By in Personal

New to Greece

When my husband and I moved to Greece in February 1996, I had to adjust to a different life in a country where I was not able to verbally communicate, as I didn't speak the language. To this day, I am not able to carry on a conversation. I have tried, believe me, to learn Greek. I have gone to four classes, for three months each time, learning the structure of the language, hearing tapes, doing workbooks. I did very well on the written exercises and tests, but when it came to hearing and understanding what was said and speaking in reply, my tongue and brain would not cooperate. I had found this to be true when I was in high school and college when I tried to learn Spanish.

I also had to learn that when my husband and his mother, Maria, were yelling at each other it didn't mean they were fighting and arguing. If she would go into her room and slam the door, it was a fight. If they both broke out laughing at the end, it was just a normal discussion. I never knew which it was until the voices stopped and there was a reaction. I have since found that a lot of the Greeks seem to shout as they speak in normal conversation, both men and women. It makes life interesting sometimes.

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HappyLady wrote on February 11, 2015, 4:47 AM

I have lived in a country (Iraq) where I just could not seem to grasp the language. It is not easy.

Hollyhocks100 wrote on February 11, 2015, 5:06 AM

I came to live in Spain 13 years ago with my husband. I learned my Spanish mainly from my neighbours, I don´t speak it perfectly even now but get along OK. I once herd what I thought was a terrible row going on at my neighbours, but it turned out to be an over excited game of domino´s lol emoticon :grin:

MegL wrote on February 11, 2015, 5:15 AM

Very interesting! I had to learn Greek when I wanted to go on holiday there and I chose to learn ENTIRELY by audio, no writing involved at all. When I went to Greece, people said I spoke with a Cypriot accent and was perfectly understandable. I could also understand Greek if it were spoken slowly. I have forgotten a lot of it now because I am not using it. (Some Greek relatives are over at the moment and I could not remember most of what I knew 10 years ago.) The lessons I used are FREE, you just are not allowed to download them, though of course many people do not obey this. I have to confess that I did record them but that was because listening over the internet in the evening was not enough for me. I played the cassette tapes over and over as I drove the car. These lessons were recorded for British troops in Cyprus after the 2nd World War, so they are old and include references to smoking! They were recorded for English speakers. You may find these helpful. I was able to ask the way and buy things in places where no English was spoken. I got up to lesson 23 before going on holiday (there are 105). Each lesson lasts 15 minutes and I believe they are the perfect way to learn spoken Greek.

BeckyWiegers wrote on February 11, 2015, 5:33 AM

Not being able to understand what was being said in my presence would drive me batty although it is kind of funny that you had to wait until the shouting match was over to know if it was a fight or not!

motrojam wrote on February 11, 2015, 5:41 AM

It would be very hard for me to learn a new language too. It is great to see that you still get along fine with your Greek hubby.

RonElFran wrote on February 15, 2015, 9:57 AM

I spent a summer traveling through Europe, and Greece was one of the most challenging places I went. Not because of the people - they were great. My problem was that I couldn't even read a street sign! I felt disoriented the whole time. After that trip I took biblical Greek in seminary, but I've never been back to Greece to see if I could do better now.

Solamar wrote on February 16, 2015, 7:56 AM

You would be more comfortable now, most of the street signs are in English as well as Greek, thanks to the Olympics.

Soonerdad3 wrote on April 12, 2015, 2:33 PM

I have heard one of the reasons people don't get much out of the language learning classes is because rarely do they teach the conversational form of the specific language, which makes it next to impossible to hold a legitimate conversation.

Solamar wrote on April 12, 2015, 5:03 PM

These classes were geared to help the foreigner communicate in Greek. Unfortunately, I was over 50 when I first began trying to learn Greek, which is a very difficult language. I have heard it said that Alexander the Great tortured his captives by making them learn Greek.

Soonerdad3 wrote on April 12, 2015, 5:13 PM

I see, I just think learning any foreign language is a very difficult proposition.

LeaPea2417 wrote on December 14, 2015, 10:23 PM

That would be hard , I am sure to learn a new difficult to learn language. My father's parents are Greek and he grew up speaking Greek in the home. I never learned it.