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Why are you learning Greek?

I would like to hear what has made you decide to learn Greek, a language that is sometimes shunned as useless, considering Greece is not considered the best place to immigrate. Tell us your story! EDIT: I maybe did not articulate the question well. I am Greek and live in Greece and love the language, of cource. I have personally heard from greeks and foreigners alike, that Greek is not a useful language for non-Greeks (something I don't personally believe, every language is worth). That's why I ask what "pushed" you to learn it.

November 3, 2016



My father was a first generation Greek-American and never let either of his children learn Greek. I'm happy to finally learn!


Why wouldn't he let you learn your people's language?


I know you asked this a while ago. I’m also a descendent of Greek migrants. They never passed it on because there was immense pressure to assimilate to American culture. Children were raised as American so they’d fit in and be more successful. As much as it sucks it was a valid choice at the time and paid off more often than not.


I'm learning Greek, because I will be studying abroad there for the spring semester. Although, I will be at an English speaking school, I know that it can't hurt to be able to understand as much as possible around me.


Great! Have a good time here!


I can be jaleous of you ^^ just kidding have fun


Because my husband is Greek!


I didn't travel out of my country (Algeria), but I really want to visit Greece, so I'm learning it now to be ready to travel Actually I don't have a reason to learn it but I like learning languages that's why I'm learning greek, spanish, italian, german, irish, russian, turkish, dutch, japeneeese I already learned french, arabic and english ^^

  • 1621

Good luck with your travels and with your learning! Algeria is a lovely country too; I visited many years ago and thought it was very beautiful and that the people were extremely friendly.


yes ^^ they are friendly ^^ I'm not saying it because I'm algerian I really mean it


Are both French and English taught in schools in Algeria? I know two Algerians online and I know that they both speak all three (Arabic, French, and English) as well


yes. We learn french in primary school and english in middle school and we speak arabic of course Algeria is an arabic country


I'm planning to visit Greece in June of next year, and would like to get a sense of its language. It's also a challenge to learn.

  • 2061

I am actually still waiting (more or less patiently) for the beta release of the Romanian tree. In the meantime, two of my Duo-friends got me curious about Greek. They have already finished the tree. Well, who knows, it might come in handy some day. I am interested in languages themselves and I don't choose them based on "usefulness" anyway. My chances of ever meeting a speaker of, say, Guaraní are pretty slim, but it's a cool language and I very much enjoyed that tree as well.


Dear troll1995 Before I answer your question why I started to learn Greek - I have just finished my skill tree - I would like to say a big, big THANK YOU to you and the whole team for this course! You are a very motivated and dedicated crew and did a great job! I appreciated the quick answers and amendments to the incubator. Now, with the help of Duolingo I'm getting a small step closer to one of the dreams of my lifetime (I'm 56): To speak Greek fluently and to be able to understand Nana Mouskouri's and other songs in the original version which I heard as a child on an old vinyl LP at my parents'. By now, my husband being retired, the main motivation are our frequent trips to Greece where I was always frustrated when I did not understand more than a few words. That's going to change - thank you, little owl! Next Sunday, we will set off to spend a few weeks on the Peloponnese. See you in Greece!


My parents had lived in Greece for 10 years. They were being loved by their greek friends and likewise. They have shared beautiful stories with us and with their grandchildren.

Greece is beautiful! Greeks too.

Even for 30 years living in the Philippines after they went back, they're still using the language until now.


Impressive. How old are they?


My mom is turning 70, and my dad will be turning 68 years old this coming months.


"Να τα εκατοστίσουν", as we say in Greek!


ευχαριστώ @Konosp :-D


I was born in Athens, Greece. That's the only connection I have.


I don't have a single, strong reason to learn Greek. In part, I am curious as to how Greek has influenced other languages I have studied, such as Italian, Russian and Turkish. In part, I have often thought that it would be interesting to learn Koine Greek, and modern Greek is a step in that direction. Also, I would like to travel to Greece someday.

I am taking my time with Greek, doing just a little each day. Honestly, it's still a struggle for me, but I trust that I will get accustomed to it over time.


