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Maria:_All About Greek lesson 1. An introduction to the Greek Language
Maria: Geia sas, I’m Maria, your friendly neighborhood non-Greek guide to everything Greek…
Iro: And I’m here in this lesson to bare a part of my Greek soul with you!
Maria: That’s right, this lesson is all about your home and native land, Iro.
Iro: And yours too, Maria!
Maria: Yes, I’m sort of more a wanna-be Greek person.
Iro: Don’t worry, we’ll let you be.
Maria: Yeah, but there are so many Greek people already, can you really afford to add honorary members?
Iro: (laughs) Hmm, I guess there should be some kind of initiation right of passage at least.
Maria: Yes, like drinking olive oil or something.
Iro: Haha, yeah!
Maria: Okay, well that does it for me; no way I can get in.
Iro: Well, fortunately you can speak Greek, so you can impersonate a Greek person anyway.
Maria: Yes, Greek is a poetic, beautiful language… well, okay, maybe in a crowded tavern with a bunch of Greeks throwing plates it may not seem so…
Iro: Maybe but it’s truly a beautiful language
Maria: Yes, with an ancient history and intriguing culture to match. That’s where the plate throwing comes in…
Iro: (laughs)…Intriguing…yes. Olive oil and plates are just the very beginning. Stick with us, and we’ll introduce you to a side of Greece that only an insider gets to see.
(sound effect – sound of noisy Greek restaurant chatter)
[Linguistics section]
Iro: What is it about this language, anyway?
Maria: So this ancient language, has really survived through the ages, Iro!
Maria: Approximately 14 million speakers make for a lot of good conversation.
Iro: Plus, Greek is everywhere!
Maria: Tell me, Iro, where have you spoken Greek in your life, besides Greece?
Iro: All over the world! I mean, I can hear Greek in any country.
Maria: My favorite thing is listening for Greek outside of Greece. I get to eavesdrop on conversations all the time.
Iro: Yeah, Greek immigrants are everywhere in the world. It’s a language you don’t even need to travel to use.
Maria: So how come we can hear Greek around the world?
Iro: Well, that is mainly a result of the great influence Greece has had on other European languages!
Maria: Yeah, I hear Greek in English, French, and even in Italian!
Iro: And, another thing that we Greeks are very proud of is our written language.
Maria: Yes, it’s very stoic! But I feel like it’s so hard, can’t they make it easier?
Iro: They already did! Greek used to be very similar to Egyptian hieroglyphs, but developed into the Greek we know now around the fifteenth century BC.
Maria: That’s true. I guess people got too tired of scribbles every time they wanted to write a great drama!
Iro: Did you know that Greek is the first and oldest alphabet to use vowels?
Maria: Whoa…when does that take us back to?
Iro: About 1200 BC.
Maria: So the amazing thing about this is that Greek actually is the model for many modern languages today!
Iro: Exactly. Twelve percent of modern English vocabulary is estimated to be of Greek origin.
Maria: Wow, no wonder Greeks are so proud of their language.
Iro: Yes, but that’s only the beginning of the Greek language. It is in fact one of the most difficult languages in the world to learn! But don’t let that scare you off because is it also one of the most useful!
Amber: Yes, and it is used in many languages today as well as within science and astronomy.
Iro: Yep, Greek is so special, it’s in its own class altogether
Maria: Greek is an independent language family within the Indo-European language branch. And it has many dialects.
Iro: The most common dialect today is standard Greek, which is spoken in all the big cities.
Maria: Great!
(Sound effect of a Greek gong)
About the Motherland
Iro: Greece, and Greek, date as far back as the third millennium.
Maria: (laughs) Okay, that has to be in the top five most common things you hear a Greek person say! That and yelling at the driver in front of them!
Iro: Yes but it’s true!
Maria: Yes and I guess you do get bragging rights for that, no other nation today can really say that.
Iro: Yes, you know, for Greek people, we really think we are the center of the world.
Maria: Greek history gives a lot of insight into the reason for the nationalism of the Greek people as well as their strong cultural identity.
(Sound effect of some iconic Greek melody)
Iro: It’s Everywhere.
Where is it spoken?
Maria: So, did you know that not only Greece, but also Cyprus, has Greek as the official language?
Iro: Um, yes I think I knew.
Maria: So, as a native speaker, the second someone opens their mouth, can you tell where they are from?
Iro: Pretty much, at least a general idea.
Iro: Some of the Greek communities in other countries are made up of second, third, or even fourth generation immigrants, so over time the language evolves.
Maria: Yes, the Greek spoken in Cyprus, for example, can be quite different in pronunciation from the Greek in Greece.
Iro: Yes, as you may know, Cyprus consists of two parts - the Greek side and the Turkish.
Maria: Yes, there have been many disputes about Cyprus over the years between Greece and Turkey, and whom it belongs to.
Iro: Indeed. This is one of the reasons Cyprian Greek has slightly different phonology.
Maria: So what about classical Greek? Is it understandable even if you only speak modern Greek? I always wanted to read original Homer!
Iro: The biggest difference is that ancient Greeks divided themselves into Dorians, Aeolians, and Ionians (including Athenians), each with their own defining and distinctive dialects. After the conquests of Alexander the Great in the late 300s BC, a new international dialect known as Koine (or Common Greek) developed, largely based on Attic Greek but with influences from other dialects.
Maria: Maybe I should rethink learning classical…
(sound effect of that rap song that says: ‘Y’all gotta go learn Greek’)
Maria: Who can resist the lure of Greek
Okay, top five list!
Iro: The top five reasons to learn this lovely language!!!
Maria: Number five.
Iro: To know Greek is to know one of the oldest and most useful languages in the world.
Maria: Number four.
Iro: The Greek alphabet is the base for the Romanized alphabet and is uniquely structured.
Maria: Number three.
Iro: By learning Greek, you can get a deeper understanding of European history and culture.
!
Maria: Number two.
Iro: Knowing Greek will help you learn other European languages such as French and English, without having to cheat on the tests! An estimated twelve percent of the English vocabulary has Greek origins.
Maria: And…the number one reason you should learn Greek.
(drum roll sound effect)
Iro: Learn Greek and you will gain an understanding and an appreciation for its myths, its history, and its culture – a culture and a tradition that has remained a part of Western Civilization for over 2500 years. A culture and a tradition that you can explore, and someday pass down, to a new generation. A culture and a tradition that is already your own.
Maria: Phew…this is big.
Iro: Yes, it is. Okay, everybody, you know what to do now. Get out your chisel and stone, and your iPod, and suit up with GreekPod101 for some made in divine Greek lessons.

