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The Epirote language, or dialect cluster, is a set of speechforms used by the Slavic majority populace of the Greek region of Epirus. This cluster has no standardised form of speech, so this article describes the prestige dialect of coastal, city-and-town-dwelling Slavic Epirots that has spread to most of the central coastline of Epirus.
Epirote Slavic isn't an isolated speechform: it is separated from other clusters, especially those in Macedonia, Thessaly and Aetolia, with prominent and vivid dialect continua. It is and has been under significant Greek influence, especially in terms of vocabulary and derivational morphology, but has also been influenced by both neighbour and non-neighbouring — though still prominently influential — Slavic languages. It is a model representative of the South Slavic language branch.
Like all Slavic languages spoken in northern and central Greece, Epirote has three competing orthographical representations:
- Church Cyrillic
- Lay Cyrillic
Whereas the Orthodox Church and its monks and priests use a traditional Cyrillic orthography, utilising archaic conventions and obsolete terminology, the two secular scripts differ in use: the Greek alphabet, adapted for Slavic use, used to be the most common means of representing all the languages in Greece, but has slowly started to be supplanted by a modernised, standardised Cyrillic based off the Serbo-Macedonian norms and conventions. As the Greek script's use for Slavic never ended up standardised and has started getting supplanted, this article will use the layman's Cyrillic script.