Posted by: nikusjka | July 14, 2009

Greek language

Some people say that Greek language is very complicated. Some people don`t like how it sounds.

Well… I love it!:)

There can be several reasons for that, but I think those are not really worth to mention. I`d better tell you how I started to learn Greek.

Of course the first word that every person that gets in touch with Greeks learns is “malaka”. Simply because they use it thousands times a day. The article in Wikipedia explains it perfectly. I find it very interesting and amusing that one word can mean so many different things and is known all over the world. I`m really curious about the history of “malaka”, so if someone has any resources or information – let me know.

As I`m really a language freak sometimes and love learning new languages, so soon I got to know basic Greek vocabulary like:

– “Hi” – γεια – ja

– “How are you?” – Τι κάνεις – Ti kanis

– “Good” – καλα – kala

– “Good morning/good night” (I think I`ve learnt “Good night” first 🙂 ) – καλημέρα/καληνύχτα – kalimera/kalinihta

– “Thank you” – ευχαριστώ – efharisto

– “Kisses” – φιλακια – filakia

– “Yes” – ναί – ne

– “No” – όχι – ohi

This was enough to put those words randomly into my talks with Greeks and make them smile about it.

Most of the Europeans, especially from its western part, would say that reading Greek is impossible. Well, it`s not if you know Russian, as I do. The roots of this language come from Balkans and the early Cyrillic alphabet (where the Russian comes from) looked like this:

The early Cyrillic alphabet
А Б В Г Д Є Ж Ѕ З И І
К Л М Н О П Ҁ Р С Т Ѹ
Ф Х Ѡ Ц Ч Ш Щ Ъ ЪІ Ь Ѣ
Ю Я Ѧ Ѩ Ѫ Ѭ Ѯ Ѱ Ѳ Ѵ Ѥ

This looks pretty much similar to the Modern Greek alphabet:

greek_alphabet

Modern Greek aplabet

So for me it was easy to learn the rest of the letters I didn`t know and to start reading everything I could find: from my friends`notes to instructions on the products, from old magazines to song lyrics.

By the way about the songs. This was another tool (and actually one of the reasons I love Greek language) that helped me a lot in learning new words and practising in reading Greek. I love Stavento and Giannis Ploutarxos, Antonis Remos and Mixalis Xatzigiannis, Eleftheria Arvanitaki and Peggy Zina and much more. So I really wanted to know what all those songs they sang were about. So I started to translate, to read, to learn lyrics.. And it helped a lot. So my tip is: if you want to learn Greek – start learning song lyrics! 🙂 It helps understanding both – the language and the culture.

After my trips to Greece I`ve caught up some more words, names and expressions. I was reading every sign I could find and Greek TV started to be interesting for me too.

Today I can keep a basic conversation in Greek, tell some things more, write Greeklish, sing some favorite Greek songs, understand some sense when Greeks speak and randomly through Greek words into the conversation. Pretty nice for a self -learner? 🙂

Plans? Well, to get a Greek language teacher. So far the only comprehensive and free resource on-line I`ve found for Greek learners is this – Learn Greek

If you know some other advices, resources on-line or you can provide other helpful information for people learning Greek – please share it in the comments to this post!

Kαληνύχτα! 🙂

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