Anyone who has sat through a language class is well aware that a classroom setting is not the best way to do it. Flashcards get boring after a very brief period, memorization will drive you crazy, and the only fluent target language speaker is the teacher, which allows for very limited interaction with each student. However, for Greek language learners acquiring this new modern Greek can be fun, not boring. You just have to know the techniques.
Everyone knows that if you are enjoying yourself, you will spend more time at the activity, and video games and movies are so much more enjoyable than flashcards and lectures. As children, we learn our native language by immersing ourselves in the world around us. Nowadays we have a virtual world around us. People on the other side of the globe are as available to us as our neighbors. This does not mean that Greek language learners can completely forsake the formal training methods, but we can supplement it with things that will keep our interest alive. For instance, did you know that there are four million Greeks on Facebook? That’s millions of people with whom you can share a connection. Social studies have demonstrated that Greeks consider it most proper to use their real names on the social network, and consider it perfectly appropriate to connect with and interact with strangers on this social platform. But Facebook isn’t the only way to learn and practice skills for Greek language learners, as there are other places, such as language exchange sites, where you can interact. If you find the conversations on such sites too stilted, try something else. If you’re single, join a dating site and specify Greek as the language in which you communicate. Video games such as Minecraft, World of Warcraft, and Team Fortress2 are great places to interact with native Greek speakers as well as other Greek language learners and can be especially helpful in helping you to learn idioms, slang, and more informal language structures. Browse Reddit looking for offerings in Greek, or search for Greek recipes as taught by real Greek chefs or home cooks. Some foreign chefs will provide recipes in English and Greek in order to make it easier for Greek language learners. Authentic food and authentic language all in one!
But the internet is not the only way to make learning a new language fun. Search out possibilities in your own area. I’m sure you know of a Greek restaurant nearby. Seek out any Greek speaker and try to involve them in conversation. I’m sure that you will find that Greek cuisine goes far beyond grape leaves and feta cheese! Or look for a Greek market and ask about their offerings.
Even traditional methods of Greek language learning can be fun, however, if you simply do not overdo them. Don’t tire your brain out, but keep the experience fresh by taking occasional breaks. Study for 20 minutes, then a 5-minute break. Or 30 minutes with a 10-minute break. For every 50 minutes, you should relax for 20 minutes. And for those spare moments, consider indulging in some fun learning games, such as those found on Duolingo or other fun learning apps available.
Keep it fun, keep it interesting, and the next time somebody says, “It’s all Greek to me!”, you’ll know exactly what they’re saying.