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The June 2020 edition of Greek Doalogues Online, feature Dr Ioanna Sitaridou, Co-Director of the Cambridge Centre for Greek Studies, presenting her research into the ancient and endangered Greek dialect spoken in the Pontus.

The region of Pontus lies in the north of Anatolia, or Asia Minor along its coast with the Black. The region was settled by Greeks during the Archaic Period and was effectively part of the Hellenistic sphere of influence until its annexation by the Persians when it became part of the Achaemenid Empire. Despite the region becoming isolated from Greece, the population remained resolutely Greek-speaking but the language branched away and did not evolve along with mainstream Greek, giving rise to the dialect today known as Pontic Greek or Romeyka.

The website of the project Romeyka: Rediscovering an Endangered Greek Variety in  Turkey describes it thus:

"Romeyka is the last surviving variety of Greek spoken in north-eastern Turkey, in the area traditionally known as Pontus (Parcharidis 1880, Definer 1878, Mackridge 1987, 1995, Sitaridou 2014).

Islamisation of Greek speakers in the areas of Of, Sürmene, Rize, and Matsouka, is reported to have happened in the 15th-18th centuries (Vryonis 1986). However, it is not clear how many of them were assimilated native Caucasians or Turks entering Pontus together with the Ottomans from 1460 onwards, who adopted Greek. The Exchange of Populations between Greece and Turkey, which occurred under the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, saw all Orthodox Christians of Asia Minor relocate to Greece and all Muslims of Greece relocate to Turkey.

With religion as the defining criterion, Greek-speaking Muslims were allowed to stay in their Asia Minor homeland, but Greek-speaking Christians had to leave Pontus, thereby explaining why Greek survives only in small enclaves in this area."

( - retrieved 9th June 2021)

You can read more about Dr Sitaridou's fascinating study of an endangered language by visiting the project website and the article Against all odds: archaic Greek in a modern world published on Cambridge University's website. For details of the seminar, visit Greek Dialogues Online - In Search of the Lost Greek Infinitive in Anatolia.