be) formally defined, and with which one may do deduc ...
(singular,
dual Dual or Duals may refer to: Paired/two things * Dual (mathematics), a notion of paired concepts that mirror one another ** Dual (category theory), a formalization of mathematical duality ** . . . see more cases in :Duality theories * Dual ...
, and
plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or ph ...

plural
).
Verb A verb () is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or a state of being (''be'', ''exist'', ''stand''). In the usual description of E ...
s have four moods (
indicative A realis mood (abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or phrase; for ...
,
imperative Imperative may refer to: *Imperative mood, a grammatical mood (or mode) expressing commands, direct requests, and prohibitions *Imperative programming, a programming paradigm in computer science *Imperative logic *Imperative (film), ''Imperative'' ...
,
subjunctive The subjunctive is a grammatical mood In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditiona ...
, and
optative The optative mood ( or ; list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a grammatical mood that indicates a wish or hope regarding a given Action (philosophy), action. It is a subset, superset of the cohortative mood and is closely related to the ...
) and three voices (active, middle, and
passive Passive may refer to: * Passive voice, a grammatical voice common in many languages, see also Pseudopassive (disambiguation), Pseudopassive * Passive language, a language from which an interpreter works * Passivity (behavior), the condition of sub ...
), as well as three
persons A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as , , or , and being a part of a culturally established form of social relations such as , of , or . The defining features of and, consequently, wh ...
(first, second, and third) and various other forms. Verbs are conjugated through seven combinations of tenses and
aspect Aspect or Aspects may refer to: Entertainment * ''Aspect magazine ASPECT Volume 9: Performance ''ASPECT'' was a biannual DVD The DVD (common abbreviation for Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc) is a digital optical disc data stor ...
(generally simply called "tenses"): the
present The present (or here and now) is the time that is associated with the events perception, perceived directly and in the first time, not as a recollection (perceived more than once) or a speculation (predicted, hypothesis, uncertain). It is a peri ...
,
future The future is the time after the past and present. Its arrival is considered inevitable due to the existence of time and the laws of physics. Due to the apparent nature of reality and the unavoidability of the future, everything that currently ...
, and
imperfect The imperfect ( abbreviated ) is a verb A verb, from the Latin ''wikt:verbum#Latin, verbum'' meaning ''word'', is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''hap ...
are
imperfective The imperfective ( abbreviated or more ambiguously ) is a grammatical aspect Aspect is a grammatical category A grammatical category or grammatical feature is a property of items within the grammar In linguistics, the grammar (from Ancient ...
in aspect; the
aorist Aorist (; abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or phrase; for exam ...
, present perfect, pluperfect and future perfect are perfective aspect, perfective in aspect. Most tenses display all four moods and three voices, although there is no future subjunctive or imperative. Also, there is no imperfect subjunctive, optative or imperative. The infinitives and participles correspond to the finite combinations of tense, aspect, and voice.


Augment

The indicative of past tenses adds (conceptually, at least) a prefix /e-/, called the Augment (Indo-European), augment. This was probably originally a separate word, meaning something like "then", added because tenses in PIE had primarily aspectual meaning. The augment is added to the
indicative A realis mood (abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or phrase; for ...
of the aorist, imperfect, and pluperfect, but not to any of the other forms of the aorist (no other forms of the imperfect and pluperfect exist). The two kinds of augment in Greek are syllabic and quantitative. The syllabic augment is added to stems beginning with consonants, and simply prefixes ''e'' (stems beginning with ''r'', however, add ''er''). The quantitative augment is added to stems beginning with vowels, and involves lengthening the vowel: * a, ā, e, ē → ē * i, ī → ī * o, ō → ō * u, ū → ū * ai → ēi * ei → ēi or ei * oi → ōi * au → ēu or au * eu → ēu or eu * ou → ou Some verbs augment irregularly; the most common variation is ''e'' → ''ei''. The irregularity can be explained diachronically by the loss of ''s'' between vowels, or that of the letter ''w'', which affected the augment when it was word-initial. In verbs with a preposition as a prefix, the augment is placed not at the start of the word, but between the preposition and the original verb. For example, προσ(-)βάλλω (I attack) goes to προσέβαλoν in the aorist. However compound verbs consisting of a prefix that is not a preposition retain the augment at the start of the word: αὐτο(-)μολῶ goes to ηὐτομόλησα in the aorist. Following
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was the presumed author of the ''Iliad'' and the ''Odyssey'', two epic poems that are the foundational works of ancient Greek literature. The ''Iliad'' is set during the Trojan War, the ten-year s ...

