Research Project: Description and comparative study of Pontic dialect variants (Rumca/ Romeyika) spoken by Muslims of North-Eastern Turkey

Rumca is a Greek dialect spoken in at least two main variants by the inhabitants of various villages east of the province capital in the Trabzon prefecture (North-East Turkey).

While 4,535 persons declared Rumca as their mother tongue in the last official census of 1965 the exact figure of Rumca-speakers at that time and today is unknown (my personal estimate is that tens of thousands still speak the dialect and be it only on a rudimentary level, expatriates and migrants within Turkey included).

Due to a severe and permanent erosion by Turkish vocabulary, morphology, morphosyntax and syntax Rumca is about to loose its identity as an independently spoken language.Apart from this obvious danger of imminent disappearance the importance of my project results from the distinct features of the Rumca dialect which separates it clearly from other (Christian) Pontic dialects.

Another aspect which calls for a thorough study of this easternmost of Modern Greek dialects is its preserving of archaic elements like the Ancient Greek’s infinitive and some particles.


The project’s foremost goal is to deliver an accurate comparative grammar of Rumca variants and a description of phonetics, morphology, morphosyntax and syntax providing ample documentation (audio recordings, transliteration and translation of original texts, trilingual dictionary). The study of influences from Turkish and neighbouring languages like Lazuri will yield substantial data on the modifications Rumca underwent.


This project is funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG).

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