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Greek: The language with the longest word

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10 facts about the Greek language


Greek is a Hellenic language; it dates back to the 3rd millennium, making it one of the oldest languages.


Greek is the official language of Greek and Cyprus, and it has 13.5 million speakers worldwide.


Greek is also spoken in other countries, such as Italy, Turkey and Albania, among others.


The Greek language is the 74th most spoken language in the world; this means that 0.170% of the world speaks Greek.


Apart from Latin, Greek is the most common root language used to form vocabulary in other languages.


Similar to German, the Greek language has three genders; feminine, masculine and neuter for words without a gender.


English has many Greek-derived words; 12% of the English language is derived from Greek language.


Greek also has some words that have been derived from English, such as nklamouriá (pronounced “glamour-reeah”) which is derived from “glamour.”


There are two forms of Greek, namely: Demotic and Katharevousa. In 1976, only Demotic was adopted as the official language. Space between coma and only is missing.


The Greek language was the first in history to make use of vowels; before that, languages only used consonants.

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Origin of the language

Greek emerged in the Balkan peninsula.

History of the language

It is believed that Greek originated during the Neolithic period or the Bronze Age.

Learning the language

An English speaker could need as many as 1100 hours to learn Greek.

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Greek language diversity

Greek is the official language in Greece and Cyprus.

The Greek spoken in Cyrus is called Cypriot Greek. Greek is also one of the official minority languages of Himara in Albania. Greek is unofficially spoken in Italy and throughout Europe.

Did you know?

The term polyglot comes from Greek: poly (many) and glot (tongues), meaning “speaker of many languages.”

Greek is older than both Latin and Chinese, making it an ancient language. Ancient Greek is called Proto Greek and differs significantly from Modern Greek.

Modern Cypriot Greek closely resembles Ancient Greek, more so than Modern Greek.

Greek of Rhodes, a dialect of the people of island Rhodes, is more similar to Cypriot Greek than the Athenian Greek dialect.

Cypriot Greek is almost unrecognizable to Modern Greek speakers from Greece due to the greatly different dialects.

syphophattoperisteralektryonoptokephallio-kigklopeleiola-gōiosiraioba-phētraganopterýgōn is said to be the longest word ever; it describes a dish in Ancient Greek from Aristophanes’ play Assembly Woman.

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Greek language for beginners

Ten basic words to start learning in Greek:


Beautiful: panemorfi






Goodbye=antio sas



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Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.


Philosopher, polymath, writer, teacher, astronomer and cosmologist

The greatest wealth is to live content with little.


Philosopher, teacher, writer, poet, physicist and mathematician

The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.


Philosopher, teacher and educator

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Fun facts about the Greek language


The English word “alphabet” comes from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet: alpha and beta.


Greek punctuation differs from English punctuation; a question mark (?) in Greek is a semi-colon (;).


Almost every English word that begins with “ph” has been derived from Greek: physics, philosophy, pharmacy and more.

Counting in Greek is Different

Counting in Greek follows different rules; for instance, the numerals are decimals based on the power of 10.

The letter “o”

Like German, Greek uses long compound words. However, in Greek, the letter “o” is used to connect words together to make compound words.

The Longest word

The longest word in literature appeared the ancient Greek text, Assemblywoman. It is a whopping 189 characters long!


Boustrophedon means that the Greek language alternates between being written from left-to-right and right-to-left.

Difficult to learn

Greek is one of the most difficult languages to learn; the meaning of sentences can change depending on which word(s) is stressed.

Historic language

Greek is one of the oldest languages in the world; it was also the official language of the Roman empire.

Isolated language

Greek is an isolated language; it does not belong to any language family. Rather, other languages have been derived from it.

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