A rest from cerebral matters

Today I wasn’t sure what to do so I got creative and made some fairies. I also looked up the Greek for the phrases that I wrote. By the way the word Eirini while meaning peace is also a girls name.

You can also see a book I’m reading, Max Tegmark’s Our Mathematical Universe, My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality. So you see that I can’t always be intellectual. Sometimes I need a break to be a little more childish.

Getting back to basics yet again

Everyone can learn a foreign language if they want to but many of us use the same tired excuses. I don’t have time, money the opportunity to go to a foreign country etc. These are all justification for not completing what we want to do in life. If we want something we go get it. We do this when we are children but when we grow up, life gets in the way. We need sufficient motivation to be able to pursue our goals without guilt. We don’t feel we are able to indulge our passions because of so many obligations that become part of adult life. When frequently neglect our well being to do something that is not always necessary. At least not right this minute.

I have tried many attempts to write this posts but they all were not right so in the spirit of Marie Kondo I stopped as they didn’t give me joy. I also read about the latest book by Cal Newport which advocates for Digital Minimalism. This is taking the same attitude to our digital lives. He revolutionised our work lives with Deep Work just like Timothy Ferris did with the 4 Hour Work Week. Now Newport is back to declutter our personal lives.

I’ve never been a fan of Twitter and I quickly got rid of my account as it was wasting my time. I have recently stopped posting so much on Facebook and I barely use Instagram as it’s just pretty pictures. I can’t stand Snapchat as it just seems so pointless even though I’ve had an account. There are many other social networks like linked in that I’ve joined and not used because I have seen the point in them past the initial novelty.

The best friends are ironically the uncontainable ones as you have the best conversations with them. It’s unfortunate that I rarely see any of them but that’s just how it is.

Living without alcohol is a big struggle but it can be done. You just need the right mindset and people around you. You need a support group so that they can assist when things get tough. The addiction to alcohol that a lot of us have means that we feel we can’t socialise without it. Sure it frees us from the worries of work and everything else but there are more effective methods out there. The young adults are showing us it can be done

Revolutions in societal thinking is possible but it does take a whole generation to mobilise and say we’re not eating meat, drinking alcohol or putting up with plastic pollution anymore. We are going to look after our environment by finding ways to power our planet that is more environmentally friendly.

I’m sorry this is a rather disconnected rant but I’ve had so many ideas pop into my head all of a sudden that it was difficult to sort them out. A sort of midnight madness that clears your mind before you sleep and you reanalyse it in the morning to see if it was actually any good.

What do you all think about my ramblings?

Wishing you all to be in good health,

Angela

When you suddenly realise you know more than you think

It’s interesting that at some point in your language learning journey it will occur to you how much you have learnt. You may not realise this for quite some time but when you do, it hits you like a bullet.

To explain a bit about my personal story, I love the Greek language and I started from scratch. Although being an English speaker you could debate that given the amount of words that have their origins there. I used to spend many hours listening to https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=RDEMh-SVbgWi4o0giQEIFYvZUg Kostas Martakis songs because they were simple bubblegum pop and he is certainly easy on the eyes being a former model.

I followed this by watching Nikos Vertis – Eisai einai asteri https://youtu.be/6Ye0NOn7nrI
or You are a star. It is a beautiful love song that you can easily find with English lyrics. For those that are not quite so sappy try To Kyma (wave) by Melisses (honeybees). https://youtu.be/GBSqFT1yqqU

For more song practice I tunes is good as it’s one of the few places you can get hold of Greek songs and there English versions too. Beware because of the grammatical differences between the languages you might end up with some funny phrases. Helena Paraparizou sings about the love police in Fiesta https://youtu.be/TTEMu1t4BxM
but it’s also present to some extent in the Greek version but it’s agape poli or much love here. https://youtu.be/JG-TPHlqerg

If soaps is your thing, there are subtitled Greek soaps made occasionally by the Lacta company which makes Greek chocolate bars. These shows https://youtu.be/k4L0he1WC0I
are really funny and the acting while completely over the top is so very Greek. You don’t really need the subtitles unless you want to know every little thing. These are an amusing diversion from studying but your still learning.

