Greek belongs to the Hellenic branch of the Indo-European language family, and is spoken by about 13 million people mainly in Greece and Cyprus, where it is an official language. Iota gamma upsilon is also recognised as a minority language in parts of Italy, and in Albania, Armenia, Romania and Ukraine.
Greek was first written in Mycenae with a script known as Linear B, which was used between about 1500 and 1200 BC. This variety of Greek is known as Mycenaean. On Crete another script, known as the Cypriot syllabary, was used to write the local variety of Greek between about 1200 and 300 BC. The Greek alphabet has been in continuous use since about 750 BC. Phoenician alphabet and the order and names of the letters are derived from Phoenician.
The original Canaanite meanings of the letter names was lost when the alphabet was adapted for Greek. The result was the world’s first fully phonemic alphabet which represented by consonant and vowel sounds. Status: official language of Greece, an official language of Cyprus, officially recognized as a minority language in parts of Italy, and in Albania, Armenia, Romania and Ukraine. At first, there were a number of different versions of the alphabet used in various different Greek cities.
These local alphabets, known as epichoric, can be divided into three groups: green, blue and red. The blue group developed into the modern Greek alphabet, while the red group developed into the Etruscan alphabet, other alphabets of ancient Italy and eventually the Latin alphabet. By the early 4th century BC, the epichoric alphabets were replaced by the eastern Ionic alphabet. The capital letters of the modern Greek alphabet are almost identical to those of the Ionic alphabet. The minuscule or lower case letters first appeared sometime after 800 AD and developed from the Byzantine minuscule script, which developed from cursive writing. Today the Greek alphabet is used only to write Greek, however at various times in the past it has been used to write such languages as Lydian, Phrygian, Thracian, Gaulish, Hebrew, Arabic, Old Ossetic, Albanian, Turkish, Aromanian, Gagauz, Surguch and Urum. Around 500 BC the direction of writing changed to horizontal lines running from left to right.
Diacritics to represent stress and breathings were added to the alphabet in around 200 BC. In 1982 the diacritics representing breathings, which were not widely used after 1976, were officially abolished by presidential decree. The letter sigma has a special form which is used when it appears at the end of a word. Ancient Greek alphabet This alphabet is based on inscriptions from Crete dated to about 800 BC.
Greek was written mainly from right to left in horizontal lines at this time. It is uncertain what names were given to the letters, and some letters had more than one form. Greek numerals and other symbols The Ancient Greeks had two numeric systems: the Acrophonic or Attic system used the letters iota, delta, gamma, eta, nu and mu in various combinations. The Acrophonic system was replaced by an alphabetic system that assigned numerical values to all the letters of the alphabet. Three obsolete letters, stigma, koppa and sampi, were used in addition to the standard Greek letters, and a apostrophe-like numeral sign was used to indicate that letters were being used as numerals. Hear a recording of the Greek alphabet by Vasiliki Baskos of learn-greek-online. Hear a recording of Modern Greek pronunciation by Vasiliki Baskos of learn-greek-online.
When the sound is preceded by a voiced consonant and followed by another vowel, it becomes , e. When it is preceded by a voiceless consonant and followed by another vowel it is pronounced as , e. In both cases it is not stressed. A dieresis is used to indicate that vowels are pronounced separately, e. However, when the first of the two letters is stressed, the dieresis sign is not necessary, e.