The Languages of Greece
Greek is the official language of Greece, one of the two official languages of Cyprus and, since 1981, one of the official languages of the European Union. It is spoken as mother tongue by approximately 95% of the 10.5 million inhabitants of Greece and by approximately 500,000 Greek Cypriots. Around the world, it is spoken by around 13.4 million native speakers (people of Greek origin, members of Greek communities) mainly in the USA, Australia, Canada, Europe, Albania, the former Soviet Union countries, Turkey, and Egypt.
Greek is an Indo-European language, the only surviving member of the Hellenic branch of the Indo-European language family.
It has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records.
The currently existing dialects are considered as elements of cultural identity being used exclusively among members of the specific communities; the modern way of living, urbanism, the use of the standard variety in education, and mass media has led to the prevalence of standard Modern Greek over the various dialects.
Features of Greek:
- The Greek writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history.
- The rich inflectional system poses specific difficulties to LT systems, lemmatization, for example, faces the notorious problem of recognition of certain inflectional types that can belong to a verb or to its deverbal noun. On the other hand, the case system renders syntactic relations between sentence elements explicit.
- Greek is very productive when it comes to derivational morphology.
- Greek is a pro-drop language: personal pronouns are omitted when they are morphologically or pragmatically inferable.
- It presents a free word order, the neutral word order being Verb-Subject-Object or Subject-Verb-Object.