• 2023-03-02

Cyprus is an island country located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The country has a rich history and a diverse culture, which is reflected in its languages of Cyprus. Whether you are planning to visit or live in Cyprus, the linguistic diversity of the country adds to its charm and makes it an exciting place to explore.

What is the official language of Cyprus?

The official languages of Cyprus are Greek and Turkish, which reflect the country's historical and political background. The majority of the population speaks Greek, making it the dominant language in Cyprus. However, Turkish is also an official language in the northern part of the country, which is under Turkish control.


Greek is the official language of the Republic of Cyprus, and it is the language of education, government, and the media. The Greek language has a long history in Cyprus, dating back to ancient times. The Greek Cypriot dialect is the most common form of the language spoken on the island. It is similar to standard Greek, but it has its own unique vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation.

The Greek language plays a significant role in the cultural identity of Cyprus. It is the language of the Greek Orthodox Church, which is the dominant religion on the island. Many of the traditions and customs of Cyprus are also tied to the Greek language, such as poetry, music, and dance.


Turkish is the official language of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. It is estimated that around 18% of the population speaks Turkish as their first language. Turkish Cypriot is a dialect of the Turkish language, and it has its own unique vocabulary and pronunciation. Turkish is also used in education, government, and the media in the areas of Cyprus that are under Turkish control.

The division of the country has had a significant impact on the use of languages in Cyprus. The Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities have largely lived in separate areas of the country since the division in 1974, which has led to linguistic and cultural separation. The use of the Greek and Turkish languages of Cyprus is largely tied to one's ethnic identity, with Greek speakers identifying as Greek Cypriots and Turkish speakers identifying as Turkish Cypriots.

What dialects exist in Cyprus?

Cyprus has several dialects, which are regional variations of the Greek language. The three main dialects spoken on the island are Cypriot Greek, which is the most widely spoken and official dialect of Greek in Cyprus, the Dodecanese Greek dialect, and the Pontic Greek dialect.

- Cypriot Greek: This is the most widely spoken and official dialect of Greek in Cyprus. It is a distinct dialect that includes elements of both ancient and modern Greek, as well as Turkish, due to the island's historical and cultural ties with the Ottoman Empire. Cypriot Greek has its own unique pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary, and it is sometimes considered a separate language from standard modern Greek.

- Dodecanese Greek: This dialect is spoken in the Dodecanese islands, which are located in the southeastern Aegean Sea, close to the Turkish coast. Dodecanese Greek has many similarities with Cypriot Greek, including its pronunciation and vocabulary, but it also has its own distinctive features, such as a different grammar and syntax.

- Pontic Greek: This dialect is spoken by the Pontic Greeks, who are a Greek ethnic group that historically lived in the region of Pontus, in the northeast of modern-day Turkey. Many Pontic Greeks were forced to leave their homeland during the Greek-Turkish population exchange of 1923, and today, they live in various parts of Greece, including Cyprus. Pontic Greek is characterized by its own unique pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar.

Other minor Greek dialects are also spoken in Cyprus, including the Tsakonian dialect, which is spoken in the Peloponnese region of Greece, and the Cretan dialect, which is spoken on the island of Crete. However, these dialects are not as widely spoken in Cyprus as Cypriot Greek, Dodecanese Greek, and Pontic Greek.

What other languages of Cyprus are spoken?

Apart from Greek and its dialects, English is the most widely spoken foreign language in Cyprus and is considered a de facto third language. This is because Cyprus was a British colony from 1878 to 1960, and English has been the official language on the island ever since. In Cyprus is English is widely used in business, government, and education, and many Cypriots are fluent in the language. In fact, many expats and foreign investors also choose to settle in Cyprus due to the ease of communication in English.

Additionally, there are significant communities of Russian and Arabic speakers in Cyprus. Russian speakers often come to Cyprus for tourism or to invest in the local real estate market, while Arabic speakers may come to Cyprus to study or to seek medical treatment.

Other foreign languages spoken in Cyprus include French, German, and Italian, among others. While these languages are not as widely spoken as English, Russian, or Arabic, there is still a need for them in certain sectors, such as tourism, international business, and diplomacy. Overall, the multicultural and multilingual nature of Cyprus is reflective of the island's history as a crossroads of different cultures and civilizations, and it is a testament to the diversity and openness of its people.

