Basic Greek for those that are unfamiliar

I remember doing posts like this on YouTube in my early days but they were so bad that I deleted them after a couple of years. They are still in Facebook ‘s memory bank though so when that the day turns up in memories I get reminded of the progress I have made.

Dimitri, the presenter does these videos so much better than I could ever do and with more subtitles as they are very difficult to synchronise.

In case you are wondering why I am promoting these videos it’s to show the Greek language in the best possible way since who better than a native speaker in his home country. I most certainly couldn’t do a better job. It shows the different levels of understanding that are present as you progress in your language learning journey. I hope you all find them informative like I have.

As this is the first video in the series there are 2 to follow and if you wish to just watch them without my commentary here they are :-

The effect of English on Greek

More complex Greek

Best wishes

Angela

Some real Greek to practice on

www.youtube.com/watch

A video demonstrating that you can learn Greek whatever your circumstances. It’s very difficult to listen to the Greek as it’s spoken at normal pace, to read the Greek as it’s exactly as it’s said so therefore different grammatical arrangement to English and to read the English translation all at once. I suggest you concentrate on one aspect each time you watch it otherwise all you will get is a feeling about what is being discussed but not really any understanding.

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.

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.)

Mythos by Stephen Fry

I’ve been reading his retelling of the Greek myths and there even more fascinating that I expected. Most of us are raised on them so we know the principal gods and some of the adventures they got up to. This contains how all the different gods, goddesses, Titans, titanesses, nymphs, dryads and every other creature came to be. It gives their family tree, the stories of their birth and what they were responsible. It also explains how we get many of our words and how these words are also still present in the Greek language today. It’s written in a very amusing way that you would expect but also an intellectual one. A student of history or classics will love this just as a person studying languages, art, philosophy or just Greece and its people in general. It just goes to show that facts are forever reinterpreted by different cultures but that doesn’t stop them from being true. Or being based on real life events that previously we may have doubted since there only record was in religious texts. This is the best book I’ve read for a long time and I would most certainly recommend it.

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)