Hellenic languages

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Hellenic
Greek
Geographic
distribution
Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Anatolia and the Black Sea region
Linguistic classification Indo-European
Proto-language Proto-Greek
Subdivisions
ISO 639-5 grk
Linguasphere 56= (phylozone)
Glottolog gree1276

Hellenic is the branch of the Indo-European language family whose principal member is Greek. [2] In most classifications, Hellenic consists of Greek alone, [3] [4] but some linguists use the term Hellenic to refer to a group consisting of Greek proper and other varieties thought to be related but different enough to be separate languages, either among ancient neighbouring languages [5] or among modern spoken dialects. [6]

Contents

Greek and ancient Macedonian

A family under the name "Hellenic" has been suggested to group together Greek proper and the ancient Macedonian language, which is barely attested and whose degree of relatedness to Greek is not well known. The suggestion of a "Hellenic" group with two branches, in this context, represents the idea that Macedonian was not simply a dialect within Greek but a "sibling language" outside the group of Greek varieties proper. [5] [7] Other approaches include Macedonian as a dialect of Greek proper [8] [9] or as an unclassified Paleo-Balkan language. [10]

Modern Hellenic languages

In addition, some linguists use the term "Hellenic" to refer to modern Greek in a narrow sense together with certain other, divergent modern varieties deemed separate languages on the basis of a lack of mutual intelligibility. [11] Separate language status is most often posited for Tsakonian, [11] which is thought to be uniquely a descendant of Doric rather than Attic Greek, followed by Pontic and Cappadocian Greek of Anatolia. [12] The Griko or Italiot varieties of southern Italy are also not readily intelligible to speakers of standard Greek. [13] Separate status is sometimes also argued for Cypriot, though this is not as easily justified. [14] In contrast, Yevanic (Jewish Greek) is mutually intelligible with standard Greek but is sometimes considered a separate language for ethnic and cultural reasons. [14] Greek linguistics traditionally treats all of these as dialects of a single language. [3] [15] [16]

Language tree

Hellenic 
 Greek 
  IonicAttic  

Standard Modern Greek

Yevanic

Cypriot Greek

Cappadocian Greek

Pontic

Crimean Greek (Mariupolitan)

Romano-Greek (a mixed language)

Italiot Greek  

Griko (Doric-influenced)

Calabrian Greek

Aeolic

Arcadocypriot †; related to Mycenaean?)

Pamphylian

Mycenaean

  Doric  

Tsakonian (Doric-influenced Koine?; critically endangered)

(?) Ancient Macedonian

Classification

Hellenic constitutes a branch of the Indo-European language family. The ancient languages that might have been most closely related to it, ancient Macedonian, [17] (either an ancient Greek dialect or a separate Hellenic language) and Phrygian, [18] are not documented well enough to permit detailed comparison. Among Indo-European branches with living descendants, Greek is often argued to have the closest genetic ties with Armenian [19] (see also Graeco-Armenian) and Indo-Iranian languages (see Graeco-Aryan). [20] [21]

See also

Related Research Articles

Armenian language Indo-European language

Armenian is an Indo-European language, belonging to an independent branch of which it is the only member. It is the official language of Armenia. Historically being spoken throughout the Armenian Highlands, today, Armenian is widely spoken throughout the Armenian diaspora. Armenian is written in its own writing system, the Armenian alphabet, introduced in 405 AD by the priest Mesrop Mashtots.

The term dialect is used in two distinct ways to refer to two different types of linguistic phenomena:

Greek language Indo-European language of Greece, Cyprus and other regions

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus, Albania, other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning at least 3,400 years of written records. Its writing system is the Greek alphabet, which has been used for over 2,000 years; previously, Greek was recorded in writing systems such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Ancient Greek Forms of Greek used from around the 9th century BC to the 6th century AD

Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: Mycenaean Greek, Dark Ages, the Archaic period, and the Classical period.

Arvanitika, also known as Arvanitic, is the variety of Albanian traditionally spoken by the Arvanites, a population group in Greece. Arvanitika is today endangered, as its speakers have been shifting to the use of Greek and most younger members of the community no longer speak it.

