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Learning “Greek” in Ohio: the curious story of how immigration keeps old dialects alive

As a child, I thought I spoke Greek—until people from Greece told me I sound like their grandmother. It turns out my situation is far from unique

By Sarah Manavis  

It's all Greek to me! Isolated communities can develop language forms that are distinct from their parent dialects.

Like most children of immigrants, I grew up speaking a half-and-half combination of languages. My Dad was the only immigrant in his family to become fluent in English; aside from him, I had an entirely and only Greek-speaking side. The other side of my family, my mother’s, spoke entirely and only American English.

I, and the other children in my community, spoke these languages interchangeably until we spoke in full sentences, teething…

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