Because I was born in Canada, and because I was in 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 until sixth grade. 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.
|The Greek Alphabet|
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, that statement is true. Literally. This is especially spot on 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 blessing during science related exams.
Although I don’t apply my knowledge of Greek very often (at least not consciously), it does come in handy now and again. Especially when I play trivia-type board games, or watch trivia-type game shows like ‘Jeopardy’ or ‘Who Wants to Be A Millionaire’. Unlike some contestants on such shows that might not know, for instance, what someone with cryophobia is afraid of, I know the answer right away. Individuals who suffer from this (and I suspect it’s something I suffer from for a few months out of every year) are afraid of the cold. “Cryo” in Greek means “cold”, and phobia means “fear”. You see, for me, it’s just a matter of translation. Because it really is, after all, all Greek to me...
Do any of you speak more than one language?
(This was originally posted a couple of years ago.)