How many Greek dialects are there in the Balkans?

By: | Post date: 2016-09-11 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek

A2Q (as opposed to A2A) by Peter J. Wright.

Are we including Greece in the Balkans for the purposes of this question? If so, the breakdown of dialects is pretty arbitrary, but the dialect groupings from Newton, which I accept, are:

  • Peloponnesian–Ionian
  • Northern
  • Old Athenian (including Maniot and Kymiot)
  • Cretan (including Cycladean)
  • South-Eastern (including Cypriot)
  • Tsakonian

If we’re excluding Greece, we’re asking where Greek was traditionally, natively spoken in the home of people, north of Greece.

I’m making that distinction, because of the recurring claims of the Lost Greeks of Monastir and further north in FYRO Macedonia. As far as I can tell, those “Lost Greeks” were ethnic Aromanians, who identified themselves as Greek at one stage, and who changed identification later. They did in fact speak Greek, but as far as I know, they spoke it as a second language.

I’m happy to be contradicted, but I’d like a dialect sample that looks recognisably northern.

Other than that:

  • Northern Epirus/Southern Albania: a not-quite northern dialect, but it has been situated in the area around Sarandë, Himarë and Gjirokastër (Agii Saranda, Himara, Argyrokastro) for a very long time. Still in situ.
  • Eastern Rumelia/Southern Bulgaria, as a minority, including the towns of Plovdiv, Melnik, and Burgaz (Phillipoupolis, Meleniko, Pyrgos). Mostly relocated to Greece, but some Greek-speakers have remained in place. Northern dialect.
  • East Thrace/European Turkey, as a minority, including the towns of Edirne, Tekirdağ, Kırklareli, and Istanbul (Adrianople, Rhaedestus, Saranda Ekklisies, Constantinople). Relocated to Greece, apart from a small remaining population in Istanbul. Northern dialect, apart from Constantinople, which spoke a Northern dialect but without Northern vocalism.
  • The Sarakatsani, a traditionally nomadic transhumant population, moving through FYRO Macedonia, Southern Albania, Bulgaria, and Greece. Northern dialect. Still in situ.

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