I also have a Greek version of the BFG to progress with as it was above my level last time I tried reading out loud. This is a lot more difficult than just reading.

Now I have progressed to the point that I’m watching Ted x talks but in Greek. https://youtu.be/fZi1f2OS7nU
There fascinating for the cultural insight that they give you and the fact I just love the sound of the Greek language. There is of course huge variance just like with all languages and people. I haven’t got to the point yet where I’m understanding why he suddenly laughs but I will get that eventually.

As well as reading a Greek newspaper (see recent posts) with Google Translate and a Greek language learning FB group as backup; I can write to one of my Greek friends and she can understand. She has for instance asked me where am I on meeting my brother in law and asked when am I visiting as she misses me. I do still need help with spelling so the internet and autocorrect are helpful here. I don’t think I will ever have a native level but I’m not aiming for that. The ability to communicate effectively is sufficient. This has must certainly been quite an undertaking though. Learning a foreign language when you have dyslexia is not for the faint hearted.

What challenge have you undertaken that is now starting to yield results?

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.)

Happiness comes from surprising places

I saw this and then I read it – it’s the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime. Followed shortly after by this as it’s on the adjacent page. I knew nothing of what it contained so it was a real joy that I could actually read this without resorting to Google translate.

The article starts with Penelope Cruz talking about what she thinks of what I now know to be world famous Iranian director Asghar Farhadi. This bit didn’t initially make sense so I had to read it a couple times and keep coming back to it. It makes sense when you realise Penelope Cruz is Spanish and he has worked in Spain. I read this in a rather bizarre manner hence this is constructed in a rather odd way. A bit like myself really.

Where an Iranian filmmaker Asgkar Faranti, is talking about his love for his home country Iran and how long it took for the film displayed in the picture of the article and that he has just been in; to be made. He mentions being lost and without purpose as he had stayed so many years away from his country of origin. As he had previously worked in the USA, Spain and Paris. He hopes you will understand his longing to make a film in his home environment.

The article goes into detail about the struggles the actor has faced trying to build his craft and get his catalogue of films to market. It hasn’t been easy due to the political situation but he has studied hard gaining a bachelors of art in 1998 that allowed him to pursue a dream that he created for himself when he was just 14 years old. He had previously had to satisfy himself by working on Iranian television but by 2006 had transformed Iranian cinematography with 4 films.

A win at the Cannes film festival and Oscar nod in 2012 has suddenly brought his discography into the limelight. He was the first from his country to win an Oscar for a foreign language movie. Which he repeated in 2017 with honours from the Berlin festival too. He believed it was so important to showcase everyday life in Iran. It has stories about how family life still goes on despite difficulties. For the longest time he was not able to work in Iran. It mentions Donald Trump too and his fear of Iranians that was quite an issue for himself in 2015. However since he is now the biggest artist in Iran, he has become a celebrity.

Άνγκελα (This is how Angela Merkel’s name was written in a recent newspaper report and it’s always said with a hard g sound).

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.)

It’s ok to take a break

As you may have noticed the primary purpose of this blog is to write about things that are Greek in some way. I don’t always have sufficient material to write this so sometimes I take a break and write about things that while not inherently Greek; perhaps got there start there or have a rather tenuous link to the Greek culture etc

I get distracted easily so I often having many projects on the go. Reading a Greek newspaper is very demanding as I have to look up lots of words etc so if I’m not in the best of health like right now; I will chose easier hobbies like watching videos about how Greeks came to America…

It is ok when you are focusing on something so much to allow yourself a little time off. This often provides clarity and stops you getting into a rut. As an example, one of my friends is getting married soon and we went dress shopping but since she had seen so many dresses, she was getting colourdrunk. The more common phrase for this scenario is you can’t see the wood for the trees or you can’t see the bigger picture as your focusing too much on the detail.

These things trip us up more than we think and we mentally berate ourselves for not doing enough or for not being perfect. We are all human at the end of the day so we need to take a chill pill occasionally.

