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How Hard Is Greek?

I really want to learn it. How hard would you say it is? How much practice a day? Thanks.

January 4, 2017



Just give it a try! The first step is learning to read the alphabet, then everything else will get easier. The Greek course has many helpful explanations on all the lessons, so I took notes on all of these, which helps me understand the lessons better. Greek is hard, but if you have the motivation, I think it will be fine. For me, Greek mythology and history got me interested in learning Greek. One lesson a day and some review is a good start, I think.


I would say that the level of language learning difficulty depends on a couple of things, like

  • How close your native language to the one you want to learn

  • how much you practice

  • The complexity level of the language

  • Your interest in the language.

(Not just for Greek, for pretty much any language.)

As far as Greek is concerned, as a native Greek, I think that if your native language is English, the difficulty level is medium. It's probably harder to learn than French, Italian, Spanish or German would be, but definitely easier than Vietnamese, Arabic, Hebrew, Japanese or Chinese. ^.^

  • 1480

That all depends how fluent you want to get in it, and how quickly, I guess. Motivation is a big, big factor.

I think Don and Dimitra are completely right in that it's a 'medium difficulty' language. That's how the US State Department classifies it as well (they rank languages by difficulty).

There are some 'easy' bits to Greek. I'd say around 20% of all Greek words are in some way cognate with English (often via Latin and the Romance languages), so that's a massive help. I think Greek also relies on prefixes and suffixes a lot more than English, so once you're familiar with them, that can often help you to roughly figure out the meanings of words you haven't encountered before.

But there are features like case, conjugation, declension, stressing and gendering which are quite alien to modern English. Syntax is also a lot more flexible than in English. So there are some really hard bits too.

To give you my story, I came to Greek about nine months ago essentially monolingual (I really only had a tiny bit of spoken 'taxi driver Arabic') and with no English grammar knowledge whatsoever.

Excluding about two months when I was travelling and couldn't practice, I've been putting in at least 20 hours a week (often more) between Duo/Memrise/Clozemaster and reading Greek children's books etc. I haven't taken any formal lessons yet (will start those soon), but I'd say I've got a vocab in the range of 6,000 words, can put together simple sentences and can just about read most Greek kids' books aimed at 4-6 year olds.

Last time I was in Greece (around four months ago) I had absolutely no problem making all my needs understood in Greek - albeit in pidgin Greek, with completely incorrect grammar and syntax, using basic/somewhat incorrect words. I couldn't understand a word that was said back to me though, and that's probably still what I find hardest about Greek.

Good luck, anyway. I'd highly recommend it and I'm really enjoying it.


For me it's harder than Dutch or Swedish but much easier than Vietnamese, Hebrew or Irish. When you learn the alphabet it's not that hard. One of the hard things is the gender system with feminine, masculine and neutral which affects their articles and in different cases.


Don, is the gender/article/case system similar to that in German? As an English speaker with some experience in romance languages, I found this to be the difficult part of German. Is Greek approximately the same in this respect?


Yes, I think so but there is a more pronounced difference in the sounds of definite articles. Which is kind of nice in learning the distinction in my opinion. Der Die and Das in Greek is O, H (sounding like a long E) and To


How is it for you in relation to russian? Not just the alphabet but the language in general. I will give russian a try too, as I am currently building up some vocabulary for it. Even though it is totally subjective I wonder which one seems to be "easier" for you.


I haven't made enough lessons in Greek to be able to answer that yet. The both have different alphabet, 3 genders, Greek pronunciation is easier to me than Russian, but otherwise it's quite even and I'll be able to make a conclusion after completing the tree.


Native Greek speaker here, because of the Byzantine years, the alphabet, grammar and general context is very similar. We've got lots of Russians around here, and they all say that learning Greek is quite easy for them


The genders aren't the problem by themselves, it's the CASES for sure. Of course, greek has nothing on a slavic language when it comes to grammar.


I tried learning Greek myself, and it was pretty hard. To get it down I guess you'd want to memorize the Greek alphabet before you started. If you still want to try it all I can say is you do you! :)


Greek isn't that bad once you learn the alphabet. I am a native speaker (but not perfect), so maybe that's why it's easy. However, the grammar later on gets insane, having to determine the endings of the words and whatnot.


At the moment, I wish I had stuck to latin

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