I was going to visit Greece and wanted to be able to read it and say polite things out of respect for the people who live there, as I try to do in any country I visit. I am in Greece now and my 30 days of study before going helped a lot! I hear words that I have practiced being used and can say simple things. I only wish I had reached the level where numbers are taught as well as “who, what, where” phrases. The dictation exercises were very helpful, and one of my guides said my pronunciation was very good.


The fact that you try to learn a bit of the language of every place you visit is commendable. Kudos.


When i was a child we always drove our family car through Yugoslavia to go as far as we could until we finally arrived in Greece :-) It was real and complete holidays, full of sun, beaches and smiles from the greek people. I was ashamed i could not communicate properly with them, except saying "parakalo" or "efkaristo". More than that i once found a tape on a dry and shiny road. Sure it had been lost by a previous car that had passed by before us. This tape (greek folk music) became my favourite music tape and i kept all summer long on listening to it in my old walkman ;-) Many years have passed and i am now very excited to believe that, maybe one day, i could be able to understand the meaning of all these songs that i have been singing since the day i had found the tape. And I still sing them in an awful "yoghurtish style" trying to reproduce the sounds i had loved so much.


this is a lovely story. thank you for sharing!


Personally, I find Greek to be a very useful language because it permeates, to an incredible extent, the vocabulary of many other languages. I speak fluent English and Spanish, both of which employ a myriad of latinized Greek words. I am a science geek by trade and to me it seems we could not communicate much in science without the use of Greek; albeit in latinized form.

I wish to extend my deepest gratitude to Troll1995, Mizinamo, Jaye16, Dimitra, Stergi3, Ypzilon Z, and so many others for making the Duolingo Greek experience so rich and memorable. Ευχαριστώ πολύ!


As an ancient scientist, I second all you have said ... the older I get, the more I discover the flow of words from Greek and Latin through old French and German and into English by many routes ... it's fascinating.


I'm just here for the raki.


I have a few friends I've met online who are from Greece and both modern and ancient Greek culture have always seemed very interesting to me. Among the other languages I was considering, I'd prefer to visit Greece than the places the other languages are spoken. :)

I'm just now starting to learn languages in general and I really wanted my first non-native language to be a PIE language, but I also wasn't too interested in learning something using the roman alphabet, so Greek was extra enticing for these reasons.

"considering Greece is not considered the best place to immigrate"

I was looking at the immigration process for a few different countries and it seemed like Greece is one of the harder places to immigrate too even if it were more desirable, at least from what I saw.


I think that the best place to immigrate is Greece even if it is one of the harder places to immigrate People there are so lovely


I'm learning Greek because I've always loved the country since 12 years old. Also, my BF is Greek (who I met out there 13 years ago) so I want to be able to speak to his friends and family who don't speak English. His friends are so lovely I really want to get to know them better.


I just felt like I should expand my languages to other countries like Greece! it did help make up the American language after all!


I studied Classical Greek at school and university (as subsidiary courses in both cases), mainly that of the Golden Age, but with some attempt to cover other eras. I later studied κοινη (although not so thoroughly).

I am interested in the evolution of my native language (English), and how it has developed from the 14th century (the earliest version that I can read comfortably). I am very aware of how it has evolved over the centuries, receiving input from sources other than Old English, and how history is reflected in the changes in language. I am interested to compare how another people's language has evolved.

In addition, I find it irritating when people expect me to speak American English. (I don't consider American "wrong" - just different.) In Britain, Classical Greek is sometimes taught in schools, but not modern Greek. I don't want to fall into a similar trap of taking the 5th century B.C.E. form as some kind of standard - I want to be able to pronounce placenames properly and communicate in the living language when I speak!


I'm learning it simply because I want to. I love greek culture and history and I plan on spending a lot of time in Greece in the near future and even though i know i wont have an issue with finding english speakers i want to be able to speak the native language and meet new people and have connections there. it is a beautiful language.


The reason is quite simple. I want to read the New Testament in Greek. I also would love to travel to Greece someday, though that seems highly unlikely. Money is definitely an object when I consider travel. Oh, by the way, when I first started trying to learn, I tried using "Erasmian" pronunciation, and got confused, frustrated, and exasperated. Modern pronunciation is SOOOOOO much better and easier! :-)


The New Testament is available in modern Greek translations, but usually when "Greek" is used in the context of "New Testament", the original version is meant, which is Koiné Greek, not Modern Greek.