22 Comments

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GreekPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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Do you know anything about the History of the Greek language?

GreekPod101.com Verified
Monday at 11:15 AM
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Hi Sami,


It seems that you have enough resources to get you started:thumbsup:. If you have any questions, let me know!


Good luck!


Stefania

Team GreekPod101.com

Sami
Friday at 06:23 PM
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Thanks Stefania, that answers my question.


I´m absolute beginner. I thought that the path might be desinged like that first you learn few common phrases and then you start to study alfabets and grammar, etc. But I will start from the all about section.

I also do have some audiobook that I do listen on my commute, and one finnish 'learn greek basics' textbook. With those two books, and this site, I think I will get to a good start.


Sami

GreekPod101.com Verified
Friday at 10:34 AM
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Hi Sami,


Welcome to GreekPod101.com!


Thank you for contacting us about this. Are you an absolute beginner? If you are and you have no experience with Greek at all, I suggest you start with the very basics: the alphabet and how to read and write Greek. There is a whole series dedicated to the alphabet and learning how to write so please consider starting from there:

https://www.greekpod101.com/index.php?cat=33


Another series that is worth watching really early in your Greek learning is our Ultimate Pronunciation Guide:

https://www.greekpod101.com/index.php?cat=42

You can watch this after you are done with the alphabet.


You would then be ready to start with one of our main series, the Absolute Beginner series:

https://www.greekpod101.com/index.php?cat=24


Then the next step would be the Beginner series, then the Upper Beginner, the Lower Intermediate, Intermediate, and finally the Upper Intermediate series. Each lesson of these series contains a dialogue and focuses on grammar, vocabulary, vocabulary usage, sample sentences and cultural notes.


In between these series you can of course listen or watch other series too, depending on what appeals to you and your needs, however, the core grammar is found on the aforementioned series.


Should you need extra help with grammar, check out our grammar banks:

https://www.greekpod101.com/greek-grammar/


As for enriching your vocabulary, you can check out the vocabulary lists:

https://www.greekpod101.com/greek-vocabulary-lists/

We constantly keep adding new content. Check out also the other options under the menu "Vocabulary".


