Greek Lessons or Books

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alansmithnl
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Greek Lessons or Books

Postby alansmithnl » Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:53 pm

Having seen the BabelFish answer to the world, the universe and everything learning languages, they do not, for some reason, include Greek.
Does anyone know of books that show the English, with a Greek translation and how it sounds in English? (Phonetically, I mean)
I will definitely learn, but it's getting hold of the right book(s)
Thanks in anticipation.
Alan

Mixos
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Re: Greek Lessons or Books

Postby Mixos » Sun Oct 01, 2017 6:36 pm

This BBC book with CDs is as good a place as any to start, Alan. I found it a bit heavy on the grammar, but once you get into it, it's a pretty good teach-yourself way to begin and the CDs help with the phonetics.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/GREEK-LANGUAGE ... 0563519762

Kilkis
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Re: Greek Lessons or Books

Postby Kilkis » Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:04 am

The one good thing about Greek compared to English is that, with very, very few exceptions, a particular letter combination always sounds the same. Once you have learnt them that's it. It is fairly easy to get to the point where you can read a Greek word and say it out loud more or less correctly.

To offset that the grammar is fiendishly complicated. The key advice is to learn every noun with the appropriate word for "the" in front of it. Altogether, logically, there are 18 words for "the" although some of them are identical and some that are not identical sound identical. If you ever get to the stage of trying to speak Greek correctly, and I haven't after 20 years, you are going to need to know the gender of every noun and many are anything but obvious. You will never remember them as an abstract concept, although you will learn to make an intelligent guess from the ending. Typically we learn nouns in the nominative case singular and the three words for "the" in that case are: ο, masculine, η, feminine and το, neuter. So don't learn father, mother, person as πατέρας, μιτέρα, άτομο, learn them as ο πατέρας, η μιτέρα and το άτομο. If they stick in your mind like that then later you won't need to wonder what is the gender, the word for "the" tells you. It's also good practise because Greek sticks "the" in front of nouns in many places where English doesn't such as names. For example if somebody was talking about me they would refer to me in English as "Warwick" but in Greek as "ο Γουορικ" or possibly "τον Γουορικ" or "του Γουορικ" depending on where I appeared in the sentence.

I am not sure what is a good book to start with but if you really want to learn the grammar "Greek - An Essential Grammar of the Modern Language" is excellent but anything but easy and not cheap. I've got the earlier version. "Essential Modern Greek Grammar" would be a cheaper alternative but I don't have any experience of it. "201 Modern Greek verbs" is also quite useful as it conjugates all 72 forms, plus about 9 variants, for the 201 verbs included in it.

Have fun.

Warwick

PS Yes you did read that correctly. 72 forms plus about 9 variants. There are 11 tenses each of which has 6 forms, i.e. first, second and third person singular and plural plus 2 tenses that have 2 forms and 2 that have a single form. Then there are variant endings, especially on the first person plural.

Clio
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Re: Greek Lessons or Books

Postby Clio » Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:35 am

Blimey, Warwick, If somebody who hasn’t done much walking fancies stretching their legs, and asks about a nice route round the lower slopes of Scafell Pike, would you give them a climbing map for the ascent of the South Col of Everest!

Yes, Alan, it’s true the grammar can be complicated . But you don’t need to bother too much about grammar and syntax at the moment;, and when you do, there are simpler approaches to it, like using the present tense for everything until you grasp the others . Eventually you will be surprised to discover that many Cretans don’t have a clue about correct usage of grammar either, and that they are appreciative of any effort you can make to communicate.

The best advice I can give you is to learn the alphabet, to practice it over and over until it makes sense and you find to your surprise that you can read the odd word on a shop sign. You will find that some of the phrase books designed for tourists will give phonetic versions of words, but every good teacher I have ever met has encouraged learners to start by reading in Greek and I’m sure they’re right. Once you know what sound is made by a letter or a combination of letters, you’re away.

The Holton Mackridge book is very advanced, and I wouldn’t even think about it. The most battered books on my shelf are the two volumes of the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, which is great for giving you examples of a word in everyday use, and I also turn a lot to the verb book which Warwick mentions. But that’s another stage – you need to read Greek first.

