Language problem solved

I finally figured out why I can’t speak – preciseness of language. I had this drummed into me as a kid. I lived on a farm as a child so had very little contact with people. When for the first couple of years all you speak to are your parents, occasional fishermen, perhaps the vet and your grandparents if they come to visit then of course you can’t speak properly. You don’t have enough practice with forming your words as you don’t even have a sibling to practice with as your the eldest. This is why you try to compensate when your brother turns up and has the same problem. You have already been through the same problem and your trying to rectifying it but your making him codependent on you as he isn’t old enough to talk yet and you are.

In order to speak correctly you need to be able to make mistakes. As a child you need to learn all the different sounds of your language in order to know which are the correct ones. If your not allowed this trial and error process then you stop speaking. Your linguistic and therefore social development is hampered by your parents whose own issues are preventing you from being all that you can be. They are creating major problems for you and themselves by expecting you to be a fully formed adult in terms of communication before that is possible.

I figured this out finally at dinner last night as I was trying to order a lamb chop but the Greek words are no longer on the menu to refresh my memory. I thought it was arnaki as it sounds like little lamb to me based on the words for little and lamb. It’s similar but it’s actually paidaikia. This is one of those many words that are confusing because if you get the stress wrong you order little children paidi akia instead of lamb chops pai diakia. I was also contemplating the fact that his children might be coming to visit us soon so I can’t get away with speaking English as there too young to know any at 6 and 3 I think but I’m not sure as I haven’t meant them yet.

These mini crisis are important as they show up the problems that were created in your childhood that you are no longer aware of as it was so long ago. I was first alerted to this when my husband’s best friend changed partners and started bringing round their children. I had previously avoided all children like the plague because they made me uncomfortable. They reminded me of my own inability to have them. They also represented change which I can’t handle unless I’m in a relaxed, open frame of mind.

Learning languages with autism

I have long wondered how is it that I have dedicated countless hours over the years to this task yet I’m still unable to speak?

I know it’s possible as I can do it in a pinch and I have written about the methods which have allowed many others to do just that.

It turns out that since I’m reticent to speak in English, it applies to all languages and has nothing to do with my intellectual ability at all. I can learn a language, any language and enjoy it. I just don’t like speaking.

Since most conversations are inane repeats of what has been said previously I don’t join in. The point that they are therapy and checking up on people to make sure they are mentally well as well as physically has escaped me until recently. I am entirely capable of talking especially about special interests but my conversational skills right now have descended to word play games with my father in law.

Yesterday I was trying to say to my husband in Greek that since he had got a baked bean stuck in his throat (he had baked beans on toast for his lunch) he wouldn’t be ordering them when he got back to Greece. Mia fazoula parakalo (polite and I enunciated it wrong) but then his dad joined in with strawberries fraoula since it’s a similar word and he was waxing lyrical (mountain strawberries like I have in Greece) about them yesterday dinner time. We ended with me saying that a frauoula was a little German housewife thereby mixing German with Greek which might considered a bit of a heresy considering the history involved here.

The Peloponnesus area of Greece by Dr Michael Scott on This is Greece

It may not surprise you to learn that I have visited this area of Greece too in addition to Lefkás. My reasons are generally not so virtuous as those of Dr Michael Scott or David Suchet though who does the narration in This is Greece. This is a 5 part series which they recently repeated on PBS so I got to watch the rest which mysteriously vanished from the scheduling before I could write about it.

To recap he first went to Northern and Central Greece which I wrote about in This is Greece on PBS with Michael Scott. In the second episode he goes to Athens itself. In this episode he goes to the Peloponnesus area that surrounds Athens. Afterwards visits the Cyclades Islands (Circular) in the Aegean and then finishes in the The Dodecanese Islands.

I have been to Athens but not to the Cyclades or the Dodecanese.

Generally when we go on a road trip as well as history, it will take in at least one winery. This allows us to bring back a supply that is the freshest and since it is from the source it is the cheapest too. Considering how much we have to celebrate in our lives it is a worthwhile investment.

Best wishes

Angela

What does Greek have against punctuation?

This is a clip that a friend of mine posted online with Greek and English plus an auto translation below.

What confuses me the most when trying to figure out the Greek language is where do you take a breath? There are no commas, semi colons or full stops. There isn’t even any speech marks, exclamation marks or question marks!

The Greeks also have a love of sentences that start with And. I think this maybe because they are trying to artificially add in punctuation in newspaper articles. It’s very confusing trying to figure out which words belong in which sentence since they run on forever!

Spanish I think may have the opposite problem of using exclamation marks at the beginning as well as the end. Kind of like the Spanish themselves being very enthusiastic.

