By Ada Leivada
Learning Greek can admittedly be quite challenging. A new vocabulary, different syntax, unfamiliar sounds, and rules of grammar could result in a new student feeling quite overwhelmed.
While all of these aspects are essential parts of what makes Greek what it is, many people who aim to simply learn how to speak a language might wonder if all of these are necessary when your main goal is just to improve your spoken skills. After all, we do say “Do you speak Greek?” Nobody has ever asked “Do you know Greek grammar?”
So can you actually learn to speak Greek without explicitly focusing on grammar?
Of course you can!
In fact, this is the most effective way to truly learn any language, without memorizing rules, or taking written tests. Do you remember having to take a written exam when you went from simply saying “Mom” to forming grammatically-correct sentences in your first language? Of course not!
The most effective way to learn any new language is through a method which resembles the way you naturally learned your native tongue.
There is a tiny detail here, though, whichwe mustn’t overlook. You naturally learned your first language by being constantly being exposed to it 24/7. You heard your parents speak it, they addressed you in that language from the very first day of your life, you heard it when you were a baby at the park, you heard it on the radio, on TV and of course at daycare.
You were constantly exposed to it at a very specific developmental phase of your life, which undeniably helps learning a language in an implicit way — that is, without being taught about its formal rules.
But then again, that was the time you learned much more challenging skills than mimicking sounds, such as walking, using your teeth to eat solid food and going to the bathroom. That’s why trying to achieve similar results with a second or foreign language is unfair to any student.
So can somebody really learn a language without focusing on grammar?
Again, the answer is yes! You shouldn’t feel like this is impossible if you are not in elementary school any more. This can definitely be achieved — and it is achieved by adults every day. There are some parameters, however.
Exactly like learning your first language implicitly, to do that with a second language you would need to be exposed to it on a daily basis for an significant period of time. You would need to move to that country for a month or two, and would need to attend an intensive immersion course held in that country for you to be constantly exposed to authentic speech from native speakers.
Then, just like a toddler who mimics sounds, you would be able to acquire the way native speakers speak a great deal faster and more effectively than simply memorizing grammar rules.
However, the right teacher or course can make grammar your friend!
Grammar can be challenging and feel like a waste of time when your aim is just to speak a language. If, however, you cannot spend time speaking and hearing this language around native speakers, grammar should be your friend, because with its guidance you will be able to speak and be understood much faster than you think, which is the main point of learning a language — being able to communicate.
To work with grammar effectively, though, you will need the right school, which will assign you to the right teacher who will work with grammar but always respecting your needs and abilities and making sure you will not be overwhelmed. The right teacher knows how to use grammar effectively and in a way which prevents their student from becoming frustrated.
The right teacher knows how to use grammar “communicatively,” as a tool for improving the oral skills of a student — and not a goal in itself. And of course, the right teacher knows how to guide their students towards specifically-designed courses for students who need a quick grammar boost.
Learn to speak Greek at your own pace
After years of experience with Greek language learning and teaching, after careful consideration of the disappointments and frustrations that grammar can bring to students and observing what helps students learn and use grammar effectively in order to improve their oral Greek, Greek LOL has designed an online grammar course.
The Greek LOL LMS includes all the grammar appropriate to the A2 level, which is fundamental in the process of learning Greek.
All you need to do is sign up and then wait for your weekly lesson to be sent to you by email. Afterward, you just sit back, relax and watch videos on your own schedule and at your own pace.
You also play grammar-based games, connect and communicate with other Greek learners and teachers, and enjoy the communication and feedback from your instructor, who will be there to help you throughout the process.
Whether you choose to take online classes, attend your local Greek school, decide to enroll in an online grammar course, spend a few months in Greece, attend a summer Immersion course there or take your children to a Greek Language Summer Camp, you should always remember that language learning comes with a few disappointments — but a great deal of joy.
That’s why you need to find the right people, the best qualified instructors who will support you through this process. They will make sure they have understood your needs and will find the best tools to support your journey in learning Greek.
The right people who will inspire you to be patient, rather than give up. The right people who will make sure you learn to love Greek!