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The history of Greek
Names and writing system
Greek today by Viv Edwards
Greek is spoken by approximately 12 million speakers worldwide; over 10 million of these live in Greece and over half a million in Cyprus.The most important migration of Greeks took place during the years following the Second World War. Most went from rural areas to northern Europe, Canada, the USA and Australia. By far the majority of Greek speakers in the UK, however, come not from Greece but from Cyprus. Such was the scale of migration that one Cypriot in six lives in the UK today. Most came in the 1960s and 1970s although some also arrived after the Turkish invasion in 1974.There are more than a hundred Greek communities across the UK. The most significant settlement, however, is in London where there are between 150,000 and 180,000 Greek speakers. A survey of school children published in 2000 reported that Greek was the twelfth most commonly spoken language in the capital. Most Greek speakers from the mainland are found in West London; the highest concentrations of Greek speakers from Cyprus are in Enfield, Haringey, Hackney and Southgate.Various organisations offer support for the Greek language and culture. The Church has played a prominent part in teaching the language, often with support from the Greek government and Greek Cypriot authorities. GreekCyp.com hosts a directory of UK Greek schools and includes a Greek online school with lessons and games for learning the Greek alphabet.
The Cypriot Education Mission in North London runs a community school on Mondays to Saturdays with the help of 36 teachers from Cyprus and 36 local teachers. The Greek and Cypriot Cultural Community and Youth Centre houses a Greek educational library in north London, including ancient, medieval and modern Greek books, and offers classes in Greek for children and adults. The Hellenic Centre in West London stages exhibitions, conferences, lectures and cultural events.There are two Greek Newspapers: Parikiaki serves the Cypriot community in the UK, and Eleftheria the Greek-speaking community in London. The Greek community is also served by London Greek radio.