Modern Greek shows a rich dialectal variation, which may serve as an important source for the scientific study of linguistic diversity since, in most cases, the dialects exhibit crucial divergence from Standard Modern Greek.

Modern Greek dialects are traditionally distinguished into Northern and Southern, on the basis of certain phonological criteria. However, this categorization is far from covering all the deviances among the numerous dialectal varieties; in most dialects, high- or low-frequency of contact induced change is observed, depending on the degree of contact with a different language. For instance, the dialects of the Ionian Islands and those of Kydonies and Moschonisia constitute some major examples to this situation, since they have been heavily affected by Italian and Turkish, respectively.
Due to the increasing use of Standard Modern Greek, in all domains, the number of dialectal speakers has been dramatically reduced, and thus, several dialects are threatened by extinction. Despite this language shift, some dialects resist death, for instance, Lesbian, which is still spoken and written.

The mission of the Laboratory of Modern Greek Dialects (LMGD) is to document and study the Modern Greek Dialects. One of its major aims is the detailed documentation and, thus, preservation of dialects facing language death, (e.g. Cappadocian).

Modern Greek Dialects

  • Heptanesian - Heptanesa Open or Close

    Dialect description

    Heptanesian is spoken in the region of the Ionian Islands. Kontosopoulos (2000: 67) excludes the dialect of Lefkada from Heptanesian, noting that it is classified into the north dialects of Greece (thus resembling those of Continental Greece), in contrast with the south dialects to which the other Ionian Islands belong. The Ionian Islands are the only part of Greece that has not been occupied by the Turks. They were under Venetian rule for many years and this explains the peculiarities of the dialect of Heptanesa. However, the fact that Heptanesa were under Venetian occupation did not impede their communication and contact with mainland Greece, and mainly with the neighboring regions of Epirus and the Peloponnese.
     

    Linguistic characteristics of the dialect

    Heptanesian is characterized by southern vocalism (i.e. unstressed [e], [i], [o], [u] do not change). A main and highly distinguishable feature of the Ionian Islands is their peculiar cursive phrasal intonation, and particularly that of Corfu and Zakynthos (Kontosopoulos, 2000 : 68, 69). The vocabulary of the Heptanesian dialects is quite rich. The dialects of the Ionian Islands have many idiomatic words. One of their central characteristics is the large number of loanwords from Italian and the dialect of Venice because of the long-lasting Venetian rule (from the 14th to the 19th century).
     

    Geographical area

    Heptanesian is spoken on the Western part of Greece (Heptanesa) and more specifically in Corfu, Cephalonia, Ithaca, Zakynthos, as well as Paxos and the islands in vicinity (Othonoi, Herikousa, Mathraki, Antipaxi).
  • Neochoritika - Neochori Ipatis Open or Close

    Dialect description

    The dialect of Neochori (of the town of Ypati) is spoken in a number of villages in Mount Oeta. The dialect is named after the highest settlement in the mountain, the village of Nechori, which is located at 56km. southwest of Lamia, the capital of both the prefecture of Phthiotis and the periphery of Central Greece. The dialect of Neochori belongs to the Northern group of Modern Greek dialects since it shows the typical phonological characteristics of high vowel deletion and mid-vowel raising in unstressed position.

    Linguistic characteristics of the dialect

    Two prominent phonological characteristics are the deletion of unstressed final /i/ and the raising of unstressed /e/ to [i]. The deletion of unstressed /i/ preceding one of the consonants /k/,/γ/, /x/,/n/,/l/ brings along the palatalization of these consonants.  Verbal derivation with systematic allomorphy of Xa~Xi type is strikingly salient. Contrary to Standard Modern Greek, in the dialect of Neochori stress is maintained on the same syllable across the whole inflectional paradigm.  Lexical discrepancies with Standard Modern Greek are observed across all lexical categories yet, in terms of syntactic structure the dialect of Neochori does not diverge from that of Standard Modern Greek.

    Geographic determination of the dialect

    The Village of Nechori (of the town of Ypati) is the highest settlement in Mount Oeta. It stands 56 km. southeast from Lamia, the capital of the prefecture of Phthiotis and periphery of Central Greece.  
     

  • Kalymniot - Kalymnos Open or Close

    Dialect description

    The Kalymniot dialect is part of the Dodecanese idioms chain, which are considered to have originated from one of the archaic dialects of Modern Greek, along with the idioms of Asia Minor, Southern Italy and Cyprus. The Dodecanesian idioms originate from/sprung up from the Doric dialect and belong to the southeastern dialects of the Greek language. The idioms are categorized into two subgroups depending on certain common characteristics amongst the idioms of various islands. The dialect of Kalymnos belongs to the subgroup that includes the idioms of Kasos, Simi, southeastern Rhodes, Halki and Karpathos.
    The Kalymniot dialect started to diverge from the rest of the subgroup in the medieval period. However, the eventful history of the island landmarked with incessant raids and numerous conquests which ceased finally on March 7th 1948 with the annexation of the archipelago to Greece does not appear to have much influence on the initial characteristics of its dialect. That the dialect is maintained on the island is mostly due to the fact that the island is isolated from the mainland Greece and that the residents leave their island only for their professional activities. Moreover, they have always demonstrated a vigorous resistance to various sieges for proselytism (by Arabs, Knights of Saint Ioannis Battalion, Ottoman Turks, Italians and Germans), thus built a common sense of Kalymiotism which urged them to adhere to their customs and traditions. Furthermore, during the long lasting period of Ottoman domination, contrary to the Kos and Rhodes Islands, Kalymnos was not inhabited by Turkic colonists, which, in turn, kept the Kalymniot dialect out of influence of the Turkish language. A change in the Kalymnian dialect was observed only after the 2nd World War, when a large number of immigrants started to inhabit the island.

