|History of the|
(see also: Greek alphabet)
|Ancient Greek |
Attic, Doric, Ionic
|Koine Greek (from c323 BC)
|Medieval Greek (c330-1453)
|Modern Greek (from 1453) |
Demotic, Griko, Katharevousa,
Pontic, Tsakonic, Yevanic
'Yevanic, otherwise known as Romaniote and Judeo-Greek, was the dialect of the Romaniotes, the group of Greek Jews whose existence in Greece is documented since the Hellenistic period. Its linguistic lineage stems from the Hellenistic Koine (Ελληνική Κοινή) and includes Hebrew elements as well. It was mutually intelligible with Greek of the Christian population. The Romaniotes used their version of the Hebrew alphabet to write Greek and Yevanic texts.
The name "Yevanic" stems from the Biblical Javan, ancestor of the Greeks (Genesis 10).
There are no longer any native speakers of Yevanic, for the following reasons:
- the assimilation of the tiny Romaniote communities by the more numerous Ladino-speaking Sephardi Jews
- the adoption of Greek, Turkish and Bulgarian through assimilation;
- the emigration of many of the Romaniotes to Israel and the United States;
- the ideology of Zionism, which favored Hebrew as the one language for all Jews;
- and finally, the extermination of many of the Romaniotes during the Holocaust.