Pammakristos (Greek autism charity)

This is the website that deals with severely autistic children in Greece which helps lots of children to lead better lives. People are born, live and die with autism. It gets better as you get older as you learning coping strategies and become more independent but the ability to revert when tired, ill, overwhelmed, stressed etc remains.
I’m sorry that the website is in Greek and there is no English equivalent hence it goes through Google Translate here but they can’t do everything.
I found this quite an interesting read yesterday. Sorry for the quality.

Best wishes

Angela

Progressing with languages

I’ve just been spending some time in Disneyland Paris to practice my French. There is a lot more to languages than just knowing the words and being able to formulate sentences. You have to get the accent right so that you are emphasising the correct bit. You also need to punctuate your sentences correctly. Otherwise you end up with things that you didn’t technically order like this morning I wanted a cappuccino and a special eclair with nuts on but I got a cappuccino, special eclair (we switched to English to pick the nut one) and a nut coffee.

You can be excellent at learning and remembering words, you can study grammar but without practice you will never get past the intermediate level or the classic “broken” speech that so many people have. I am one of those artificial people in terms of speech as I work off scripts and it’s so formal that it’s an immediate giveaway. I would like to be better but it’s not one of my talents communicating.

You also need the desire as well as a need to communicate. I want to do this but I don’t have the ability despite having the intellect. You don’t need resources as many people around the world are polyglots without any money but you do have to like talking. Not only that, you need to like talking to strangers. I most certainly do not like that. So a lack of practice due to reticence will cripple any linguistic endeavour you may have.

What struggles have you come across in your life so far and how have you dealt with them?

Best wishes

Angela

On things you know but don’t realise

There are lots of words around that are part Greek and part Latin. These were both the languages of scholars so it’s almost like they couldn’t decide which was better and compromised a lot of the time.

Today I came across an article about the aurora borealis and it explained that this comes from both Greek and Latin. Aurora meaning dawn and borealis being the word for north. Hence we have the northern lights

Another instance that is popular in today’s culture is that of polyamory. This has poli from Greek which means many here and amory which is Latin. That stands for love. So a polyamorous person loves and engages with many people. This label is an ongoing joke within the community because the scientists who come up with this monikers are so indecisive.

However, it would make more sense if they didn’t chop and change the language these terms came from in the first place. There needs to be rules to follow but right now everything seems to be in a state of flux as everything seems permissible.

It happens to me quite frequently that I know certain well known and familiar concepts but until it’s explicitly pointed out, the realisation is not apparent to me. It doesn’t click and you don’t get that aha moment!

It also makes me think that children are constantly questioning everything, trying to figure out why things are the way they are but as adults we accept the status quo and just go along with our daily lives. Children have a lot of common sense as they don’t understand the social reasons for a lot of what they do. They just do things in the simplest and easiest way. We have to remember to not remove their innovative ways in the quest to teach them the ways of the world. We also have to accept that there ways may actually be better.

Language is a good area to demonstrate this as it’s forever evolving. Us as adults try to control everything as we think we know best being more experienced and worldly wise but this is not always true. Letting go is important for true freedom from the constraints that hold us back.

Can you come up with any examples that have shared linguistic roots? Or perhaps you have a similar scenario to share with us today?

Best wishes

Angela

Lightbulb moment!

I read an article about Keira knightly who said that she was dyslexic but that they only found out a year into her schooling. This was because her mother read lots of books to her and it’s only when they came across new ones that problems were discovered. Keira had memorised them and that’s what I do with words.

It explains why I read everything in sight so this would not ever be an issue. My autism allows me to combat my dyslexia in a novel way but it’s still an acquired skill that can disappear if I’m not feeling top notch. I covered up my problems so well, that despite a few grammar issues that persisted throughout my education; nobody including myself ever thought I was dyslexic.

I only uncovered this with my attempts to learn Greek and the fact that I most certainly do not read in a normal manner. This causes lots of additional difficulties in Greek because of genderized conjugation. Grammar is also completely different and highly flexible. This requires a lot of attention to learn all of the spelling patterns and word pairings especially since I have sequencing issues due to my autism. The cases (dative, accusative etc) are a big thing here which is not quite so obvious in English. There is also the tonos to account for which isn’t present in English. Thank goodness they got rid of all the other accents and breathing marks from modern Greek that are still present in older styles of Greek.

As regards my reading I can sight read to pick up the gist of something but I may miss subtleties or I can read all of the words in a normalise fashion. I know when I’m tired as I’m reading words and there just not sinking in. They remain on the surface like bread floating on a pond instead of being submerged as they have absorbed water.

This also explains my difficulty with speech as there are so many different ways to pronounce a word and the right way depends on so many factors. Your country, age, education, class, the influence of those around you, the language(s) you speak and for what purpose you use them as well.

I have more difficulties with grammar and spelling now with the English language as well. Which is why it is helpful to write my blog as I continue to keep my level up. Without this constant practice I will certainly diminish my skill level.

Just like a muscle wastes away without use so does the skills that we learn throughout life and the abilities present in your brain. So keep active and keep positive. If you do the things that you enjoy even if your not initially good at them. This will cause neuronal growth and you will learn that activity. So nothing is impossible. As the saying goes, even the word says I’m possible.

Good wishes to you all,

Αγγελα (pronunciations produce all manner of spellings and there all right as Greek is a phonetic language.)

Reading

Reading is very important for comprehension but also so is understanding. Reading is difficult for dyslexics of which they are many in both my own and married families. I’m starting to think that in my adopted language of Greek that I possibly have this too but not in the way that any of them have. You can also read in a hyperlexic way. While a dyslexic has an inability to read hence the term coming from 2 Greek words dys and lexic; a hyperlexic can very easily read and in fact will do quite quickly. It is this apparent ability that causes issues. The problem with a hyperlexic is that they don’t understand what they are reading. This is similar to how an autistic reads. They can do sight reading because that is just pattern recognition after all. This is another thing that is common across all 3 conditions. The ability for words to transform into hieroglyphs so you recognise the symbols (letters) but when they are combined in new ways, you don’t always get what they are trying to tell you in terms of content or pronunciation.

Autism is another word originating from the Greek language meaning self. As it’s a gendered language you have he, she it being auto, aute and autos. The strange thing here is with it being said afto, afte and Aftos. Then of course you have to factor in that it is a different alphabet with only 24 letters so not everything maps directly. This causes lots of issues with spelling etc as the above words are represented as αυτό, αυτή και αυτός. This is quite bewildering at first and will still get me on quite a frequent basis. It probably always will which is a pain but that’s life.

This is another article I did on the challenges of learning to read in another language The positive side.

Αντζελα (yet another way of writing my name in Greek that’s closest to the English pronunciation.)