5 Reasons to Learn Greek

5 Reasons to Learn Greek

There are many reasons to learn a language. Some people learn a language for professional reasons, because they need the language for their job. Some people learn a language because they have a relative or special person who speaks that language. Sometimes, though, we need to take the time to learn a language simply for the joy of discovering that language and the wonderful things connected with it. Learning Greek is an example of that. I can name five reasons from my recent experience why I think people should learn Greek.

5 Reasons to Learn Greek

Greek is at the base of much of the vocabulary of other European languages

At first it seems that all the words are new. It seems that it will be difficult to learn this language, since there are not as many cognates, or words in common with languages we know, not as many as we find in German or French or Spanish.

But very soon we discover that many of the components of words we use in English, or other languages, come from Greek. Discovering them is fun and gives us a better understanding of our own language or of other European languages. Prefixes like poly, micro, macro, chrono, photo, or suffixes like -ology just touch the surface. Learning Greek is like a journey of discovery of our own language roots. Today, for example, I realized that Acropolis means high city, “acro” as in “acrobat” and “polis”as in “megalopolis”.

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Greece was the earliest European civilization

I am not even talking about the Acropolis and ancient Greece, which gave us democracy, the foundations of Western thought and philosophy, as well as much of the basis of our science and mathematics. I mean the oldest civilization in Europe, that of the Minoans in Crete, where I spent 10 days. We visited two ancient palaces, Knossos near Heraklion and Phaistos near the south coast of the island. Here is a staircase from the palace at Knossos that is over 3,500 years old.

5 Reasons to Learn Greek

Greek food is delicious

When I was in Crete I enjoyed seafood, and the natural products of the Cretan cuisine. The food is delicious and inexpensive. One night we went Ippokampos, right at the water’s edge. The food in Chania was just as good, and we stayed with seafood and fish. You never have to order desert because the restaurant always offers you free desert and raki, sort of like Greek grappa, at the end of your meal. Our favourite, where we went twice, was To Maridaki. The fish soup was awesome.

5 Reasons to Learn Greek

Greece is beautiful

We were too late in the season to take a boat to the nearby island of Santorini. But what we have seen of Crete is beautiful. We visited Agios Nikolaos in the west, then drove across the island to the south coast. Olive trees, mountains, vineyards and magnificent vistas everywhere. But the most beautiful place of all was Chania, a surprise and a delight, was Chania. We could have stayed there for another 5 days. Now we are in Athens and had a wonderful day crawling over the Acropolis.

5 Reasons to Learn Greek

The Greeks are wonderful, hospitable and friendly

This is especially so if you speak the language. I spent 6 months learning Greek at LingQ, going through the Mini-Stories, native content, and the free grammar guide. I am far from fluent, but the people are so appreciative, so encouraging, and so patient in speaking Greek to me, I intend to continue to learn Greek. Above all they are talkative, and if I weren’t traveling with my wife and friends, I am sure I would have had hours of effusive conversation in Greek by now.

I will definitely go back to Greece. My trip there was a delightful discovery, and I owe it all to my decision to start learning Greek.


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2 comments on “5 Reasons to Learn Greek

Name *Alberto A. Requejo

Thank you for this article. I am very intrigued about your reasons for learning languages and reading this about Greek is very enjoyable. Believe it or not, there are those of us who speak ‘ancient’ Greek. I just obtained a Ph.D. in Classics and have been speaking Latin for a few years. On the other hand I speak Spanish, French, German, and English. For a long time the Classical languages have been taught through grammar-translation. The results of this method can be seen everywhere: no one speaks these languages any more. What is worse is that no one remembers that Dante and Erasmus could not imagine any other way to know these languages but to speak them. That was the gist of the much vociferated ‘Renaissance’. Erasmus was of course a champion of speaking both Latin and Greek, and thanks to him and a few others we can now still speak them and know about them. I could go on and on. The question for me is to come in contact with linguists and polyglots and learn from you guys techniques and philosophies to make Latin and the ancient version of Greek ‘world’ languages more attractive to the wider public. Thank you. I’ll be looking for your tips and ideas!

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