After the break we should have regained our energy to be able to fire on all cylinders once again. However we have to be careful not to continue with the same habits that created the problem in the first place. Our daily lives need to be adjusted to cope with more flexible working hours etc. Re-education is a constant way of reminding ourselves that there are always better ways to do things both at work and at home. Innovation only comes through rest though as stress is its opposite.

So here I am, Angela the English Introvert taking a break like I do most weekends in a bid to find some creative energy to make comment worthy posts. Filakia (little kisses) as is said in Greece.

Persistence

Now persistence is most certainly a quality that I have in spadefuls; but it’s difficult to know when one is being obstinate and when one is simply being determined.

I follow through on many an idea until what I believe is, it’s logical conclusion. This is obsessional but if I didn’t pursue things to that degree then I would give up very soon.

On the times where I did give up shortly after starting, I do wonder what would have happened. The result however is the same regardless of the duration of the pursuit. I know lots about something or someone but everyone else is oblivious as usual.

The lack of interest by the world at large makes you think you are doing something wrong. You can never figure out what it is despite the examinations and your just left in a quandary. It’s quite deflating to constantly put in all this effort, to have all these grand plans and for them to never reach fruition.

Without feedback you are stuck in a loop that never ends no matter how much you try to escape. That’s why I need the help of the community so much.

With hopeful expectations of brighter things to come.

Angeliki (a Greek version of my name)

The public and private persona

I’m not sure how much this is true of neurotypical people but this is most certainly true of autistic guys. If you confront an autistic guy in a public arena with what he has said to you privately he will deny that it’s actually true. If however you confront an autistic guy when he is in his private mode, usually when drinking if he is not alone with you, he will admit to be being completely different as this is what the world expects of him. So the Jekyll and Hyde aspect of autism continues but in a way that I didn’t expect until I discovered it in 2 of my friends today. I do this to a certain extent myself. I know this is a very short post but sometimes they are the best as they tell you exactly what you want to know in the smallest amount of words.

Momentum

This is the energy that is gained when you have started a project and you really feel like your understanding your audience now. It gives you that impetus to continue making more work and allows you to overcome minor obstacles that occur in your path. Depending on how much speed you have acquired, the force that is present will propel you to greater things or it will left you languishing in the doldrums if sufficient friction is encountered.

Momentum can also be considered motivation if you don’t like the physics analogy that I was using. Sometimes looking at things from a different perspective is all that is required to create innovation or to breathe new life into an old idea.

Whatever terminology you like, find your specific angle and pursuit it with all your strength. You will find that you have a lot less resistance from yourself if you work with what you are good at regardless of profitability. The inertia that has previously been holding you back will disappear and the acceleration towards your goal will be phenomenal. The velocity that is unleashed when you know your purpose is unlike anything you will have seen before.

Just know that you may have to conduct many experiments before finding out the correct materials to use but once you have it figured out, the mathematics of it all will seem like child’s play. You will perhaps also wonder how you could have gone on for so long without knowing what appears to be so obvious now.

The effect of accents on language

When you start delving into languages and linguistics you find that each language has its specific sounds. This means that it can be extraordinarily difficult to lose your native accent or to perfect a second language etc. This shouldn’t worry you too much if you have tried your best. It can in fact be a very attractive feature and one that sets you apart. Secure people like something that makes them different like a usp in products. However if there insecure they will seek to eliminate this facet of themselves and want to blend in completely.

One shouldn’t hide from their native accent or language. Many people sound completely different when they are speaking the languages that they know. This reflects there personality but also the experiences they have had when using that language. It showcases the values and attitudes of a culture too. Which is why people can act in a completely different manner depending on which way of life is currently in control. I have seen it happen and it’s fascinating to behold. If you haven’t come across this yet, there are polyglots who do exaggerated versions on YouTube. Or for more realistic versions check out videos where the person is teaching in one language and explaining in another. If your lucky, this might allow you to observe when they know English to fluency but it’s not their native language.

