Griko dialect

Γκραίκο · Γκρίκο
Native to Italy
Region Salento, Calabria
Ethnicity Greeks
Native speakers
(20,000 cited 1981)[1]

40,000 to 50,000 L2 speakers
Greek alphabet, Latin alphabet
Official status
Recognised minority

language in

Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog None

apul1236  Apulia-Calabrian Greek[2]
Linguasphere 56-AAA-aia
Location map of the Italiot-speaking areas in Salento and Calabria

Griko, sometimes spelled Grico, is the dialect of Italiot Greek spoken by Griko people in Salento (province of Lecce) and (sometimes spelled Grecanic[3][4][5][6][7]) in Calabria. Some Greek linguists consider it to be a Modern Greek dialect and often call it Katoitaliótika (Greek: Κατωιταλιώτικα, "Southern Italian") or Grekanika (Γρεκάνικα), whereas its own speakers call it Greko (Γκραίκο or Calabrian Greek, in Calabria) or Griko (Γκρίκο, in Salento). Griko is spoken in Salento while Greko is spoken in Calabria. Griko and Standard Modern Greek are partially mutually intelligible, meaning speakers can understand each other without having to know each others' language.[8]

Classification [ edit ]

The most popular hypothesis on the origin of Griko is the one by Gerhard Rohlfs[9] and Georgios Hatzidakis, that Griko's roots go as far back in history as the time of the ancient Greek colonies in Southern Italy and Sicily in the eighth century BC. The Southern Italian dialect is thus considered to be the last living trace of the Greek elements that once formed Magna Graecia.

There are, however, competing hypotheses according to which Griko may have preserved some Doric elements, but its structure is otherwise mostly based on Koine Greek, like almost all other Modern Greek dialects.[10] Thus, Griko should rather be described as a Doric-influenced descendant of Medieval Greek spoken by those who fled the Byzantine Empire to Italy trying to escape the Turks. The idea of Southern Italy's Greek dialects being historically derived from Medieval Greek was proposed for the first time in the 19th century by Giuseppe Morosi.[11]

Geographic distribution [ edit ]

Two small Italiot-speaking communities survive today in the Italian regions of Calabria (Province of Reggio Calabria) and Apulia (peninsula of Salento). The Italiot-speaking area of Salento comprises nine small towns in the Grecìa Salentina region (Calimera, Martano, Castrignano de' Greci, Corigliano d'Otranto, Melpignano, Soleto, Sternatia, Zollino, Martignano), with a total of 40,000 inhabitants. The Calabrian Greek region also consists of nine villages in Bovesia, (including Bova Superiore, Roghudi, Gallicianò, Chorìo di Roghudi and Bova Marina) and four districts in the city of Reggio Calabria, but its population is significantly smaller, with around only 2000 inhabitants.

Official status [ edit ]

By Law 482 of 1999, the Italian parliament recognized the Griko communities of Reggio Calabria and Salento as a Greek ethnic and linguistic minority. It states that the Republic protects the language and culture of its Albanian, Catalan, Germanic, Greek, Slovene and Croat populations and of those who speak French, Franco-Provençal, Friulian, Ladin, Occitan and Sardinian.[12] According to UNESCO it has been classified as a critically endangered language.

Culture [ edit ]

There is rich oral tradition and Griko folklore. Griko songs, music and poetry are particularly popular in Italy and Greece. Famous music groups from Salento include Ghetonia and Aramirè. Also, influential Greek artists such as Dionysis Savvopoulos and Maria Farantouri have performed in Griko. The Greek musical ensemble Encardia focuses on Griko songs as well as on the musical tradition of Southern Italy at large.[13][14]

Samples [ edit ]

Sample text from Καληνύφτα – Kalinifta ("Good night") and Andramu pai, popular Griko songs:

Griko Modern Greek English Translation
Καληνύφτα - kali'nifta Καληνύχτα - kali'nixta Good night
Εβώ πάντα σε σένα πενσέω,

γιατί σένα φσυχή μου 'γαπώ,

τσαι που πάω, που σύρνω, που στέω

στην καρδία,[15] μου πάντα σένα βαστῶ.
Εγώ πάντα εσένα σκέφτομαι,

γιατί εσένα ψυχή μου αγαπώ,

και όπου πάω, όπου σέρνομαι, όπου στέκομαι[16],

στην καρδιά μου πάντα εσένα βαστώ.
I always think of you

because I love you, my soul,

and wherever I go, wherever I drag myself to, wherever I stand,

inside my heart I always hold you.
[eˈvo ˈpanta se ˈsena penˈseo

jaˈti ˈsena fsiˈhi mu ɣaˈpo

tɕe pu ˈpao pu ˈsirno pu ˈsteo

stin karˈdia[15] mu ˈpanta ˈsena vasˈto]
[eˈɣo ˈpanda eˈsena ˈsceftome

ʝaˈti eˈsena psiˈçi mu aɣaˈpo

ce ˈopu ˈpao ˈopu ˈserno[me] ˈopu ˈsteko[me][16]