I haven’t learnt sufficient about other languages like Russian yet, to be able to comment properly; but from what I’ve seen far they don’t seem to have the same issues.

Do you have any issues like this in languages you have learnt?

Best wishes

Angela

Greek language blogs

These are blogs that I’ve started following as in order for me to be able to talk I need to read an awful lot of content from native speakers on varied subjects. I didn’t publish anything for the National Greek Language Day that we just had and I was reminded that I should get back to my language studies again.

Best wishes

Angela

The Rise of Empires – Ottoman on Netflix

This is part of the new breed of historical programs on Netflix that are part dramatisation and part recitation of historical facts from learned professors in the area. I have watched some about Russian history too namely the Czars. I will write about this also in due course.

This series has 6 episodes covering the legendary siege of Constantinople in 1453. This was conducted by Mehmet the second against Roman Emperor Constantine the 11th. It is narrated by Charles Dance the man who voiced Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones.

I think this is a fascinating period of history starting with the astonishing takeover where 23 armies including his fathers had failed before him. Each episode covers a different bit of the siege from the initial plans, the artillery attack, naval attack to sneakier tactics and finally the success.

This follows on from previous posts I have written about the Ottoman Empire and when I eventually visit Istanbul there will be some more as the city is bound to yield many interesting things to write about.

The Byzantine Empire was much earlier and I have already written about that too in a couple of posts. Byzantines.

Best wishes

Angela

Today’s lesson

I have learnt today that you can block yourself from achieving what your heart desires via the psychological blockages that are present in your brain. This is responsible for over learning and trying so hard but just not getting there. You become so inventive trying to find the reasons for your failure but because you are not attacking the root cause you will never solve the problem. The fact you haven’t the faintest idea why this happens continually is why you will never find a solution no matter how creative you are. The answers you are looking for are located in your brain but all the signposts are lost. In fact there isn’t even a map so you have to stumble around blindly until you somehow come across what you are looking for. There is a quicker way to locate those lost items but it requires you look deep within yourself to discover those items.

I find zoning out watching Netflix in foreign languages or YouTube videos is very helpful to this process. Watching an in-depth program on tv also helps. Anything visual that captures my attention allows whatever is there to bubble up to the surface.

Last dinner we were having dinner and we just start talking in Greek. My husband, myself and my father in law discuss the prawns were eating, how many potatoes we want, etc. While my father in law talks in sentences about how tasty these prawns are even though they are whole (there not deveined I believe is the technical term), my mother in law doesn’t say a word and barely answers how many prawns, asparagus, potatoes she wants. We don’t even talk about the wine which is unusual for us as it’s usually quite a big deal. I liked the fact that because the context was immediate I didn’t really need to translate because it was obvious what was being said. Practice really does make perfect even with impromptu jokes about a common occurrence (the taste of shell on prawns compared to shelled ones).

Best wishes

Angela

Byzantines

This was a race of people who lived in Byzantium. This is the city that the Romans founded called Constantinople and later become Istanbul . This was the subject of a BBC 4 program last winter called A city of 3 names – Constantinople, Byzantium and Istanbul.

The Byzantines were famous for their religious beliefs. They created a style of art that is unique and there many museums dedicated to it. There is an exhibition on Byzantine art in Lefkás town on top of the library that I have written about previously and I have seen an exhibit in London at a Hellenic centre too. There is also one in Berlin on Museum Island.

There is however only so much information that you can take in over the course of a holiday. This is why I haven’t been in that one yet but I hope to return to Berlin to check it out. I also want to go to Istanbul to see Hagia Sophia and all of the other treasures that are inside the city as I have previously mentioned when talking about the Ottoman Empire.

Best wishes

Angela

Advocating for autism

As a proud autistic adult I have written 2 new books and these are about how to deal with the traumatic and emotional events that life throws at us like dealing with grief, social occasions, adolescence etc

Imagina and A Life of Ice and Fire.

This is in addition to Autistic Communication and Autistic Education.

My other books are on How to learn the Greek language, Greek life, More Greek, How to learn languages and finally A Life of Halcyon Days which is a romantic chick lit book set in Greece.

Best wishes

Angela

On listening, enjoying but not understanding (Hyperlexia or just Autism?)

I’ve just realised that as much as I enjoy listening to the songs by Giorgios Sabanis and especially his Logia pou Kaine (Words that burn) album; I haven’t the faintest idea what he is talking about upon reading the English translations – Giorgios Sabanis lyric translations.

I’ve listened to the lyrics as he has sung them with accompanying written lyrics, even reading them at the same time but there meaning seems to have slipped my mind. I’ve watched the videos to his songs and thought that I had intuited the meaning since there are generally evocative and seem to go well with the song but I haven’t grasped the finer points in the slightest.

