Greece

Greek is the official and primary language of Greece, spoken by the majority of the country’s population. It is one of the oldest Indo-European languages in the world, having survived for more than 34 centuries. Today it exists as Modern Greek, and has many dialects in the different regions of the country. 99.5% of the population of Greece speaks the language in its standard language form.

The Standard Modern Greek is used as the standard language form in Greece. Modern Greek comes from Medieval Greek and has many regional dialects depending on the geographical location. However, despite its long history, Modern Greek has managed to conserve its integrity and has retained the basic principles of the syntax, morphology and phonology of the Greek language.

There are different non-official dialects of Hellenic languages spoken in Greece as well. These include the Tsakonian dialect, the Cappadocian Greek, the Cretan Greek, the Maniot dialect, the Pontic Greek, and the Yevanic Greek. Tsakonian dialect is spoken by 1,200 people in the Tsakonian regions of Peloponnese, where it branches out into Northern, Southern and Propontis dialects. The Cappadocian Greek is facing extinction due to having very few speakers, as a result of most of the Cappadocians having shifted to Standard Modern Greek. The Cretan Greek is the dialect of Crete; around 500,000 people speak this variant of the Greek language. Outside Crete, Athens and the Ottoman-era Cretan Greek Muslims also speak this dialect. The Maniot dialect is spoken in Pontus and Caucasus and has around 500,000 people speaking the language. The Yevanic Greek is also called the Jewish dialect and is spoken by Romaniotes. This dialect has almost gone extinct, as less than 50 people speak the dialect.

Albanian is the largest minority spoken language in Greece with approximately 443,550 Albanian immigrants in Greece. Moreover, more than 1 million Greeks have an Albanian descent either by ancestry or by marriage or immigration. Other minority languages of Greece include Turkish, Macedonian, Armenian, Romani, Bulgarian, Aromanian and Ladino.

Primary foreign languages of Greece include English, German, French and Italian. English is the primary and the most widely spoken foreign language spoken by more than 48% of the population. It is the international language of commerce and is included in the education system of the country where it is taught as a foreign language in Greek schools. German follows English as the second choice in most schools, with 9% of the population being able to converse in German. Other foreign languages which can be heard in Greece include French and Italian at 8.5% and 8%, respectively.

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