The story of a Greek town that I'm told still preserves the Spartan tongue. I explore why they don't speak like the rest of Greece and dig into their connection to ancient Sparta. Will their Tsakonian language survive?
~ CORRECTIONS & ADDITIONS ~
The man from Leonidio is a "headmaster", not "schoolmaster". His story and links to the recordings are in my sources doc below.
~ SUMMARY ~
Ancient Greece was home to a variety of dialects. Athens and Sparta both put up a major fight. Long story short, the dialect of one of those cities won out. Guess which? Athens, of course. Attic Greek combined with a hefty dose of Ionic to form the Koiné (Common) Greek, the ancestor of basically all modern Greek dialects.
All but perhaps one. Travel to a small town in the south of Greece, where a headmaster leads his students up the hillsides to record the words of their elders. These aging villagers speak Tsakonian (Τσακώνικα), a special remnant that may soon crumble into another Greek artifact.
I look at pieces of the grammar and pronunciation of the language, and show you what sets it apart from Modern Greek. Search for any ancient holdouts it preserves. Consider its connection to the Doric dialect of Ancient Sparta. Finally, ponder its place in modern Greece and how much longer it will be with us.