https://www.duolingo.com/Sygglekokle

Correcting the Greek "About the course"

Something tells me this may have already been discussed in some capacity or another but at the risk of getting hounded by a load of Greek internet nationalists I felt compelled to correct the following piece of marketing in the "About the course" section of the modern Greek page:

"Sign up to learn this historical language on Duolingo today! Whether you do it so you can stroll the streets of Athens, order your food on a Greek island or prepare for a journey into Odyssey’s pages as written in its original language, this is a language that will definitely enrich your life."

As a Classics student I can tell you now that there is absolutely no way that doing a modern Greek course would prepare you to read the Odyssey; Modern and Ancient (especially Homeric) Greek are far, far too distant from one another for a speaker (let alone non-native) to understand. You wouldn't have a prayer.

I understand that they want to make the course look as appealing as possible but they're misleading people in the process, and so I call upon them to rectify this.

June 11, 2016

19 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Elenaki.a

I assure you, Greek nationalists (or nationals, if that's what you mean) are aware of this. They've been exposed to Ancient Greek from a young age, so they know the difference. What I'm saying is, you won't get hounded. It's an exaggeration they've decided to include, not sure why.

And yep, already discussed.

June 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sygglekokle

Don't worry I myself was exaggerating a little for comic effect :P

June 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/-oizys-

Do you by any chance have a link to that discussion?

June 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Elenaki.a

I don't, but I'll try to see if I can find it again for you.

June 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/-oizys-

I couldn't; maybe I was using the wrong keywords. Anyway, don't worry about it, I was just curious :)

June 13, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda

I think we all know that. The people organising the course also know and have said it's going to be fixed at release time. Someone in a marketing office somewhere must have got carried away but I don't think any rational adult is labouring under the illusion that today's Greek is interchangeable with that of Plato et al (or even Homer).

June 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut

but I don't think any rational adult is labouring under the illusion that today's Greek is interchangeable with that of Plato et al (or even Homer).

Really? Given the number of people I've met who aren't aware of things like there being different varieties of their own native language (Americans "correcting" my British English is the classic), or that some people are unaware of/surprised by the fact some languages either use the Latin alphabet in a different way or don't use it at all, I'd lay good money there are many, many adults who would assume Greek is Greek.

(Heck, I know plenty of people who refer to Shakespeare as being written in "Old English". People are frequently clueless.)

Sure, they're ignorant and ill-informed, and hopefully someone who's that keen to learn Greek would have more clue, but I think assuming the average Joe Bloggs is aware that sentence in the course description is a wild exaggeration is... optimistic.

Plenty of otherwise perfectly rational people (and, sad to say, particularly anglophones with regard to languages other than their own (and sometimes even then)) are incredibly ill-informed/downright ignorant of this stuff.

June 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda

Fair comment - I've seen the 'Old English' nonsense etc too. I do tend to hope that the mindless idiocy is actually coming from the massed 12 year olds who have moved into the boards, though.

June 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut

I think there's definitely an element of that, but I've met too many reeeeeally ignorant adults to assume the majority are even moderately well-informed about this kind of thing :-/

June 13, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Ictram

Hey that's marketing for you, stretching up the truth to sell a product ;) Everyone already associates the Odyssey and Homer with Greece anyways, so I think it's quite harmless they use it as a way to write a more interesting description of the language. You are right though, Ancient Greek and Modern Greek are definitely not the same thing.

June 11, 2016
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