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Pontic Greek

Pontic is a Greek language originally spoken on the shores of the Black Sea, the Pontus. Its speakers are Pontian Greeks.

Pontic's linguistic lineage stems from Attic Greek, and contains influences from Byzantine Greek, Turkish and, to a lesser extent, Persian and various Caucasian languages.

Although Greeks regard Pontic as a dialect of Greek, Pontic and Standard Greek are mostly mutually incomprehensible, both because they developed independently for almost two millennia, and because of the influence of Ibero-Caucasian languages on Pontic in the middle ages. (For instance, Pontic replaces gender distinctions in its adjectives with a strict animacy distinction, alien to both Greek and Turkish.)

  • Example 1: Pontic en (is), Ancient Greek esti, Koine idiomatic form enesti, Biblical form eni, Modern Greek ine
  • Example 2: Pontic temeteron (ours), Ancient Greek to(n) hemeteron, Modern Greek to(n) * mas
  • Example 3: Pontic diminutive pedhin (little child), Ancient Greek paidion, Modern Greek pedhi
  • Example 4 (combining 2 and 3): Pontic temeteron to pedin (our little child), Ancient Greek/Koine to hemeteron paidion, Modern Greek to pedi mas



  • Rumja, Rumdza, Romeika (Greek Spekings from Trabzon)

Romeika sincevismi? (Do you speak Greek?) < Romei, Rum terms comes from Roman, citizen of Roman Empire

  • Pontiaka (Pontic diaspora from Greece)

The Greek linguist Manolis Triandafyllidis has divided Pontic into a Western group (Oinuntiac/Niotika, around Oinoe/Ünye), an eastern coastal group (Trapezuntiac, around Trebizond/Trabzon), and Chaldiot, in the eastern hinterland (around Argyroupolis/Gümüshane -- Kanin in Pontic); most speakers lived in Chaldia.


Though Pontic was originally spoken on the southern shores of the Black Sea, substantial numbers migrated to the northern and eastern shores in what was then the Russian Empire in the 18th and 19th century; Pontic is still spoken by large numbers in the Ukraine, Russia (around Stavropol'), and Georgia, and the language enjoyed some use as a literary medium in the 1930s, including a school grammar (Topkhara 1998 [1932]). After the massacres of the 1910s, the majority of speakers remaining in Asia Minor were subject to the Treaty of Lausanne population transfer, and were resettled in Greece, mainly northern Greece. The inhabitants of the Of valley, who had converted to Islam in the 17th century, remained in Turkey, and speak Pontic to this day (Mackridge 1987). In Greece, Pontic is now used more emblematically than as a medium of communication; there is some limited production of literature in Pontic, including issues of Asterix.

Greek speaking villages list from Trabzon

  • Tonya (17 villages)
  • Sürmene (6 villages)
  • Çaykara (17 villages)
  • Dernekpazarı (13 villages)
  • Uzungölz, Sheraxo (6 villages)
  • Maçka? No information
  • Torul, Yağlıdere, Santa, Kromni (no villages )

Comparison with Ancient Greek

  • 1. In Trabzon Greek attach /e/ sound to ancient aorist suffix –ειν
ipíne ειπείν
pathíne παθείν
apothaníne αποθανείν
piíne πιείν
iδíne ιδείν
fiíne φυγείν
evríne ευρείν
kamíne καμείν
faíne θαγείν
mathíne μαθείν
erthéane ελθείν
meníne μενείν

  • 2. Similar infinitive –ηνα
anevίne αναβήναι
katevine καταβήναι
embine εμβήναι
evjine εκβήναι
epiδeavine αποδιαβήναι
kimethine κοιμηθήναι
xtipethine κτυπηθήναι
evrethine ευρεθήναι
vrasine βρχήναι
raine ραγήναι

  • 3. First aorist -αι change with second aorist -είν
κράξαι κράξειν
μεθύσαι μεθύσειν

  • 4. Infinitive aorist /e/

ράψεινε, κράξεινε, μεθύσεινε, καλέσεινε, λαλήσεινε, κτυπήσεινε, καθίσεινε

  • 5. Same aorist suffix –ka
eδoka έδωκα
enδoka ενέδωκα
epika επουίκα
efika αφήκα
ethika έθεκα

  • 6. –ine infinitive change to -eane

External links


  • Georges Drettas, Aspects pontiques, ARP, 1997, ISBN 2951034903. "... marks the beginning of a new era in Greek dialectology. Not only is it the first comprehensive grammar of Pontic not written in Greek, but it is also the first self-contained grammar of any Greek “dialect” written, in the words of Bloomfield, “in terms of its own structure”." (Janse)
  • Özhan Öztürk, Karadeniz: Ansiklopedik Sözlük. 2 Cilt. Heyamola Yayıncılık. İstanbul, 2005. ISBN 975-6121-00-9
  • Mackridge, P. 1987. Greek-Speaking Moslems of North-East Turkey: Prolegomena to Study of the Ophitic Sub-Dialect of Pontic. Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 11: 115–137.
  • Τομπαΐδης, Δ.Ε. 1988. Η Ποντιακή Διάλεκτος. Αθήνα: Αρχείον Πόντου.
  • Τομπαΐδης, Δ.Ε. ϗ Συμεωνίδης, Χ.Π. 2002. Συμπλήρωμα στο Ιστορικόν Λεξικόν της Ποντικής Διαλέκτου του Α.Α. Παπαδόπουλου. Αθήνα: Αρχείον Πόντου.
  • Παπαδόπουλος, Α.Α. 1955. Ιστορική Γραμματική της Ποντικής Διαλέκτου. Αθήνα: Επιτροπή Ποντιακών Μελετών.
  • Παπαδόπουλος, Α.Α. 1958–61. Ιστορικόν Λεξικόν της Ποντικής Διαλέκτου. 2 τόμ. Αθήνα: Μυρτίδης.
  • Οικονομίδης, Δ.Η. 1958. Γραμματική της Ελληνικής Διαλέκτου του Πόντου. Αθήνα: Ακαδημία Αθηνών.
  • Τοπχαρά, Κ. 1998 [1932]. Η Γραμματική της Ποντιακής: Ι Γραματικι τι Ρομεικυ τι Ποντεικυ τι Γλοςας. Θεσσαλονίκη: Αφοί Κυριακίδη

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