Certain sounds are easier to replicate than others hence junta is difficult because although it originates from Spain there is no j sound there. In other languages that also possess no j like Greek it becomes unta as there is nothing like that word. It also describes a dark period in recent history that nobody wishes to talk about which may also have something to do with its mispronunciation.

Perception

I recently wrote a fairy tale romance short story :-

A life of Halcyon Days

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07MWBZTCR/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_t1_ujfsCb8KAF56Y

and to me it’s obvious who the characters are based on. I gave it to my husband to read as he knows the people who the story is based on. Yet, apart from the 2 characters who have the same name as I believe it’s fitting symbolically; he couldn’t figure out who they were. I didn’t think simply changing there name would obscure who they actually were. My mother in law also read it too and it got me thinking whether this was something to do with the dyslexic mindset as she knows the people too. It may also have something to do with theory of mind which is a very autistic thing. I do frequently think that because I know something and you have better skills regarding perception that you automatically also know what I’m thinking because I need to work on my poker face. It’s a pity Snape can’t give occumlanmency lessons to us all. For those that don’t know Harry Potter it’s the art of shielding your thoughts from others so they can’t read and manipulate you. Hence the reference to poker and body language. This is what I have struggled with because so much happens in daily life that if you really thought about it in the way I do; it would floor you. Hence I do have a certain amount of inertia at times. It’s about learning when to analyse the situation and how much depth you should go into. The trouble is you never initially know which level is required so if you spend insufficient time you may regret it later just like spending too much time. It’s a fine balancing act that you will never truly master but on the occasions you do, you will feel good. However on the opposite side, if you screw up, you will feel bad and be reluctant to try again until you have learnt the lessons inside of that particular episode.

Imprecise English is another thing that can start you off on a bad thought process as calling banking man’s work is immature and inappropriate nowadays. You should leave men to there financial discussion or deliberation instead as otherwise you open yourself up to such comments as go play with kittens. This is continual work for myself and for others around me as nobody is perfect. We’re all trying to do the best that we can do each and every day. Striving to improve but never able to reach the goal as the goal posts keep moving. Such is the march of progress.

Literature

I am a keen reader of books of all kinds as I love words. This makes it fitting that I also have a love of the Greek language as so many words in the English language originate from there. In a bid to help me learn all about the Greek culture I read every book and watch every movie that I can get my hands on to further my knowledge of this fascinating culture.

To acquire this bounty it includes such classics as Zorba the Greek (book and movie), as well as Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres (so far only the movie); and some of the vast media catalogue on the Durell’s for instance, the TV show about their lives as a family on Corfu and books like The Bitter Lemons of Cyprus by Lawrence or the well known My Family and Animals by Gerald. However, no list could be complete without also adding in more recent books like all of Victoria Hislop‘s books and to have another Greek point of view, I’m going to start on Panos Kanezis books, The Maze etc shortly.

I can usually be found with my head stuck in a book and since I read at an astonishingly quick pace if the book is well written, I’m soon to be found in want of a person to tell them all about the book I just devoured with great relish. These are my latest interests but I do have a book on how Virginia Woolf et al fought to learn the Greek language as it was the language of the learned people and an anthology of Greek poetry from the last 2000 years as Lefkás has Sappho and the poet Aristotle Valaoritis island nearby and his shrine.

I wish to have a balanced viewpoint of people and their cultures through time hence there are books by the English living in Corfu and various other Greek Islands from the 30’s-50s (Durell’s), some of whom could speak Greek (Lawrence in particular) but there is also Victoria Hislop who has written on many aspects of Greek life as she can also speak Greek. It helps to lend an authentic air to her stories when you know she has mixed with the locals to gain inspiration for her stories. There is nothing quite like reading a Nikos Kazantzakis novel though with the gravitas that he lends to his writing. It is truly a spectacular talent that he had as he lifted all that read his masterpieces to a higher plane of thought. There should be greater appreciation of his work outside of his native lands but if I praise him too much that means the books will go up in price and I will not be able to buy them so cheaply anymore 😉

Best wishes

Angela