Macedonian Greek

Glottocode: mace1251

Macedonian Modern Greek is part of the northern Greek varieties, spoken in the region of Macedonia. The transition to the dialects of Thrace in the east and Thessaly in the southwest is a linguistic continuum. The name Macedonian Greek is motivated more geographically than linguistically; the differences to the neighbouring varieties are minor and the regional identity is certainly based on the linguistic varieties of the region to a small extent only. The speakers consider themselves Macedonian Greek or purely Greek. The Macedonian Greek varieties are given a number of regional names, e.g. ɕaʨná for the variety of Siatista, gzanítka for the variety of Kozani. Besides this, the regional name mak'eðoniká (Pl. N.), with its dialectal types mak'iðuɲiká, makeðónika, mak'iðóɲika, can be used in scientific use, but is not popular in the vernacular. As in the majority of the Modern Greek dialects, it has neither official status nor any use in literature. Only texts with folklore themes are published where the Greek spelling is used with various levelling of appropriate expressions of the dialectal characteristics.

    Settlements represented in our collection

    Characteristics of the variety

    Characteristics of the variety

    Characteristics of the northern Greek varieties (Thracian, Macedonian, Thessalian and others):

    • In many areas the loss of the unstressed vowels /i/, /u/ happens even inside the word ("severe" north Greek group):
      piɣáði > bɣaðʹ 'well''
      ɣurúni > ɣrúɲ 'pig'
      kuðúni > gðuɲ 'bell'
      kuʦós > kʦos 'lame' (Kontosopoulos 1996: 62)
    • The sibilants /s/, /z/ are pronounced as soft sibilants /ɕ/ , /ʑ/ before /i/ and /e/ as in the neighbouring areas Epirus, Thessaly and the island of Lesvos. In some cases this happens before the semivowel /ĭ/ or only before /k/, /t/, /p/:
      esí > iɕí 'you'
      séla > ɕéla 'paddle'
      kerásĭa > kjiráɕa 'cherries'
      zésti > ʑésta 'warm'
      trapezĭa > trapéʑa 'tables'
      skilí > ɕkʎi 'dog'
    • In many regions of Macedonia the consonant /l/ is pronounced /ɫ/ before /a/, /o/, /u/.
    • In many areas /l/ and /n/ are pronounced /ʎ/ and /ɲ/ before /e/:
      ne > ɲe 'yes'
      Léni > ʎeɲ 'Hellen'
    • In a large part of Macedonia, in Thrace, Limnos and Lesvos the clusters /mb/, /nd/, /ŋg/ are pronounced without nasal.
    • In Lesvos /k/ before /e/ and /i/ is pronounced /ʦ/, /ʨ/
      kukí > kʦí 'grain'
      ke > ʨi 'and'
      kerós > ʨirós 'weather'
    • In Thrace an /ʝ/ is pronounced between two vowels
      θeós > θiʝós 'God'
      tría > tríʝa 'three'
      Maríʝa 'Mary'
    • In Lesvos the /ʝ/ is found even in the first position in the word before the vowel
      ʝénas > ʝénas 'one'
    • After the loss of unstressed /i/  and /u/ new consonantal clusters are created:
      kutí > ktí 'box'
      ɣalatópita > ɣalatópta 'milk pie'
      or changes take place:
      mélisa > mélʦa 'bee'
      misós > mpsós 'half'
      χamilós > xamblós 'low'
      χrisós > ksos 'gold'
      vukéndra > fk'éndra 'prod'
    • The masculine article is /u/ in Central Greece, Epirus, West Macedonia:
      u ándras 'the man'
      and /i/ in Thessaly, Thrace, Lesvos:
      i ándras 'the man'
    • The use of genitive is limited and often replaced by prepositional phrases:
      ap ónan papá kuriʨ 'girl of a priest'
      tu ɕpit' ap tun Ɲíku 'the house of Nick'
    • In some areas, due to the restoration of the stress in the conjugation, the law of the three syllables of the Greek language is violated:
      éfaɣaman 'we were eating' (Epirus)
      ékanami 'we were making' (Thrace)
      In other areas a secondary stress is developed in the penultimate:
      éfaɣàmi 'we were eating' (Thessaly)
      ékupsàmi 'we cut' (Thessaly)
      The past tense in active voice ends in -ka instead of -sa in Epirus, West Macedonia, Thrace:
      épçaka 'I took' (Epirus)
      épçasa 'I took' (Thessaly)
    • The imperfect and past tenses in active voice have the first plural in -man, second plural in –-an in Epirus and West Macedonia:
      fáɣaman 'we were eating'
      kópsaman 'we cut'
      píɣaman 'we went'
    • In Epirus and Central Greece the indirect object is in genitive (as in Common Modern Greek). In Thessaly, Macedonia, Thrace and on the islands, it is in accusative:
      se ðíno > ɕi ðínu 'I give to you'
      θa tis po > θa tim po 'I will tell her'
    • In Macedonia, Thrace, Lemnos the endings of the diminutives are -úð' , -úðα , in Lesvos -éʎ, in Thessaly and West Makedonia -úʎ , -úla:
      kurʦúð 'little girl' (Macedonia)
      Marɣúða 'little Mary' (Macedonia)
      ɲifúða 'little bride' (Thrace)
      piðéʎ 'little boy' (Lesvos)
      piðúʎ 'little boy' (Thessaly)