Finally, learning Greek isn’t just about books, about hours of daunting, dry study. It can also be about fun, and friendship, about practical usefulness, about making real contact with your new neighbours.

You will soon know the words for “car” and “problem” if you don’t know them already. Look up “fanbelt” in your dictionary, go into the kafeneio, use your three words while making a comical “help me” gesture and the grapevine will get you sorted. Then you buy everyone a raki , communication is established, and you have a new enthusiasm for getting to grips with your studies.

bobscott
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Re: Greek Lessons or Books

Postby bobscott » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:15 am

Someone once pointed out to me and others that the most senseless thing in any language is the assignment of a gender to an inanimate object and different languages use different genders for the same article: (cf the feminine 'table' in French and the masculine 'table' in Russian). All rubbish and serves no real purpose at all.

Warwick is right, you have to learn the correct gender word (masuline, feminine, neuter) together with the word itself. Bob
Yesterday today was tomorrow. Don't dilly dally!

Kilkis
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Re: Greek Lessons or Books

Postby Kilkis » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:20 am

I'm a scientist and an engineer Clio. I can only learn by finding out how things work. I cannot learn by absorbing random facts. It doesn't work for me. I agree that the alphabet is the first thing to learn. In an attempt to redeem myself:

Greek 101 - Το ελληνικό αλφάβητο To elleeneeko alfaveeto

The following shows the upper case letter, the lower case letter, how you say it if you were reciting the alphabet and what it sounds like in speech.

Α α Alpha a as in cat
Β β Veeta v as in vat
Γ γ Gamma Said a little like clearing your throat or as y in yet
Δ δ Thelta hard th using the throat as in the
Ε ε Epsilon e as in let
Ζ ζ Zeeta z as in zest
Η η Eeta ee as in keep
Θ θ Theeta soft th using the tongue and teeth as in thin
Ι ι Yota ee as in keep
Κ κ Kappa k as in kick
Λ λ Lamtha l as in let
Μ μ Mee m as in mat
Ν ν Nee n as in nap
Ξ ξ Ksee x as in axe
Ο ο Omikron o as in cot
Π π Pee p as in pat
Ρ ρ Ro r as in rat
Σ σ, ς Sigma s as in sat. The third version is used at the end of words
Τ τ Taf t as in top
Υ υ Ipsilon ee as in keep
Φ φ Fee f as in fat
Χ χ Hee Said a little like a wheezy cough
Ψ ψ Psee ps as in psychology
Ω ω Omega o as in cot

In addition there are a number of letter combinations or diphthongs. αι is pronounced e as in let. ει, οι and υι (not common) are pronounced ee as in keep. ου is pronounced oo as in too. Some letters are pronounced differently depending on what follows them. Gamma sounds like clearing your throat before o and a sounds and more like a y before e and ee sounds. αυ and ευ are pronounced af and ef before soft consonants like π, τ, κ, φ, θ, χ, σ, ξ and ψ and as av or ev before vowels and other consonants. There is also an ηυ combination that behaves in the same way but I have never come across it. γγ and γκ can make a more English g sound as in get or an ng sound as in bang. μπ makes an English b or mb sound as in the beginning and ending of bomb. ντ makes an English d or nd sound as in the beginning and end of demand. Normally it is the b or d sound at the beginning of a word and the mb or nd sound if it is in the middle of the word. This also applies if the μ or ν are on the end of one word and the π or τ are at the beginning of the next word. σ is pronounced more like z before β, γ, δ, λ, μ, ν and ρ. τζ is a sort of dz sound almost like a g in George. τσ is pronounced almost like a ch sound as in chap.

Unlike English there are hardly any exceptions to the above pronunciations but it should be noted that they are approximate. Language is made up of micro sounds that we learn from listening in the first year or so of life. English and Greek micro sounds are different so if you didn't hear Greek spoken up to 1 year old you don't have exactly the correct ones to speak the language completely fluently. For example the various ee sounds aren't exactly like in keep but somewhere between kip and keep. To me it sounds closer to keep so that is the best way I can describe it. Hope that helps.

