Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Demotic Greek
Modern Greek (Νέα Ελληνικά or Νεοελληνική, lit. 'Neo-Hellenic', historically also known as Ρωμαίικα, lit. 'Romaic') refers to the fifth stage of the evolution of the Greek language, i.e. the varieties of Greek spoken in the modern era. Greek is spoken today by approximately 14-17 million people, mainly in Greece and Cyprus but also by minority and immigrant communities in many other countries. The start of the period of the Greek language known as "Modern Greek" is symbolically assigned in the fall of the Byzantine Empire (1453), although strictly speaking it has been shaped since at least the 11th century. During much of this time, the language existed in a situation of diglossia, with regional spoken dialects existing side by side with learned, archaic written forms. Most notably, during much of the 19th and 20th centuries, it was known in the competing varieties of popular Demotic and learned Katharevousa. Today, Standard Modern Greek, a standardised form of Demotic, is the official language of both Greece and Cyprus.

Geographic distribution
Greek is the official language of Greece where it is spoken by about 99.5% of the population. It is also, alongside Turkish, the official language of Cyprus. Because of the membership of Greece and Cyprus in the European Union, Greek is one of the 23 official languages of the European Union. Greek is officially recognised as a minority language in parts of Turkey, Italy and Albania.

Official status

Main article: Varieties of Modern Greek Varieties
Koiné Modern Greek (Κοινή Νεοελληνική) refers to the idiom of Demotic that was chosen as the official language of the Hellenic Republic and Cyprus. In English it is usually referred to as Standard Modern Greek. In its pure form it is spoken mainly in the urban parts of Greece, while its various idioms are the vernacular language of most rural Greece and the Greek Diaspora throughout the world. Koiné Modern Greek evolves from the Southern Demotic idioms, mainly the ones of Peloponnese.
In short, Koiné Modern Greek is the natural continuation of Koine Greek, an ancient Greek dialect (known also as the "Alexandrian language") which came into existence after the conquests of Alexander the Great and the Hellenization of the known world. Hellenistic Koiné had assimilated many elements from various different Greek dialects (such as Ionic, Doric and Aeolic) but its nucleus had always been Attic (the dialect of Athens). Hellenistic Koine had been spoken in several different forms in the region of Greece and the Greek speaking world during the entire Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods, until it took the shape of Demotic in the Middle Ages.
After Greece gained independence from the Ottoman Empire, the same dual-language status of the late Byzantine Empire was re-adapted. The vernacular speech was Demotic (a term similar to "popular") and the official state dialect was Katharevousa ("purified"). Demotic was the language of daily use, and the latter was an archaic form (closer to Attic), used for official documents, literature, newscasting and other formal purposes. In 1976 Katharevousa was replaced by Demotic as the official language of the Greek state. During its long history the Greek language assimilated vocabulary from various languages such as Latin, Italian, and Ottoman Turkish, a substantial part of which lapsed during its long-lasting co-existence with Katharevousa.

Demotic as Koiné (Standard) Modern Greek

Main article: Modern Greek phonologyDemotic Greek Phonology

Main article: Greek orthography Writing system

Main article: Modern Greek grammar Examples

Greek (man): <Έλληνας> [ˈe̞liˌnas].
Greek (woman): <Ελληνίδα> [ˌe̞liˈniða].
Greek (language): <Ελληνικά> [e̞ˌliniˈka].
good morning: <καλημέρα> [ˌkaliˈme̞ra].
good evening: <καλησπέρα> [ˌkaliˈspe̞ra].
good night: <καληνύχτα> [ˌkaliˈnixta].
good-bye: <χαίρετε> [ˈçe̞re̞ˌte̞] (formal); <αντίο> [aˈdiˌo̞] (semi-formal); <γεια σου> [ˈʝasu] or <γεια σας> [ˈʝa-sas] (informal).
please: <παρακαλώ> [paˌrakaˈlo̞].
sorry: <συ(γ)γνώμη> [siˈɣno̞mi].
thank you: <ευχαριστώ> [e̞fˌxariˈsto̞].
that: <αυτό> [afˈto̞], <(ε)κείνο> [(e̞)ˈcino̞].
this: <αυτό> [afˈto̞], <(ε)τούτο> [(e̞)ˈtuto̞].
yes: <ναι> [ne̞].
no: <όχι> [ˈo̞çi].
generic toast: <εις υγείαν!> [ˌis iˈʝiˌan] (literally "to health") or more colloquially: <γεια μας!> ['ʝa-mas] (literally "our health").
juice: <χυμός> [çiˈmo̞s̠].
water: <νερό> [ne̞ˈro̞].
wine: <κρασί> [kraˈsi].