17 April 2006

Greek explanation

Huskerdu asked, so I'll answer.. In a post no less, because a) I'm no good with short sentences that will fit in a comment and b) someone else (?) may have wondered about the same thing -

"how and why did you learn Greek?" I'll TRY to make it short. I really will...


I don't remember massive talks on Greek culture and history throughout my childhood, although my father loves that kind of stuff and I had of course heard some tales from Greek mythology etc.

So, when times were up for a different sort of summer holidays, he and I went to Crete. As I've already mentioned here. He'd got a rudimentary knowledge of Classical Greek, but this is - at least in Northern European universities - pronounced quite differently from Modern Greek. So, asking the way to Βρύσης (Bryses, or some sort), he pronounced it similar to Bruxelles (that's French...) - only without the ll's. Get it?

Naturally, the people we asked had no idea what he was on about. (And at this time tourism was fairly new, so not that many spoke English.) It's supposed to be unlike any English or French word I can think of, but, say, Vree-sees. Sort of.

So I decided to learn the Modern version myself. I was 13, and practiced the alphabet and simple phrases by writing in the sand on the beach for the remaining of the holidays. Before we went back next year (this time with my sister), I could pronounce anything, but still had no vocab. I learnt a few more phrases, but quickly forgot, I'm afraid, as there is usually no Greek films or music around here.

We went back every summer, though, and after I finished high school (λύκειο) and moved to Oslo I've done several evening classes, one summer school in Thessaloniki, spent 4 months living in Crete (1994) and done some more evening classes. I get by, I understand a lot more than I can express, and I tend to leave out the endings of all verbs, for the Greeks to insert the right one... (Greek verbs make the French ridiculously simple...)

We haven't managed going back every year since having all our kids, but this shot is me and Jakob in '98 in Chania, and then we didn't return before 2005. Hoping it won't take another 7 years to return...


Update: Ναι, I can read Ελληνικά script, don't know if everyone can, though..

And I've taken - I think - 6 or 7 half year evening classes + 1 month summer school at the univ. of Thessaloniki + lived 4 months in Crete. And still I'm by no means fluent.. But I love it!

- On a different note - I really enjoyed doing Kimananda's tag, I sort of rediscovered that random writing is highly enjoyable! I know at least that Riannan also found it worthwhile to write her own piece.. So for anyone who feels the same - a little topic for you to ponder:

Imagine your father coming to see you at school, riding a tricycle and wearing a Roman helmet. How would you explain this to your friends?

This was an actual assignment my mum was given in school...
Leave a comment if you finish this one, I'm really looking forward to hearing your explaining this one away. Oh, should we say 250 words? And leave a task for me, please...

9 comments:

Devil Mood said...

Wow!!! You've lived! You've learned! (I sound like Alanis Morrisette in "You Learn"...lol).
You're a total language expert! I love it! :)
That task sounds exciting and I'll give it a try!

Chloe said...

really i admire you for learning greek. many people don't realize it's a fantastically difficult language to learn, so much so, that many greeks many tons of mistakes and get laughed at on national television.
xx
have a nice -greek- easter!καλό πάσχα, καλή ανάσταση!

Merujo said...

My father was given to weird hats and my mother had one of those grown-up tricycles in her later years - she rode our dog around in the basket on back. I will ponder this assignment and think of a task for you... :-)

Devil Mood said...

I did that exercise on my blog, if you want to check :)

Husker Du said...

Err...what the heck? is that so easy then? some summer evening classes in greek islands...done! I'm gonna follow your method asap and learn Spanish, Italian and Swedish! :)
Καλή 'Ανάσταση'!!
ps: always wonder, do the non-greek people (with no greek-keybord enabled)read the letters i type or instead they read some strange characters like #$@%^&*@ ?!

"D" said...

You are amazing...totally. I really admire what is apparently your incredible drive and intelligence, and awed that you visit my weeny little blog! I'm taking your challenge... and raising you to describe: your perfect 'room' that is just for you and you alone. I'll have my dad and his helmet posted Wednesday!

"D" said...

By the way huskerdu... I read the funky letters with all their angled lines and all... just so you know!

Riannan said...

Maybe it's a three-wheeled chariot of some kind and he was a member of the National Classical Society (I think that was the name of the nationally-linked Latin club when I was in high school).

EllasDevil said...

Sending you my warmest wishes at this Holy time of Easter!!

Καλό Πάσχα και Καλή Ανάσταση!!