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Greek vs Ancient Greek

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,190 wolfric

    I want to learn ancient Greek so i took a few book/cds out from the library in the "greek" section. I know little to nothing about the subject.

    Is there much difference between them? Would it be worth my time to try learn modern greek or are the languages completly different?
    I'm guessing at this stage having taken them home and reviewed them a bit that they're modern greek (since most of the learning is for general day to day items and thing's you might see in a tourist phrases book.


  • Ancient Greek and modern Greek are somewhat different. There were some changes to the alphabet, changes to diacritical marks, etc. to update the language. Those marks, and now obsolete letters, are not something that will be covered in a typical modern greek course.

    There are some pronunciation and syntactical differences also. It wouldn't be impossible to learn both at the same time, but you would need to look for specific ancient greek lessons (as distinct from modern greek) to get to grips with those differences.

    Luckily, as many important texts (especially biblical ones) are written in ancient greek, there are loads of resources on the web for learning it, so a quick google should get you started on the right path.

  • I did Ancient Greek in college for my BA. There were 12 people in the first year, including one guy with fluent modern Greek. All but 2 dropped out.
    Ancient Greek is very rewarding and beautiful, but tough work. It is highly inflectional, varies a lot by region, and has intricate poetic forms. I'm very curious as to why you're doing it - an interest in the literature?

    IMHO, it is not worth your while to learn modern Greek if it is Ancient Greek you're really interested in, or vice versa. While the alphabet is mostly the same, there's been major changes in pronunication (e.g.: beta used to be a "b" sound and is now more like "v"); our lecturers analogised it to teaching someone Chaucer and then expecting them to understand modern English.

  • If you're still interested in learning ancient Greek - I just got this email from the Hellenic Society of Ireland.
    Dear Secretary,
    Your members might like to know the following: the study is being organised by those in the School of Philosophy and Economic Science who study Plato and would like to have some knowledge of Ancient Greek.

    "We are very pleased to announce that there will be an opportunity to learn Ancient Greek.
    The course is suitable for complete beginners and those who wish to take a refresher course...
    Wednesday evenings from 5.30-6.30 at 49 Northumberland Road, Dublin 4,
    starting on Wednesday next, 30th September at 5.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.
    Fee for a year's tuition is 50.00 per person.

    Text being used will be Athenaze Book 1.
    It is a course written for adults, used in many universities in USA and Canada,
    and there are some good support sites in web.
    Some second-hand books will be available for sale on the first evening.
    All of this can be arranged on Wednesday next.

    If you are interested, do come along.
    [email protected]