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INTRODUCTION.

THE GREEK LANGUAGE AND ITS DIALECTS.

Art. 1 THE GREEK LANGUAGE (pwvn) 'Exλnviký) is that which was anciently spoken throughout the whole extent of Greece or Hellas (Exλás), a term which included all the Greek colonies (Herod. II. 182). But there were two countries to which this name was applied, that which still bears the name, and which was distinguished as ǹ ȧpxaía 'Exλás (Plut. Timol. c. 37), or Græcia Antiqua; and the south-east of Italy with Sicily, which was called ʼn μeyáλn 'Exλás (Strabo, p. 253), or Græcia Magna. The former of these countries was also termed "continuous Greece " (Exλàs ouvexýs, Scylax, p. 12; Dicæarchus, v. 32 sqq.), as opposed to "discontinuous" or "sporadic Greece" (Exλàs σπорadiкý), (Ἑλλὰς σποραδική), which included all the scattered colonies.

2 It was in the former of these, or Greece Proper, as it is sometimes designated, that this language was formed by a fusion of different tribes; and though the colonists in Asia Minor and Magna Græcia contributed largely to the development of Greek literature, the intellectual energies of the people, and consequently the living excellence of the language, were always most conspicuous in the mother-country; and, in the end, all the scattered Greeks had learned to speak the language of Attica.

3 The ancient Greek language is a member of the great IndoGermanic family, and is therefore intimately connected with the old languages of the Indians, Persians, Celts, Sclavonians, Germans, and Italians. It belongs to the science of Comparative Philology to point out the nature and extent of this connexion1.

1 The ethnography of the ancient Greeks has been fully discussed in the New Cratylus, book 1. chap. 4.

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