    Ethnohistoric background of our collections

    Ethnohistoric background of our collections

    In the framework of the VLACH commission a series of field work trips have been conducted. Our first collections refer to the following idioms and regions:

    1. Vallahades variety
    Between 2016 and 2019 Thede Kahl and Andreea Pascaru visited the Greek speaking communities of the Vallahades in Turkey. As the population exchange (better: the agreed mutual expulsion) between Greece and Turkey in the early 1920s was based on religion, the Greek speaking Muslim population has been forced to emigrate. They had to leave their homeland in Western Macedonian regions of Kozani/Kojani and Grevena/Grebene and were settled in Istanbul (Kumburgaz, Büyükçekmece), Çatalca (Elbasan), İzmir, in the Aydın (Mursallı, Karakollar), Niğde (Yeşilburç) and Denizli (Honaz) provinces as well as in some villages of Eastern Thrace, where the elder ones continue to speak their West Macedonian Modern Greek variety. Most of them self-identify as "patryots" (i.e. Patriots) and call their language "romeyka" (Romaic, Greek), whereas the foreign denominations Vallahades (Vallaades) and Futsides are hardly used anymore. The collection includes everyday language, oral history, songs, narrations, discussions about the population exchange and questions concerning the grammar.

    2. Kozani varieties
    Our collection includes field word material collected by Thede Kahl and Sotirios Rousiakis about everyday language, oral history, songs and narrations. As examples for dialectal use of Macedonian (Northern) Greek we choosed three following regions and their varieties:

    • The city of Kozani and its variety is an interesting exception because cities have generally adopted modern standard Greek to a much greater extent than rural Greece. In Kozani the local dialect (kozanítika, dial. gzanítka) can be heard at several occasions. This may be due to local celebrations such as the very popular carnival.
    • The Tsiartsiambas villages.
    • In the village of Siatista a local variety (siatistiná dial. ɕaʨná) whith a unique phonetic charateristic survived. The dentals /t/ and /d/ before front vowels /í/, /i/, /i/ (< unstressed /e/) and /é/ are converted into the voiceless retroflex sibilant affricate /ʈʂ/ or the voiced retroflex sibilant affricate /ɖʐ/ respectively. Examples:
      ɕaʨná    Standard Greek    English
      ʝaʈʂíγιατí [ʝatí]why
      ιχʈʂésεχτές [eχtés]yesterday
      míʈʂisμύτες [mítes]noses
      érçiʈʂiέρχεται [érçete]s/he comes
      ɖʐínuντύνω [díno ]clothe
      ánɖʐiruάντερο [ándero]intestine
      These sounds are distinguished from the alveolo-palatal affricates /ʨ/, /ʥ/. Examples:
      kʈʂi       κουτί [kutí]     box
      kʨíκουτσή [kuʦí]     lame (female)

    3. The variety of the Kopatsiars in upper Grevena
    The linguistic variety of the Kopatsiars is the western continuation of the language of the Vallahades. To the west of the distribution area of the Kopatsiars, the Aromanian languags is spoken in a compact area. The hitherto small collection focuses on the agricultural vocabulary of the Kopatsiars.

    Bibliography

    Bibliography

     


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