Greek Language

Yes, I know that we all try to make the effort to speak Greek. I try to remember to listen to a Greek language lesson on tape or CD when I am packing. Often in Greece I speak Greek, and the person I am speaking to repeats back to me what I have said in English, to make sure that he has understood correctly. Some people in Greece have kindly tried to encourage me, speaking to me in Greek and trying to enlarge my vocabulary. I tried to learn Greek with two of my landlady's grandchildren on one island. Going through a Greek picture book with a toddler and speaking the Greek words was fun - but the toddlers' knowledge of Greek soon far outstripped mine!

I always carry a small dictionary, in my room if not with me, and look up words that I come across. In the past I used to note down words that I would like to know the meaning of. Digital cameras now take such good images that, if I have a camera with me as I usually do, I take a photo of the words to translate at my leisure later.

I also take a phrase book. These days it is only expressions that are not in the phrase book that I find I would like to know. Also phrase books are not always to hand when you need them. Yesterday I was trying to book a hotel room in Athens. I was in a phone booth on a small Greek island. Yes, the hotel had rooms on the nights I needed. "Wuff, wuff, wuff, wuff, wuff,wuff. A small grey dog arrived at the phone box and started barking vociferously. I battled on with the phone call in Greek. Have you ever seen a phrase book with the phrase: "I will ring back and continue the conversation later when there is not a dog barking nearby"?

Try and learn at least the capitals of the Greek alphabet. There is still one or two that I am a little dodgy on.
Remember that the letters in the Greek alphabet are in a different order to ours. Years ago I was looking for a hotel room in Ioannina. I found a pleasant enough looking hotel, but was put off by the class of the Hotel. The sign outside the door indicated that the hotel was a 'G' class. G class? I had read that E class hotels could be dodgy. What would a G class hotel be like? I need not have worried. G, or gamma, is the third letter of the Greek alphabet. The hotel was a C class hotel.