Cretan Language and Dialect

The language and dialect of Crete

The Cretan Greek is a normally considered to be merely a dialect of the Greek language that is spoken by the people living in Crete and the many thousands who make up the diaspora. Many suggest that in Crete, just like many other islands in Greece, there are only pronunciation differences and different words or expressions compared to standard Greek and that these can vary within the island of Crete itself.

A few examples is the use of "inta" instead of "ti" for "what"; "kai" sounds more like "che" (and) ; "edA " instead of "twra" (now) and "epA" or "epae" instead of "edo" (here). It is generally thought that Cretan Greek, like most other Greek dialects evolved from Koine, the universal dialect of Greek that was spoken throughout post-Classical antiquity (300 BC to 300AD) but its structure and vocabulary displays differences from standard Greek due to the distance of Crete from main Greek cities of influence. It is also considered that the conquest of Crete by various groups over the centuries have left their influence particularly on vocabulary.

However, in 2005, and after 25 years of petitioning by a dedicated group of Cretan linguists, the EU has formally recognised that Cretan Greek is not a dialect but a living language and believed to be Europe"s oldest living language with roots that stretch back further than Ancient Greek. One of the main leaders of this group of Cretan linguists argues that the Cretan villager of today would have no trouble conversing with an ancestor at the time of Knossos.