This should make me depressed but I see it as another aspect of autism. It is after all a social communication disorder. It took until I was a teenager to start to get the finer points of socialising in English so you could look upon my progress in Greek as though I am a teenager again. If I have to do this with every language I want to learn it’s going to be one painful nightmare repeated over and over again. I really hope this isn’t necessary. The emotional growth is nice but does it have to be so painful each time?

Best wishes

Angela

Grammar is essential to interpretation in foreign languages

https://lyricstranslate.com/en/se-sena-stamatise-i-kardia-σε-σένα-σταμάτησε-η-καρδιά-heart-stopped-you.html

My heart stopped with you

This is a song that immediately struck me the first time I heard it. It’s a pop/ rock song but it’s also strangely calming as it’s streamlined. I’ve listened to it countless times and I thought I understood the lyrics as they are quite passionate and evoke your emotions. I therefore thought I knew what the song was about because his speech is relatively clear and distinct. To me it was about love but an all encompassing love that disables you from functioning. It describes the feeling when you are head over heels for someone and it’s just like a bolt from the blue as we say to explain something completely unexpected.

While this is not completely the theme of the song upon reading the actual lyrics, it never occurred to me before despite the fact I have most likely looked up this song before and I’ve certainly tried to analyse its content. I have been passively watching and listening to songs for years with an inkling of their meaning from the emotions that I perceived from the videos but they haven’t been correct. I need to translate the words to get the full picture. My arrogance at my own ability and my naïveté have probably both contributed to this. Plus being selfish and not allowing anyone to critique me as I was too emotional and sensitive myself. I didn’t have enough life experience or emotional maturity to comprehend the message of the song.

The song explains that love is blind as the guy is still stuck on his ex. He can’t get over her as much as he wants to as there are still so many reminders of their relationship. He is still wondering what he has done to lose her. He wants to get back with her as he still loves her and thinks that this will stop the pain he is feeling. He is becoming bitter towards the end and wants to cut out all trace of her from him.That’s certainly different to usual and no wonder I never picked that up.

Have you ever had that before?

Best wishes

Angela

The Parthenon

I was astonished recently when watching a program on an American television channel about how well the Parthenon was constructed. They understood so many things to construct the perfect temple. What’s more is they did it without a plan and in 9 years. The current renovation which the program covers has taken at least 30 because they had to correct previous fixes which were done incorrectly. They also had to figure out how they built it in the first place because there is very little records bar other temples.

Each piece of the temple is unique so it’s like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Each piece can only fit in one place. Slotting it all together is a big task for anyone to complete. The team decided to put the temple back into order as it stands without trying to restore it to a previous era as that would destroy its beauty and make it look unbalanced.

Do you have any wonders if the world near you?

Best wishes

Angela

When you try to control everything, it ends up controlling you

With one look – Μ´Ενα Σου Βλέμμα by Γιοργιος Σαμπανης Giorgios Sabanis and the lyrics https://lyricstranslate.com/en/μ’-ένα-σου-βλέμμα-your-sight.html

Pop music doesn’t usually make videos that makes you think about real world issues but this one was so evocative that I had to watch it again and again to get what it truly was about. The words went too fast for me to read initially so I paused it several times and with the help of Google to make sure I was translating correctly, I managed to get the full gist of things.

The first girl’s story,

I thought I was stronger than food. I could put it in me whenever I wanted but also take it out again. Finally I got what fed me to destroy me….

Νόμιζα ότι είμαι πιο δυνατή από φαγητό. Όποτε θέλω το βάζω μέσα μου, όποτε το βγάζω. Κι έφτασα τελικά ο, τι με τρέφει,να με καταστρέψει …

The first guy’s story

I had a passion for and was addicted to social media. This was the only way that I could cope with my life. But this was not living.

Το πάθος μου κι ο εθισμός μου για την εικονική πραγματικότητα, ήταν ο μόνος τρόπος που είχα για να αντέχω την πραγματικότητα. Αλλά η δειλία δεν είναι ζωή.

The second girl’s story

Sometimes he beats me to show me his love. Afterward he asks for my forgiveness. He tells me that he will change. Eventually I changed.

Καμία φορά με χτυπάει, για να μου δείξει την αγάπη του. Μετά μου ζητάει συγνώμη. Μου λέει θα αλλάζει. Τελικά άλλαζα εγώ.

The second guy’s story

I didn’t care how I made the money. I just did it to ensure I had a good standard of living. The resulting guilt and loneliness made all the victories pyrrhic.

