elona sign

Tsakonian is a unique variety of Modern Greek (MG) spoken in Tsakonia (Greek Τσακωνιά), a group of villages in the Kynouria district of the Eastern Peloponnese (part of the Prefecture of Arkadia).  It is believed to be the only living descendant of Laconian, the dialect of ancient Sparta, and the only modern direct relative of the Doric or West Greek dialects of Ancient Greek (AG). Nowadays the number of speakers is reduced, due to factors such as the dialect's prohibition in schools during the 1950s, migration etc.  Despite this, the Tsakonians are proud of their linguistic heritage and great efforts are currently being made get young people in the area to learn Tsakonian.

Although described as a dialect of Modern Greek, Tsakonian and Modern Greek are not mutually comprehensible. There were instances of Tsakonian speakers up to relatively recent times (1950s-60s) who could not speak Modern Greek.  Speakers of Modern Greek cannot understand Tsakonian without some effort to learn it; despite many similarities between the languages and much common history, there are key differences in pronunciation, vocabulary and noun and verb formation.

Features of Tsakonian