Greek belongs to the Indo-European language family (see Indo-Europeans). That it has more intimate relations with the Italic group than with other languages was believed in other times by illustrious glottologists such as A. Schleicher, Greece Curtius, GI Ascoli. Today this doctrine can be said to be definitively outdated, despite the attempts made by some philologists (W. v. Christ, E. Cocchia) to put it back in honor. It could only be proved true by the agreement of the two linguistic branches in a series of grammatical innovations. Now the examples that can be adduced are scarce and no one escapes the suspicion that the agreement is accidental. Even H. Hirt, who perhaps unique among living glottologists insists on noting a certain number of grammatical concordances between Greek and Latin, renounces to give a historical interpretation to linguistic facts,Handbuch d. griech. Laut – u. Formenlehre, Heidelberg 1902, p. 23, 2nd ed. 1912, p. 25. Indog. Grammatik, I, therein 1927, p. 57). We can conclude with A. Pagliaro (Summary of Ario-European linguistics, I, Rome 1930, p. 181) that between the two languages there is only “a cultural kinship due to being the means of expression of two civilizations in continuous relationship, which they face the modern world as a unitary whole; kinship which is all the more important as it is supported by a more distant genetic kinship “.
The numerous forms, or dialects, in which Greek from the beginning of the tradition appears differentiated, have a series of common characters and thus reveal themselves as variations of a single linguistic type.
Let us recall some of those characters, especially phonetic and morphological ′ for which Greek acquires a particular aspect that distinguishes it from all other Indo-European languages. First of all, it should be noted that Greek presents almost unchanged the vowels that the comparison of the sister languages authorizes us to consider as Indo-European, and maintains the opposition of short syllables to long syllables on which the Indo-European rhythm is based. The original diphthongs still existed in the oldest Greek; but the tendency was soon revealed to reduce them in pronunciation to simple vowels, and the reduction took place with greater or lesser speed for the different diphthongs in the different dialects. The original sounding liquids r̥, l̥, are represented in Greek by αρ, ρα and by αλ, λα. In the beginning of the word the semivowel j was reduced to an aspiration (‛) and in unspecified conditions to zd = ζ (hence the couple ἧπαρ lat. Iecur contrasts ζυγόν iugum). Preceded by an occlusive, the same semivowel was treated in Greek otherwise than in all other languages (kj, k ḥ j > σσ, att. Beot. Ττ; tj, thj > σσ, σ, att. Σ, beot. Ττ; gj, dj > ζ i.e. zd). The sound sbetween vowels he vanished. The Indo-European consonant system was greatly simplified since the voiced aspirates (bh, etc.) were reduced to deaf aspirates (ph, etc.) and the labiovelars (q w, etc.) were eliminated which under different conditions in the different dialects became labial or dental and more rarely guttural. At the end of a word, Greek does not tolerate, in addition to vowels, other sounds than n, r, s. The Greek accent preserves the eminently musical character of the Indo-European accent, and therefore better than “accent” we would say “tone”. However, as for the position, while in the Indo-European word it could be freely moved, in Greek the accent is bound by the so-called law of the three syllables, that is, it cannot go back beyond the third to last syllable. In the declension, the most salient fact consists in the reduction of the number of cases, which in Indo-European were at least eight, to only five (including the vocative which is often not distinguished from the nominative), having merged the instrumental and the locative with the dative and the fusion, already partially implemented in Indo-European, of the ablative with the genitive.s, gen. omer. -ᾱ ο classic -ου) the influence of themes in – ŏ -. The formation of the superlative with the suffix -τατο- is peculiar to the Greek. In the paradigm of the pronouns “we” and “you” the Greek extends the theme * ἀσμε- resp. * ὐσμε- al nom. (lesb. ἄμμες, ὔμμες, Attic ἡμεῖς, ὑμεῖς), to which he was originally foreign. Outside the Greek, the pronouns οὗτος, αὐτός, (ἐ) κεῖνος, dor are not encountered. lesb. κῆνος, dor. τῆνος, nor is the numeral “one” formed from the stem * sem – (Lat. semel) (εἷς, μία, ἕν from * σεμς, * σμια, * σεμ). In conjugation, it is noted that among the sister languages, Greek is the one that has the greatest number of forms, since it not only preserves the Indo-European repertoire, but also increases it.n and the passive aorist with the suffix -ϑη-. The second person singular of the middle imperative with the ending -σϑω is Greek creation, evidently traced on the corresponding active ending -τω, whose antiquity is proved by the Indian and Italic counterparts.