My two brothers also speak basic Greek, and while we always speak English with each other, we have been known to use the Greek language between us in public areas when we want to share private information that we don’t want anyone nearby to understand, assuming, of course, that the people around us don’t speak Greek.
Because I was born in Canada, and because I was attending English schooling, my parents figured that the only way I’d learn to read and write Greek was to attend after school Greek language courses a couple of times a week. Which I did attend. And so did my brothers and just about every other Canadian-born kid I knew who descended from Greeks. And that’s how we all learned the Greek alphabet, which is much different from the English one, and how, as a result, we all learned how to read and write this interesting language.
The Greek language has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries, over 3,000 years, of written records. Over 15 million people in the world speak Greek, mostly individuals who live in Greece and Cyprus, but also people in other countries around the world. Like me. Many modern languages have adopted Greek words. For example, English has over 50,000 in its lexicon that are derived from the Greek language, particularly in the sciences.
You can often hear people say “It’s all Greek to me” when they don’t understand something that they’ve read or heard. But for individuals like me that speak this language, it really is all Greek to me. This is especially true with mathematical, botanical and medical terms. Many common words that we use every day stem from the Greek language, and although most people don’t notice this because they’re so used to them being a part of their every day language, and because they don’t speak Greek, I do. Knowing Greek was especially useful when I was in school because it was easy to ‘translate’ words that are formed from Greek roots into English. This was a blessed thing during science related exams. For example, a question like “What is Seismology?” wouldn’t have phased me in the least because the word itself is Greek; ‘seismos’ means earthquake and ‘logos’ means to ‘speak of’ or ‘reason about’. Therefore, I would have come to the immediate conclusion that Seismology had to do with the study/science/knowledge of earthquakes. And been grateful that my parents had taught me Greek.
|The Greek Alphabet|
Do any of you speak another language besides English?