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How much does Duolingo Greek help with Koine Greek for someone who doesn't know any Greek?

I'm very interested in learning Koine Greek so I can read the New Testement in its original language. How much does the current Duolingo course help with understanding Koine Greek? I know Koine Greek is an older form so there are definetly some major differences, but I'm also sure there are many major similarities. How helpful is Duolingo Greek in learning Koine Greek to someone who knows no Greek whatsoever?

October 3, 2018



I myself am taking the same approach!

After about three years of on-and-off studying of Modern Greek, I switched to learning Ancient Greek. It was definitely much harder. Modern Greek is a much cleaner version of the older Greek (for clarification, I studied mainly Koine Greek and Attic Greek). There are only two prominent accent marks that I know of in Modern Greek, but I cannot count how many prominent ones there are in Ancient Greek (the iota subscript, the breathing marks, to name only a couple). The Ancient Greek for me, took more focus and memorizing, and knowing the old and new has definitely shaped my understanding of Greek. It's really amazing.

I do like the approach, and I encourage you to do it as well!

However (and this is important): I would not recommend using Duolingo exclusively for the learning of Modern Greek. I myself used a Beginner's Greek book before I switched to Duolingo. (The book is called, fittingly, 'Beginner's Greek,' and it is one of the Hippocrene Beginner's series by Elizabeth H. Uhlig. I'm sure it can be found on Amazon.com.)

Now, I'm not saying at all that Modern Greek and Ancient Greek are similar enough to learn inclusively! Each of them are very much their own and require their own time and attention. Many of the words in Ancient Greek are different than the modern counterparts. But it's a bit like there's a thread tying the two—old and new—and it's quite fun to go up and down the thread, finding the modern versions of the old and so forth.

I imagine it's a bit like the difference between Modern English and Shakespearean English.

It's much easier to get a grasp on and understand the language on Duolingo if you've already dabbled in it for a while with a supplement, but whatever you choose to do, I wish you luck!


I have not spent very much time in the Greek course, however I do have a koine minor (five semesters) and koine is my liturgical language (however i do not read or speak demotic Greek). There are def some big differences between Koine and demotic greek but i know my Greek speaking friends today can pick out a great deal of the NT without an issue. As far as i can tell it should help you some. I know from my little time with the course some words today mean the opposite of what they meant in ancient times so be on guard for such terms.


From my personal experience, you MUST learn the Greek alphabet to understand the language. Otherwise, you might just end up memorizing the length and beginning letter of the words. Before I started in Duolingo, I used a sight that used video calls to volunteering Greek citizens that spoke English as well. Combining modern abbreviations and such, as well as word deviations, there is a major difference in a majority of the language. However, as you have pointed out, the bases of most of the words are similar. So I would suggest possibly using a site based on just Koine Greek (instead of modern, Attic, or Medieval) and possibly use Duolingo on the side to note the major differences and give a better understanding of the variations of the different forms. Also, if you want to know my main experiences with Greek, I have studied Modern Greek for two years, and Koine Greek for roughly seven or eight months.


The Duolingo course of modern Greek is going to offer you a solid foundation, a good starting point. You will be able to read words and partially recognize grammatical structure. However, since the Greek language evolved to a much more simpler form, expect Koine Greek to be way harder in both syntax and grammar. If your interest exclusively lies in New Testament, I would suggest you buy the book that contains both the original text in Koine and its modern greek translation side by side. An online resource is the following: http://users.sch.gr/aiasgr/Kainh_Diathikh/Biblia/Kainh_Diathikh.htm It contains both the original text and its modern Greek translation. Here you can read the New Testament only in modern Greek http://www.synaxarion.gr/cms/gr/content/kaini_diathiki_Neoellinika.aspx Good luck! PS: Greek is my native language but Koine is an almost different language, like father and son, some similarities exist but they are different personalities. Koine will offer you an access to a different world !

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