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date: 04 December 2022

dialects, Greek, prehistorylocked

dialects, Greek, prehistorylocked

  • Anna Morpurgo Davies


In the first half of the first millennium bce each Greek region and indeed each Greek city spoke and sometimes wrote its own dialect (see Greek language). The Greeks themselves mentioned four ethnic groups, Athenians, *Ionians, *Dorians, and Aeolians (see Aeolis), characterized by different dialects, though other classifications were also in use. On the basis of shared linguistic features modern scholars classify the dialects into five groups: Attic-Ionic (in Attica, the Ionic islands of the Aegean, and Asia Minor), Doric (in the Peloponnese, the Doric islands of the Aegean, and Asia Minor), North-West Greek (in the northern part of mainland Greece), Aeolic (in *Boeotia, *Thessaly, and part of Asia Minor including *Lesbos) and Arcado-Cypriot (in *Arcadia and *Cyprus, with possible links to *Pamphylia). It is disputed whether the *Mycenaean language, attested in the second millennium bce, belongs to any of these groups, though it has close links with Arcado-Cypriot.


  • Linguistics

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