     

    Linguistic characteristics of the dialect

    Phonological features:
    1. Appearance of geminate consonants;
    2. Production of consonantal clusters [kx], [pf], [tθ], from the stops [k], [p], [t] and the fricative [θ] through the process of dissimilation (lakοs   la[kx]οs ‘fall’, papus   pa[pf]us ‘grandfather’, θimume   [tθ]imume ‘remember’);
    3. Retention of final [-n] with regressive assimilation (mi rotas  mi[r] rotas ‘do not ask’);
    4. Absence of the intervocalic fricatives [ν], [γ], [δ] in most cases (ka[v]uras   kauras ‘crab’, fa[γ]omenos  faomenos ‘eaten’, kla[δ]i   klai ‘branch’);
    5. Affrication:  /k/ is pronounced as /tʃ/ before front vowels [i] and [e] ([c]e   [tʃ]e ‘and’);
    6. Palatalization of [x] into [∫] before [e] and [i] (a[ç]inos   a[ʃ]inos ‘sea urchin’);
    7. Palatalization of the sibilant-alveolars [s] and [z] into [ʃ] before [i] which is truncated (ekli[´si]a   ekli`[ʃ]a ‘church’).
    Morphological features:

    1.  Retention of the verbal inflectional suffixes [-usi] and [-asin] in 3pl. present and past, as well as of the syllabic augment [i-] (`kamnusi(n), i`kamnusi(n) ‘they are doing, they have done’).

    Syntactic features:

    1. Suppletion of the dative indirect object with accusative (voi`θa tus sigenis ‘he helps the relatives’) or sometimes genitive ((δ)ef fu`krate ka`θolu tis `manas tu ‘he does not listen to his mother’);
    2.  Clitics appear postverbally, apart from cases where there is «θa», negation or Complementizer (`osa mu `γirepse o pa`teras, `iδo`ka tu ta ‘everything that my father asked, I gave him’ - (θ)a tu `δikso `θelo ‘I will show him’);
    3. Existence of double Complementizers «oti pos» ‘that’.

     

    Geographic Determination of the Dialect

    Kalymniot is the dialect spoken in Kalymnos, the fourth biggest island of the Dodekanese Archipelago, located in the south-eastern Aegean Sea. It is located between Kos, Leros and Turkey. The island is also known as the Island of Sponge divers, since sponge-diving is both a common trade and leisure activity among the residents of the island. In ancient texts, the name of the island appears as Kalymna and Kalydna as well. The kalymnian dialect is used in every domain of oral communication among some sixteen thousand residents of this island, independently from their age or education. It is also being spoken by a number of emigrant Kalymnians, mainly in America, in Australia and France.
     
  • Cappadocian - Cappadocia Open or Close

    Dialect description

    Cappadocian is a dialect spoken by several hundreds of -mostly second or/and third generation- refugees, inhabitants of few homogeneous villages of Central and Northern Greece. Cappadocian speakers were dislocated from the Cappadocia region of Turkey, which followed the population exchange at the end of the Greek-Turkish war (1919-1922). The dialect had been regarded as dead until 2005, when it was re-discovered in Greece. Cappadocian is comprised of a set of varieties that were originally spoken by members of the Rum Millet (Greek Orthodox community) in Central Minor Asia. It is classified into the varieties of: a) the village of Silli, b) the village of Farasa, c) Central Cappadocia, d) Northern Cappadocia (the villages of Silata, Anaku, Flogita, Malakopi, Sinasos, Potamia, Delmesos), and e) Southern Cappadocia (Aravani, Gurdanos, Fertakaina, Ulagats, Semendere).
    By the mid-11th century the Seljuk Turks invaded Cappadocia. The Seljuk conquest of Cappadocian led to a progressively turkicisation of Cappadocian dialect and culture. Thus, Cappadocian speakers spent most of their history in societies in which the dominant language was Turkish. As a result many Cappadocians shifted to Turkish.
    At the beginning of 20th century, Greek-speaking communities in Cappadocian were found in only 20 villages. All these speakers were bilingual in Cappadocian and Turkish. The continuous use of Greek in Cappadocia was brought to an end as a result of the defeat of the Greek army in the Greco-Turkish War (1919-22). In accordance with the Convention Concerning the Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations, that was signed in Lausanne on May 1st, 1923, the Greek speakers of Asia Minor were thus uprooted from their homelands and forced to move to Greece as refugees. Once in Greece, the Cappadocians shifted to Greek until Cappadocian was eventually believed to have died out in the 1960s. In 2005, however, Mark Janse and Dimitris Papazachariou discovered that there are still native speakers of the Cappadocian variety of Mistí in Central and Northern Greece. It is interesting that the variety of Mistí is spoken not only by the first generation refugees but it is also spoken by second and third generation refugees as well.

     

    Linguistic characteristics of the dialect

    The Modern Greek dialect of Cappadocia presents many grammatical features that distinguish it from other Modern Greek varieties: archaic features which are characteristic of earlier stages in the history of Greek; shared features with the other Modern Greek varieties of Asia Minor; contact-induced features from Turkish.