I hope this is helpful. If you have any more questions about the website or Greek, don't hesitate to contact us again.


Wishing you all the best!


Stefania

Team GreekPod101.com

Sami
Friday at 03:28 AM
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Where should I start?


My goal is to learn far beyond tourism language. Learning path tells me to start from survival phrases, but this all about-section has writing system, grammar and pronunciations.



Sami

(from Finland)

GreekPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 03:38 PM
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Hi Roy!


Thank YOU for the kind words! I really appreciate it and I'm glad you are enjoying learning Greek. Don't worry about asking many questions, that's how you learn new things and that's what I'm here for! To help:smile:. I'm a very curious person myself by the way, hehe:innocent:.


Keep it up!


Stefania

Team GreekPod101.com

Roy Darby
Wednesday at 01:48 AM
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Σασ ευχαριστώ πολύ, Στεφανία. (Thank you very much, Stefania. Excellent!). You are an excellent instructor and engage your students so well. I am thoroughly enjoy my journey into Greek. I hope that I don't ask too many questions, but I am so very curious!


Warmest regards,


Roy

GreekPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 04:15 PM
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Hi Roy,


Ooh, I like such questions! Μου would usually come after the name right? Like Νίκο μου, Μαρία μου or even κοπέλα μου, αγόρι μου?


In that case, yes, it's a sign of friendliness and affection. It's kinda similar to calling someone "dear" in English (Hello dear, how are you? - I'm fine dear.). Maybe two female colleagues that are friends would say it to each other, members of the same family or in general people (such as friends, neighbours, colleagues, classmates, flatmates) who are dear to you, you appreciate and feel casual with.


Men can say it to women and the opposite can happen as well. For example I could wish a guy I know from school "happy birthday" by saying "Κώστα μου χρόνια σου πολλά, πολύχρονος!". Or my sailing instructor who's older than me could say to me "Ωπ, Στεφανία μου τι κάνεις;" when he would see me after a long break from sailing. But I don't think that age matters here. I could also say to an older lady I know well "Κυρία Μαρία μου τι να σας φέρω;" for example, if I was to ask her what does she want me to bring her to drink.


In general, if you feel comfortable calling someone "(hey) dear", then go ahead and use μου. If you are young and want to address much older people or elderly people, adding the appropriate Mr/Mrs (κύριε/κυρία), like on my example above, will keep you on the polite side:wink:.


I hope this makes it a bit clearer now to you. Let me know if you have any more questions!:smile:


Stefania

Team GreekPod101.com

Roy Darby
Monday at 10:12 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

I notice on Facebook that some of my Greek friends use the word "μου" (my) in addressing each other. Most often these are women speaking to other women. I realize that this is a term of endearment or friendliness. However, I'm not sure if it's appropriate or not to use casually, especially between a male and a female. Can you clarify the social use of this term?

GreekPod101.com Verified
Monday at 04:41 PM
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Hello Roy Darby,


Thank you for sharing with us your personal story! I'm always glad to see such motivated and enthusiastic people learning my language.


Latin, French and Russian might prove helpful when it comes to some grammar concepts, so I'm sure you will do great in Greek.


Have you studied the alphabet at all? If not, then this is the series to get your journey started! Here's the link:

https://www.greekpod101.com/index.php?cat=33

You will find it under "Video lessons".


Good luck and in case you get stuck, have questions or need help, don't hesitate to let us know by leaving a comment!


Kind regards,

Stefania

Team GreekPod101.com

Roy Darby
Sunday at 11:15 AM
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I am so glad I stumbled upon this program! I am just starting my journey through Greek but already am immensely pleased with the methodology and presentation of this course. Listening carefully to the insights and comments of the instructors I can tell that you all have put much thought and care into each lesson. I am excited and thoroughly enjoying each one.

I am a retired college professor and want to visit Greece next summer. My wish is to soak up as much of the culture and ambience as I am able. I know that even a modest knowledge of Greek will enhance that experience.

I have studied various languages including Latin, French, Russian and Vietnamese and feel I am the master of none of them. :wink: Except for Vietnamese which I learned entirely conversationally, I was taught by traditional classroom methods emphasizing grammar and vocabulary. Taking your advice, I am intent on emphasizing speaking as what I really want to do is converse with real people in Greece. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity. Σ'ευχαριστώ πολύ!