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A quick bit of linguistic anthropology to round off your Wednesday afternoon. Greek linguist, Ioanna Sitaridou, located a population of people in Northeastern Turkish villages, near the Black Sea (or Pontus), speaking the Romeyka dialect of ancient Greek. Ancient Greek has not been in use for thousands of years, so a finding like this can give us a bit of insight into how the language sounded. The reason the language has survived is a bit confusing to me, she explains it is due to religion,

The Romeyka speakers are devout Muslims and were therefore exempt from the large-scale population exchange between Greece and Turkey that took place in 1923, she said.

She’s been mapping the grammatical structures and variations in use as well as recording audio and video of the villagers telling stories. The ultimate aim of the research is to explain how Pontic Greek evolved. According to this source, she gave a talk last year about here research. Did anyone attend? What was it like? Like most of the world’s dialects, they are at risk of extinction especially due to emigration from Trabzon and the Turkish majority.

Hat tip to Stephen Chrisomalis, who blogged about this on Glossographia. You can read more about this language re-discovery at the Independent

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