|Γκραίκο · Γκρίκο|
|(20,000 cited 1981)|
40,000 to 50,000 L2 speakers
Location map of the Italiot-speaking areas in Salento and Calabria
Griko, sometimes spelled Grico, is the dialect of Italiot Greek spoken by Griko people in Salento and (sometimes spelled Grecanic) in Calabria. Some Greek linguists consider it to be a Modern Greek dialect and often call it Katoitaliótika (Greek: Κατωιταλιώτικα, "Southern Italian") or Grekanika (Γρεκάνικα), whereas its own speakers call it Greko (Γκραίκο, in Calabria) or Griko (Γκρίκο, in Salento). Griko and Standard Modern Greek are partially mutually intelligible.
The most popular hypothesis on the origin of Griko is the one by Gerhard Rohlfs and Georgios Hatzidakis, that Griko's roots go as far back in history as the time of the ancient Greek colonies in Southern Italy and Sicily in the eighth century BC. The Southern Italian dialect is thus considered to be the last living trace of the Greek elements that once formed Magna Graecia.
There are, however, competing hypotheses according to which Griko may have preserved some Doric elements, but its structure is otherwise mostly based on Koine Greek, like almost all other Modern Greek dialects. Thus, Griko should rather be described as a Doric-influenced descendant of Medieval Greek spoken by those who fled the Byzantine Empire to Italy trying to escape the Turks. The idea of Southern Italy's Greek dialects being historically derived from Medieval Greek was proposed for the first time in the 19th century by Giuseppe Morosi.
Two small Italiot-speaking communities survive today in the Italian regions of Calabria (Province of Reggio Calabria) and Apulia (peninsula of Salento). The Italiot-speaking area of Salento comprises nine small towns in the Grecìa Salentina region (Calimera, Martano, Castrignano de' Greci, Corigliano d'Otranto, Melpignano, Soleto, Sternatia, Zollino, Martignano), with a total of 40,000 inhabitants. The Calabrian Greek region also consists of nine villages in Bovesia, (including Bova Superiore, Roghudi, Gallicianò, Chorìo di Roghudi and Bova Marina) and four districts in the city of Reggio Calabria, but its population is significantly smaller, with around only 2000 inhabitants.
By Law 482 of 1999, the Italian parliament recognized the Griko communities of Reggio Calabria and Salento as a Greek ethnic and linguistic minority. It states that the Republic protects the language and culture of its Albanian, Catalan, Germanic, Greek, Slovene and Croat populations and of those who speak French, Franco-Provençal, Friulian, Ladin, Occitan and Sardinian.
There is rich oral tradition and Griko folklore. Griko songs, music and poetry are particularly popular in Italy and Greece. Famous music groups from Salento include Ghetonia and Aramirè. Also, influential Greek artists such as Dionysis Savvopoulos and Maria Farantouri have performed in Griko. The Greek musical ensemble Encardia focuses on Griko songs as well as on the musical tradition of Southern Italy at large.
Sample text from Καληνύφτα – Kalinifta ("Good night") and Andramu pai, popular Griko songs:
|Griko||Modern Greek||English Translation|
|Καληνύφτα - kali'nifta||Καληνύχτα - kali'nixta||Good night|
|Εβώ πάντα σε σένα πενσέω,
γιατί σένα φσυχή μου 'γαπώ,
τσαι που πάω, που σύρνω, που στέω
στην καρδία, μου πάντα σένα βαστῶ.
|Εγώ πάντα εσένα σκέφτομαι,
γιατί εσένα ψυχή μου αγαπώ,
και όπου πάω, όπου σέρνομαι, όπου στέκομαι,
στην καρδιά μου πάντα εσένα βαστώ.
|I always think of you|
because I love you, my soul,
and wherever I go, wherever I drag myself into, wherever I stay,
inside my heart I always hold you.
|[eˈvo ˈpanta se ˈsena penˈseo
jaˈti ˈsena fsiˈhi mu ɣaˈpo
tɕe pu ˈpao pu ˈsirno pu ˈsteo
stin karˈdia mu ˈpanta ˈsena vasˈto]
|[eˈɣo ˈpanda eˈsena ˈsceftome
ʝaˈti eˈsena psiˈçi mu aɣaˈpo
ce ˈopu ˈpao ˈopu sernome ˈopu stekome
stin karˈðʝa mu ˈpanda eˈsena vaˈsto]
|Griko||Modern Greek||English Translation|
|Ἄνδρα μοῦ πάει - Andramu pai||Ὁ ἄνδρας μοῦ πάει - O andras mou pai||My husband is gone|
|Στὲ κούω τὴ μπάντα τσαὶ στὲ κούω ἦττο σόνο
Στέω ἐττοῦ μα 'σα τσαὶ στὲ πένσεω στὸ τρένο
Πένσεω στὸ σκοτεινό τσαὶ ἤττη μινιέρα
ποῦ πολεμώντα ἐτσεί πεσαίνει ὁ γένο!
|Ἀκούω τὴν μπάντα, ἀκούω τὴ μουσική
Εἶμαι ἐδὼ μαζί σας μὰ σκέφτομαι τὸ τρένο
Σκέφτομαι τὸ σκοτάδι καὶ τὸ ὀρυχεῖο
ὅπου δουλεύοντας πεθαίνει ὁ κόσμος!
|I hear the band, I hear the music|
I'm here with you but I think of the train
I think of darkness and the mine
where people work and die!
|Ste 'kuo ti 'baⁿda ce ste kuo itto sono,
steo et'tu ma sa ce ste 'penseo sto 'treno,
penseo sto skotinò citti miniera
pu polemònta ecì peseni o jeno!
|Akuo ti banda, akuo ti musiki
ime edho mazi sas ma skeftome to treno
skeftome to skotadhi kai to orihio
opu doulevontas petheni o kosmos!