Warwick

PS I stand by my advice to learn every noun with "the" in front of it. I didn't and I very much regret it now.

alansmithnl
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Re: Greek Lessons or Books

Postby alansmithnl » Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:35 pm

Thanks guys. Warwick, as ever, a mine of information. Bob, your comments always welcome. Warwick, thanks for the lesson, it was most helpful. I'm really looking forward to living here. Thanks again guys.
Alan.

alansmithnl
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Re: Greek Lessons or Books

Postby alansmithnl » Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:37 pm

I have a better idea, Warwick. Just sell me the book!
Alan.

Alf
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Re: Greek Lessons or Books

Postby Alf » Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:03 pm

Not a book but a free online course you may like

http://www.languagetransfer.org/complete-greek

Trev

alansmithnl
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Re: Greek Lessons or Books

Postby alansmithnl » Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:15 pm

Thanks, Warwick. Looking at it now.
Alan

Kilkis
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Re: Greek Lessons or Books

Postby Kilkis » Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:36 pm

There's also this free one from Cyprus. People will tell you that Cypriot Greek is totally different from Cretan Greek but, trust me, if your Greek gets good enough to tell the difference you won't need to worry about it. When people can't understand me in Crete I always claim it is because of my Pontiaki accent picked up in northern Greece. When I visit back up north and they can't understand me I claim it is because I have picked up a Cretan accent.

Warwick

PS I've got some stuff on my PC that you might find useful, Alan. It's a bit big, i.e. around 8 GB, but you can have it on a memory stick when you get to Crete if you want.

alansmithnl
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Re: Greek Lessons or Books

Postby alansmithnl » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:54 am

Thanks.is Warwick. Very useful to know. We're actually here already, just signed for the house, in the process of beer in a bank account tomorrow if my tax I'd co.we on time this afternoon.
Just for curiosity, while you were doing the online course, did you have the opportunity to speak to a y of the teachers, or was it all listen and copy?
Regarding the USB files, yes of course I would be interested.
Maybe we can meet up beforewegoback on Friday evening?
PM is ok with any details. I will of course replace your USB or put the files direct I'm her laptop.
Alan

Kilkis
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Re: Greek Lessons or Books

Postby Kilkis » Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:11 pm

You must have typed that on a phone or tablet? The predictive spelling has done a real job on it but I think I get the drift.

No contact with teachers. The online course is quite old and you just work your way through it. There used to be a free course in Chania during the winter months but I don't know if it is still going. While the level of the course was low it was quite hard as it was attended by people from lots of different countries so it was mainly taught in Greek. I am not one of those people who can learn a language by being immersed in it. If you want interaction you are probably better with private tuition. I am sure you could persuade any Greek who teaches English in a frontisterio to coach you in Greek by pushing money in their hand. You might get somebody to help for free in exchange for helping them with English.

I've also sent you a PM.

Warwick

Kilkis
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Re: Greek Lessons or Books

Postby Kilkis » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:33 am

A couple of additional comments on gender, Bob.

Firstly, it isn't only a waste of time assigning gender to inanimate objects in some cases words do not have an appropriate gender. Κορίτσι is the Greek word for girl and grammatically its gender is neuter.

In the UK and the USA a debate is getting going about the use of appropriate use of gender in the light of people who are tans-gender. Going back a few years the debate being pushed by feminists was about neutralising words like chairman because they were in some way demeaning to women. In Greek there isn't a female equivalent for words like doctor and all the specialist versions, engineer, scientist etc. It would be perfectly feasible to change the ending of the word to a feminine form if you are talking about a female doctor or engineer but they don't. Instead they use the feminine form of the definite or indefinite article in front of a male noun.

Warwick

PS Of course English isn't without its oddities. I've always thought that "I before E except after C" was a weird rule?

scooby
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Re: Greek Lessons or Books

Postby scooby » Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:19 pm

Kilkis wrote:
PS Of course English isn't without its oddities. I've always thought that "I before E except after C" was a weird rule?
And your a Scientist?
Men in suits will always make you pay.


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