GREEK ANCIENT WORDS
For the place names of a Greek origin we find that they come across the coastal line from Vlora to Butrint but they thicken in some parts of the coast (Palasa, Drymades and Himara), while elsewhere they dilute as in Qeparo, Piqeras and Nivica or they answer mainly macro-toponyms. Their main characteristic is Archaic traits, but also uniqueness, which means that some are found only here.
With regard to the date of the toponyms, it is worth mentioning the name Paga-i (παγά), which is found in three parts of the coastal line of Himara, but also in Kefalonia (Greece). As it is known, the word "παγά" has the characteristics of a Doric, Ancient Greek dialect where the long η appears as a long a.
The place name Fitá (< ο φυτάς < ο φτας < Οφτάς < οφτός/οπτός ‘[νερό που βράζει εύκολα-easy boiling water]’ + επίθημα -άς), the name of the water source at the south of the castle of Himara, north of Livadhi beach. Which responds in Himariot greek as (N) Afta. Similarly, Kastané and Kasanéos. The Vounó Vowel (village of Vuno), which the Albanians use, corresponds to the Vouno of Greek (Mountain), which we also find opposite in Corfu.
THE HIMARIOT DIALECT
The Chaonians, today Himariote, Hellenized in culture, education, development, civilization still retain the language and the ancient dialect used 2500 years ago. The Helene of the Himara area, Drymades and Palasa managed to preserve the archaic dialect, the Himariot dialect. While other villages of the region lost their identity through war and time and adopted the Albanian language as of today. Himariote Greek is a dialect of the Greek language that is mainly spoken by ethnic Greeks in the region of Himara in Albania. Despite the small distances between the towns in the region, there exists some dialectal variation, most prominently in accent.
Despite the fact that the Greek community in Himara resides at the northern end of the Greek-speaking world, in a region known among Greeks as Northern Epirus, the Himariote dialect is a southern dialect of the Greek language, a trait shared by most other dialects in Northern Epirus and Greek prefecture of Thesprotia. Although links with the Greek dialects spoken in Apulia and Mani have been suggested, the exact provenance of Northern Epirote dialects remains obscure. According to Greek linguist Vayacacos, Himariote, as a subbranch of the Northern Epirote dialects, is classified as a southern dialect, but the two towns next to Himara, Drymades and Palasa, speak semi-northern dialects.
Because of the region's geography and isolation, the local dialect in the region of Himara became separated from the surrounding dialects and underwent a slower evolution, preserving a more conservative and faithful picture of the ancient and medieval Greek vernacular. According to Greek professor Anagnostopoulos, this dialect, like other conservative forms of modern Greek, such as the Maniot dialect, was spoken by populations that lived in virtual autonomy during Ottoman rule. Another linguistic analysis suggests that Himara was colonized by Apulian Italiotes after the Turkish raid on Otranto in 1480, but this position is vigorously questioned. Some scholars have argued that there are parallels with the local idioms spoken in Crete as well as in nearby Corfu. In particular, these scholars argue that the dialect of Himara has parallels with dialects in Crete, whereas the dialect of Drymades and Palasa has parallels with those in Corfu.
In spite of the short distances between these towns, there are differences in the accents of the dialect in every town. Himariote has been affected by language contact, and uses some borrowed words from the Lab Albanian dialect. Some Greek words have also been partially influenced by their Albanian counterparts. Contrary to the nearby Albanian idioms that are spoken both inland (Kurvelesh) and in the coastal region in Himara, Slavic influence in Himariote Greek is limited.
During the communist era in Albania, the country's borders were sealed for 45 years (1945–1990), while Himara remained outside of the so-called Greek minority zone, which the Albanian state recognized as Greek populated regions. In accordance with the communist Albanian policy of unification and homogenization, the use of the Greek language in Himara was forbidden in public, and many Greek-speaking people were forced to move to places in northern or central Albania. As a consequence, Greek schools in the Himara area were closed, and the local communities stuck to their language, which slowly became archaic when they started to emigrate to Greece (1991) in the aftermath of the communist regime's collapse.