Do you have to speak Greek to get citizenship?

Yes, to obtain citizenship in the Republic of Cyprus, it is generally required to speak Greek at a sufficient level, among other requirements.

According to the Citizenship Law of 1967, a foreign national can apply for Cypriot citizenship by naturalization if they have legally resided in Cyprus for a continuous period of seven years prior to the application, are of good character, and can demonstrate that they have sufficient knowledge of the Greek language.

The requirement for knowledge of the Greek language is intended to ensure that naturalized citizens are able to integrate into Cypriot society and engage with the country's institutions, which operate primarily in Greek. In practice, the level of Greek language proficiency required for naturalization can vary depending on the individual case and the discretion of the relevant authorities.

It is worth noting that there are also other ways to obtain Cypriot citizenship, such as through birth, descent, or marriage to a Cypriot national, which may not require knowledge of the Greek language.

But knowing Greek can provide several advantages for someone who is planning to come to Cyprus permanently, particularly if they intend to integrate into Cypriot society and culture. Here are some of the key advantages of knowing Greek in Cyprus:

1. Knowing Greek will allow you to communicate more effectively with the local population, which can be particularly important if you are looking to build relationships and establish connections with people. It will also make it easier to navigate daily life, such as shopping, using public transportation, and accessing healthcare.

2. Many jobs in Cyprus require a good knowledge of the Greek language, particularly in areas such as public service, education, and the media. If you are planning to work in these sectors, or any other areas that involve interacting with Greek-speaking clients or colleagues, then knowledge of the Greek language can be a valuable asset.

3. Cyprus has a rich cultural heritage that is closely tied to the Greek language. Knowing Greek will allow you to engage more deeply with Cypriot culture, whether it be through reading literature, attending festivals, or enjoying traditional music and dance.

4. As mentioned earlier, knowledge of Greek is often a legal requirement for obtaining Cypriot citizenship. If you are planning to settle in Cyprus permanently, this could be an important consideration for you.

5. Finally, learning a new language can be a rewarding experience in itself. It can broaden your horizons, open up new opportunities, and provide a sense of personal accomplishment. Knowing Greek can be particularly satisfying if you have an interest in linguistics, history, or culture.

Practical tips for learning languages of Cyprus

If you're planning on learning Greek in Cyprus, there are several practical tips that can help you make the most of your language learning experience. Here are a few suggestions:

- Immerse yourself in the language: One of the most effective ways to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it as much as possible. Try to speak and listen to Greek as often as you can, whether it be through conversations with locals, listening to music or radio broadcasts, or watching Greek television shows or films.

- Attend language classes: Taking structured language classes can be a helpful way to improve your Greek skills, particularly if you are just starting out. There are many language schools and institutes in Cyprus that offer Greek courses, ranging from beginner to advanced levels.

- Find a language exchange partner: Language exchange programs can be a great way to practice speaking and listening to Greek with a native speaker. You can find language exchange partners online, through language exchange websites or social media groups, or through local language schools or community organizations.

- Practice regularly: Consistent practice is key to improving your language skills. Try to set aside time each day to practice Greek, whether it be through reading, writing, listening, or speaking. With time, even a small amount of practice every day can have a significant impact.

- Explore the culture: Learning a language is not just about mastering vocabulary and grammar - it's also about understanding the culture and context in which the language is spoken. Take the time to explore Cypriot culture, history, and traditions, as this will give you a deeper appreciation of the language and help you to make meaningful connections with locals.

- Be patient and persistent: Learning a language is a long-term process, and it's important to be patient and persistent in your efforts. Don't be discouraged if you don't see progress right away, and don't be afraid to make mistakes - they are a natural part of the learning process.

The geographical location of Cyprus makes it a very exciting country with a mix of cultures and languages. This is why the island remains so attractive to many tourists. When you come to Cyprus as which tourist, you don't have to worry about not knowing Greek or Turkish there extensively many foreign languages. However, if you are going to buy property here and move to the island for a long period and perhaps even get citizenship, it is important to learn a little Greek. This will not only help you better understand the locals but also help you better immerse yourself in the culture of the island.

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