WHAT IS A DIALECT?
The Greek language, although it remained cohesive from antiquity to the present, has never been uniformly spoken
throughout the Greek speaking region, thus forming local dialectal variations. Eventually one of these variations
prevailed displacing the others and becoming the standard (“koine”) language of the Hellenophones. Accordingly,
the ancient attic dialect formed the basis of the common language which was spoken during the Alexandrian and
Roman times and whose gradual division has led to new dialectal forms since the early Byzantine era. At the end
of the first millennium the formation of the Modern Greek dialects and idioms had already started. The forms of
the Greek language which differ from region to region are known as dialects, the linguistic science however
makes a distinction between a dialect (when local differences are significant and obstruct comprehension by
other same language speakers non inhabitants of the region) and an idiom or dialectical variation (when differences
are noticeable but do not inhibit mutual illegibility). Nowadays we consider as dialects the Pontiac (in which the
Greek of Crimea-Mariupol are included), the Cappadocian, the Tsakonian and the Southern Italian. All the other
regional variants of the Modern Greek Standard are known as idioms. In particular, the Cretan and Cypriot idioms
are exceptionally known as dialects, thus acknowledging an intermediate level of language variation.