The Pros and Cons of Learning and Knowing Greek

Living and growing up on an island that everyone thinks is a Greek island but is actually a nation of its own, I found myself learning Greek and had pretty much no choice in the matter. In fact, I went straight into the Cyprus school system knowing like 3 words of Greek and barely capable of stringing a basic sentence together. I went into secondary school knowing basic words and sentences, mostly because the tiny little village school that had classes consisting of 4-10 students didn’t really have the facilities to help an older child learn a whole new language from scratch. I did however finish school being mostly fluent in Greek. I say mostly because I’m a verbal klutz and struggle to speak in English half the time, let alone a second language.

There are plenty of pros (and a few cons) about speaking Greek though.

Image by Sophia Hilmar from PixaCyprus Aphrodites Rock by Sophia Hilmar on Pixabaybay
Aphrodite’s Rock, locally known as Petra Tou Romiou, as in, not Aphrodite’s Rock at all. Image by Sophia Hilmar from Pixabay

The main pro is that it’s fricking cool being able to speak two languages. It’s basically a secret code language if you’re not in a Greek-speaking country. Which, unfortunately, there aren’t many of. Greek is mostly only spoken in Greece (duh), Cyprus and some parts of Asia Minor, for lack of a better term. So in regards to being a useful language for use in communication with other people in other countries, Greek is a pretty limited language. Heck, it’s possible that Greek speakers and Cyprus speakers can’t always understand each other, what with the Cyprus dialect being a thing.

Weirdly though, Greek isn’t that hard a language to learn, at least in my opinion. Okay, sure, I was saturated in the language and culture, but a lot of Greek is actually very well structured and follows pretty consistent rules. Once you’ve gotten over the alphabet and the fact that some letters don’t sound how they look (B is a V in Greek, for example), the only real things you can trip over are what gender things are (masculine, feminine, neutral) and which version of E, I or O goes where. Still, the best way to learn a language is to force yourself to learn it, mainly via living in a place that requires a new language.

The nice thing about knowing Greek though is that you see words and think “Ohhh! That’s where that word comes from!” or “Ohhh, so that’s what that means!” It’s actually a pretty cool feeling to have and it feels even better if you’re in the least bit interested in anything academic, because Greek words appear in all sorts of places. Frankly, half the time, if it’s not Latin, it’s Greek, and sometimes you can see how the Latin word came from the Greek word.

Greek is also useful for learning other languages. When doing French in secondary school, even though Greek was my second language, I could still learn pretty well because there are similar rules and grammar. French doesn’t have the neutral gender, but I have a better understanding of how French goes together because Greek goes together in similar ways. Really, learning one language is a gateway to understanding more languages.

But the coolest thing about Greek? It’s a fucking ancient language. Sure, what I’m speaking is barely understandable because I suck at all things verbal and mutter every word like a shy idiot, but Greek has been spoken in some form since, well, ages. While modern Greek does have a lot of differences compared to ancient Greek and even the nearly-modern Polytonic Greek (basically Greek with more accents), the root language is still somewhat the same.

So while I’m not speaking the same language as Ancient Greek poets and philosophers, there IS a chance that, if you had a conversation with one, they’d be able to somewhat understand what you’re saying…


Also known as Doctor Retvik Von Schreibtviel, Medic writes 50% of all the articles on the Daily SPUF. A dedicated Medic main in Team Fortress 2 and an avid speedster in Warframe, Medic has the unique skill of writing 500 words about very little in a very short space of time.

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