    Phonology
    Archaisms: Retention of the pronunciation of ancient η /ε:/ as /e/ and not as /i/, mainly in unstressed syllables.
    Shared features with other Modern Greek varieties of Asia Minor: Deletion of the high vowels /i/ and /u/ and raising of the mid vowels /e/ and /o/ to /i/ and /u/ in unstressed syllables at the end of the word. Development of the postalverolar fricatives /ʃ/ and /ʒ/ and palato-alveolar affricatives /tʃ/ and /dʒ/ before the front vowels /i/ and /e/. Simplification of the consonant cluster /st/ to /s/ in amalgams consisting of the prepositions σε ‘in’ and ας ‘from’ and various forms of definite article.
    Contact-induced features from Turkish: Introduction into the Cappadocian phonemic system of Turkish consonants /ɣ/ and /q/ and Turkish vowels /œ/, /y/, /ɯ/. When these vowels appear in derivational and inflectional suffixes of either Turkish or Greek origin, they are often subjet to theTurkish vowel harmony; Extension of the Turkish aspirated stops /ph/, /th/ and /kh/ from loanwords to words with Greek origin. The Greek dental fricatives /θ/ and /ð/ have merged with the alveolar plosives /t/ and /d/ or with the velar and palatal fricatives /x/ and /j/.
    Morphology
    Archaisms: Use of pronouns for the 1st and 2nd person originating in the ancient possessive pronouns emos-emi-emon (ἐμός-ἐμή-ἐμόν) imeteros-imetera-imeteron (ἡμέτερος-ἡμετέρα-ἡμέτερον and ὑμέτερος-ὑμετέρα-ὑμέτερον) and sos-si-son (σός-σή-σόν). Use of na (να) to mark a present as future; Retention of ancient stems in the form of the aorist passive. Retention of the ancient endings ume/ute/ude in the formation of the present passive of verbs in -ono (-ώνω) originating in ancient verbs in -oo (-όω). Absence of periphrastic constructions formed with the auxiliary έχω and the aorist infinitive for the expression of the pluperfect and perfect tenses.
    Shared features with other Modern Greek varieties of Asia Minor: Extension of the genitive singular and plural and nominative/accusative plural endings of the ι-neuter nouns to masculine, feminine and other neuter nouns. Null realization of the nominative singular and plural forms of the masculine. Replacement of the lost dative case by the accusative for the morphological expression of indirect object. Extended use of neuter forms in gender agreement targets (articles, adjectives, particles, pronouns, numerals) controlled by masculine and feminine nouns.
    Contact-induced features from Turkish: Cappadocian has partially developed agglutinative morphology. Τhe Greek possessive pronouns have become possessive suffixes, as in Turkish. Agglutinative morphology is also found in the Cappadocian verb. The inflection of the copula is entirely agglutinative and based on the 3rd person singular, as in Turkish.
    Cappadocian lacks grammatical gender distinctions. Grammatical gender distinctions, if any, are found exclusively in the inflectional morphology of animate nouns belonging to the masculine and feminine classes. Adjectives and other modifiers are always formally neuterized. Use of particle en (εν) (from the Turkish en) to form the superlative. Use of the interrogative particle mi (μι) (from the Turkish mi) to mark yes/not questions.
    Syntax
    Archaisms: Distribution of enclisis and proclisis with respect to object clitic pronouns: pronouns follow the verb but precede it if the verb is preceded by modal and negative markers, complementisers, wh-expressions or fronted adverbials. Development of obligatory article doubling, that is, the appearance of the definite article before both the head noun and any preceding adjectival modifiers in definite noun phrases. Retention of the relative use of the definite article and absence of the indeclinable relativiser (o)pu ((ό)που) and of the relatıve pronouns o opios/ i opia/ to opion (ο οποιος/η οποία/το οποίον).
    Contact-induced features from Turkish: Cappadocian, due to its contact with Turkish, is a predominantly head-final language. Thus, it surfaces a S-O-V (subject-object-verb) word order, a head-postposition order, a possessed-possessor order and a dependent verbal form – main verb order. Formation of the comparative on the model of Turkish, using the adjective in the positive degree preceded by a prepositional phrase formed with as (ας) or apo (από) ‘from’, whose prototypical meaning matches that of the Turkish ablative (dan) case.
    Vocabulary
    Cappadocian preserves many Greek archaic words. Moreover, as a contact dialect it employs a great scale of lexical borrowing especially from Turkish. In addition, it borrowed many words from Latin, Italian, Slavic and Armenian.
     

    Geographical area

    Cappadocia is a historical region in Central Asia Minor (Anatolia, Turkey), largely in Nevşehir province in today Turkey. At the beginning of the 20th century, the use of the Modern Greek dialect of Cappadocia had been geographically reduced to almost twenty villages between the Ottoman cities of Nevşehir (in Greek Νεάπολις), Kayseri (Greek Καισάρεια) and Niğde (Greek Νίγδη) that were either entirely or partially inhabited by Cappadocian-speaking communities: Anakú, Arabisón, Araván, Axó, Delmesó, Díla, Ferték, Ghúrzono, Jeklék, Malakopí, Mistí, Phloïtá, Potámia, Semenderé, Sílata, Sinasós, Trokhó, Tsharakly, Ulaghátsh and Zaléla. After the Population Exchange between Greece and Turkey (1923), the Greek-speaking Cappadocians refugees were mainly settled in central and northern parts of Greece. There, they inhabited existing towns and villages or founded new ones often named after their places of origin in Asia Minor. For example, refugees from Mistí moved to towns and villages in western and eastern Macedonia (Aghionéri and Xirochóri Kilkís, Kavála), Thrace (Alexandroúpoli, Xánthi), Thessaly (Mándra Larísis) and Epirus (Kónitsa).

     

  • Grico - Salento Open or Close

    Dialect description

    Grico is a Greek-origin dialect spoken in Salento in South Italy. According to the traditional tracing of isoglosses proposed by Hatzidakis (1892), Grico does not belong to either Northern or Southern Modern Greek dialects, but it is a separate dialect (Kontosopoulos 2001). In this dialect, many archaisms and Doric words are found in the vocabulary and the grammar. The most prominent characteristic of the dialect is the clear influences from Italian and local Romance dialects.
     

