Which language is closest to Greek?

By: | Post date: 2016-03-29 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Ancient Greek, Linguistics

Following up on  Joachim Pense’s answer:

Modern Hellenic languages

If we include modern Hellenic languages, a (purely subjectively) ranking of the “outlier” dialects by closeness to Standard Modern Greek is:

  • Salento Griko
  • Calabria Griko
  • Mariupolitan
  • Pontic
  • Silliot (spoken in Sille, near Konya)
  • Cappadocian
  • Tsakonian

The dividing point for mutual intelligibility is probably Pontic, definitely by Silliot. Of course, it’s not routine practice to consider anything but Tsakonian a distinct language.

Historical Hellenic languages

If we instead include ancient Hellenic languages, traditionally it is considered to be Ancient Macedonian—based on the Hesychian glosses, which have radical sound changes. The recent epigraphic  finds OTOH look like routine Doric.

Outside Hellenic languages

If we exclude Hellenic languages and if we trust lexicostatistics, the closest language is Armenian.  (See: Graeco-Armenian)

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