An introduction to Greko Language through Literature


What is Greko?

Greko is an extremely endangered Greek variety which is spoken in the south of Italy. At present, less than 300 people speak the language. This is the first Greko online course ever –  by learning with us, you have the chance to learn more about the Greko community through the most inner aspects of the Greko language. You’ll see that any word, or grammatical rule that has survived in Greko through centuries is there to tell you something about the community that use it, about the history of the land that has cradled it. 

The course is an introduction to Greko language through poetry and songs.


This course was created with the support of

and the 3 week open access has been funded by

Engaged humanities in Europe: Capacity building for participatory research in linguistic-cultural heritage (ENGHUM). This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 692199.

Humanistyka Zaangażowana w Europie: budowanie potencjału dla partycypacyjnych badań dziedzictwa językowo-­kulturowego. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 692199.

In addition, the author renounces her fee in favour of Danilo Brancati, Eleonora Petrulli and Freedom Pentimalli who voluntarily teach Greko to young people in the grekophone villages of Calabria.

Danilo Brancati

Danilo was born and raised in the Ammendolea valley where, within the lively greko-speaking context, started learning the typical instruments of his town: tamburjneaccordeon, sulàvria (cane pipes) and ceramèdde (hornpipe).
It’s with his pappù (grandfather) that he first heard Greko for the first time. Being in close contact with the other Greko speaking people of his community, he learned to speak the magni glossa (beautiful language) himself, a language that for centuries had been spoken in the valley of the Calabrian Greeks. Living in accordance to the sorroundings, he grew up feeling a proud Greek of Calabria.

He is fond of music, which he has always nurtured, researched and protected, and that allowed him to go around the world while keeping him connected to his beloved greka land.
Since 2014, he is member of the renowned Greko speaking Association “Jalò Tu Vua”, one of the first and most important cultural associations protecting and teaching the Greko Calabrian language. In 2015 he was elected member of the association Management Board.
Today, he is determined to spread this precious cultural heritage, which still doesn’t surrender to today’s mass globalization, preserving in time the ancient knowledge of his people: the Greko people.

Freedom Pentimalli

Freedom was born in Gioia Tauro (RC) in 1988 and completed classical studies in high school. In 2007 he moved to Rome where he studied Modern Languages at the Università La Sapienza and he graduated in 2014: his dissertations (undergraduate and masters) dealt with literary translation from Spanish into Italian. Together with Spanish, he also studied Modern Greek and Chinese. During his academic career he won several scholarships in Greece, among which the THIESPA in Athens (2012) and IMXA in Thessaloniki (2013). In 2012 he attended the seminar on literary translation in Paros (Greece), organised by the Modern Greek department of Università La Sapienza of Rome.

After graduating, thanks to the Leonardo da Vinci programme, he worked as an intern for four months in Spain, collaborating with the Italian department of the Facultade de Filoloxía da Coruña in Galicia.

In 2015 he attended a training course in Rescue, Protection and Valorisation of Language and Culture of Speakers of Calabrian Greek: Language, History and Traditions, organised by the Università per Stranieri Dante Alighieri of Reggio Calabria and by Paleaghenea Association of Roghudi Nuovo (RC).

From September 2015 to June 2017 he had a scholarship at the Petrou Chari Institute in Athens, to participate in a professional training programme for new translators of Modern Greek literature.

Eleonora Petrulli

Eleonora was born in Bologna, but her parents both come from Chora and are extremely attached to their origins. She grew up feeling split between Bologna and Bova, because, as she often reminds those who tell her she is not properly Calabrian, “to ema ene to ema – blood is blood.” At home, her parents speak the dialect, her father plays the accordion and her mother dances tarantella, transmitting her the pride for her roots, and the ever-present melancholy and desire to return to the town of her origins. She cultivated both her love for foreign languages and gender studies, and the fascination with the sounds of tarantella, the accordion, the tambourine and songs a usu anticu (old-style).

Her maternal grandmother told her stories of her infancy, the story of her life, the daily life of a time not far removed, and even the muttette of her suitors, which she surprisingly still remembers by heart. From her paternal grandmother and aunt she heard Greko language being spoken and sung for the first time, and she was taken aback: she decided to learn how to speak Greko.

During high school she went to study in the United States on a scholarship. Once back in Italy, she graduated in physiotherapy at the University of Ferrara, and she completed her studies in Antwerp, Belgium. Even though her approach to international studies is the common desire of the young to run away and look for better opportunities, she had always felt the strong call of Italy, and an even stronger call of Calabria. She then went back to Italy, firm in her idea to stay and do something concrete for her country, and especially for the only place she really and viscerally felt home: Bova.

She took lessons of accordion and singing, she perfected her skills in tarantella dances and learnt Greko at the “To Ddomadi Greko” summer school, with the intention to revitalise the language she feels her own the most. Going far away means taking a run-up and then going back even closer to her origins, where everything began. To Greko.

Course Features

  • Lectures 96
  • Quizzes 2
  • Duration 50 hours
  • Skill level All levels
  • Language English
  • Students 1001
  • Certificate Yes
  • Assessments Yes