The language of Aristotle, Plato and Homer has been in existence for around 34 centuries. This makes Greek
the oldest known living language in the world that has been in continuous use. Currently, there are around 17 million native speakers of this language alive today, with most of them concentrated (as one might expect) in Cyprus and Greece. In addition, students and scholars across the globe study an ancient form form of this tongue, in order to access some of the greatest works of literature that have ever been written, from the comedies of Aristophanes to the poetry of Cavafy. It uses the Cyrillic alphabet as opposed to the Roman alphabet used in English, German and so on. The Cyrillic alphabet used in Greece derives from the earlier Phoenician alphabet. More about provenance can be found below.
The provenance of the Greek language
This language is part of the Indo-European family of languages. That means that it is part of a group of languages spoken throughout Europe and the northern regions of India. Lexicographers affirm that Indo-European languages share a common ancestral language. This ancestral language is usually referred to as ‘Proto Indo-European’. The Greek language is currently bifurcated into Ancient Greek (spoken largely before the 12th century BCE) and the modern form of the language, which is spoken in Greece today. In the late 12th century a medieval demotic form of the language began to emerge, effecting a shift between its ancient and modern forms.
In sum, the facts that are known about this linguistic branch are:
- It’s the world’s oldest language that is still in existence today.
- It can be divided into ancient and modern forms.
- It is classified as Indo-European.
- It is spoken mainly in Greece and in Cyprus, however people learn it throughout the world.
- The Greek language uses the Cyrillic alphabet.