My 10 secrets to create your little Greek world, when you are away from Greece and also tips and tricks for your study!

  1. Fill your ears. get as much input in your target language, in this case Greek, as you possible can! What does a small baby before starting to speak? Exactly! Listens all day long to his parents, relatives and other friends of the family speaking to him! First we listen then we speak! So fill your ears with the Greek language! Listen listen listen! Turn your car into a classroom with Greek-language CDs, download podcasts to your iPod, MP3 player, or cell phone, listen to the Greek radio on the way to work or to the gym. In buses trains airplanes or during your bike ride! As you learn more, switch to audiobooks on Greek literature and enjoy “Ο Ζορμπάς” [Zorba the Greek] this time in the original language! Yeah! 

2. See it, Say it, stick it. Train yourself to say the greek word for things you look at every day: “το πιρούνι” for fork, “η καρέκλα” for chair; “το ψωμί” for bread. Put a post-it note with the Greek name plus, as you learn more vocabulary and grammar, the verb or an adjective, in order to create context, on objects around the house. For example say you want to learn the word “πόρτα” door in Greek, you stick a post-it on the inside of the door writing the word “πόρτα plus “ανοίγω /κλείνω την πόρτα”, the verb we use for opening or/and closing the door. Don’t remove one until you’ve memorized the term.

3. Read. Anything and everything at your level! Get as much input as possible! Social media are here for a reason! Use them! This time to learn a language! Read Facebook posts or comments, tweet posts, be a member in groups about Greek language and Greece, follow Greek people (artists, ecc) on Instagram. At an intermediate level start reading posts on Greek sites, magazines, and newspapers. Another idea is to find bilingual books (Greek-English) where the text is on one page in Greek and on the next you have the translation. But basically find your favorite subject and read it in Greek! 

4. Watch. Movies allow you to see (gestures, facial expressions, the body language) and hear Greek (intonation, pronunciation, various dialects). Learn history, culture, art, the lifestyle of Greeks but above all you learn without really realizing it, after all you are watching a movie! Only in an active way! 

Watch it the first time with the subtitles in your native language (for the unknown words), second time with the subtitles in Greek (listening and reading in Greek) and the third time without any subtitles. Imagine the feeling of watching a Greek movie and understanding what the actors are saying without reading the subtitles! 

5. Sing. Even if you can’t carry a tune, singing along with popular Greek songs can teach you a lot about the Greek intonation and pronunciation! Plus it can introduce you to everyday vocabulary and common phrases that we use in our everyday lives. At you’ll find everything from charming νανουρίσματα (lullabies) to pop and rock tunes. 

6. Play. Associate language learning with playing and fun! 

Have you ever played a video game and totally loved it? Well this time you will do it in Greek! And you will benefit in both ways! 

Also, board games like “Τάβλι” or «Μονόπολη» for example, «σταυρόλεξα» Greek for crosswords, that you can find online or even the next time you are in Greece go ahead and play in a kafenìo, with your Greek friends or fellow students or even ask them to teach you some greek card games! 

And let the games begin! 

7. Enjoy Greek everyday life with real people! Learning by doing! 

 Join a football team. A greek traditional dances group! A yoga class in Greek. Watch a soccer match in a Greek cafeteria or bar. Take cooking classes taught by Greeks. Go to Greek street festivals. Greek folk dance festivals. 

8. Accept your mistakes, embrace your imperfections. Don’t be afraid or intimidated by your mistakes, cause you learn by making mistakes. If you can’t think of the correct tense, REMEMBER in Greek present and present continuous plus the subjective mood -εξακολουθητική υποτακτική which is formed with the words να, ας, όταν, για να και το απαγορευτικό μην + ρήμα στον ενεστώτα, have the same form! 😄 How cool is that!  3 in 1! And by all means, use your hands. That’s πολύ ελληνικό! 

9. Bring a little Greece into your life. If you can’t spend time in Greece why don’t you bring a bit of Greek air into your life? Make a greek coffee in the morning or have an ouzo in the afternoon. Make some “τζατζίκι”, or “ταραμοσαλάτα” two of the most quick and easy greek dips, or if you feel like a pro greek chef go for some “γεμιστά”. Wear something greek, like your “μάτι” to keep you safe from negativity! Make some greek «χαλβά» halva (the easiest sweet ever!). 

10. Be swept away. Be so madly, gladly, giddily in love with Greek! 

Find the Greek in you! 

(Inspired and adapted for the Greek Language by “My 10 secrets for learning italian” by Diane Hales)