Ancient Greek Dialect “Romeyka” Still Spoken in Turkey

Dr. Sitaridou with a "Romeyka" speaker in Turkey

An endangered Greek dialect which is spoken in north-eastern Turkey, has been identified by researchers as a “linguistic goldmine” because of its startling closeness to the ancient language. The discovery came by a Greek professor of linguistics at Cambridge University, Dr. Ioanna Sitaridou.  She has been credited with identifying the endangered Greek dialect.

The Greek researcher noted the significance of Romeica following fieldwork in the area around Trabzon (Trapezounta), on Turkey’s Black Sea coast. In a short film about her research, Sitaridou said the dialect was unique.

“Romeyka is a living language preserving structures only to be found in Classical Greek, which has been dead for more than 2,000 years,” she remarked. “What these people are speaking is a variety of Greek far more archaic than other forms of Greek spoken today.”

The 5,000 Romeyka speakers left in the area are devout Muslims and were therefore exempt from the large-scale population exchange between Greece and Turkey that took place in 1923.

The ultimate aim of Dr. Sitaridou’s research is to explain how Pontic Greek evolved.

Watch the video that summarizes part of her research:



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