Homer
's practice, the augment is sometimes not made in poetry, especially Homeric Greek, epic poetry. The augment sometimes substitutes for reduplication; see below.


Reduplication

Almost all forms of the perfect, pluperfect, and future perfect reduplicate the initial syllable of the verb stem. (Note that a few irregular forms of perfect do not reduplicate, whereas a handful of irregular aorists reduplicate.) The three types of reduplication are: * Syllabic reduplication: Most verbs beginning with a single consonant, or a cluster of a stop with a sonorant, add a syllable consisting of the initial consonant followed by ''e''. An aspirated consonant, however, reduplicates in its unaspirated equivalent (see Grassmann's law). * Augment: Verbs beginning with a vowel, as well as those beginning with a cluster other than those indicated previously (and occasionally for a few other verbs) reduplicate in the same fashion as the augment. This remains in all forms of the perfect, not just the indicative. * Attic reduplication: Some verbs beginning with an ''a'', ''e'' or ''o'', followed by a sonorant (or occasionally ''d'' or ''g''), reduplicate by adding a syllable consisting of the initial vowel and following consonant, and lengthening the following vowel. Hence ''er'' → ''erēr'', ''an'' → ''anēn'', ''ol'' → ''olōl'', ''ed'' → ''edēd''. This is not actually specific to
Attic Greek Attic Greek is the Greek language, Greek dialect of the regions of ancient Greece, ancient region of Attica, including the ''polis'' of classical Athens, Athens. Often called classical Greek, it was the prestige (sociolinguistics), prestige diale ...
, despite its name, but it was generalized in Attic. This originally involved reduplicating a cluster consisting of a laryngeal theory, laryngeal and sonorant, hence ''h₃l'' → ''h₃leh₃l'' → ''olōl'' with normal Greek development of laryngeals. (Forms with a stop were analogous.) Irregular duplication can be understood diachronically. For example, ''lambanō'' (root ''lab'') has the perfect stem ''eilēpha'' (not *''lelēpha'') because it was originally ''slambanō'', with perfect ''seslēpha'', becoming ''eilēpha'' through compensatory lengthening. Reduplication is also visible in the present tense stems of certain verbs. These stems add a syllable consisting of the root's initial consonant followed by ''i''. A nasal stop appears after the reduplication in some verbs.


Writing system

The earliest extant examples of ancient Greek writing (circa 1450 BC) are in the syllabic script Linear B. Beginning in the 8th century BC, however, the Greek alphabet became standard, albeit with some variation among dialects. Early texts are written in boustrophedon style, but left-to-right became standard during the classic period. Modern editions of ancient Greek texts are usually written with Greek diacritics, accents and breathing marks, Word divider, interword spacing, modern punctuation, and sometimes capitalization, mixed case, but these were all introduced later.


Sample texts

The beginning of
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was the presumed author of the ''Iliad'' and the ''Odyssey'', two epic poems that are the foundational works of ancient Greek literature. The ''Iliad'' is set during the Trojan War, the ten-year s ...

Homer
's
Iliad The ''Iliad'' (; grc, Ἰλιάς, Iliás, ; sometimes referred to as the ''Song of Ilion'' or ''Song of Ilium'') is an in , traditionally attributed to . Usually considered to have been written down circa the 8th century BC, the ''Iliad'' i ...

Iliad
exemplifies the Archaic period of ancient Greek (see
Homeric Greek Homeric Greek is the form of the Greek language that was used by Homer in the ''Iliad'' and ''Odyssey'' and in the Homeric Hymns. It is a literary dialect of Ancient Greek consisting mainly of Ionic Greek, Ionic and Aeolic Greek, Aeolic, with a fe ...
for more details): The beginning of Apology (Plato), Apology by Plato exemplifies
Attic Greek Attic Greek is the Greek language, Greek dialect of the regions of ancient Greece, ancient region of Attica, including the ''polis'' of classical Athens, Athens. Often called classical Greek, it was the prestige (sociolinguistics), prestige diale ...
from the Classical period of ancient Greek: : Using the International Phonetic Alphabet, IPA: : Transliterated into the Latin alphabet using a modern version of the Pronunciation of Ancient Greek in teaching, Erasmian scheme: :' Translated into English: :How you, men of Athens, are feeling under the power of my accusers, I do not know: actually, even I myself almost forgot who I was because of them, they spoke so persuasively. And yet, loosely speaking, nothing they have said is true.


