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My Language Friends: Greek

Hill of the Muses

Although I was passively exposed to Spanish growing up in Texas, the first language I started learning was Greek鈥攌oine Greek to be precise. My father had “taken” it in college, and while he didn’t retain much of it even over summer break, he wanted to spark my interest in it at an early age. He taught me the alphabet and a few key words, and he even made a little quiz for me, to test my rudimentary Greek knowledge.

I was proud of my accomplishments, and soon began studying Greek as part of my schoolwork, going through the series of workbooks called Hey Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! (That’s the beauty of homeschooling鈥攜our study options are limitless!) The Hey Andrew! books were good, but went along at a dreadfully slow pace. I felt like it would be forever before I got to learn about adjectives! But by the time I went through the whole series, I had a good knowledge of Greek grammar. I think they may have even added another level since I finished.

At university, I wanted to minor in Greek New Testament, but I was afraid that the first basic classes would just be a boring review of things I already knew. So I had a talk with the Bible faculty, and arranged to take a special test to see if I was ready for second-year Greek classes. I brushed up on my Greek skills, and easily passed the test. So it was that I was taking Greek 3 as a freshman! From there I took all the Greek classes that my university offered, and quite enjoyed it. Read More

Adventures of a Language Nut: Meet My Friends!

english

Greetings! I am聽Mashkioya, and I am a language nut. I am not a linguist (although admittedly, being a linguist would be pretty聽cool), and I don’t often use the word “polyglot” because it sounds kind of ugly, and not many people know what it means. Plus, I don’t claim to aspire to fluency in 20 languages, or anything like that. I just like to dabble, and happen to have dabbled quite a bit in this particular area. Thus, I am a language nut.

You may have heard this proverb among Latin students:

Latin is a language,
Dead as it聽can be.
First it killed the Romans,
And now it’s killing me!

I understand the sentiment, but instead of thinking of the languages I learn and speak as enemies out to kill me, I like to think of them聽as friends. Some of them I’ve been acquainted with my entire life, while others are budding relationships聽that I’m just beginning to explore. And each one is beautiful and unique in its own way. This post will begin a series in which I will introduce you to my language friends, one by one, and hopefully motivate you to get to know them as well, or at least to begin widening your linguistic circle in other directions. Read More

Stop the U.S. Imperialists from sneaking into your house!

So, today I happened to be browsing a North Korean website鈥攖hat’s totally normal, right?聽Well, the truth is, I don’t do this often, since North Korean websites generally serve up an uninteresting array of news related to what Kim Jeong-eun is up to, and how awful South Korea and America are. But this time聽I was surprised to see a button labeled “Game”鈥攏ot only did it promise something more interesting, but they used an English word that South Korea has adopted, but which I would expect the northern comrades to avoid. At any rate, I was ready to play some North Korean computer games!

Not all of them would load (North Korean servers aren’t known for their speedy page delivery), but I got a few to fire up. First I played a geography game with a map of the Korean peninsula, the goal being to recognise聽each province and major city by its shape, and then stick聽it in the proper place on the map. I didn’t do too bad, despite my very limited knowledge of Korean geography! Read More

How to Learn to Speak a Language

Did you know that you can learn to speak a language in only three simple steps? As a language nut myself, I’ve learned a few things about learning languages, and I want to share those with you, the aspiring language learner. I won’t call these “secrets,” because they’re hardly hidden, but I would guess that a lot of people have overlooked them.

I know you’re dying to know what the three steps are, so before describing them in more detail, here they are:

  1. Study.
  2. Practice.
  3. Repeat.

Well OK, I guess it’s more than just three steps when you start iterating on #3, but you get the point. Learning a language can be boiled down into these three parts, and if you leave out any one of them, you’re bound to be disappointed. Now then, let’s look at each one in detail! Read More

Greek in a Week

P1030866I love Greek. It has an awesome alphabet, cool cases, and a long legacy, and despite rumours to the contrary, it’s a living and growing language up to this day. It’s not quite my favourite language, but it’s right on up there, and over these next several days I’m finally getting around to improving my abilities in this noble and ancient tongue.

Of late my language learning has been kind of sporadic. Officially I am working on Nahuatl, in preparation for an upcoming trip to Mexico, and since a Korean sister in Christ has offered to help me with Korean once a week, I’ve been doing that. However, in general I haven’t been very focused or diligent in either Nahuatl or Korean lately for various reasons.

However, this time next week is the annual Atlanta Greek Festival, and since I enjoyed it last year, I would very much like to go again–and that means speaking Greek!

I have an interesting relationship with Greek. We got acquainted when I was quite young–in fact it was one of the first languages I ever studied, and I took special pride in being the only 10-year old I knew of who could parse Greek verbs. Nowadays I read from the Greek New Testament every day, and write in my study journal in Greek. I’m also currently reading the medieval epic聽Digenes Akritas, which is its own unique flavour of Greek. But the sad part is that I really cannot speak Greek, despite all this knowledge of the language!

Last year at the Greek Festival, I made a special effort to ask around and see if I could find somebody who spoke Greek. But when I found those people, I felt woefully inadequate as my brain protested “You want me to speak what?聽After filling me up with Nahuatl?”

But not this time! As a long-time lover and learner of Greek, I am going to try hard during these next seven days to review my basic knowledge of Modern Greek, form sentences aloud, and practice phrases that would be useful when meeting someone for the first time. It will be challenging, but I think with some effort I will feel much more prepared to go to the Greek Festival and enjoy it much more than last year!

螕谓峥断兾瓜 蟿峥喯 纬位蠋蟽蟽畏蟼 峒 胃维谓伪蟿慰蟼!