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|Region||Greece, eastern Mediterranean|
|13 million (2012)|
Official language in
grc – Ancient Greek
cpg – Cappadocian Greek
ell – Modern Greek
gmy – Mycenaean Greek
pnt – Pontic
tsd – Tsakonian
yej – Yevanic
The Greek-speaking world:
Greek (Modern Greek: ελληνικά [eliniˈka], elliniká, "Greek", ελληνική γλώσσα [eliniˈci ˈɣlosa], ellinikí glóssa, "Greek language") is the only surviving member of the Hellenic languages branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, western and northeastern Asia Minor, southern Italy, Albania and Cyprus. It has the longest documented history of any living language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic and many other writing systems.
The Greek language holds an important place in the history of the Western world and Christianity; the canon of ancient Greek literature includes works of monumental importance and influence for the Western canon such as the epic poems Iliad and Odyssey. Greek is also the language in which many of the foundational texts in science, especially astronomy, mathematics and logic, and Western philosophy, such as the Platonic dialogues and the works of Aristotle, are composed; the New Testament of the Holy Bible was written in Koiné Greek. Together with the Latin texts and traditions of the Roman world, the study of the Greek texts and society of antiquity constitutes the discipline of Classics.
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