basic Greek

Apr 10th, 2006, 10:25 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 60
basic Greek

Hello everyone,
I've been reading the posts about where/when it is essential to know the local language, and it brings me to ask: does anyone know of a place on the web to learn basic Greek? I am fairly adept at languages (I speak Spanish, French, German, and a smattering of Italian) so I think I can learn quickly if I can find a site where I can hear how the words are pronounced. I realize that English is spoken in many places in Europe with some degree of fluency, but being able to at least greet local folks in their language opens far more doors than expecting them to speak my language. I'm leaving for Greece in about 8 weeks.

Thanks in advance for your recommendation and thanks to all of your for your information filled posts!

mel_hunt is offline  
Apr 10th, 2006, 12:02 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,156
Hah! hah!

A mattering of Greek, my backside (rude word edited out)

I speak French and Italian, some German and Gaelic and "smattering" Spanish and Dutch; and Greek is the reef on which my barque founders.

It is an IMPOSSIBLE language

Try the links on

(read it and weep!)
sheila is offline  
Apr 10th, 2006, 03:33 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,057
I managed to learn please and thank you as a teenager so it can't be that difficult.

An "F. Harry Stowe" (thank you) delived at the appropriate moment in a Greek restaurant in Amsterdam three decades later caused a look of surprise on the waiter's face followed by "parakalo" (your welcome) when he recovered.
Gavin is offline  
Apr 10th, 2006, 05:51 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 78
My husband and I had a wonderful vacation in Greece last June. We went to Athens, Santorini and Hydra. English was spoken everywhere we went.
We always try to pick up some of the language before we go on a trip, but Greek was so difficult. You will be fine in most places in Greece without knowing the language.
AKNIC is offline  
Apr 10th, 2006, 05:56 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 64
It is not impossible to learn. But it is very, very difficult. I (American, not Greek heritage) started taking daily classes at age 17 at my University. For four years, five days a week. I also studied there several times. I continued taking classes as a graduate student. I am now 25. I've been "proficient" since I was 20 and "fluent" since I was 23. I am taking my official government exam (will give me the "right" to teach at a Greek university from the perspective of language) in February 2007. Do not say it cannot be done. But I spent well over $80,000 doing it (actually calculated this once with % of tuition etc) and an amount of time that the vast majority of people don't have. Also it takes about as much love and passion and dedication as raising a child (And I'm gifted with languages, and I know Ancient Greek -- so it was probably a LOT easier for me than for others.) This is more directed towards those who say it's impossible than towards mel_hunt who just wants the basics. To you mel: good luck and have fun! Learning Greek is in my opinion the greatest achievment of my life (but I'm only 25 so who knows...). ciao.
xaroula is offline  
Apr 11th, 2006, 07:23 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 91
I would recommend buying the Rosetta Stone. You play it on your computer and it teaches you how to pronounce the language along with the written word. If you have a mic on your computer you can even set it up to listen to you - the program will correct you.

The Rosetta Stone is pricey, but I found it to be the best way to learn the Greek language.
Liz2005 is offline  
Apr 11th, 2006, 07:34 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 64
my mother uses the Rosetta Stone for Greek -- if your voice is not very clear (my mother's voice is kind of "gravelly" she's in her sixties and has never had a really good "recording" voice) you will NEVER get the thing out of Red into Green where it should be. However, when I tried it (she thought it was broken!) it worked fine. You have to do intonation really just like they do. I found myself mimicking the speaker rather than speaking comfortably, but it is still useful so I agree it's a good way to go.

I think they also will refund you if after 3 mos of so you don't like it? So although it's $$$$$ it might still be a good deal in that regard.

ALL rosetta stone programs are identical... my friend used the Chinese one and she recognized all the pictures etc. So don't expect to learn anything special to Greece, like kinds of Greek food, or words for things you need specific to Greece.
xaroula is offline  
Apr 11th, 2006, 07:58 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 665
For a beginner, I would recommend "Just Listen and Learn Greek" by Passport Books. I think Rosetta Stone is not what it is cracked up to be, but that is just a personal preference. Many people love Rosetta Stone.
wanderlust5 is offline  
Apr 11th, 2006, 08:24 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 792
I suggest you get a Greek phrasebook with phonetic pronounciations and study it. About 35 years ago I arrived in Greece after having spent several months in Spain and I found the rhythm of the languages to be very similar to each other and several words the same but having different meanings. "Mesa" in Greek means "inside" and in Spanish it means "table". It was confusing and I had to stay on my toes and remember which language I was using but it sorted out eventually.
Learn the numbers and the days of the week and you are halfway there. Try to pick out each separate words in the phrases. The older the phrase book, the better off you will be. See how they are written. The Greek alphabet is not a mystery but if you use the phonics approach it gets easier and easier.
I might mention that my public library has Rosetta Stone courses that can be done online for free. See if your local library has the same resource.
If all else fails.... get a Greek boyfriend. They are quite willing to teach you lots of things. ;-)
In any event, have a great time!
ahotpoet is offline  
Apr 11th, 2006, 11:46 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 60
Thanks to everyone for your responses. Good advice, all. I'm making a trip to my library after work to pick up 'Just listen and learn Greek.' And to ahotpoet: how'd you know I'd be looking for a Greek boyfriend? I think your's might be the best suggestion of all

mel_hunt is offline  
Apr 11th, 2006, 01:31 PM
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ahotpoet is offline  
Apr 14th, 2006, 02:48 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 29
alpha, vita, gama, delta, epsilon...greek alphabet is not difficult, especially if you are an american student, joining those "Kapa Delta Omega" student communities

In fact greek alphabet is very easy if you pay attention to the following:

1. It has 2 letters for "o"
2. It has 3 letters for "i" (if you add the combinations of letters, then it has 5 letters for "i")

3. "H" in greek alphabet is "I"
4. "v" in greek alphabet is "n"
5. "B" in greek alphabet is "v"
6. "P" in greek alphabet is "R"

Add letters Ã, Ä, È, Ë, Î, Ð, Ó, Ö, Ø, Ù and there you are!! piece of cake!!!

Ok, don't panic! just use your english. Every greek under 40 speaks english.
panoulis is offline  
Nov 11th, 2007, 12:28 PM
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Posts: 1
Check out his blog

I found the podcast good for begging
thdim is offline  
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