Facts worth knowing about the Greek language

A short history of the Greek language

The Greek language is one of Europe's oldest languages.
The first documents written in Greek are more than 3.700 years old!
The ancient Greek civilisation was not only a huge empire – it was the most advanced civilisation of its time.

Ancient Greek was in any sense a world language.
It was widely used and of great importance until the Roman Empire established its supremacy.
If you wanted to make a living in trade, diplomacy or just be regarded as an educated person 2.000 years ago, you had to be fluent in Ancient Greek.

But even after the downfall of the ancient Greek empire, the Greek language didn't lose any of its importance:
It was THE language that coined and defined all terms of culture, science and religion.
From its early stages on, Greek was a written language.
The Greek alphabet derived from the Phoenician script, the oldest consonant alphabet.
The Greek alphabet deserves credit for adding letters for vowels to the written alphabet and therefore building the basis of today’s well-known and wide-spread scripts in Europe.
The roots of this script go back to the year 800 BC.

From its earliest stages on texts on philosophy, science and literature were recorded in Greek script and they literally constituted the cradle of the European culture.

Greek belongs to the family of Indo-European languages

The Greek language forms a unique branch within the family tree of the Indo-European languages.
Linguists and researchers have found no close relation of Greek to any other language.
In this way Greek differs from other European languages.
Unlike the closely related Romance languages (take for example Spanish, Portuguese and Italian) Greek shows no close relation with another language within its family.

Learning the Greek script

At first you might consider to learn the Greek script.
Greek is – as stated before – written in the Greek alphabet.
We want to show you some of the Greek letters here:

Α / α, Β / β, Γ / γ, Δ / δ, Ε / ε

In the language course we will provide you with a transcription to the Latin script.
Additionally we will provide you with a recording for each new word and new sentence you learn.
All our recordings are done by Greek natives.
That gives you the opportunity to learn an authentic Greek pronunciation from the start.

By the way, did you know that our word “alphabet” has a Greek root?
The first letter of the Greek alphabet is called “alpha” ... and there you go :)

13 million people speak the Greek language – join them!

The Greek language is spoken by about 13 million people all around the world.
The vast majority of Greek speaking people lives in (not hard to guess!) ... Greece.
The biggest group of speakers outside of Greece is a community of about 600.000 people living in Cyprus.

Maybe one of your friends, colleagues or neighbours has Greek roots, too?
Just imagine the look on her face, when you greet her with “Καλημέρα!“ – which means “hello”!

With the language course of 17 Minute Languages you will learn (Modern) Greek which is commonly used Greece nowadays.
You will learn vocabulary and phrases that you can use in every-day-Greek.

Want to learn more Greek?

  1. Learn more about the Greek language in Wikipedia
  2. Read the entry on Greek in the Encyclopaedia Britannica
  3. Learn Modern Greek with 17 Minute Languages