Greeky geek

Today I attended the second lesson of Greek language (I wrote about the first one here. And don’t worry, I’m not going to cover every lesson here). We’ve polished our alphabet and reading skills. We were also given a bunch of new words and phrases to learn.

Overall, it goes easier than I thought it would. We’re going at exactly the right pace so far – fast enough not to be boring, but slow enough for me to understand and note everything.

The course consists of three parts. We are now in for the first one. If we are to have two 1.5 hours lessons per week, then it’ll take us two and a half years to complete all three parts. We’ll be speaking perfect Greek by then. Somehow I don’t feel that we’ll last that long though.

George, our techer, is an experienced fellow. He says he’s been teaching Greek for 32 years. A lot of those years were spent with foreigners. But he also deals with kids. He now works for some government school too.

For me, the most difficult part of the course is writiing. And it’s not the alphabet. For the last few years, I’ve been using computer almost exclusively. The only thing I know how to write is my signature. For everything else I used to type. I am re-learning to write now.

Also, I realised that my memory is not as sharp as it used to be. The “I can look it up” approach to most of the problems that I face daily doesn’t help. Even though we’ve been given only a few words and phrases, I can’t memorize them off the list. I’ll be making cards one of these days. I remember back at the days when I was learning English, cards were the most helpful technique for loading words and phrases into my brain.

The technique is really simple. Make a bunch of small cards – cut the A4 paper into pieces. Write a word or phrase on one side of the card and the appropriate translation on another side. Shuffle the cards and put them in your left pocket. Whenever you don’t have to concentrate on something else, draw a card out of the pocket and read what it says. If you can guess what’s on the other side, do so, check that you are correct, and then place the card into your right pocket. If you made a mistake or couldn’t remember, then put the card back into your left pocket. Once you don’t have any cards in your left pocket, start again from your right pocket. This time it will go faster. When you’re done, make a new bunch of cards with new words and phrases.

This technique helps to learn things in separation. If you have a few words on a piece of paper, than you brain associates them with one another, like “this word was near that word”. If you use cards, you get things at random. Also with cards you’re learning back and forward translations. One card you can get with one language up, another – with another language. Writing words and their translations on the cards also helps to memorize things.

Once you get used to making cards and moving them around, you can really learn a whole lot of new stuff. It’s really quick learning.

5 thoughts on “Greeky geek”

  1. Interesting point you make about memorization! I find my capacity/motivation to memorise is not as good as when I was in high school. I’m also of the ‘you can always look it up’ school of thought. Any ideas how to become enthusiastic about memorising again?

  2. Hi Vips,

    When I need some motivation to memorize something, I try to imagine myself in the situation where I’d need the memorized thing, but won’t be able to look it up. :)

    Examples can vary from uninhabitted island with a naked woman asking questions to avoiding street fights because of some quoting/language skills. Just find something that works for you. ;)

  3. hm, that’s an interesting way to find the motivation! now, to find a way that works for me because well, I just don’t find naked women too motivating… =)

  4. Hehe :)

    Well, movies might be a good inspiration – martians attacking the Earth and wiping out the population completely, Global Warming unfolds and your knowledge/skills are needed to communicate with other scientists to save millions of lives, asteroid hitting the planet unless you share your knowledge … search for the one that’s closer to your personal tastes ;)

  5. oh, now we’re getting somewhere!! I used to play RPG’s when I had the time and who doesn’t want to save the world??!!

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