Sabotaging Greek Language Learning

Posted on 04. Nov, 2015 by in Uncategorized

by Carlos ZGZ under a CC license on Flickr

by Carlos ZGZ under a CC license on Flickr

There are many ways to sabotage ourselves when we learn a language: avoiding speaking to native speakers and following approaches which are not suitable to our style and goals are some of them. One of the best ways to restrain ourselves is to create a negative mindset and most of the times we don’t need a judgmental teacher or parent to do so. We use our own phrases which act like barriers that prevent our progress, no matter how strong our motives are. When it comes to Greek, these are the most common core negative concepts that sabotage the process of learning:

“I’m too X to learn Greek!” X equals old, dummy, dyslexic and so on. As a teacher, I can assure you that you are not X. You are perfect to learn Greek even if you are one hundred years old and live in a wheel chair. These negative thoughts come from the (significant) others and the only place they will you take you to is the world of self-pity and frustration. It’s never too late to change attitude. Acknowledge the progress you make every day and start celebrating. Be happy for the difficult word that you managed to pronounce  after three months of practice, for all the right endings of the nouns that you declined, for every little thing that is better than it was yesterday. Smile and say to yourself: “Τα κατάφερα!” (I did it!)

“I will never learn Greek!” Δεν θα μάθω ποτέ ελληνικά! As a language learner myself, I have said this phrase hundreds of times. As a teacher, I have met people who speak Greek better than many native speakers I know; therefore I am positive that learning Greek is not a utopian dream. If you realize that your goals are too ambitious, don’t be afraid to reset them. Don’t judge yourself and don’t be frustrated by every mistake you make. It doesn’t matter if you say to the waiter “θέλω ένας καφές, παρακαλώ” (instead of έναν καφέ). You will still get your coffee, in spite of the incorrect grammar. Speak Greek in every opportunity you get and have fun because, at the end of the day, this is what it is all about.

“Greeks are lazy, dishonest, have no discipline, etc.” You have every right to believe in stereotypes such as that all Greeks are frauds who do nothing all day but drink ούζο (ouzo) and play τάβλι (backgammon). However, if you learn Greek for whatever reason but have such a bad idea about the people and the culture, it would be good to stop learning it. Negative ideas and stereotypes are the best obstacles that sabotage the process of learning and continuing the effort is a waste of time and money.

“This language is crazy! X (= English, Spanish, etc.) is so much easier!” Judging the language we learn, is another effective way to hold ourselves back. I am not talking about laughing with sounds that seem funny, I am talking about constant criticism of the grammar and syntax and nagging about every little thing, such as why is the word καρέκλα (chair)  feminine or what do we need three genders for. It’s true that Greek is hard and complex, but comparing it to other languages or complaining about things that cannot change (no, the neuter gender cannot be illegal) creates a negative feeling about the language that doesn’t make us move forward. Just relax, embrace the complexity and enjoy the process of learning!


Have you ever used such phrases? If you want to share them, feel free to post a comment.


by Edward Dalmulder under a CC license on Flickr

by Edward Dalmulder under a CC license on Flickr


War vocabulary

Posted on 28. Oct, 2015 by in Vocabulary

by Xuan Che under a CC license on Flickr

by Xuan Che under a CC license on Flickr

Today is the “No” day anniversary (η επέτειος του “Όχι”) and we celebrate the participation of Greece in the World War II.

In this post there is basic vocabulary related to war and a vocabulary exercise for intermediate or advanced students.


war: ο πόλεμος (o polemos)

civil war: ο εμφύλιος πόλεμος (o emfilios polemos)

chemical warfare: ο χημικός πόλεμος (o chimikos polemos)

soldier: ο στρατιώτης (o stratiotis)

army: ο στρατός (ξηράς) (o stratos ksiras)

air force: η πολεμική αεροπορία (ee polemiki aeroporia)

navy: το ναυτικό (to naftiko)

fleet: ο στόλος (o stolos)

peace: η ειρήνη (ee irini)

truce: η ανακωχή (ee anakohi)

enemy: ο εχθρός (o ehtros)

arms: τα όπλα (ta opla)

armament: ο εξοπλισμός (o eksoplismos)

arsenal: το οπλοστάσιο (to oplostasio)

rocket: ο πύραυλος (o piravlos)