    Linguistic characteristics of the dialect

    Phonological features:

    - Affrication, /k/ is pronounced as /tʃ/ before [i] and [e], e.g.: /tʃe΄rasi/ ‘cherry’ instead of /ke΄rasi/, /e΄tʃi/ ‘there’ instead of /e΄ki/ (Karanastasis 1984);
    - Cluster simplification, e.g.: /tsi΄xros/ ‘cold’ instead of /psi΄xros/; 
    - Metathesis of consonants, e.g.: /alvi/ ‘backyard’ instead of /avli/;
    - Retention of geminate consonants. In some cases there is extensive existence of secondary gemination in S. Italian, i.e. presence of double consonants not etymologically justified, due to the influence of stress accent, to foreign borrowing or to a phenomenon common to Romance S. Italian dialects, known as ‘raddoppiamento sintattico’, e.g.: a΄finno ‘leave’ (Karanastasis 1984, Manolessou 2005); 
    - Preference for open syllables, resulting in:
    (a) Elimination of the final [s] or [n], e.g.: /΄krio / ‘male-goat’ instead /kri΄οs/, /legu/ ‘say’ 3 PLURAL PRES instead of /΄legun/;
    (b) Addition of an [e] at the end of words, eg: /΄trise/ ‘three’ instead /tris/;
    - Absence of voicing of stops after nasal consonants, both within words and at word boundaries (/nt, mp, nk/ > [nd], [mb], [ng]), e.g.: [΄donti] instead of [΄dondi] ‘tooth’ and [to ΄ttοpo] rather than [to (n)  ΄dopo] ‘place’ (Manolessou 2005).

    Morphological features:
    -  Future tense is constructed by lexical means + verbs in present tense, e.g.: ΄avri ΄vrechi ‘it will rain tomorrow’ (Manolessou 2005);
    - Usage of the periphrastic construction ΄steo ‘to stand’ + gerund, in order to express a progressive aspect, e.g.: ΄steo ΄grafonta ‘I am writing’ (Karanastasis 1984);
    - Perfect tense forms are constructed with the auxiliary verb ΄exo ‘have’ or ΄ime ‘be’ in their finite present forms + gerund (depending on the voice), e.g.: ΄exo fa΄mena ‘I have eaten’, ΄ime arto΄mena ‘I have come’ (Ralli 2006);
    - Past perfect tense forms are constructed with with the past tense forms of the verb ΄exo ‘have’ + gerund, e.g.: ΄ixa ΄kamonta 'I had done' (Karanastasi 1984);
    - Diminutive suffixes exhibit similar properties to the system of Standard Modern Greek (Melissaropoulou& Ralli 2008);
    - Presence of the augment in the past forms of the verbs throughout the whole inflectional paradigm regardless of the tone, e.g.: ΄e-graf-a ‘write’ 1 SG IMPERFECT, e-΄grαf-amo ‘write’ 1 PLUR IMPERFECT. In cases where verbs are combined with prefixes having their origins in AG prepositions, the augment manifests itself at the beginning of the construction (Karanastasi 1997).
    Syntactic features:

    - Clitics occupy the preverbal position. They appear postverbally only in the imperative forms, e.g.: ‘mu svuddhiete e mitti’ (= my nose is clean) (Ralli 2006);
    - Retention of the infinitive after verbs of volition, seeing and hearing or the verb ΄ssodzno ‘I can’, e.g.: ‘δe ΄ssodzno ΄fai’, ‘δen ΄eχo pu ΄pai’, ‘ton ΄ikua ΄erti’ (Manolessou 2005).

    Vocabulary:
    Τhe vocabulary of Grico displays the following characteristics (Karanastasis 1984):
    (a) There is a significant number of words with Ancient Greek origin, which are not maintained or are rare in other MG dialects, e.g.: ΄arte ‘just’ (<ἄρτι), si΄tani ‘wheat’;
    (b) Words that keep the AG meaning (semantic archaisms), although the same words in SMG or MG dialects have changed meaning, e.g.: si΄konno ‘keep’, ΄exo + na-clauses ‘I am able to ...’ ;
    (c) There is a limited number of words (approx. 25), which maintain the Doric /ā/, e.g.: la΄no ‘linen’, pa΄tta ‘gel’. These words belong to everyday vocabulary;
    (d) Words adopted from the Italian and adapted in the system of the dialect, e.g.: ma΄istra ‘fem - craftsman’ < maestra ‘fem - teacher’, or local Romance dialects, e.g.: vu΄teddi ‘funnel’

     

    Geographic Determination of the Dialect

    The Grico currently has approx. 20.000 speakers and is spoken in 9 neighbouring villages located in the center of the Salentina peninsula: Calimera, Castrignano dei Greci, Corigliano d'Otranto, Martano, Martignano, Melpignano, Soleto, Sternatia and Zollino. In the area of Salento, there is a trilingual situation in which 3 different linguistic varieties are used (Profile 1999):
    (a) Italian, which is used in administration, education and media;
    (b) Local Romance dialects, which are used in local trade, business and everyday conversations;
    (c) Grico, which is mainly used between family members and seniors.
    In recent years, Italian and the local Romance dialects pressurise Grico on the verge of extinction. However, the Grico dialect is more resistant to the pressure coming from the official language and the local dialects in comparison to Grecanico, the Greek dialect spoken in the region of Calabria (Profile 1999b).
    In recent years, efforts targeting at the support of the dialect were made by: (a) the speakers of the dialectal community, (b) the Greek state, which recognizes the historic significance of dialect and (c) the Italian state, which has included Greek dialects of South Italy in a recent law concerning linguistic minorities (Profile 1999a).