Learning Modern Greek will let you understand a little bit of Koiné Greek, but they are different languages and if you want to read the NT in the original Greek, you might be better off explicitly learning New Testament Greek.

But for travelling to Greece, you'll need Modern Greek, of course :)

  1. The alphabet is beautiful
  2. Quarter Greek-Cypriot
  3. Struggled to attain a second language for a while, hoping to achieve that with Greek.


I heard some characters in a movie speaking it and found it beautiful. Decided to give it a try on duolingo and had so much fun that I kept going.


My great-grandfather immigrated to the United States, and I have always wanted to learn to speak his language. Years ago, my parents and sister and I had a chance to travel in Greece for a few weeks. One of the highlights of my life was a day in beautiful Kosmas, Arkadia, where my great-grandfather grew up. After asking around in the village, we found an elderly cousin of ours, who was sitting in the square drinking coffee. He invited us to his house and showed us family pictures!

When I found Duolingo a few months ago as I was searching for a German language tool for my children, I was so excited to find Greek as well. I studied New Testament Greek in college, so it wasn't brand new to me. This program has been τέλειο! I have learned so much. Thank you, mods, for your heavy involvement and thorough, patient feedback.


Thank you so much for your memories of visiting your Grandfather's village. It is all very touching. And thanks for your kind words about the course we're making efforts to improve as always. In fact, we're creating a whole new tree which we think will be much better.

Best wishes on your learning.


I am learning Greek because :- a) I am no good at languages, and dyslexic b) I am 77 and want to keep my brain sharp c) I do go to Greece sometimes and have a chance to use it.


First of all, its alphabet is similar to that of English. Secondly the grammar and sentence structure is simple. Finally, almost every single Greek letter could be used in mathematics :)

I don't really care about whether a country is financially, politically etc. stable; only its language matters on Duolingo.


Is greek really simple in grammar? Doesn't have 4 cases?


Greek is pretty complex in grammar--it could go toe-to-toe with English in confusion factor.


But to be fair, as an ESL, I definitely would not qualify English grammar as confusing. Now, Russian grammar made me want to pull my hair out.


my girlfriend is greek


Personally, I would happily immigrate to Greece.


And I would happily stay here forever, but this opinion is not the general tendency... :/


I'm just doing the Duolingo course for fun, and to help me remember.

I learned Greek over twenty years ago for the simple reason that I lived in Greece and for sixteen months and Cyprus for six and needed to speak Greek every day.

I haven't had much opportunity to speak it much since then but surprisingly much has stuck.


I spent a little more than three months in Greece two years ago and I tried to settle in Athens but I wasn't lucky enough. :-(

While there I started learning Greek and passed an exam in Athens (Πιστοποιητικό επάρκειας της ελληνομάθειας) for level B1 and got it.

We really liked the country and its people and it was downright depressing to leave.

By the way. I just finished the tree. :-)

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I am, believe it or not, actually planning to immigrate to Greece. I've always loved the entire eastern Mediterranean/Levant and have spent as much time as possible there over the past 15 years - Greece, (pre-war) Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel/Palestine, mostly. I know the region has its fair share of problems and prejudices, but it's got some of the friendliest people anywhere on earth, as well as some of the best food, weather, nature and archaeology to be found anywhere. I've been to almost 60 countries but that part of the world is where we just keep coming back to again and again.

Also just love the approach to life, time, neighbours and community you get in the Med. Perhaps I wouldn't want to be, say, an 18-year-old gay kid growing up in rural Greece, or an entrepreneur trying to start a business, but I sure as hell know where I'd rather be a retiree, you know?

Anyway, my wife and I have absolutely fallen head over heels for southwest Crete. We both grew up in Australia and we've been in London for almost 20 years and we feel it's time for a change. There's a fair bit of remote work in our industry and we don't think we'd have any trouble picking up work, and the internet in Crete is reasonably reliable. The pay for remote work isn't very good by UK standards but it wouldn't be too bad at all for Crete. We're not affected by Brexit as I've got an Irish passport. Plus, property prices in Crete are literally around 2% of London prices, once you work it out per square metre.

As we grew up in Melbourne, we were always surrounded by Greeks, Italians, Maltese and Lebanese and have always had a soft spot for the Mediterranean and its people.

