Greek is one of Europe’s oldest languages and has a rich history of over 3500 years. From its earliest beginnings in Mycenae it spread via the conquests of Alexander the Great and eventually became the lingua franca of the ancient Mediterranean world where it was used by diverse linguistic groups for commerce and trade. The New Testament is written almost entirely in Greek and it’s very likely that Jesus spoke Greek. Later, it was the official language of the Eastern Roman Empire and Byzantium.
During the Renaissance and the Enlightenment eras the Greek lexicon was called into service for the description and explanation of new ideas. Today, it’s impossible to study the sciences or speak an Indo-European language without encountering Greek words.
Greek is not only an old language, it’s a hard language. The alphabet is different and there are at least six ways to write the sound “ee” as in “eat.” They have two letters for “o”, the familiar “o” but also “ω” is an “o”. Scratching your head?
If that weren’t challenging enough, accents are hugely important; embarrassing misunderstandings can arise from their improper use. For example, the word θέα (accent on the ‘ε’) means view, as in “I want a room with a view.” But if you move the accent to the end of the word θεά (accent on the ‘α’) you’ll be saying “I want a room with goddesses” which probably won’t win you any friends at the reception desk. Another example with a more logical connection is the word for work, δουλειά (accent on the last ‘a’). Move the accent forward to the first syllable, as in δούλεια (accent on the ‘u’) and it means slavery.
Given its difficulty, you’ll endear yourself to many Greeks if you say a few greetings and ask for simple things in Greek. Accented syllables below are capitalized.
|Открыто (дверь магазина)||а-них-то||ανοιχτό|
(без сахара, без молока)
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