Greek belongs to the Hellenic branch of the Indo-European language family and is spoken by about 13 million people mainly in Greece and Cyprus, where it is an official language. Greek is also recognized as a minority language in parts of Italy, and in Albania, Armenia, Romania and Ukraine, and the Greek diaspora.
Greek has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Greek has been spoken in the Balkan Peninsula since around the late 3rd millennium BC. The earliest written evidence is a Linear B clay tablet found in Messenia that dates to between 1450 and 1350 BC, making Greek the world’s oldest recorded living language. Among the Indo-European languages, its date of earliest written attestation is matched only by the now extinct Anatolian languages.
The Greek alphabet has been in continuous use since about 750 BC. It was developed from the Canaanite/Phoenician alphabet, however, when the Greeks adapted the Phoenician alphabet to write their language they created the world’s first fully phonemic alphabet which represented by consonant and vowel sounds.