Δε με ένοιαζε ο τρόπος. Μόνο να βγάζω λεφτά για να ζω καλά … Με νίκησαν στα σημεία, η ενοχή και η μοναξιά …

Its a distillation of what it is to be Greek but a modern Greek who is worldly so experiences what everyone else in the world struggles with – Food in the form of Anorexia and Bulimia, Internet addiction, Monetary Greed in the form of being a ruthless and cutthroat business man, Gluttony, Loneliness, Domestic Abuse, Depression and feeling subhuman like you have lost yourself and your humanity.

I feel this needs to be part of the Thriving Autistic Adult Series

Best wishes

Angela

The Greek Islands with Julia Bradbury

Since I like to keep up with all things Greek while I’m not there I decided to watch this show. This is a series created so that Julia, who is half Greek on her mothers side from the island of Chios can explore the bounty contained on many Greek islands like Crete, Spinalonga and Corfu ending up in Chios. If you have ever watched her on antiques and art show you would have never guessed this in a million years. I in fact did not know myself until I watched the first episode. It’s nice watching her progress with the Greek language but I wonder why she didn’t take advantage of it in early life.

It’s good to discover your heritage though whatever it is which is why in 2 months time I’m going to India which is where my mother is from. Being English and part of the army she didn’t learn any foreign languages but I think this has more to do with her dyslexia. My dad was also part of the army and learned German but not any other language despite his varied postings. This probably explains my love of travel and culture. Also the fact I don’t stay in one place very long so I never really put down roots or get settled. I was just starting to do that last year and then I had to leave. As usually happens with me.

Do you feel that your life is sometimes so stop/start you struggle to achieve what you think you need out of life?

Best wishes

Angela

There is a Berlin Wall inside my brain for words

This was installed when I had my accident at 17 and they are very militant in not allowing words from one part of my brain to the other. I learn all the words of a language and retain them but they are not allowed to cross the divide between the conscious and unconscious minds.

My husband just made a joke in Greek which was quite funny. He was saying a bunch of stuff then he says vemata (steps) instead of psmeta (lies) excuse my spelling. So I’m thinking there not the same word and that’s not the word he means or even what he usually says. Then I get what it is he just said so the words are there, there just not allowed out of the fortress often.

I have to find my Reagan so he can say “Tear down this wall Mr Gorbachev!”

Best wishes

Angela

Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe by Madeline Miller
Circe by Madeline Miller

This is the Retelling of the story of Circe from her birth to her involvement in the Odyssey and beyond.

Circe here reminds me of myself as her company is unwanted by all who surround her as she is different from all the others. She is not interested in the great parties, the gossip or the other guests. Instead she is prone to wondering the great halls alone wanting her fathers attention while avoiding her mother.

This lack of attention causes great loneliness in herself as she has no purpose. She has great strength but doesn’t believe in herself because of the ridicule she has previously received from her loved ones. Her innocence and naïveté cause her to fall in love with the first man she sets eyes upon. This is unrequited love but she cannot see it until he falls in love with another. All she wanted was to help another because she cared for him but it wasn’t to be. She repeats the pattern as she cannot help the fact she has so much love to give it spills over. She needs an outlet but without children what is an Ancient Greek girl to do?

You can listen to a sample of this book if you are not too sure about buying it on Audible. It is alternative history as the female side of things tends not to survive. Hence we have history or his story.

Best wishes

Angela

Telling tales in Greek

For Christmas I got this book. It is a children’s book to help English speakers learn the Greek language. It is the tale of the Odyssey and Odysseus. However the Greek that is taught in this book is the original Ancient Greek. This means extra learning of words that they no longer use. It’s interesting looking at the origins of the language though. Some words however remain the same.

The best part of this book is it’s focus on grammar including the most difficult point I have come across so far – the genitive sandwich.

This is very difficult for an English speaker because we don’t really have cases, declension or even gender in our language anymore. We therefore don’t ever need to worry about genderised conjugation or even really conjugating.

English is a hodgepodge of rules that have been adopted from all of the different invaders. This makes it a difficult language to learn because it’s not as pure as older languages are. You do however get compensated by having many cognates with other newer languages.

Another reason for the inherent difficulty in processing Greek from an English speakers perspective stems from the genitive case being the one that you use to indicate possession. In our enlightened times we wouldn’t ever think of saying ‘of Daniel’ to indicate that something belongs to Daniel unless we were referencing The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s anti feminist and very archaic to think in terms like this.

Grammar wasn’t taught much in schools when I was attending in contrast to previous eras. I believe they have changed that now with an emphasis on more exotic foreign languages like Mandarin instead of just European. This means that today’s school children are better equipped to handle the linguistic diversity that is present in the world. At least in my opinion.

Best wishes

Angela