Modern use


In education

The study of ancient Greek in European countries in addition to Latin occupied an important place in the syllabus from the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
until the beginning of the 20th century. Ancient Greek is still taught as a compulsory or optional subject especially at traditional or elite schools throughout Europe, such as Independent school (UK), public schools and grammar schools in the United Kingdom. It is compulsory in the liceo classico in Italy, in the ''gymnasium'' in the Netherlands, in some classes in Austria, in ''klasična gimnazija'' (grammar school – orientation: classical languages) in Croatia, in Classical Studies in Education in Belgium#Structure, ASO in Belgium and it is optional in the Gymnasium (Germany)#Humanistisches Gymnasium (humanities-oriented), humanities-oriented ''gymnasium'' in Germany (usually as a third language after Latin and English, from the age of 14 to 18). In 2006/07, 15,000 pupils studied ancient Greek in Germany according to the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, and 280,000 pupils studied it in Italy. It is a compulsory subject alongside Latin in the humanities branch of the Education in Spain#Spanish Baccalaureate (Bachillerato), Spanish bachillerato. Ancient Greek is also taught at most major University, universities worldwide, often combined with Latin as part of the study of classics. It will also be taught in state primary schools in the United Kingdom, UK, to boost children's language skills, and will be offered as a foreign language to pupils in all primary schools from 2014 as part of a major drive to boost education standards, together with Latin, Mandarin, French, German, Spanish, and Italian. Ancient Greek is also taught as a compulsory subject in all Gymnasium (school), gymnasiums and lyceums in Greece. Starting in 2001, an annual international competition ( gr, Διαγωνισμός στην Αρχαία Ελληνική Γλώσσα και Γραμματεία) was run for upper secondary students through the Greek Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs, with Greek language and cultural organisations as co-organisers. It appears to have ceased in , having failed to gain the recognition and acceptance of teachers.


Modern real-world usage

Modern authors rarely write in ancient Greek, though Jan Křesadlo wrote some poetry and prose in the language, and ''Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone'', Asterix#Translations, some volumes of Asterix, and ''The Adventures of Alix'' have been translated into ancient Greek. (''Onomata Kechiasmena'') is the first magazine of crosswords and puzzles in ancient Greek. Its first issue appeared in April 2015 as an annex to ''Hebdomada Aenigmatum''. Alfred Rahlfs included a preface, a short history of the Septuagint text, and other front matter translated into ancient Greek in his 1935 edition of the Septuagint; Robert Hanhart also included the introductory remarks to the 2006 revised Rahlfs–Hanhart edition in the language as well. Akropolis World News reports weekly a summary of the most important news in ancient Greek. Ancient Greek is also used by organizations and individuals, mainly Greek, who wish to denote their respect, admiration or preference for the use of this language. This use is sometimes considered graphical, nationalistic or humorous. In any case, the fact that modern Greeks can still wholly or partly understand texts written in non-archaic forms of ancient Greek shows the affinity of the modern Greek language to its ancestral predecessor. An isolated community near Trabzon, Turkey, an area where Pontic Greek is spoken, has been found to speak a variety of Modern Greek, Pontic Greek#Ophitic, Ophitic, that has parallels, both structurally and in its vocabulary, to ancient Greek not present in other varieties (linguistic conservatism). As few as 5,000 people speak the dialect, and linguists believe that it is the closest living language to ancient Greek.Video alone on YouTube
/ref> Ancient Greek is often used in the coinage of modern technical terms in the European languages: see English words of Greek origin. Latinisation of names, Latinized forms of ancient Greek roots are used in many of the binomial nomenclature, scientific names of species and in scientific terminology.