     
  • Cretan - Crete Open or Close

    Dialect description

    The island of Crete because of its geographical isolation from the rest of Greece, and its long-lasting occupation by Western powers (Venetians, Italians) and Eastern (Turkish) formed a special linguistic character. Cretan changed by the evolution of Standard Modern Greek mainly because it retained several features of previous stages of the language. Certainly the "deviation" from the SMG does not impede comprehension (see Kontosopoulos 2006, Charalampakis 2005). The Cretan dialect belongs to the Southern dialects and is divided into eastern and western variety. The eastern variety typically coincides with the prefectures of Heraklion and Lassithi, while the western variety is connected with the prefectures of Rethymnon and Chania.
     

    Linguistic characteristics of the dialect

    1.    Use of the derivational suffix -ea (or-e) in nouns denoting an entity with a bad smell (e.g. ti`rea ‘cheese’ instead of tiri);
    2.    Drop of the final -n of the inflectional suffix -on used in the genitive plural of both the article and the noun (γe`rodo ‘old men’);
    3.    Different endings in the adverbial forms: -s (o`pse-s ‘yesterday’), -u (ko`ntin-u ‘often’), -as (e`totes-as ‘then’), -os (`nuxti-os ‘at night’), -i (mono`korδ-i ‘outright’), -e (si`xn-e ‘often’);
    4.    Formation of some verbs in /ks/ in Future and Past simple Tense (e.g. a`rçinikse PAST 3SG, arçi`nikso PAST 1SG ‘started’);
    5.    Use of the ending  -i`ume instead of -i`emai (kata`rjume ‘curse’);
    6.    Formation of some verbs in -σσω (τινάσσω ‘shake’);
    7.    Use of  the suffix -ο instead of the suffix -u in the genitive singular form of the nouns in -os (i.e. tu γero MASC.GEN.SG);
    8.    Deviation from Standard Modern Greek with respect to the grammatical gender of some nouns (i cefa`li ‘head’, i `çera ‘hand’);
    9.    Retention of some Doric words (σάμα Attic ‘σῆμα’).

     

    Geographic area of the dialect

    The Cretan dialect is spoken on the island of Crete located at the southern part of the Aegean Sea. Cretans speaker have also settled in Syria (Chamide) and on the coast of Asia Minor (Cretan Muslims who had initially settled in Crete and moved to Asia Minor with the population exchange provided for by the Treaty of Lausanne (1923).
  • Cypriot - Cyprus Open or Close

    Dialect description

    Cypriot Greek belongs to the Southern group of Modern Greek dialects since it exhibits neither deletion constriction nor raising. Ancient Cypriot Greek belonged to the Eastern group of the ancient Arkado-Cyprian. Nowadays, Cypriot is spoken by an approximate number of 850.000 residents of the island in the areas under the control of the Republic of Cyprus and the areas under Turkish occupation – e.g. in the villages of Agia Triada and Rizokarpaso. In addition, it is spoken by several thousands of Cypriots living abroad (e.g. UK and Australia). Although it doesn’t have the status of an official language, a number of well-known writers such as Vasilis Michaelides, chose to use Cypriot. The turbulent history of the island has greatly affected the evolution of the dialect in question. It is evident from works of the 14th-15th centuries, such as the Assizes (14th cent.) and the Leontios Machairas Chronicon (15th cent.), that Cypriot had already started to take a course different from the other Greek linguistic varieties.  What’s more, the fact that it was isolated from the other Greek speaking areas due to historical reasons renders Cypriot a point of reference with respect to the study of the previous evolutionary phases of Greek language and its dialects.
    Cypriot is spoken by several thousands of Cypriots living abroad, mostly in the UK and Australia. In addition, it is spoken not only by the residents of the areas under the control of the Republic of Cyprus, but also by Cypriots (Greek- and Turkish-Cypriots) who reside at the areas under Turkish occupation. Cypriot exhibits several inter-dialectal differentiations. Consider as example the creation of diminutives. The most productive derivational suffix for diminutives is –uδi / -uδa (kopel-uδi ‘young man’ / kopel-uδa ‘young woman’). However, at the area of Karpasia (an area under occupation) the most common suffix is –uri / -ura (kopel-uri ‘young man’ / kopel-ura ‘young woman’).

    Linguistic characteristics of the dialect

    -    Retention of geminate consonants (e.g. allos). In some cases there is secondary germination in intervocalic position, which cannot be etymologically justified (e.g. simmera);
    -    Retention of final -n (e.g. trapezin) and analogical extension of the phenomenon to some forms which cannot be etymologically justified (e.g. proγramman);
    -    Deletion of voiced intervocalic fricatives (/v/, /γ/, /δ/) e.g. γaδaros → γaaros or γaros;
    -    Dissimilation of manner of the second member of a cluster with two fricative consonants into a plosive: E.g. ήρθα [‘irθa]→ ήρτα [‘irta];
    -    Epenthesis of /i/ (e.g. en-i-ksero ‘ I do not know’);
    -    Past tenses are formed with the discontinuous morpheme e + inflectional suffixes. e.g. e-milis-a (I spoke);
    -    Use of inta istead of question word ti. Questions are introduced with the pronoun inta instead of ti;
    -    Retention of the inflectional suffixes -usin and -asin in the third-person plural (e.g. aγapusin and aγapisasin);
    -    Use of enclitics instead of proclitics, e.g. lali to/tu ‘he tells it/him’;
    -    En na is used as the future particle;
    -    Loanwords: Provençal (tsaera < chaira ‘chair’), Italian (kurtela < coltella ‘knife’), Turkish and English.

