Greek language

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Greek language,

member of the Indo-European family of languages (see Indo-EuropeanIndo-European,
family of languages having more speakers than any other language family. It is estimated that approximately half the world's population speaks an Indo-European tongue as a first language.
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). It is the language of one of the major civilizations of the world and of one of the greatest literatures of all time. Many modern scientific and technical words in English and other Western languages are derived from Greek, and it has been estimated that 12% of the English vocabulary is of Greek origin.

Ancient Greek

By the 16th cent. B.C., Greek-speaking people were established in Greece, probably having come as invaders from the north. In antiquity there were a number of dialects of the Greek language, the most important of which were Aeolic, Arcadian, Attic, Cyprian, Doric, and Ionic. Ancient Greek was prevalent in the Balkan peninsula, the Greek islands, W Asia Minor, S Italy, and Sicily. Because of the political and cultural importance of Athens in the classical period of Greek history, the Athenian dialect, Attic, became dominant. From Attic there developed an idiom called the koinē, which means "common" or "common to all the people" and which became a standard form of Ancient Greek.

After Alexander the Great the koinē developed into an international language that remained current in the central and E Mediterranean regions and in parts of Asia Minor and Africa for many centuries. Most of the New Testament was written in the koinē, which helped to gain a wide audience for Christianity. Byzantine Greek, based on the koinē, was the language of the Byzantine or East Roman Empire, which lasted from A.D. 395 until it was crushed by the Turks in 1453.

The earliest surviving texts in Ancient Greek are of the 15th cent. B.C. and are written in a script known as Linear B, which was deciphered in 1953 by Michael VentrisVentris, Michael George Francis,
1922–56, English linguist. Ventris was a student of architecture, but he became interested in the untranslated Mycenaean scripts, particularly Linear B, which was found at Knossos, Pylos, and other sites.
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. Later documents, including inscriptions and literary works, are written in the Greek alphabet, which was derived from the script of the Phoenicians c.9th cent. B.C. A variety of the Greek alphabet is still used today for the Greek language.

Modern Greek

Modern Greek stems directly from the Attic koinē and dates from the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453. The official language of Greece and one of the official languages of Cyprus, Modern Greek is spoken today by about 12 million people, chiefly in Greece and the Greek islands (10 million speakers), Turkey (600,000), Cyprus (550,000), and the United States (390,000). The Greek language has not changed much in its long history. The differences are largely in pronunciation and vocabulary, but they also include divergences in grammar. Modern Greek, for example, has absorbed a number of loan words from Turkish and Italian, although its vocabulary is essentially that of Ancient Greek.

The spoken form of Modern Greek, however, differed markedly from the written form until recently. The latter, referred to as katharevousa, was used by the government, the schools, and the mass media until the mid-1970s and is much more like Ancient Greek than the spoken form, which is called dēmotikē. Dēmotikē, the language of popular speech, has more foreign loan words and a simpler grammar than katharevousa. Although a literature in dēmotikē developed during the 20th cent., it was not until 1976 that it was accepted as the official written Greek language (see Greek literature, modernGreek literature, modern,
literature written in Greek in the modern era, primarily beginning during the period of rebellion against the rule of the Ottoman Empire. The Rebirth of Greek Literature
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).

Distinctive Characteristics

Both the nouns and verbs of Ancient Greek were highly inflected. Verbs had active, middle, and passive voices; indicative, subjunctive, optative, and imperative moods; singular, dual, and plural numbers; and many tenses. Nouns had three genders (masculine, feminine, and neuter) and five cases (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, and vocative). Unlike Latin, Greek had a word for the definite article. Three accent marks are used in Greek, the acute (´), the grave (`), and the circumflex (ˆ). In Ancient Greek they denoted a pitch accent related to the length of vowels, but in Modern Greek they serve as a stress accent. The symbol for a rough breathing over an initial vowel represented the h sound in Ancient Greek, while the symbol for a smooth breathing over an initial vowel made clear the absence of aspiration. Though still retained today, the breathing marks no longer indicate pronunciation. In punctuation, the semicolon (;) stands for the question mark, and a raised dot denotes the semicolon and colon.

