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The conventional linguistic and geographical classification which is usually deployed based on a combination of linguistic (mainly phonetic) and geographical criteria is depicted in the table below:

  • Pontic
  • Cappadocian
  • Southern Italian
  • Tsakonian

  • Cypriot
  • Cretan
  • Northern
  • Semi-northern
  • Dodecanese
  • Cycladic
  • Eptanese
  • Asia Minor
  • Mani, Kymi and Old Athens

Survival of the Modern Greek dialects

Nowadays and especially after the Second World War the local variations of the Modern Greek language convey a picture of decline and in some cases they have already become extinct (e.g. the Cappadocian dialect). Specifically the Modern Greek dialects constitute an element of cultural tradition rather than living languages in use. Under the pressure of socioeconomic factors (modifications in the structure of the traditional societies which were preserving the local language forms) and due to the wide use of the standard form of Modern Greek (via the channels of compulsory education and the mass media) even the modern Greek idioms are being used by less and less speakers (mainly elderly people). Furthermore, these forms are constantly changing at all language levels (phonology, morphology, vocabulary), thus tending to be assimilated by the standard Modern Greek.

Basic bibliography

  • Anagnostopoulous, G. (1924): Introduction to the Modern Greek dialectology. About the emergence of Modern Greek dialects. Επετηρίς της Εταιρείας Βυζαντινών Σπουδών 1: 93-108(in Greek). [Εισαγωγή εις την νεοελληνική διαλεκτολογία. Περί της αρχής των Νεοελληνικών διαλέκτων. Επετηρίς της Εταιρείας Βυζαντινών Σπουδών 1: 93-108]
  • Andriotis, N. (1933): About the emergence of the northern idioms of Modern Greek. Yearbook of the Society for Byzantine Studies 10: 304-23. (in Greek). [Περί της αρχής των βορείων ιδιωμάτων της νέας ελληνικής. Επετηρίς της Εταιρείας Βυζαντινών Σπουδών 10: 304-23].
  • Dawkins, R. M. (1940): The Dialects of Modern Greek. Transactions of the Philological Society, 1-38.
  • Kontosopoulos, N. (2001): Dialects and idioms of Modern Greek. Athens: Grigoris (in Greek).[Διάλεκτοι και ιδιώματα της Νέας Ελληνικής. Αθήνα: Γρηγόρης.]
  • Newton, B. (1972): The generative interpretation of dialect. A study of Modern Greek phonology. Cambridge: CUP.
  • Vayacacos, D. V. (1972): Modern Greek, Modern Greek dialects and the Historical Dictionary of the Greek language of the Academy of Athens. Accompanied by a bibliography of 2630 titles. Lexicographic Bulletin 12: 81-276 (in French). [Le grec moderne, les dialectes neohelleniques et le dictionnaire historique de la langue grecque de l' Academie d' Athenes. Avec une bibliographie de 2630 titres. Λεξικογραφικόν Δελτίον 12: 81-276]
  • Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs & Centre for the Greek Language (1999): Dialect enclaves of the Greek language. Athens (in Greek) [Διαλεκτικοί θύλακοι της ελληνικής γλώσσας. Αθήνα].
  • Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs & Centre for the Greek Language (1999): The Greek Language and its dialects. Athens (in Greek) [Η Ελληνική Γλώσσα και οι Διάλεκτοί της. Αθήνα].