    Geographic Determination of the Dialect

    Cypriot is spoken by several thousands of Cypriots of diaspora, mostly in the UK and Australia. In addition, it is spoken not only by the residents of the areas under the control of the Republic of Cyprus, but also by Cypriots (Greek- and Turkish-Cypriots) who reside at the areas under Turkish occupation. Cypriot exhibits several inter-dialectal differences. Considering the formation of diminutives, for instance, the most productive derivational suffix for diminutives is –uδi / -uδa (kopel-uδi ‘young man’ / kopel-uδa ‘young woman’); whereas in the area of Karpass Peninsula (an area under occupation) the most common suffix is –uri / -ura (kopel-uri ‘young man’ / kopel-ura ‘young woman’).
  • Koan - Kos Open or Close

    Dialect description

    The Koan dialect is part of the Dodecanese idioms chain, which are considered to have originated from one of the archaic dialects of Modern Greek, along with the idioms of Asia Minor, Southern Italy and Cyprus. The Dodecanesian idioms originate from/sprung up from the Doric dialect and belong to the southeastern dialects of the Greek language. The idioms are categorized into two subgroups depending on certain common characteristics amongst the idioms of various islands. The Koan dialect belongs to the subgroup together with the dialects of Leros, Astypalea, Nisyros, Tilos, NE Rhodes and Kastellorizo. The dialect of Kos is further classified into two local idioms, which are also subdivided into another two. The eastern idiom includes the idiom of the city of Kos, as well as the idiom of the regions of Asfendio and Pyli. The western idiom, namely the idiom of Kefalos is subdivided in the idioms of Antimachia and Kardamena.
    Despite numerous conquests of the island, some of which brought long lasting foreign dominions (such as Turkish or Italian), the Koan dialect has been preserved respectively pure when compared to many surrounding idioms. Divergences in the dialect of Kos initiated only after the annexation of the Dodecanese archipelago to Greece (March 7th, 1948), due to the influence by the Standard Modern Greek, mainly through tourism.

     

    Linguistic characteristics of the dialect

    Phonological features:
    1. Gemination of consonant [z] (zubero   [zz]ubero “all kinds of reptiles and mammals”);
    2.  Affrication of [k] and [g], pronounced as [tʃ] and [g΄] before front vowels [i] and [e] ([k]eri   [tʃ]eri ‘candle’, mostly in the city of Kos);
    3.  Palatalization of [x] into [∫] before front vowels [e] and [i] (mostly in the city of Kos);
    4.  Production of consonantal clusters [kx], [pf], [tθ], from the stops [k], [p], [t] (ku[k]οs   ku[kx]οs ‘cuckoo’, ki[p]οs   ki[ph]οs ‘garden’, kra[t]οs   kra[tθ]οs ‘bed’).
    Morphological features:
    1.  Retention of the syllabic augment [e-] (piγame   epiame ‘we went’, same as in the eastern dialects).  
     

    Geographic Determination of the Dialect

    The Koan dialect is spoken on the Island of Kos which is the third biggest island of the Dodecanese archipelago, located in the south-eastern Aegean Sea. It is located between the Islands of Kalymnos, Nisyros and Turkey. Kos is known as the island of Hippokrates, as it was the birthplace of the father of medicine, who had founded the Asclepeion on the island (4th century BC) as well.
  • Maniot - Mani Peloponnese Open or Close

    Dialect description

    Maniot dialect (Maniatika) is the dialect spoken in the region of Mani (300 km SW of Athens). Based on the traditional tracing of dialectal isoglosses proposed by the Hatzidakis (1892), Maniatika is grouped in the southern dialects. According to the more detailed description of dialects published by Kontosopoulos (2001), Maniot dialect is excluded from the rest of the Peloponnese and comprises a separate dialectal form. Newton (1972) and Trudgill (2003) confirm the conclusion drawn by Kontosopoulos concerning the ‘exceptionality’ of the Maniot dialect.
    The linguistic systems that seem (as it is concluded from the studies so far) to have similarities with Maniatika is Standard Modern Greek, Cretan dialect (Trudgill 2003), Megara dialect and -of course- some of the rest Peloponnesian dialects (Pantelides 2001). Pantelides (2001) argues that the similarities between SMG and Peloponnesian dialects are due to the influence of SMG and not vice versa, as is argued by Mackridge (1990), Browning (1995), Sifianou (2003) and Kontossopoulos (2001).

     

    Linguistic characteristics of the dialect

    Morphological characteristics:

    (a) Peculiarities in the formation of the past tense forms, e.g.: `iparçe ‘exist’ 3 SING. IMPERFECT, `istune ‘be’ 3 PLUR. IMPERFECT;
    (b) Verb formation using the extended form -ao instead of the short form -a in the inflectional paradigms of the present tenses, e.g.: borao ‘can’, 3 SING. PRESENT (see Ralli 2005);
    (c) Presence of the augment in the past forms of the verbs throughout the whole inflectional paradigm regardless of the tone (see also Pantelides 2001 for the same phenomenon in other Peloponnesian dialects);
    (d) Choice of the [-perf] value of the aspect in cases where we find the [+perf] value in Standard Modern Greek, e.g.: synexisa na pao kynigi  na + [+perf] aspect instead of na + [-perf] ‘I kept going for hunting’;
    (e) Compounding is highly productive;
    (f) Suffixation for diminution/augmentation, e.g.: alepouδos ‘fox’ AUGM;
    (g) Derivation of nouns denoting the family name, e.g.: γjorγena ‘George’s wife’;

    Phonological characteristics:
    - Affrication of the palatal consonants, e.g.: /tse΄fali/ instead of [ce΄fali];
    - Palatalization of [l] and [n], e.g.: [΄ŋikos], [΄θeƛi];
    - -e- epenthesis, mainly in: (a) verb forms denoting the past tense, e.g.: ΄kanan-e ‘do’ 3 PLUR. IMPERFECT instead of ΄ekanan, ΄xtizane ‘build’ 3 PLUR. IMPERFECT instead of ΄extizan, (b) nominal forms, e.g.: tous-e PRONOUN ACCUS PLUR instead of tous.
    Morphosyntactic characteristics:
    - Usage of accusative form in the indirect object (mainly with the pronominals), e.g.: kai ΄piγene me-ACCUS ΄lei instead of  kai ΄piγene mou-GENIT ΄lei ‘and he tells me to go’.
    Vocabulary:
    There are plenty of dialectal words which are part of the local everyday vocabulary.
     

