Learning Modern Greek: How Useful is it for English Students?

Sep 5, 2018 by

There was a time when learning Greek was considered to be of great importance for a scholar as many of the famous books of old were written in the ancient dialect. Much of that is still true now, but learning modern Greek also opens up new avenues of opportunity for students that are also more in tune with modern times. If you happen to be a native English speaker, you will find that about 25% of the English vocabulary owes its origin to Greek, which will not only make it easier to learn, but it will also complete your language skills up to an extent. So, without further delay, let’s check out some of the other advantages and opportunities that open up for English speakers when learning modern Greek.

Expansion of Vocabulary intelligence

It is a proven fact that learning a new language improves intelligence through augmentation of an individual’s thinking capacities, development of memories, and growth of other cognitive skills. In other words, it makes the brain work in ways that it has not worked before. As an added advantage, the Greek language is beneficial to English speakers because in a sense, it expands our vocabulary and intelligence by connecting many of the missing parts. This happens due to the fact that, as mentioned, a large portion of the English language was derived from Greek, and pure Greek words are still used extensively in spoken and written English.

It will Make Learning Other Indo-European Languages Easier

Just like it isn’t very hard for English speakers to learn Greek, once you do know and understand the language sufficiently enough, it will pave the way for learning other related languages such as Spanish, Turkish, German, Italian, Romanian, Portuguese, French, etc. If you work in a field (or plan to get into one in the future) that can benefit from learning new languages, modern Greek is the first step towards that goal because it just makes learning any other related language so much easier, especially if you are already an English speaker.

Academic Importance

From an academic point of view, the importance of the Greek language is immense, as the 3,400+ years old lingo is now the only active remnant from the old Indo-European languages of the time, which paved the path for the development of multiple other languages that are thriving today. Almost all European languages owe something to Greek and therefore, its cultural and academic importance is nothing short of tremendous. To learn Greek is to get a different and authentic perspective into not just Greek history and culture, but that of most European civilisations as well. For those that are studying Greek history, learning the language can open up new understanding of the subject like never before.

Knowing Greek Makes Traveling Through Europe Easier

The fact that Spanish, German and Italian are more useful while traveling through Europe cannot be denied, but Greek is actually one of the 24 officially accepted languages of the European Union, and in spite of its relative minority status, Greek was one of the first five initial languages adopted officially by the EU. While travelling through Albania, Cyprus, Greece, and some of the adjacent geographic locations, you will find a mostly Greek speaking population. In fact, it isn’t uncommon to find a few Greek speakers everywhere in Europe, given how closely related Greek is to most of the surviving Indo-European languages.

Career Opportunities

As soon as you learn a foreign language anywhere, career opportunities open up for you and that’s a universal fact because translators are always required in the travel and tourism industry, international relations, military affairs, and so much more. However, when you learn modern Greek, your opportunities might actually be better in terms of career growth than they are when learning any of the other Indo-European lingos. The reason is quite simple really; there just aren’t enough English speakers out there who are fluent in modern Greek. Although the demand for French, German, and Spanish translators is more intense, the problem is that there are already a lot of English-speakers around the world who also speak these languages, which automatically crowds the market. Aside from jobs as a translator, you can also use your knowledge in the language to tutor others, work as a flight attendant, or to become a linguistic software tester among other things.

Learning Greek isn’t only about building a career path or academics though; it is a window to both ancient and modern cultures, previously unknown to you. Everything from the famous Greek cuisines to Greek literature, poetry, and music would open up to you and considering that the traditions and cultures are thousands of years in the making, it’s a vast, mystical and fascinating culture to unlock.

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