A dialect continuum or dialect chain is a spread of language varieties spoken across some geographical area such that neighboring varieties differ only slightly, but the differences accumulate over distance so that widely separated varieties may not be mutually intelligible. This is a typical occurrence with widely spread languages and language families around the world, when these languages did not spread recently. Some prominent examples include the Indo-Aryan languages across large parts of India, varieties of Arabic across north Africa and southwest Asia, the Chinese languages or dialects, and subgroups of the Romance, Germanic and Slavic families in Europe. Leonard Bloomfield used the name dialect area. Charles F. Hockett used the term L-complex.

Phrygian language Dialect of Indo-European language spoken by the Phrygians

The Phrygian language was the Indo-European language of the Phrygians, spoken in Anatolia, during classical antiquity.

Isogloss geographic boundaries between where linguistic features are used

An isogloss, also called a heterogloss, is the geographic boundary of a certain linguistic feature, such as the pronunciation of a vowel, the meaning of a word, or the use of some morphological or syntactic feature. Major dialects are typically demarcated by bundles of isoglosses, such as the Benrath line that distinguishes High German from the other West Germanic languages and the La Spezia–Rimini Line that divides the Northern Italian languages from Central Italian dialects. However, an individual isogloss may or may not have any coincidence with a language border. For example, the front-rounding of /y/ cuts across France and Germany, while the /y/ is absent from Italian and Spanish words that are cognates with the /y/-containing French words.

Ancient Macedonian, the language of the ancient Macedonians, either a dialect of Ancient Greek, or a separate Hellenic language, was spoken in the kingdom of Macedonia during the 1st millennium BC and belongs to the Indo-European language family. It gradually fell out of use during the 4th century BC, marginalized by the use of Attic Greek by the Macedonian aristocracy, the Ancient Greek dialect that became the basis of Koine Greek, the lingua franca of the Hellenistic period.

Paleo-Balkan languages Geographical grouping of Indo-European languages

The Paleo-Balkan languages or Palaeo-Balkan languages is a grouping of various extinct Indo-European languages that were spoken in the Balkans and surrounding areas in ancient times.

Proto-Greek language Proto-language

The Proto-Greek language is the Indo-European language which was the last common ancestor of all varieties of Greek, including Mycenaean Greek, the subsequent ancient Greek dialects and, ultimately, Koine, Byzantine and Modern Greek. Proto-Greek speakers entered Greece sometime between 2200 and 1900 BCE, with the diversification into a southern and a northern group beginning by approximately 1700 BCE.

Ancient Greek dialects

Ancient Greek in classical antiquity, before the development of the common Koine Greek of the Hellenistic period, was divided into several varieties.

Graeco-Armenian is the hypothetical common ancestor of Greek and Armenian that postdates Proto-Indo-European. Its status is somewhat similar to that of the Italo-Celtic grouping: each is widely considered plausible without being accepted as established communis opinio. The hypothetical Proto-Graeco-Armenian stage would need to date to the 3rd millennium BC and would be only barely different from either late Proto-Indo-European or Graeco-Armeno-Aryan.

The linguistic classification of the ancient Thracian language has long been a matter of contention and uncertainty, and there are widely varying hypotheses regarding its position among other Paleo-Balkan languages. It is not contested, however, that the Thracian languages were Indo-European languages which had acquired satem characteristics by the time they are attested.

The linguistic varieties of Modern Greek can be classified along two principal dimensions. First, there is a long tradition of sociolectal variation between the natural, popular spoken language on the one hand and archaizing, learned written forms on the other. Second, there is regional variation between dialects. The competition between the popular and the learned registers, culminated in the struggle between Dimotiki and Katharevousa during the 19th and 20th centuries. As for regional dialects, variation within the bulk of dialects of present-day Greece is not particularly strong, except for a number of outlying, highly divergent dialects spoken by isolated communities.

Proto-Armenian language Reconstructed language

Proto-Armenian is the earlier, unattested stage of the Armenian language which has been reconstructed by linguists. As Armenian is the only known language of its branch of the Indo-European languages, the comparative method cannot be used to reconstruct its earlier stages. Instead, a combination of internal and external reconstruction, by reconstructions of Proto-Indo-European and other branches, has allowed linguists to piece together the earlier history of Armenian.