stin garˈðʝa mu ˈpanda eˈsena vaˈsto]
Griko Modern Greek English Translation
Ἄνδρα μοῦ πάει - Andramu pai Ὁ ἄνδρας μοῦ πάει - O andras mou pai My husband is gone
Στὲ κούω τὴ μπάντα τσαὶ στὲ κούω ἦττο σόνο

Στέω ἐττοῦ μα 'σα τσαὶ στὲ πένσεω στὸ τρένο

Πένσεω στὸ σκοτεινό τσαὶ ἤττη μινιέρα

ποῦ πολεμώντα ἐτσεί πεσαίνει ὁ γένο!
Ἀκούω τὴν μπάντα, ἀκούω τὴ μουσική

Εἶμαι ἐδὼ μαζί σας μὰ σκέφτομαι τὸ τρένο

Σκέφτομαι τὸ σκοτάδι καὶ τὸ ὀρυχεῖο

ὅπου δουλεύοντας πεθαίνει ὁ κόσμος!
I hear the band, I hear the music

I'm here with you but I think of the train

I think of darkness and the mine

where people work and die!
Ste 'kuo ti 'baⁿda ce ste kuo itto sono,

steo et'tu ma sa ce ste 'penseo sto 'treno,

penseo sto skotinò citti miniera

pu polemònta ecì peseni o jeno!
Akuo ti banda, akuo ti musiki

ime edho mazi sas ma skeftome to treno

skeftome to skotadhi kai to orihio

opu doulevontas petheni o kosmos!

Phonology [ edit ]

Bilabial Labiodental Dental Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar Uvular
Plosive p b t d k g
Nasal m n ɲ
Trill r
Tap or Flap
Fricative f v θ s ʃ χ
Lateral Fricative
Lateral Approximant l
Front Back
High i u
Mid e o
Low a

See also [ edit ]

Notes and references [ edit ]

  1. ^ N. Vincent, Italian, in B. Comrie (ed.) The world's major languages, London, Croom Helm, 1981. pp. 279-302.
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Apulia-Calabrian Greek". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ F. Violi, Lessico Grecanico-Italiano-Grecanico, Apodiafàzzi, Reggio Calabria, 1997.
  4. ^ Paolo Martino, L'isola grecanica dell'Aspromonte. Aspetti sociolinguistici, 1980. Risultati di un'inchiesta del 1977
  5. ^ Filippo Violi, Storia degli studi e della letteratura popolare grecanica, C.S.E. Bova (RC), 1992
  6. ^ Filippo Condemi, Grammatica Grecanica, Coop. Contezza, Reggio Calabria, 1987;
  7. ^ In Salento e Calabria le voci della minoranza linguistica greca | Treccani, il portale del sapere
  8. ^ Hammarström (2015) Ethnologue 16/17/18th editions: a comprehensive review: online appendices
  9. ^ G. Rohlfs, Griechen und Romanen in Unteritalien, 1924.
  10. ^ G. Horrocks, Greek: A history of the language and its speakers, London: Longman. 1997. Ch. 4.4.3 and 14.2.3.
  11. ^ G. Morosi, Studi sui dialetti greci della terra d'Otranto, Lecce, 1870.
  12. ^ Law no. 482 of 1999: "La Repubblica tutela la lingua e la cultura delle popolazioni albanesi, catalane, germaniche, greche, slovene e croate e di quelle parlanti il francese, il franco-provenzale, il friulano, il ladino, l'occitano e il sardo."
  13. ^ "Website of Encardia". Retrieved 2016-02-17.
  14. ^ Tsatsou, Marianna (April 22, 2012). "Charity Concert Collects Medicine and Milk Instead of Selling Tickets". Greek Reporter. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  15. ^ a b Often, in actual performances of the song, synizesis takes place on the two final syllables of καρδία (/kar.'di.a/ > /kar.dja/) corresponding to Standard Modern Greek καρδιά /kar.'ðʝa/ (< καρδία /kar.'ði.a/).
  16. ^ a b The verbs "σέρνομαι" and "στέκομαι" are in passive forms but the active forms "σέρνω" (serno) and [especially] "στέκω" (steko) of the respective verbs can be used with "passive meaning" in modern Greek.

Further reading [ edit ]

External links [ edit ]

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