Pontic Greek

Pontic Greek

name=Pontic Greek
nativename=Ποντιακά, Ρωμαίικα
states=Greece, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Germany, The Netherlands
region=Southeastern Europe

Pontic Greek is a form of the Greek language originally spoken in the Pontus area on the southern shores of the Black Sea, and today mainly in Greece. Its speakers are Pontian Greeks.

Pontic's linguistic lineage stems from Ionic Greek via Koine and Byzantine Greek, and may contain influences from Persian and various Caucasian languages.


Greek linguist Manolis Triantafyllides has divided Pontic into two groups:

*Western group ("Oinountiac/Niotika") around Oenoe/Ünye.
*Eastern group
**Coastal sub-group ("Trapezountiac") around Trebizond/Trapezus,
**Inland sub-group ("Chaldiot") in Chaldia (around Argyroupolis/Gümüşhane — Kanin in Pontic), in its vicinity (Kelkit, Baibourt/Bayburt, etc.), and around Kotyora/Ordu.

Speakers of Chaldiot were the most numerous. In phonology, some varieties of Pontic are reported to demonstrate vowel harmony, a well-known feature of Turkish (Mirambel 1965).


Though Pontic was originally spoken on the southern shores of the Black Sea, substantial numbers migrated to the northern and eastern shores in what was then the Russian Empire in the 18th and 19th century; Pontic is still spoken by large numbers in the Ukraine, Russia (around Stavropol'), and Georgia, and the language enjoyed some use as a literary medium in the 1930s, including a school grammar (Topkhara 1998 [1932] ). After the massacres of the 1910s, the majority of speakers remaining in Asia Minor were subject to the Treaty of Lausanne population exchange, and were resettled in Greece, mainly northern Greece. The inhabitants of the Of valley, who had converted to Islam in the 17th century, remained in Turkey, and speak Pontic to this day (Mackridge 1987). In Greece, Pontic is now used more emblematically than as a medium of communication; there is some limited production of literature in Pontic, including issues of Asterix.

* Greece 200,000 speakers (2001):mostly in Macedonia (East, Central and West)
* Turkey ~4000 speakers
** Tonya: (17 villages)
** Sürmene: (6 villages)
** Dernekpazarı: (13 villages)
** Maçka: No information
** Torul-ardasa, Yağlıdere-kromni, Santa, imera: (no village)Pontic is most closely related to Cappadocian Greek, and the Greek spoken in Mariupolis (and formerly in the Crimea).



*Preservation of the ancient pronunciation of 'η' as 'ε' (κέπιν = κήπιον, κλέφτες = κλέπτης, συνέλικος = συνήλικος, νύφε = νύ(μ)φη, έγκα = ἤνεγκον, έτον = ἦτον, έκουσα = ἤκουσα etc).
*Preservation of the ancient pronunciation 'ω' as 'o' where Koine Greek received it as 'ου' (ζωμίν = ζουμί, καρβώνι, ρωθώνι etc).
*Preservation of the ancient nominative suffix of neutral diminutive nouns in 'ιον' (παιδίον, χωρίον).
*Preservation of the Ionic consonant pair 'σπ' instead of Koine 'σφ' (σποντύλιν, σπἰγγω, σπιντόνα).
*Preservation of the termination of feminine compound adjectives in -ος (ή άλαλος, ή άνοστος, ή έμορφος).
*The declination of male nouns from singular, nominative termination '-on' to genitive '-ος' (ό νέον -> τή νέονος, ο πάππον -> τη πάππονος, ό λύκον -> τή λύκονος, ο Τούρκον -> τη Τούρκονος etc).
*The aorist ordering form in -ον (ανάμνον, μείνον, κόψον, πίσον, ράψον, σβήσον).
*The middle voice verb termination in -ούμαι (ανακατούμαι, σκοτούμαι, στεφανούμαι).
*The passive voice aorist termination in -θα (anc. -θην): εγαπέθα, εκοιμέθα, εστάθα etc.
*The imperative form of passive aorist in -θετε (anc -θητι): εγαπέθα, εκοιμέθα, εστάθα.
*The sporadic use of infinitives (εποθανείναι, μαθείναι, κόψ'ναι, ράψ'ναι, χαρίσ'ναι, αγαπέθειν, κοιμεθείν).
*The ancient accenting of nouns in vocative form: άδελφε, Νίκολα, Μάρια.
*The sporadic use of 'ας' in the place of 'να': δός με ας φάγω.

