Published February 15, 2018
For Italian, jump to 00:40-01:09. This video was recorded by John Kazaklis in Bova Marina, Italy, where he and Maria Olimpia met. Greko, also known as Grecanic, is spoken by less than 1,000 people, primarily in the southern Italian region of Calabria. A variety of Italiot Greek, Greko is closely related to the similarly named Griko language, which is spoken in the nearby region of Salento. Together, they form a dialect continuum that is spoken by around 50,000 people and derives from the mother tongues of ancient and medieval Greek settlers who began emigrating to the Italian peninsula in the 8th century BCE. Greko is therefore among the last remaining cultural elements of the historic Magna Graecia region of Italy and Byzantine Italy. Since 1999, Greko speakers have enjoyed a degree of recognition, thanks to a law promising protection to many of Italy’s cultural and linguistic minorities. Nonetheless, the efficacy of these measures has been the subject of debate.