CLASSIFICATION CRITERIA OF MODERN GREEK DIALECTS
There is no consensus among researchers regarding the classification and differentiation criteria of the Modern Greek dialects and idioms, since there are no distinct geographical borders. Some indicative examples for each language level are provided below regarding the differentiation criteria on which research usually focuses. Some of them constitute survivals of the language ’s older forms while others are innovations of the standard Modern Greek language.
- Unstressed [e] and [ο] are raised to [i] and [u] respectively (“devoicing”) and unstressed [i] and [u] are typically deleted, e.g. παιδί > πιδί, κουλούρι > κ'λούρ'. This feature proliferates mainly in Northern Greece (and is called “Northern vocalism”).
- Pronunciation of [k] as [ts] (velar softening, known as “tsitakismos”), e.g. Κυριακή > Τσυριατσή. This feature proliferates in the Aegean Islands, Mani and Crete among others.
- Geminate consonants, who are pronounced distinctively long, e.g. θάλασ-σα. This feature proliferates mainly in the Dodecanese islands, Cyprus and South Italy.
- Lack of synizesis, e.g. τα παιδία, η μηλέα. This feature proliferates mainly in Pontos, South Italy, the Eptanese (Ionian islands) and Mani.
- Preservation of the final –ν, e.g. το παιδίν. This feature proliferates mainly in the Dodecanese islands and Cyprus.
- Ending of the 3rd plural, Simple Present Tense, active voice in -ουσι instead of -ουν, e.g. έχουσι instead of έχουν. This feature proliferates mainly in the Dodecanese islands and Cyprus.
- Masculine article [i] instead of [ο], e.g. ι Νίκους. This feature proliferates mainly in Northern Greece.
- Augmentation formed with [i-] instead of [e-] in the past tenses, e.g. ήλεγα, ηφέρνανε. This feature proliferates in the Dodecanese islands, Crete and Cyprus.
- Use of the interrogative pronoun είντα instead of τι, e.g. είντα θές; This feature proliferates mainly in the Aegean islands.
- Indirect object expressed in the accusative instead of the genitive case, e.g. θα σε δώσω instead θα σου δώσω. This phenomenon abounds in Northern Greece, Pontos and Asia Minor.
- Clitic attachment to the right (and not to the left, as in Standard Modern Greek) e.g. έδωσά σου instead σου έδωσα. This phenomenon proliferates mainly in the Aegean islands and Asia Minor.