See also

* Ancient Greek dialects * Ancient Greek grammar * Ancient Greek accent * Greek alphabet * Greek diacritics *
Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Greek language spoken in the modern era, including the ...
* Hellenic languages * Katharevousa *
Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Greek language, Greek spoken and written d ...
* List of Greek and Latin roots in English * List of Greek phrases (mostly ancient Greek) *
Medieval Greek Medieval Greek (also known as Middle Greek or Byzantine Greek) is the stage of the Greek language between the end of Classical antiquity in the 5th–6th centuries and the end of the Middle Ages, conventionally dated to the Fall of Constantino ...
* Modern Greek *
Mycenaean Greek Mycenaean Greek is the most ancient attested form of the Greek language Greek (modern , romanized: ''Elliniká'', Ancient Greek, ancient , ''Hellēnikḗ'') is an independent branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European family of lan ...
* Proto-Greek language * Varieties of Modern Greek


Notes


References


Further reading

* Adams, Matthew. "The Introduction of Greek into English Schools." ''Greece and Rome'' 61.1: 102–13, 2014. * Allan, Rutger J. "Changing the Topic: Topic Position in Ancient Greek Word Order." ''Mnemosyne: Bibliotheca Classica Batava'' 67.2: 181–213, 2014. * ''Athenaze: An Introduction to Ancient Greek'' (Oxford University Press). [A series of textbooks on Ancient Greek published for school use.] * Bakker, Egbert J., ed. ''A Companion to the Ancient Greek Language.'' Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. * Beekes, Robert S. P. ''Etymological Dictionary of Greek.'' Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2010. * Pierre Chantraine, Chantraine, Pierre.
Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque
', new and updated edn., edited by Jean Taillardat, Olivier Masson, & Jean-Louis Perpillou. 3 vols. Paris: Klincksieck, 2009 (1st edn. 1968–1980). * Christidis, Anastasios-Phoibos, ed. ''A History of Ancient Greek: from the Beginnings to Late Antiquity''. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. * Easterling, P and Handley, C. ''Greek Scripts: An Illustrated Introduction''. London: Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies, 2001. * Fortson, Benjamin W. ''Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction.'' 2d ed. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. * Hansen, Hardy and Quinn, Gerald M. (1992
''Greek: An Intensive Course''
Fordham University Press * Horrocks, Geoffrey. ''Greek: A History of the Language and its Speakers.'' 2d ed. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. * Janko, Richard. "The Origins and Evolution of the Epic Diction." In ''The Iliad: A Commentary. Vol. 4, Books 13–16.'' Edited by Richard Janko, 8–19. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1992. * Jeffery, Lilian Hamilton. ''The Local Scripts of Archaic Greece: Revised Edition with a Supplement by A. W. Johnston.'' Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1990. * Morpurgo Davies, Anna, and Yves Duhoux, eds. ''A Companion to Linear B: Mycenaean Greek Texts and their World.'' Vol. 1. Louvain, Belgium: Peeters, 2008. * Swiggers, Pierre and Alfons Wouters. "Description of the Constituent Elements of the (Greek) Language." In ''Brill’s Companion to Ancient Greek Scholarship.'' Edited by Franco Montanari and Stephanos Matthaios, 757–797. Leiden : Brill, 2015.


External links


Classical Greek Online
by Winfred P. Lehmann and Jonathan Slocum, free online lessons at th
Linguistics Research Center
at the University of Texas at Austin
Online Greek resources
– Dictionaries, grammar, virtual libraries, fonts, etc.
Alpheios
– Combines LSJ, Autenrieth, Smyth's grammar and inflection tables in a browser add-on for use on any web site
Ancient Greek basic lexicon at the Global Lexicostatistical Database

Ancient Greek Swadesh list of basic vocabulary words
(from Wiktionary'
Swadesh list appendix
*

– online editor for Ancient Greek * Ancient Greek grammar, glottothèque - Ancient Indo-European Grammars online, an online collection of videos on various Ancient Indo-European languages, including Ancient Greek


Grammar learning


A more extensive grammar of the Ancient Greek language written by J. Rietveld





Greek-Language.com
– Information on the history of the Greek language, application of modern Linguistics to the study of Greek, and tools for learning Greek
Free Lessons in Ancient Greek, Bilingual Libraries, Forum

A critical survey of websites devoted to Ancient Greek


– Berkeley Language Center of the University of California

* [http://www.ntgreek.net/ New Testament Greek]
Acropolis World News
– A summary of the latest world news in Ancient Greek, Juan Coderch, University of St Andrews


Classical texts





{{Authority control Ancient Greek language, Ancient Greece, Language Languages attested from the 9th century BC 9th-century BC establishments in Greece Languages of Sicily