front / front line: το μέτωπο / η πρώτη γραμμή (to metopo / ee proti grami)

bomb: η βόμβα (ee vomva)

bombardment: ο βομβαρδισμός (o vomvardismos)

attack: η επίθεση (ee epithesi)

battle: η μάχη (ee mahi)

naval battle: η ναυμαχία (ee navmahia)

civilians: ο άμαχος πληθυσμός (o amahos plithismos)

allies: οι σύμμαχοι (ee simahee)

genocide: η γενοκτονία (ee genoktonia)

refugees: οι πρόσφυγες (ee prosfiges)

by Rusty Clark - under a CC license on Flickr

by Rusty Clark – under a CC license on Flickr



Fill in the gaps with words from the list.


  1. Ο Δεύτερος Παγκόσμιος ……………… άρχισε το 1939.
  2. Αποφάσισαν να κάνουν ……………… μετά από δέκα χρόνια πολέμου.
  3. Ο Αμερικανικός ……………… ……………… έγινε ανάμεσα στους Βόρειους και τους Νότιους.
  4. Τα Χριστούγεννα, σταμάτησαν τις μάχες και έκαναν εικοσιτετράωρη ………………
  5. Οι δαπάνες για τον ……………… μειώθηκαν κατά 10%.
  6. Ο ΟΗΕ κατάφερε να προστατεύσει τον ……………… ………………


If the exercise is  challenging, feel free to use the English translation. Some of the phrases are translated literally.


  1. The Second World ……………… started in 1939.
  2. They decided to make ……………… after ten years of war.
  3. The American ……………… ……………… was between the Northern and the Southern.
  4. On Christmas, the fires were ceased and there was a twenty-four hour ………………
  5. The ……………… expenses were reduced by 10%.
  6. The UNO was able to protect ………………


You may find the right answers here: war vocabulary







Scary grammar

Posted on 21. Oct, 2015 by in Grammar

by jacilluch under a CC license on Flickr

by jacilluch under a CC license on Flickr

It’s Halloween soon. If you don’t find witches, black cats and jack o’ lanterns scary enough, this post is about one of the most frightening aspects of Greek: matching adjectives, articles and pronouns to their nouns. The adjectives taught at Level A1 are the ones ending in ος (masculine),η or α (feminine) and ο (neuter). The masculine adjectives are declined as the nouns which end in ος:

Ενικός (singular)

ονομ. ο καλός

γεν. του καλού

αιτ. τον καλό

Πληθυντικός (plural)

ονομ. οι καλοί

Γεν. των καλών

αιτ. τους καλούς


The endings don’t change when they define masculine nouns which end in -ης or -ας and here is where grammar begins to be confusing:

The clever students: τους έξυπνους μαθητές (ο έξυπνος μαθητής) NOT τους έξυπνους μαθητούς / τους έξυπνες μαθητές.

How much coffee did you have? (lit: how many coffees did you drink?) Πόσους καφέδες ήπιες; (πόσος καφές) NOT πόσες καφέδες ήπιες;

There are many teachers in our school: το σχολείο μας έχει πολλούς καθηγητές NOT το σχολείο μας έχει πολλές καθηγητές.

The delicious mousakas: οι νόστιμοι μουσακάδες (ο νόστιμος μουσακάς) NOT οι νόστιμες μουσακάδες

She speaks with the Canadian tourists: Μιλάει με τους Καναδούς τουρίστες.NOT μιλάει με τους Καναδές τουρίστες / τις Καναδές τουρίστες / τους Καναδούς τουρίστους.


If you want to deal with your fears, you can do the following exercises.

Exercise 1

Put the underlined phrases in the plural.

1) Φτιάχνουν νέο δρόμο.

2) Θα ήθελα ζεστό καφέ.

3) Στη συναυλία θα είναι και ο Ρώσος μουσικός.

4) Εδώ δουλεύει ένας ξένος εργάτης.

Exercise 2

Put the underlined phrases in the singular.

1) Αγόρασε καινούργιους υπολογιστές.

2)Πηγαίνω σε καλούς γιατρούς.

3) Βλέπεις αυτούς τους ψηλούς φοιτητές;

4) Θέλετε τους μεγάλους καθρέφτες ή τους μικρούς;

You can check your answers here: adjectives plural and singular


Don’t worry if you make mistakes, press on regardless!