Bibliography

See P. S. Costas, An Outline of the History of the Greek Language (1936); E. H. Sturtevant, The Pronunciation of Greek and Latin (2d ed. 1940); O. Eleftheriades, Modern Greek: A Contemporary Grammar (1985).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Now that the Venetia Williams yard are in good form Elenika (2.10) cannot be opposed with the excellent Charlie Deutsche excellent value for his 5lbs claim.
Price includes Private coach travel from your local area Three nights' stay with three course evening meal & cooked breakfast Full day guided walk from Lynmouth to Countisbury Full day guided walk through the Doone Valley Free time in Woolacombe Great Spring Gardens of Cornwall & the Eden Project 9 9-2 Bob, PSouter last 50.0s BRODY PS5m FAIRY 1 led lost ELENIKA 1 ridden tired JOHNNY PS3 CLOUDY 1 hung CAPILLA Little KINGS 1 slow).
AINTREE 12pm Mystery Code 12.30pm Great Link 1.05pm Flying Angel 1.40pm Soll (NAP) 2.15pm Many Clouds 2.45pm Fort Worth 3.20pm Rathlin SANDOWN 12.15pm O O Seven 12.45pm Flute Bowl 1.20pm Keltus 1.55pm As De Mee 2.25pm Devilment 3pm Simonsig 3.35pm Bertie Boru WETHERBY 11.55pm Leanna Ban 12.25pm Dartford Warbler 12.55pm Gilzean 1.30pm Indian Voyage 2.05pm Cooper 2.40pm The Toft 3.15pm Jack Lamb CHEPSTOW 12.20pm Mont Choisy 12.50pm The Gipper 1.25pm Kingswell Theatre 2pm Dan Emmett 2.30pm Firebird Flyer 3.05pm Elenika 3.40pm Good Man Hughie TOMORROW'S NAP: Template (Huntingdon 1.25pm).
Venetia Williams (pictured right) is another trainer who has her string in top form and it looks a tip in itself that she sends just one horse on the long trip from Herefordshire to Wetherby - ELENIKA in the 2.05.
Another rag with a shout is Elenika, who has been finding little on bad ground for much of the season, but ran his best two races last spring on a better surface and is 9lb lower now.
Leg 1 - Don 2.55: DOESLESSTHANME (2) Leg 2 - Lin 3.25: THECORNISHCOWBOY (3) Leg 3 - Don 3.30: STORM SURVIVOR (2) Leg 4 - New 3.50: ELENIKA (2) Leg 5 - Lin 4.0: DIAMOND CHARLIE (2) Leg 6 - New 4.25: UN BON P'TIT GARS (2)
Venetia Williams is also double-handed in the race, but Shangani is preferred over stablemate Elenika.
HUNTINGDON: 1.10 Royale Knight, 1.40 Tregaro, 2.10 Chain Of Events, 2.40 Elenika, 3.10 Belle De Fontenay, 3.40 Giveagirlachance LINGFIELD: 1.00 Renagisha, 1.30 Roseini, 2.00 Johnny Red, 2.30 Miss Exhibitionist, 3.00 Captain Paulie, 3.30 Pepito Collonges, 4.00 Etania SEDGEFIELD: 12.50 Blackwater King, 1.20 Forty Crown, 1.50 Schinken Otto, 2.20 Lukeys Luck, 2.50 No Supper, 3.20 Carpincho, 3.50 DIZZY RIVER (NAP) DEREK BROWN'S NAP: Miss Exhibitionist (2.30, Lingfield).
At Chepstow, Elenika (3.05) was too free on his return from a lengthy absence at Wetherby.
TODAY'S SELECTIONS Aintree 1.30 Parlour Games 2.50 Zarkander HORSES TO FOLLOW African Gold, Aqalim, Ballynagour, Barrakilla, Bellenos, Blakemount, Bronco Billy, Captainofindustry, Clean Sheet, Devilment, Eduard, Elenika, Fine Moment, Fox Appeal, Glacial Rock, Hannah's Princess, L'Ami Serge, No More Heroes, Pine Creek, Regal Encore, Reyos Magos, Run Ructions Run, Silver Blue Native, Sgt Reckless, Silvery Moon, Special Tiara, Stone Light, Tara Point, Urban Hymn, Val De Law, Western Jo.
Leg 1 - Asc 1.50: ELENIKA (2) Leg 2 - Hay 2.05: EMPEROR'S CHOICE (2) Leg 3 - Hay 2.40: SHE RANKS ME (1) Leg 4 - Asc 3.0: STORM SURVIVOR (2) Leg 5 - Hay 3.15: CROSS KENNON (2) Leg 6 - Asc 3.35: RECESSION PROOF (4)
Venetia Williams, trainer of Renard and Elenika "Renard's already had a run and ran an encouraging race over a bit further.