The history, landscape, culture and people of Greece all have their fair share of increasing our fascination with this beautiful country. The same goes for the Greek language, which was once one of the sturdiest „lingua francas” (dominating languages). For a large period of time starting with antiquity, a true polyglot was only considered that if he knew Greek to perfection.
Comparing it to other languages Greek is not as large or widely spoken, the number of total speakers reaching somewhere up to 11 million, most of which are the native inhabitants of Greece and around 80% of the entire population of Cyprus. So despite the fact that in terms of number of native speakers the Greek language doesn’t rank to high among other languages, culturally it scores a lot of points. As the language of classical Greek philosophy and literature and, later, as the language of the Christian Gospels and the early Church it has profoundly shaped Western thought.
Despite its cultural importance, Greek is still not widely spread among organized education centers, so your best bet is to try and learn it on your own. For this, you may want to check out a few free Greek lessons online before diving into more complicated „Learn Greek” courses or books that could cost you quite a penny.
Speaking of your standard „Learn Greek” course, in the past most of them focused intensely on teaching grammar rules to the students, neglecting other aspects of the Greek language. This produced generations of so-called polyglots that would know every detail of the Greek language but whose reading, writing and speaking skills were only slightly above average. For this reason, in the latter half of the 20th century, most of these courses tried to open up the variety of exercises the students would have to complete, focusing on other aspects of the Greek language such as vocabulary increase, spelling and pronunciation.
Alternative ways of learning Greek
Besides taking free Greek lessons online or subscribing to the many „Learn Greek” courses out there, you could try some slightly more relaxing alternative ways of learning this beautiful language. Vocabulary games can be a great boost to your Greek word database and playing them could also be a means of relaxation between some work sessions. Although their main purpose is to improve vocabulary, you will also get a better grasp on Greek spelling and possibly pronunciation as well.