Language

Difference Between Greek and Latin

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Main Difference

The main difference between Greek and Latin is that Greek is considered a living language, whereas Latin is known to be an extinct language.

Greek vs. Latin

Greek is the oldest language in the Indo-European language family that is still a native language. Latin is another famous ancient language that is no longer in use. The Greek language is considered a living language. On the other hand, Latin is known to be the extinct language. Greek belongs to the separate Hellenic or Greek branch of the Indo-European language family. Latin belongs to the independent the Italic branch of the Indo-European language family.

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The history of the Greek language tells that it was the lingua franca during the classical period and the official language of the Byzantine Empire in the classical antiquity. The history of Latin language tells that it was the lingua franca during the Middle Ages; the Byzantine Empire replaced its official language with Latin during late antiquity. Most of the laws of science are in Greek, while the elements of the periodic table are in Latin. Greek is known to be the official language of some countries, e.g., Greece and Cyprus. Latin is known to be the official language of the Romans and Vatican city.

Greek has its specific alphabet, and its structure is VSO or SVO structure. Latin had different alphabets, and its construction was a verb-final sentence structure. Greek gave many scientific, technical, and medical words. Many other languages rooted in Latin. Greek is divided into periods, e.g., Ancient Greek, Proto-Greek, Mycenaean Greek, Koine Greek, Modern, and Medieval Greek. Latin is classified into periods such as Classical Latin, Old Latin, Vulgar Latin, and Medieval Latin.

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Comparison Chart

GreekLatin
The oldest language is belonging to the Hellenic or Greek branch of the Indo-European language family.The oldest language is belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European language family.
Official Language
Of Greece and CyprusOf the Romans and the Vatican city
Language Status
LivingExtinct
Alphabet Origin
From the Phoenician scriptBy the Greek script
Specific Structure
VSO or SVO structureVerb-final sentence structure
Influence
Many scientific, technical, and medical wordsMany other languages

What is Greek?

Greek is one of the most prominent and oldest languages that stemmed from the Hellenic or Greek branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It has the most extended documented history of about 34 centuries of written records among any Indo-European language. It is the principal language spoken in Greece, having almost 13 million native speakers. Other areas in which Greek is the native language are southern Balkans, the Aegean Islands, western Asia Minor, southern Italy, Albania, Greece, Cyprus, and some parts of northern and Eastern Anatolia and the South Caucasus.

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Greek is referred to as an opulent language with its phonology, morphology, syntax, and vocabulary. Linguistically, Greek is a language with diglossia (different varieties for written and spoken). The Greek language is primarily known for its literature, and its history dates back to 4th century BC. Western literature also emerged from Greek literature. There are various periods of the Greek language, e.g., Proto-Greek, Mycenaean Greek, Ancient Greek, Koine Greek, Modern, and Medieval Greek.

Greek was the lingua franca (any language used for communication among speakers of other languages) in the Meditation world in classical antiquity. It is the base language of many writing systems as Latin and Gothic. It was the official language of the Byzantine Empire, and the Modern Greek is known to be the official language of Greece and Cyprus. The Greek language has excellent participation in science as it made many relevant laws, and it lent many scientific terms. The Greek alphabet originated from the Phoenician script, and the language structure is VSO or SVO structure.

What is Latin?

Latin is one of the most prominent languages in the Indo-European language family. The Latin language was spoken in ‘Latium’ that is an area of Italy. The Latin alphabet is the oldest inscriptions dating back to 6th Century BC, and it originated from the Etruscan alphabet. It is an ancient language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European language family that was spoken during the Roman Empire. There are no native speakers of Latin at present, and t is known as an extinct or dead language.

Latin does not evolve like other languages, and this is because its use was only confined to some groups of the Roman Catholic Church. It is classified into different periods, e.g., Old Latin, Classical Latin, Vulgar Latin, Medieval Latin, etc. Classical Latin is mainly found in the written form. The written form of Latin still exists, but it is not spoken. Vulgar Latin refers to the colloquial language that is spoken by the people at the time. Vulgar Latin later become the influence of Italic/Romance languages such as Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, etc.

Latin terminology is also used in fields like biology, medicine, and theology. It has excellent participation in sciences as most of the elements of the periodic table are in Latin, e.g., nattruim, gallium, etc. Latin was once a primary language of the Roman empire, and still many languages are influenced by Latin, e.g., The family Romance languages such as French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, etc. While during the 15th century, its usage lessened, and it got replaced by other languages.

Key Differences

  1. Greek has its roots from the Hellenic or Greek branch of the Indo-European language family. In contrast, Latin relates to the Italic branch of the Indo-European language family.
  2. The Greek language is considered a living language that is in use in comparison. Latin is known to be a dead or extinct language.
  3. Greek is known to be the official language of some countries, e.g., Greece and Cyprus; on the other hand, Latin is known to be the official language of the Romans and Vatican city.
  4. The Greek alphabet is found to be originated from the Phoenician script; inversely, the Latin alphabet is known to be influenced by the Greek text.
  5. Greek is divided into various periods, e.g., Proto-Greek, Mycenaean Greek, Ancient Greek, Koine Greek, Medieval Greek, and Modern Greek, while Latin is classified into periods, g., Old Latin, Classical Latin, Vulgar Latin, Medieval Latin, etc.
  6. The history of Greek language tells that it was the lingua franca during the classical period; on the flip side, Latin was the lingua franca during the Middle Ages.
  7. Greek was the official language of the Byzantine Empire during classical antiquity; on the contrary, the Byzantine Empire replaced its official language with Latin during late antiquity.
  8. Most of the laws of science are in Greek; on the other side of the elements of the periodic table are in Latin.
  9. Greek gave many scientific, technical, and medical words; conversely, many other languages rooted in Latin.
  10. Greek has its specific alphabet, and its structure is VSO or SVO structure, while Latin had different alphabets, and its construction was a verb-final sentence structure.

Conclusion

Greek and Latin are the two most popular and oldest languages. Both are having their separate branches in the family. Two of these languages share many grammatical features, e.g., gender, cases, noun inflections. But they are different from one another based on their origins, history, and other notions.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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