Comparison with Ancient Greek

*Example 1: Pontic "en" (is), Ancient Greek "esti", Koine idiomatic form "enesti", Biblical form "eni", Modern Greek "ine"
*Example 2: Pontic "temeteron" (ours), Ancient Greek "to(n) hemeteron", Modern Greek "to(n) * mas"
*Example 3: Pontic diminutive "pedhin" (little child), Ancient Greek "paidion", Standard Greek "pedhi"
*Example 4 (combining 2 and 3): Pontic "temeteron to pedin" (our little child), Ancient Greek/Koine "to hemeteron paidion", Modern Greek "to pedi mas"

*1. In Trapezounda Greek attach /e/ sound to ancient aorist suffix –ειν

*4. Infinitive aorist /e/

ράψεινε, κράξεινε, μεθύσεινε, καλέσεινε, λαλήσεινε, κτυπήσεινε, καθίσεινε

*5. Same aorist suffix –ka (-ka was also the regular perfect suffix)

*6. –ine infinitive change to -eane

External links

* Mark Janse, " [http://www.benjamins.com/jbp/series/JGL/3/art/0008a.pdf Aspects of Pontic grammar] ", a Review Article of Drettas (1997). Summarizes the high points of the book.
* [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=pnt Ethnologue report for Pontic]
* [http://www.karalahana.com/english/omer_asan.htm Trebizond Greek: A language without a tongue]
* [http://www.pontian.info Info about Pontians]
* [http://www.karalahana.com/english/cost-of-language.htm Pontic Greek: A cost of a alanguage]
* [http://pontosworld.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=776&Itemid=75 The Pontic Dialect]
* [http://www.argonautai-komninoi.gr Argonautai Komninoi Association]


* Georges Drettas, "Aspects pontiques", ARP, 1997, ISBN 2-9510349-0-3. "... marks the beginning of a new era in Greek dialectology. Not only is it the first comprehensive grammar of Pontic not written in Greek, but it is also the first self-contained grammar of any Greek “dialect” written, in the words of Bloomfield, “in terms of its own structure”." (Janse)
* Özhan Öztürk, Karadeniz: Ansiklopedik Sözlük. 2 Cilt. Heyamola Yayıncılık. İstanbul, 2005. ISBN 975-6121-00-9
* Mackridge, P. 1987. Greek-Speaking Moslems of North-East Turkey: Prolegomena to Study of the Ophitic Sub-Dialect of Pontic. Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 11: 115–137.
* Τομπαΐδης, Δ.Ε. 1988. Η Ποντιακή Διάλεκτος. Αθήνα: Αρχείον Πόντου. (Tompaidis, D.E. 1988. The Pontic Dialect. Athens: Archeion Pontou.)
* Τομπαΐδης, Δ.Ε. ϗ Συμεωνίδης, Χ.Π. 2002. Συμπλήρωμα στο Ιστορικόν Λεξικόν της Ποντικής Διαλέκτου του Α.Α. Παπαδόπουλου. Αθήνα: Αρχείον Πόντου. (Tompaidis, D.E. and Simeonidis, C.P. 2002. Additions to the Historical Lexicon of the Pontic Dialect of A.A. Papadopoulos. Athens: Archeion Pontou.)
* Παπαδόπουλος, Α.Α. 1955. Ιστορική Γραμματική της Ποντικής Διαλέκτου. Αθήνα: Επιτροπή Ποντιακών Μελετών. (Papadopoulos, A.A. 1955. Historical Grammar of the Pontic Dialect. Athens: Committee for Pontian Studies.)
* Παπαδόπουλος, Α.Α. 1958–61. Ιστορικόν Λεξικόν της Ποντικής Διαλέκτου. 2 τόμ. Αθήνα: Μυρτίδης. (Papadopoulos, A.A. 1958–61. Historical Lexicon of the Pontic Dialect. 2 volumes. Athens: Mirtidis.)
* Οικονομίδης, Δ.Η. 1958. Γραμματική της Ελληνικής Διαλέκτου του Πόντου. Αθήνα: Ακαδημία Αθηνών. (Oikonomidis, D.I. 1958. Grammar of the Greek Dialect of Pontos. Athens: Athens Academy.)
* Τοπχαρά, Κ. 1998 [1932] . Η Γραμματική της Ποντιακής: Ι Γραματικι τι Ρομεικυ τι Ποντεικυ τι Γλοςας. Θεσσαλονίκη: Αφοί Κυριακίδη. (Topchara, K. 1998 [1932] . The Grammar of Pontic. Thessaloniki: Afoi Kiriakidi.)

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