Number of speakers worldwide: 15 million
Greek is the official language in Greece and Cyprus. It is a minority language in Albania, Italy and Turkey.
One of the official languages of the European Union.
Greek belongs to the Hellenic branch of the Indo-European family.
The Center for Neo-Hellenic studies, a non-profit organisation created to promote Modern Greek culture and literature, at http://www.snhell.gr/en/index.html ; the Hellenic Foundation for Culture at http://www.hfc.gr/wmt/webpages/index.php?pid=1&lid=2.
Modern Greek, like German, is a language of declensions: the suffix of each word changes depending on its function in the sentence. In addition, Greek distinguishes two grammatical aspects for each verb: the continuous aspect (referring to the present) and the instantaneous aspect (referring to the past, called an aorist).
Originally, Greek was not a uniform language. There used to be a surprisingly large number of dialects of Greek considering the actual geographical size of Greece. People speaking different dialects could understand each other, although those speaking particularly distant dialects would often have great difficulty in communicating. Like every other language, the Greek language has evolved, becoming more homogeneous due to increased contact between regions and with the outside world. Literature, song, then the printing press and television accelerated this process of standardisation.
The primary dialectal groups of Ancient Greek were Western (Doric), Aeolic and Ionic-Attic.