Why are you guys learning Greek?
I am learning it because me, my sister, and my dad are going to Greece every summer to visit family. I am curious to why someone with no Greek family or heritage would chose to learn Greek since it is not widely spoken and it is fairly difficult to learn.
I learn it just for pleasure) I have always been fond of Greek culture, music, dances, mythology and from early years it was my deep desire to learn and explore Greek language. In the city where I live, there is a huge Greek architectural and cultural heritage, and Greek Diaspora. There is Greek cultural center with excellent library and educational programs. Many years ago on its site was secret national patriotic organization -"Η Φιλική Εταιρία", where a group of influentional and brave people prepared an armed uprising to overthrow the Ottoman rule and establish an Independence of Greece. Their motto was a very well-known today words “Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος“. I like Greek people very much. They are so hospitable, friendly, emotional, inventive and passionate about life. I feel very connected to Greece and learning Greek gives me much pleasure and happiness. The only thing that bothers me is that I will never be able to understand it because the Greeks speak so fast. The same problem with Spanish by the way. Writing and reading is ok. But when it comes to hearing, troubles start. I try to practise as much as possible, listening to dialogues, watching serials... but still, if there is no text before eyes it is very difficult to understand what they talk about because of speed. Ant it gets embarrassing to say all the time “μπορείτε να επαναλάβετε, παρακαλώ”) But I hope with hard work and tenacity I will be able to overcome this problem one day.
I'm sure you'll get there. I'm also at that stage where I can understand most things when they are written, but not necessarily if they are spoken, especially at normal conversational speed. Having said that, I've been living in Greece for less than two months, and I am finding that every day I'm able to understand something that I wasn't able to previously. Small things, and it's only a tiny bit of progress each day, but it will add up over time. There are a few Greeks in my village who grew up in Australia and America, and they say that they came to Crete with no more Greek than I did, but they became fluent within a couple of years and that anyone can get there eventually - it just takes a lot of time and practice. And I wouldn't be embarrassed about asking anyone to repeat anything; I think generally most Greeks really appreciate it when someone makes an effort to learn the language. Practically everyone has said that it really helps to watch television and listen to the radio, so you're doing the right things.
Odessa is a lovely city by the way! I saw it all too briefly some years ago during a trip from Kiev down to Thessaloniki. Really interesting Greek and Jewish history and I loved the architecture and people.
I'm Bulgarian and I've been to Greece a couple of times.
I listened to some songs of theirs like Στέλιος Καζαντζίδης 's Barba Yanni and Vasilis Karras - Me ta xeria stavromena AND! ΠΑΣΧΑΛΗΣ ΤΕΡΖΗΣ - ΔΕ ΘΕΛΩ ΤΕΤΟΙΟΥΣ ΦΙΛΟΥΣ I highly reccomend you guys listen to them. It's an incredible inspiration.
So I thought, man what a beautiful and unique languages. It's like it was made for singing and art. And you can actually tell how ancient it is.
There's just something about Greece. Their nature, their culture, their dances ( I dance traditional Bulgarian Хоро, and we dance some greek dances which are similar like "Sirtaki") To think it's just south of Bulgaria but it's so different. I just fell in love with it.
I know I'll probably never learn it to a fluent level, but it's just a pleasure to read and learn a little bit.
Thanks for the recommendations Simeon, I will check them out. Does Хоро in Bulgarian come from χορός/χορεύω in Greek?
I think so. χορεύω means "I dance" in greek (according to Google Translate ) So I guess that's the origin of the word. We have some similar words with Greek, but some have a completely different meaning. Like for example in Bulgarian "Не" (Ne) means No but in Greek "Ναί" means yes ^^
I've been raised in a Greek/Sicilian centered home. My mom is very much integrated into the culture since a child; her best friend's son is Greek and my closet friend. I was practically raised with that family. His Papou was my Papou, etc. I love the food, language, culture, history, everything. Also being Orthodox helps. Though I love my home in Michigan, I wouldn't mind moving to Greece, especially Crete. I've always wanted to learn the language since I heard Papou speaking it. It's such a beautiful, ancient, and important language. It's unbelievable that such an old language is still spoken today, and since I've studied all forms of Greek from Mycenaean to modern, I can think of anything better than to speak it. I had a bigger reason to learn after discovering that my family's home town in Sicily was made of Greek refugees.
I started learning about a year and a half ago after my wife and I decided that we wanted to move to Crete. I think that if you live somewhere - by choice, at least - that you should make every effort to become fluent in the local language and to integrate with the culture as much as possible.
We thought that we wouldn't end up in Crete for years, and the idea was to try and get fluent before we moved. However, we found a way to move much quicker than expected, and we're actually living in Crete now.
