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Greek language facts for kids

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Greek
elliniká
ελληνικά
Pronunciation [eliniˈka]
Region Greece, southern Mediterranean
Native speakers 13.4 million  (2012)e18
Language family
Indo-European
  • Hellenic
    • Greek
Dialects
Ancient dialects
Modern dialects
Writing system
Official status
Official language in  Greece
 Cyprus
 European Union
Recognised minority language in  Albania
 Armenia
 Hungary
 Italy
 Romania
 Ukraine
Linguasphere
  • 56-AAA-a
  • 56-AAA-aa to -am (varieties)
Spoken Greek

The Greek language is an Indo-European language. It is the official language of Greece (Hellas) and Cyprus. It was first spoken in Greece and was also once spoken along the coast of Asia Minor (now a part of Turkey) and in southern Italy. It was also widely used in Western Asia and Northern Africa at one time. In Greek, the language is called Ελληνικά (elliniká).

Greeks write their language using the Greek alphabet. The Latin alphabet (used to write English and many other languages) came from the Greek alphabet. Many other alphabets around the world also came from the Greek one, such as the Cyrillic alphabet.

Greek has an unbroken history of being a written language for over 3,000 years. This is longer than any other Indo-European language spoken today. This history is often divided into three parts, ancient Greek, medieval Greek, and modern Greek. The years 330-1453 are called medieval Greek because that's the time of the Byzantine Empire.

Over 15 million people in the world speak Greek now. These speakers mostly live in Greece and Cyprus. There are also people in other countries around the world who speak the language. This is largely because people left Greece and emigrated, meaning they moved to other countries. Countries like the United States and Australia have a large Greek diaspora.

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