So the plan is to move in 2-3 years once we're reasonably fluent. We're starting Greek lessons with the Hellenic Centre in a month or so.

Many Cretans we've talked to, although impressed that we're trying to learn, have said 'pfft, you shouldn't bother with Greek' as they say practically everyone on the island speaks English. I think that's pretty isolating though and I'd rather be able to watch the Greek news and read Greek newspapers and to be able to talk to any παππούδες and γιαγιάδες that can't speak English, too - ie to try and become part of the community properly.

And I also imagine dealing with Greek bureaucracy isn't much fun if you're not fluent ;-)

Anyway, you asked!

That's the plan, anyway. There is also a reasonable amount of work in my industry in Cyprus if all that falls through - that's the backup plan.

Out of interest, where in Greece do you live, Troll?


Because my work colleague is Greek and I thought it'd be polite to learn a bit of his language


I had a friend from Greece years ago in college here in the US. We reconnected on Facebook, and I want to read the memes and articles she shares! Also I would like to know more when I look up words from the Bible in Strong's Concordance. We learn some of the letters in math, of course, and a few words in church.


I am also Greek and speak it, and I just wanted to strengthen my knowledge of it. Greek is definitely not useless--pretty much every English word, math term, or medical term has connections to the Greek language. Anyway, gyros are the best.


As someone who is deciding between Greek and Turkish (and leaning towards Greek) at the moment, I actually came to see why others are learning this language.

For me, I've always been curious and wanted to visit this seemingly vacation-perfect-paradise.

It also helps, since I am admittedly a bit snobbish and all, to claim to have learned the oldest spoken language in the world.

And this is absolutely the strangest you will encounter for learning a language but here it goes: in many languages, when someone has no idea what another person is talking about, they say either "it's all Greek to me" or "it's all Chinese to me". Since I speak Chinese as my native language, I want to learn Greek so none of these expressions applies to me.


I am trying modern Greek. Anything that would make me met new people, I would surely try it!


Since I read Percy Jackson, I've become a philhellene. Greek mythology, culture and history fascinated me. My philhellenism is, therefore what compelled me to learn Greek.


My father is Greek Cypriot and I have family in Cyprus but I grew up in the UK. We learnt a bit as children but not enough to hold a conversation. Being Greek is an important part of my identity so I'd like to speak the language, particularly when I visit Greece or Cyprus. I also love listening to spoken or sung Greek as it reminds me of my family. My worry is maintaining what I learn as there is no Greek culture and very few Greek people where I live.


Hello George, you talk about maintaining what you have learned ... I have recently returned from Skopelos where I met someone who is from Athens, and is giving me lessons when I am on Skopelos, but also giving me video lessons when I am in the UK ... this means that I am hearing and using Greek in a way I couldn't before. It occurs to me that it might be possible for such a system to be set up more widely .. for instance if there was a Greek person on here trying to learn English, you could have alternate video calls in Greek and English, and both of you would gain the help you needed?



You can find people that are interested here: www.conversationexchange.com

It's free and I have used it myself to find people to talk with, I highly recommend it!


Thanks both, that look good. When I get a bit more confident I'll give it a try!


Heidegger... that folk got me into this, I'ts all his fault, and then Gadamer.

Then an ex-girlfriend convinced me to try duolingo for italian, and when I saw greek in the options... man, it was glorious.

Since I decided to study philosophy formally (two years ago aprox), I had read a few books on studying techniques and skill development. So I saw an opportunity to give it a try to the things I've read about in regard to memorization, spaced repetition and habits with duolingo.

And it worked wonderfully. I fell in love.

Since that, about a year ago, learning Greek in this platform has been my main point of reference for learning in general.

So, to answer the question in a few words: Because learning greek is so cool and fun, that's why .

EDIT: I'm using contemporary greek as a route to koine, I really want to read ancient texts in their original form. I know, I already have a grasp on how they're not the same (Atic, koine, medieval and even various forms of contemporary greek) but from my small research and what I've experienced so far, modern Greek and this platform is a great way to start memorizing large chunks of vocabulary. Step by step, a day at a time, I look deeper and deeper into it. This, your language, your culture, your country, your history, your people, and the connections we have. You're awesome


Thank you very much for the recent edit to your comment.