I can get by fully in Greek on a day-to-day basis - make small talk, buy and do everything that I need to do, ask directions and instructions, read simple texts etc - but I'm not yet fluent. Essentially, I can't switch on the news or radio and fully understand what's being spoken. I also can't participate properly in conversations that move beyond small talk. When Greeks are speaking at Greek speed, I can usually grasp the topic of conversation and pick out plenty of words, but not properly understand whole sentences.
I do want to get fluent in Greek and I practice for at least a couple of hours every day - which is easy as there are few English speakers in our village. But I know it's still going to take some time before reaching full fluency. Still, I can already speak better Greek than most northern Europeans living in Crete :-)
All in all, it's very rewarding, but yes, it is a rather hard language!
Thank you for sharing this. I know your efforts have been great and extend to many resources. I've no doubt that you will soon be fluent in every aspect because I've seen the depth of your understanding of not only the most remote grammatical phenomena but also your wide and ever-increasing vocabulary.
Thanks for the kind words Jaye! The rural Cretan dialect does add another layer of challenge, as I'm starting to discover that they do all sorts of unexpected things, like pronouncing the article τις as τσι. But, yes, we will get there eventually.
thats true! Crete has it's own dialect which is 'μια ολιά διαφορετική' :)
All languages are difficult to learn. And I would contest, Greek is not even in the ballpark of any of the more difficult languages *1
However, Greek is also a stand out language for learning because of the role that thunder clap and relevance of the Greek language has had in our learning of all sorts of intellectual studies, even today. Greek has played a key role from science, to politics and philosophy, to amazing stories of gods and challenges and insights into mankind and civilisations, to the key role it has played in the spread and learning of religions, science, philosophy and history.
To then gain knowledge of the living language, so that should you have the opportunity to experience the awe of Greece, that you may have a chance to engage with her in a way beyond books and the internet. To walk the roads of history where has been heard the living voices of those great tales that inspired civilizations. To be awed by the impact such a mountainous archipelago could create such echos that have lasted, to reach beyond wars of man and catastrophes of nature to give us today the longest still living and vibrant language, spanning 34 centuries *2
And here lies a challenge for Greek language learning, and also one of its key glories.
Mention should be made here of various types of "greeklish" (rendering written Greek with the Latin alphabet) that are proposed as a way to learn the Greek language. The proponents of which claim is "simple and straightforward”. Not only is this detrimental to the actual learning but there are also a myriad of different versions of Greeklish that people market as being the solution, adding to the confusion. Thankfully our brief is to teach "Standard Modern Greek" to enable people to learn reading, writing, listening and speaking the language. And that includes using the script that living Greeks communicate with in all spheres: private, public and educational. The Greek alphabet may seem daunting at first but at least half the letters will be recognizable at a first sight and most of the sounds are similar to English equivalents.
.Here we live in a golden age of learning, opening access to the common man. And learning the Greek language can provide a part of this key, as it has done over the last 34 centuries.
So I am also attracted to learning Greek, for all these reasons including my love of the people I also know, who speak Greek, modern day Greek.
For the same reasons as spdl79. We came to live in Argolida in 2011, we love the people, and the culture and we are making a determined effort to learn the language.
Props to you Jude! Not everyone living in Greece does make an effort. To generalise - there are plenty of exceptions, of course - it seems that the Albanians, Eastern Europeans, Chinese etc that originally came to Crete for work or to do business generally make a big effort to learn the language. As do the partners of Greeks, wherever they come from. Northern Europeans/Australians/Americans, not so much.
I really do think it enriches your time here though; our bad Greek has already opened up all sorts of opportunities, experiences and conversations that we wouldn't have been able to have otherwise.
Because i moved to Cyprus and i decided to stay here for a long time.:) I know that cyprus greek is a little different from the actual greek language but i dont think its gonna be a big problem :) I find it quite hard to learn but im not giving up. Few years before i didn't know any english either and know im using it daily although i know its still far from perfect :) ...
Greek Cypriots always use the Cypriot dialect when they speak to each other, but all of them can speak standard Greek as well. It's the language of the education and the media, and it's the official language of the Republic of Cyprus. You will have no problem at all.
There are multiple factors for me. I live in Melbourne, which has a large Greek-speaking population; I had a wonderful time when I visited Greece many years ago; but the biggest reason is my Greek friend whose command of English is so good and challenged me to have a go at learning Greek. My goal is to be able to converse with her in Greek. It also gives me pleasure to discover cognates with English words, and in my first serious attempt at learning a language, I like having access to a native speaker to help me with pronunciation and other aspects I have difficulty with.
Richard, thank you for being in our community. It makes my heart sing to hear about your journey. I also am from Melbourne. Thank you for sharing.
@KatKoures I am native speaker of Greek and for learn better the English I learn on Duolingo Greek - English and English- Greek. The words of Greek on Duolingo are difficult and they aren't in use every day. If I can help tell me