    Geographical area

    During the last years, the dialect has been heavily influenced by the linguistic system of SMG. Today, Maniot is spoken by elderly residents, mainly dealing with agricultural and livestock operations, while the linguistic variety is in danger of becoming extinct in the years to come.
  • Megaritika - Megara Open or Close

    Dialect description

    Megaritika is spoken in the region of Megara (50km NW of Athens). It belongs to the Southern group of Modern Greek dialects since it does not exhibit vowel deletion or high vowel raising in unstressed position. Megaritika resembles Old Athenian, spoken in Athens two centuries ago, and the dialects of Egina and Kimi. Given that Arvanitika is a language different from Greek, which is spoken in the area surrounding Megara, Megaritika is a linguistic islet. According to the literature, the linguistic varieties that are similar to Megaritika, are Maniot, Cretan, and Modern Greek.
     

    Linguistic characteristics of the dialect

    Phonological characteristics
    - {υ} is pronounced as [y], e.g.: [΄çyno] ‘spill’;
    - Fricativization of /k/ before [i] and [e], e.g.: [kotsi΄nadʝa] instead of [koκi΄nadʝa] ‘rouge, blush’
    - There are no strategies for repairing hiatus phenomena in some V-V sequences, e.g.: [me΄ria] instead of [me΄rʝa] ‘place’
    -vowel epenthesis in the coda, e.g.: /ton anta΄rtone/ instead of /ton anta΄rton/ ‘rebels. GEN.PL’
    Morphological features
    (a) Inflection
    -    Peculiarities in the morphological features of gender, e.g.: to triγos.NEU instead of o triγos.MASC, and of inflection class, e.g.: kure(i) = kureiδ(es) (~ kure-es);
    -     Present perfect of active voice is formed with verb exo ‘have’ and the perfect participle of the mediopassive voice, e.g. exo parmeno ‘I have taken’;
    -     Imperfect aspectual marker is -k- instead of -s-, e.g.: puli-k-a ‘pulisa’;
    -     High productivity of verbs ending in -eo(o).
    (b) Compounding
    Compounding is barely productive, though there are several interesting formations, such as, klar--o-psomo ‘bread that workers eat during break’, liofita ‘olive trees’.
    (c) Derivation
    Endemic to Megaritika is the excessive number of deverbal formations in –tos, e.g.: mazeftos
    ‘mazemenos’.
    Vocabulary
    The vocabulary has been heavily influenced by Italian and Arvanitika. There are several words that are not used in Standard Modern Greek, e.g.: axlatsades ‘olives’, mpursia ‘pocket’.
     

    Geographic determination of the dialect

    In recent years, the dialect has been heavily influenced by the linguistic system of SMG, as Megara is located near Athens. Megaritika arouses the interest of linguistic study even from a sociolinguistic perspective, as the speakers of the dialect make intense efforts to keep alive their linguistic variety. It is striking that the speakers write literary texts in the dialect and organize events aimed at the preservation of their distinct linguistic and cultural elements.
  • Pontic - Pontos Open or Close

    Dialect description

    Pontic Greek is spoken today homogeneously in numerous suburbs of the Periphery of Epirus, Macedonia and Western Thrace in Greece; in few cities of Northern Caucasus and of Georgia by the refugees dislocated from Black Sea Coast of Turkey (Pontus) following the Greek-Turkish War (1919-1922). Moreover, in few villages of Tonya and Of (Trabzon) in Pontus, there are still some hundreds of Muslim Pontians, who were exempted from the population exchange, and who speak a Pontic sub-variety, Romeika.
     

    Linguistic characteristics of the dialect

    Phonology
    The phonological system of Pontic is similar to that of Standard Modern Greek. It has the five-vowel system, with two additional phonemes -systematically found- in the dialect, (results of contraction) /ö/ < [io] και /ä/ < [ia], as well as a central phoneme /ǝ/, which can be found either in its original form, or as /ı/ or /u/, analyzed from the Turkish central phoneme /ı/.

    The consonantal system of Pontic Greek is similar to that of Standard Modern Greek, with the addition of voiceless and voiced palatoalveolar sibilants /ʃ/, /ʒ/, /ʧ/, /ʤ/, as well as the observation that the consonants ξ /ks/ = /k/ + /s/, ψ /ps/ = /p/ + /s/ are phonologically analyzed to their constituents. We also observe:

    • Voicing of the stops in the following contexts: (a) alveolar /l/ and /r/ + stop, e.g. xordάra, ‘grass’ porbatό ‘walk’, (b) nasal + stop, e.g. tsobάno `erde ‘the shepherd came’, `ksilosanda ‘they unripped them’;
    • Retention or loss of the final -n (this forms the criterion for the division of Pontic into subdialectal groups);
    • Violation of the three-syllable constraint and development of a secondary stress on the penultimate or antipenultimate syllable: ‘ekimumu`nestine (έκοιμουμουνέστηνε) ‘sleep’ 1PL IMPERFECT;
    • Stress shift to the first syllable in vocative: `θeγateres ‘daughters’, `manaδes ‘mothers’, `aδelfe ‘brother’.