Yes, we have had other learners on the course who want to go on to Koine or other forms of Greek. They have found it helpful to get the basics with Modern Greek as taught on Duo. We wish you every success as well. If you have any questions just ask, we'll do our best to answer.

Thank you once again for your kind words. It means a lot to us.


I've been watching toο much Rick n' Morty lately...

¿An expletive like "@$!&£#" could be acceptable?


Have you seen Greece? Beautiful country, beautiful people, beautiful language and of course Greek food! What's not to like?


I have taken New Testament Greek classes in the past and just love the language. Ever since I heard that koine Greek is actually fairly close to modern Greek I have wanted to learn the language. That was maybe 20 or more years ago, and now thanks to Duolingo I am finally learning it! It seemed like a long wait for Greek to come out, but it was well worth waiting for, as I am thoroughly enjoying it. I do hope to visit your beautiful country some day. Oh, and by the way, my knowledge of New Testament Greek served me well in science classes on my way to becoming a nurse. We do have a lot of terminology in our language that comes from Greek, so it has been useful apart from my sheer enjoyment of the language. Thanks for asking the question! And thanks to the Greek team for working so hard to put out an awesome course!


Haha, I actually did the opposite. I started with Modern Greek, then when I discovered how close it was to Koine Greek, I started learning Koine Greek. :P


That is awesome!!


I was given a Greek New Testament, almost a year ago, and I was immediately hooked!


In the early days of American collegiate education, only the best students studied Greek. It's why the American Fraternal system used Greek letters for their organizations - they wanted the best students to perpetuate their lofty ideals. (It's a separate conversation on what the fraternal system has become but suffice it to say some groups still look back to their founding ideals.) So learning Greek has been interesting to me since I joined my fraternity in 2004. Finally, Duolingo can help me achieve my goal!

Also, I'm a runner and I think it would be awesome to run the Athens Classic marathon some day and knowing the language would be helpful.


Hey, that's a great idea! I'm a runner, too. Maybe someday we should form a Duolingo team to run the Athens!


That would awesome! Or just a Duolingo running group in general. :)


If you decide to to run the Athens marathon, drop me a line, I will be glad to help you in any way I can. I am an Athenian, born and bred and I also run a little (more in the past).


Thanks! It'll be a year or two before that happens. I need to train more - both in running and in speaking Greek. But I'll keep it in mind if I need any recommendations.


Hi! It's been some time, but I signed up for the Athens Authentic Marathon this year! We have some things planned around Athens already, but do you have any recommendations for other cities to visit?


Hi Brad, just saw your post (I guess something went wrong with my e-mail notifications).

You can visit Delphi which is a great archeological site and there is also a museum, it's about 200 km from Athens and there are many one-day tours that will take you there by bus. Near Athens (at 70 km) you can also visit (by tour bus) cape Sounio site of the temple of Poseidon.

In any case write me your race bib number so I'll look for you on race day!


I am learning Greek for my Greek heritage. Greek also comes easy to me so I feel all special when I say something intelligent and its in Greek. I'm also taking courses on other sites, unfortunately, I finished those courses. And then I found this site! What an amazing world?!


I never went to Greek school so this is helping me learn!


My Father is a first-generation British Citizen but fully Greek by blood. Due to unfortunate circumstances growing up, he was never able to pick up the language, so it got "lost" in the family. I want to learn it to gain back some of the "lost heritage". Also, it is a pain to explain why I can't speak Greek even though I have a greek last-name so I want to avoid that!


I'm German and have lived in Turkey for the past 14 years. During that time, I have visited Greece several times and found Greece to be (food-wise, mentality-wise...) not very much unlike the (Western) Turkey I used to know and love before - how to put this delicately - the current political climate. In short, I'm learning Greek in case this side of the Aegean becomes too unpleasant to stick around... :-)


I fell in love with Greece and it's people from the moment I set foot in the country many years ago and I return there as often as possible on holiday. I have always wanted to speak Greek properly but there has never been the time until now. I wasn't pushed, I jumped!


Because I live in Thassos Greece....Unfortunately, after 20 odd years, still cannot speak fluently !!!! I keep trying.


One of the greenest islands.

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