Rapid Greek Learning Through The 'Brute Force' Method

In previous posts, I've already described the process I used for my first month of Greek study, which has been mostly about getting comfortable reading and writing in the new alphabet, learning pronunciation rules, and learning some basic phrases.

I've already impressed my Greek coworker twice this month with the amount I've learned in a short time. And last week, I even had a very brief conversation — basically, an exchange of small-talk — with the man behind the counter at a bakery in Greek Town.

I'm off to a good start already! Without a doubt, having people with whom to speak is a huge key to success in learning a foreign language.

Now that my first month is done, the time for relaxation is over. For the next month or two, I'm going to charge through all the materials I can find, and do it as fast as possible.

Brute-Force Fluency

Based on my results last year with a short Polish experiment, I'm going to give this method a serious chance. Starting with Colloquial Greek I'm going to read through as much material as possible, as fast as possible.

The idea is not to memorize every detail. It's not even to "study" or to successfully learn everything I see. Rather, I just want to understand each concept as I see it. If something doesn't make sense, I'll slow down, re-read it, etc. But as long as I'm understanding what I see, I'm going to keep going.

After going through the entire Colloquial Polish book in just 9 days, I found that in spite of not remembering every word I read, the grammar made sense, the conjugations made sense, even the constructions of words and prefixes made sense. I didn't get fluent, but I did learn in 9 days what might have taken several months otherwise.

Using this method, I was able to speak and understand Polish at a very basic level in just over a week. Could I get similar results in another language? Could I get even better results by repeating the process a few times with additional books?

We'll find out. The experiment begins now. If it works, it will change everything about how I approach language learning in the future.


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Author: Yearlyglot
I'll lead you through a 12 month journey from knowing absolutely nothing about a language to having professional fluency.

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  • I think I'm going to try that. If you have a tablet, getting Greek in a Month will help you a lot. It teaches you a lot. I've been using the free version for 3 days now and I have learned a lot of Greek. You might ant to get English in a Month too though, otherwise you can't understand anything.

  • A little late to add on here, but yeah I like the idea of "brute force" at the beginning of a language. Just sucking in an obscene amount of beginner material at the beginning. If I'd do it I'd probably give myself a set amount of time, a month or so, to just take in massive amounts of different beginner material quickly and do as you say to:

      "not to memorize every detail. It’s not even to “study” or to
    successfully learn everything I see. Rather, I just want to understand
    each concept as I see it. If something doesn’t make sense, I’ll slow
    down, re-read it, etc. But as long as I’m understanding what I see, I’m
    going to keep going."

    Good luck with that. Actually it's well over month since this post are you passed the "brute force" stage?

  • Great to find out your website, I really appreciated your strategy to learn the very basic over a week, I have tried a similar approach, and I dare say that depending on the language you are studing it is really possible even to overcome the basic barrier.
    The Greek language is really hard specially the declination system, but if you ignore this fact at the fist stage maybe you could get a good ability in a very short time.
    Good Luck.
    Jimmy Mello

  • Γεια!
    This is great! Greek is a very difficult language. I know that because I'm Greek and I see the difficulties that students from other countries have. Can't wait to see your results. Good luck with it.

  • Randy, I love your approach, support your initiative, and share your love for languages.  I am an English speaker from Boston, almost fluent in Spanish, now learning Russian too.  I also work for Transparent Language, a language learning software company based in Nashua New Hampshire.

    I'm not trying to sell you anything, I'd actually like to give you access to our new online product (not yet fully released to the public) to help you learn Greek this year. If you don't like it, I'd just ask for you to tell me how I can make it better.  Thoughts?

  • Wow, this is amazing! I'm a Modern Greek learner as well, and—guess what—I live near the Windy City too! (Not to mention that Greek Town is my favorite part of the city, to practice my Greek skills and otherwise, despite that its Greek flavor is, well, diminishing…)


    I've been studying Greek seriously for over 3 months now, and I'd say I've learned a good lot. I've gotten to p. 186 in the book which I use at the moment, which, although unimpressive for most fellow language learners, is a decent amount, considering I'm in high school. (Bless Anki.)

    The easy thing about Greek is the grammar, the difficult thing about it is the vocabulary, that is, remembering it.

    Σου εύχομαι πολλή τύχη στην εκμάθησή σου!

  • I'm excited to see your results from this experiment. Good luck!

  • Great start Randy.  Well I think you'll succeed similarily like you did with Polish, because Greek is an easy language, in my opinion.

    (Watching Hannah Montana in Czech right now (random)) :)

    Again best of luck, and I'm glad to see you're doing well. :)

  • Any language is only as easy or hard as you make it.  There are things about Greek that are easy for me, for example when I recognize roots shared with English words, but there are also many things about Greek that I find utterly frustrating, like the wealth of false-cognates (which I will mention soon in a coming post).

    On the whole, the thing that is making Greek easy for me at the moment is simply the easy access I have to speakers of the language. Being able to converse with someone is the most significant thing that makes any language "easy".

  • How's the Greek going?

  • Yes, I do agree on that.

  • That sounds like fun! Email me (yearlyglot@gmail.com) and we'll talk more.

  • I'm going to keep using this "brute force" technique for several months and see how far that really gets me. Always trying new things!

  • It's been fine when I've been at it. But unfortunately I've also had to take a major break from the languages. Had several tragedies last year, as well as some changes in life direction to think about.... suddenly languages just didn't seem all that important...

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