The Greek language is very old and, therefore, intriguing. People who decide to learn it face many difficulties, but the possibility of talking with locals can be very rewarding.
You can find a lot of apps to learn Greek online which will help you with studying this stunning language, but before you dive in, discover a few interesting facts about this language.
It’s One of the Oldest Recorded Languages
Greek is considered one of the oldest recorded languages. Its history spans over 3,000 years. This language was used to create Greek literature, philosophy, and mythology. All of these things are the basis of European culture and tradition. Because of that, the Greek language has had a huge influence on Western civilization.
A Basis For Modern Alphabets
Aside from being very influential on Western culture, the Greek language influenced some of the modern alphabets, including Latin and Cyrillic. The Latin alphabet is used in most European countries, for example, in English. By learning the Greek alphabet, you can gain a deeper understanding of the origins of the written language.
Additionally, the Greek language influenced English in a remarkable way. There are many English words, especially from fields such as science, medical studies, and technology, which are derived from Greek. According to some studies, around 30% of English words have Greek origins.
Greek has its own distinct pronunciation system. Because of that, Greek language learners can face some challenges, but this language is very rewarding. Once you know how to speak Greek, you can immerse yourself in authentic Greek and communicate with native speakers more effectively, being closer to their culture and traditions.
It’s a Very Expressive Language
Everyone knows that the Italian language is very expressive. Memes with Italians “speaking” with their hands are very popular. But did you know that the Greek language is also known for its expressive nature?
Greeks also use gestures, but the expressive nature is connected as well to vivid descriptions, colorful metaphors, and melodic voices. It’s a way for Greeks to show their ideas and emotions in a more graphic way.
An Official Language in Two Countries
Greek is the official language of Greece and Cyprus. Both countries have rich cultural heritages and historical significance. Additionally, Greek is one of the official languages of the European Union. When you know the language, you can connect to the culture of those countries and their people. While it’s not the most universal language, it’s clearly a very interesting one.
Interesting Idioms and Proverbs
As mentioned before, Greek is a very expressive language. To enforce its expressiveness, Greeks have a huge collection of various idiomatic expressions and proverbs. Thanks to them, they can show their culture, wisdom, and sense of humor. People who already know a bit of Greek should spend some time mastering these phrases and expressions. You will not only learn more about Greek culture but also be able to impress your friends, no matter where they’re from.
The Word “Alphabet” Derives from the First and Second Letters of the Greek… Alphabet
Alpha and Beta are the two first letters in the Greek alphabet. From them comes the word that we use nowadays to talk about the set of letters in a language.
The First Greek Letters Were Never Fully Deciphered
The Minoan Knossos Palace on Crete was the place where mud tablets with letters were found. They are considered to be a basis for the Greek language. The inscriptions got the name Linear A. Unfortunately, scholars couldn’t decipher the signs which appeared on the tablets. In the 12th century B.C. in Greece, there appeared a new language system, which now is known as Linear B or Mycenaean Greek. The 8th to 9th centuries was the time when the Phoenician alphabet was introduced to Greece, and it can be considered the closest to the modern language we know now.
It Used to Be Written From Right to Left
Similarly to Arabic and Hebrew, Ancient Greek was written from right to left. In later times, the order changed, and like other Indo-European languages, Greek is written from left to right. It happened around 403 B.C. when the alphabet was standardized.
Greek Words Have Three Genders
Similarly to German and Polish, the Greek language has three genders: feminine, masculine, and neuter. You need to memorize which one is which gender, which can be a bit problematic for English speakers. This is why, depending on what you are referring to, the Greek words that are equivalent to the English “the” can be “o” if the noun is masculine, “η” if it’s feminine, and “το” when it’s neuter.
There Were Two Official Versions of Greek Languages
Before 1976 in Greece, there were two versions of the language: Demotic, which was used in casual situations and in literature, and Katharevousa, which was common in fields such as law, medicine, the military, and in academia and newspapers. In 1976, Demotic was announced by the government as the official Greek language.
Around 13 Million People Speak Greek
In the whole world, there are around 13 million people who speak Greek. The language is in use, of course, in Greece and Cyprus but also in Albania, Turkey, and Italy. There are also some Greek diasporas in Canada, the USA, Brazil, Australia, and Argentina, where Greek is used on a daily basis.
The Longest Greek Word Has 182 Letters
Lopadotemachoselachogaleokranioleipsanodrimhypotrimmatosilphioparaomelitokatakechymenokichlepikossyphophattoperisteralektryonoptekephalliokigklopeleiolagoiosiraiobaphetraganopterygon – that’s the longest word in Greek and was created by Aristophanes for one of his comedies. It’s the name of a fictional dish, so if you can’t pronounce it, don’t worry!
Become a Polyglot
The last fun fact about the Greek language is that the word polyglot, which means a person who speaks many languages, comes from two words in Greek: poly which means “many,” and glotta, which means “tongue.” If you want to learn Greek, be sure to find the right resource which can help you to do it quickly and effectively. As you can see, it is a very interesting language to learn!