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The Greek Language

Greek is spoken by over 12 million people worldwide, the vast majority of which live in Greece, where Greek is the official language, and Cyprus, where Greek is a co-official language along with Turkish. Small groups of speakers can also be found in Albania, Egypt and Italy.1

Among the Indo-European languages, Greek is unparalleled in its long, storied history going back over 3,400 years. Modern Greek, which began to emerge around the 15th Century, is still relatively young within this long history. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, Modern Greek “is of two kinds:” 1) all the local Greek dialects which can diverge from one another but are still mutually intelligible; 2) the official form of spoken and written Greek, i.e., Standard Modern Greek.2

A little less than 30 years ago Greek was divided into a de facto official spoken language called Demotic, which is based on the Peloponnesian dialect and is understood by the majority of the Greek population, and an official written/administrative language called Katharevusa, which had been developed in the 19th Century following the establishment of the new Greek state and attempted to return the Greek language to its Classical roots. Aided by the fact that the two forms of the language had begun to naturally merge with one another, the movement to make Demotic the official spoken and written language had gained strength by the middle of the 20th Century. In 1976 the Greek government declared Demotic the official spoken and written language, renaming it Standard Modern Greek.

Below are some brief but important facts about Finland and its people.

Capital: Athens
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Government Type: Parliamentary republic
Population: 10,647,529 (July 2004 est.)
Internet Country Code: .gr
Internet Hosts: 208,977 (2004)
Internet Users: 1,718,400 (2003)

For additional demographic information on Finland and its people, please see the following link:

For information on The Greek Writing System, please see our Quick Facts Library.

1 “GREEK: a language of Greece” Ethnologue

[Accessed December 23, 2004]

2 “Greek language” Encyclopædia Britannica from Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service.

[Accessed December 23, 2004]