Illyrian language Ancient language in Southeast Europe

The Illyrian language was a language or group of languages spoken in the western Balkans in Southeast Europe during antiquity. The language is unattested with the exception of personal names and placenames. Just enough information can be drawn from these to allow the conclusion that it belonged to the Indo-European language family.

Graeco-Phrygian is a proposed subgroup of the Indo-European language family which comprises Hellenic and Phrygian languages.

Yuri Otkupshchikov was a Soviet and Russian philologist and linguist. For more than 50 years, he taught at the St. Petersburg State University Faculty of Philology.

References

  1. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Graeco-Phrygian". Glottolog 3.0 . Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. In other contexts, "Hellenic" and "Greek" are generally synonyms.
  3. 1 2 Browning (1983), Medieval and Modern Greek, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  4. Joseph, Brian D. and Irene Philippaki-Warburton (1987): Modern Greek. London: Routledge, p. 1.
  5. 1 2 B. Joseph (2001): "Ancient Greek". In: J. Garry et al. (eds.) Facts about the World's Major Languages: An Encyclopedia of the World's Major Languages, Past and Present. (Online Paper)
  6. David Dalby. The Linguasphere Register of the World's Languages and Speech Communities (1999/2000, Linguasphere Press). Pp. 449-450.
  7. LinguistList, Ancient Macedonian
  8. Roisman, Worthington, 2010, "A Companion to Ancient Macedonia", Chapter 5: Johannes Engels, "Macedonians and Greeks", p. 95:"This (i.e. Pella curse tablet) has been judged to be the most important ancient testimony to substantiate that Macedonian was a north-western Greek and mainly a Doric dialect".
  9. Dosuna, J. Méndez (2012). "Ancient Macedonian as a Greek dialect: A critical survey on recent work (Greek, English, French, German text)". In Giannakis, Georgios K. (ed.). Ancient Macedonia: Language, History, Culture. Centre for Greek Language. p. 145. ISBN   978-960-7779-52-6.
  10. For a survey of different views, see Brixhe C., Panayotou A. (1994), "Le Macédonien", in Bader, F. (ed.), Langues indo-européennes, Paris:CNRS éditions, 1994, pp 205–220.
  11. 1 2 Salminen, Tapani (2007). "Europe and North Asia". In Moseley, Christopher (ed.). Encyclopedia of the World's Endangered Languages. London: Routledge. pp. 211–284.
  12. Ethnologue: Family tree for Greek.
  13. N. Nicholas (1999), The Story of Pu: The Grammaticalisation in Space and Time of a Modern Greek Complementiser. PhD Dissertation, University of Melbourne. p. 482f. (PDF)
  14. 1 2 Joseph, Brian; Tserdanelis, Georgios (2003). "Modern Greek". In Roelcke, Thorsten (ed.). Variationstypologie: Ein sprachtypologisches Handbuch der europäischen Sprachen. Berlin: de Gruyter. p. 836.
  15. G. Horrocks (1997), Greek: A History of the Language and its Speakers. London: Longman.
  16. P. Trudgill (2002), Ausbau Sociolinguistics and Identity in Greece, in: P. Trudgill, Sociolinguistic Variation and Change, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  17. Roger D. Woodard. "Introduction," The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages, ed. Roger D. Woodard (2004, Cambridge University Press, pp. 1-18), pp. 12-14.
    Benjamin W. Fortson. Indo-European Language and Culture. Blackwell, 2004, p. 405.
  18. Johannes Friedrich. Extinct Languages. Philosophical Library, 1957, pp. 146-147.
    Claude Brixhe. "Phrygian," The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages, ed. Roger D. Woodard, Cambridge University Press, 2004, pp. 777-788), p. 780.
    Benjamin W. Fortson. Indo-European Language and Culture. Blackwell, 2004, p. 403.
  19. James Clackson. Indo-European Linguistics: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press, 2007, pp. 11-12.
  20. Benjamin W. Fortson. Indo-European Language and Culture. Blackwell, 2004, p. 181.
  21. Henry M. Hoenigswald, "Greek," The Indo-European Languages, ed. Anna Giacalone Ramat and Paolo Ramat (Routledge, 1998 pp. 228-260), p. 228.
    BBC: Languages across Europe: Greek