    Morphology
    •    Double formation of the nominative singular of second declension masculine nouns which is linked to definiteness: ο likos / likos ‘wolf’;
    •    Use of the ti [τι] form in the genitive of nouns  instead of tu [του], tis [της]: [ti] anθrόpu ‘man’ [ti] kossάras ‘chichen’ [ti]xorafί ‘field’. The genitive case tends to decline and to be replaced by a prepositional phrase. 
    •    Use of the suffix -ad with a pejorative meaning in masculine nouns in -as / -es / οs  and female nouns ending in –a, e.g. kursadi ‘pirates’, skiladi ‘dogs’, Turkadi ‘Turks’;
    •    Periphrastic formation of the comparative and the superlative form: (ki)alo emorfos ‘more beautiful’ – pola emorfos ‘the most beautiful’;
    •    Relics of infinitives: maθine ‘learn’, aγapeθin ‘love’;
    •    No aspectual distinction in future tense (in most areas): θa leγo ‘I will be saying/ I will say’.

     

    Geographic determination of the dialect

    Pontic is spoken in a geographical area which is spread over 400 kilometers (from Inepoli to Colchis) in the northeast of Asia Minor as well as parts of the inland of Asia Minor, located 100 kilometers from the coast. The emigration of the 19th century led to the establishment of Pontic communities in Caucasus, whereas the population exchange (Lausanne Treaty 1923) resulted in the subsequent massive movement of Pontics to mainland Greece. However, today Greek-speaking Muslim Pontics are located in some enclaves in the western part of Trebizond.
     

  • Lesvian, Aivaliot, Moschonisiot - Lesvos, Aivali and Moschonisia Open or Close

    Dialect description

    The Dialect of Lesvos belongs to Northern dialects exhibiting almost all the phonological and morphological characteristics of the group. The dialects of Kydonies (Aivali) and Moschonisia have emerged with the establishment of new colonial settlements, by mostly the Lesvian colonists, in the Western coast of Asia Minor (Aeolia) in the beginning of the 16th century. With the course of time, the varieties spoken by the colonists have been leveled and became an independent dialect which shows important similarities with the dialect of Lesvos, and thus which belongs to Northern dialects group. The dialects of Moschonisia, Aivali and Lesvos have been influenced mainly by Turkish, but they exhibit numerous loans from Italian as well.
     

    Linguistic characteristics of the dialect

    According to the distinction first proposed by Hatzidakis (1892), the Lesbian dialect belongs to the group of Northern dialects, since it exhibits northern vocalism (βόρειος φωνηεντισμός), i.e. raising of the unstressed mid-vowels /e/ and /o/ (e.g. figár < fegári ‘moon’, xuráf < xoráfi ‘field’) and deletion of unstressed /i/ and /u/ (e.g. çer < çéri ‘hand’ plo < puló ‘sell’). Apart from the northern vocalism, some of its key features are the following (Anagnostou 2003, Kretschmer 1905):
    1) Affrication of [k] pronounced as [ts] before front vowels [i] and [e] ([ts]i < [k]i  ‘and’);
    2) [t] pronounced as [k] in front of /i/ and /e/ (in the area of Plomari in Southern Lesvos), e.g. ciri < tiri ‘cheese’;
    3) Development of /a/ in the initial position of many words, e.g. aγliγura < γriγora ‘quickly’, açilona < çelona ‘turtle’;
    4) Epenthesis of /i/ between the final /s/ of the nominal ending and the initial /m/ of the weak form of the possessive pronoun, e.g. i pateras-im ‘my father’;
    5) Use of the feminine form instead of the masculine one in the nominative singular, e.g. i pateras ‘the father’;
    6) Use of -el(i) and -uδa as the most productive diminutive suffixes, e.g. murel' < moreli ‘little child’, kupiluδa < kopeluδa ‘little girl’;
    7) Use of more than one inflectional ending in the imperfect tense compared to those of Standard Modern Greek, e.g. aγapum/aγapumna/aγapusa ‘I was loving’ instead of aγapaγa, kliγomdun/kliγomdan ‘I was whining’ instead of kleγomuna;
    8) Use of the accusative form instead of the genitive one in the weak form of the personal pronoun, e.g. mi fern's < me fernis instead of mu fernis ‘you bring me’;
    9) Formation of the present perfect with the auxiliary verb exo ‘have’ or ime ‘be’ and the past participle, e.g. exu firmenu instead of exo feri  ‘I have brought’, imi faγumenus  instead of exo fai ‘I have eaten’.
    Regarding the vocabulary, the Lesbian dialect displays a large number of loanwords, mostly from Turkish and Italian (Ralli, forthcoming).

     

    Geographical area

    The Lesvian dialect is spoken on the island of Lesvos and Αivaliot (after the Asia Minor Disaster of 1922 the dialect is being phased out), the dialect of Lemnos and Imbros are related to Lesbian. Lesvian displays discrete differences from place to place in a total of 69 villages. Its division to dialectal zones is difficult, except for specific phenomena, since remote villages share common features and nearby communities show clear differences (see dialectal map of Lesvos, www.lesvos.lmgd.philology.upatras.gr).  Many refugees, who moved to Lesvos in 1922 and 1923 and mainly settled in former Muslim settlements, contributed to the enrichment of the dialectal variety.
  • Tsakonian - Arcadia Open or Close

    Dialect description

    Τhe Tsakonian dialect is spoken in the Peloponnesian area of Tsakonia, which located in the prefecture of Arcadia. Before 1922, it was also spoken in the area of Propontis sea of Marmara) by second and/or third generation Tsakonian refugees, who were dislocated there around the 18th century. As opposed to all other mainland dialects which derive from the Hellenic Koiné, Tsakonian is the only dialect of an Ancient Greek origin, since it derives from the Doric dialect of Laconia.
     

Laboratory of Modern Greek Dialects
University of Patras, University Campus
265 04 Rio Patras, GREECE
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