For my first month with Greek, the plan has been to ease into the language. The Greek language is written in a different alphabet than any to which I am accustomed, and if I'm going to learn this language it will be necessary to be able to read the words I see in lessons, tutorials, and phrasebooks.
You might remember that during my Italian year, I took a break one weekend and learned the Greek alphabet. I didn't memorize it, and I didn't learn any subtleties, diphthongs, digraphs, or other peculiarities of pronunciation — it was really just a quick way to help me make a tiny bit of sense out of the many Greek things I see on Facebook, on Twitter, and in my occasional wanderings in Greektown.
That was almost two years ago and it was a passing interest at the time, therefore it wasn't much help getting me started. So, the first thing I did this month on my way to learning my language choice for this year was to find a good tutorial on the Greek alphabet. Not only did this help me to reacquaint myself with the letters I'd previously learned, but here they also discussed diphthongs and digraphs which helped me to understand when and why some letter pairs are pronounce differently than one would think on first look.
I haven't spent any of my time trying to learn genders, cases, articles, conjugations, tenses, particles, or anything else just yet. The most important thing is to be able to read (and write) in this new alphabet as necessary.
As I practice right now, all I'm doing is finding Greek phrasebooks and beginner-level tutorials online (all for free), and learning to read and pronounce basic phrases like "hello", "good morning", "good evening", "please", "thank you", "excuse me", etc, from reading them in the Greek alphabet.
This strategy gives me a lot of practice learning to read Greek, and it also makes a great opportunity to learn basic words and phrases that I can use right away. I've already used several phrases with my Greek coworker, prompting him to ask "Who are you speaking Greek with?"
My answer: "So far, just you." Apparently, I'm learning well!
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