Guide to Greek Usage in Cataloging


Katharevousa: literary “purified” form of the Greek language; polytonic (showing all diacritics)

  • Archaic forms based on Koine Greek
  • Adamantios Koraēs, scholar of the Enlightnment, greatest proponent of its use in effort to keep the Greek language free from foreign elements (particularly Turkish)
  • Official written language of modern Greek state in the 19th century prior to 1976
  • No longer used in official publications.

Demotic: spoken Greek (of the people); monotonic (single acute accent on stressed syllable)

  • The era of Modern Greek language begins with texts written after 1453. Texts written before 1453 are considered Classical Greek.
  • Diacritical marks such as accents and the dieresis, and the iota subscript (ι) are omitted in Romanization.
  • As the result of a presidential decree in Greece in 1982, monosyllabic words are now written without accents; polysyllabic words are written with the acute accent (ό) only.



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