I've been using my Spanish almost daily at work these days, which reminded me how much I enjoy other languages. Learning them on my own has always been a struggle. These days especially, my time is limited, and I've just never been good at self-teaching generally. But I finally decided to follow what I know I enjoy rather than stumbling around in the dark.

How to choose which language I'd learn? Ancient Greek (well, more specifically, Koine) was a no-brainer. I had two years of Classical Greek (which focused on the Attic dialect ~500 BC) in college, and so there were still some bits and pieces floating around. I found my old textbook (Mastronarde's Introduction to Attic Greek), and at least the basic declension patterns were mostly familiar. Koine was the Greek of the Roman Empire, including early Christianity. It's pretty similar to Attic grammatically, although slightly simpler (but only slightly). Plus I've always wanted to read the New Testament in the original, to say nothing of works like Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (which was also written in Greek).

So, I picked up a textbook on Koine and got to work. I'm only a couple chapters in, but am pleased with my progress. This book is quite good at teaching Greek more holistically. Mastronarde was really big on memorizing paradigms and rules, but I tend to do better learning broader swaths, or maybe better said the big picture. The nice thing about learning a "dead" language is that you don't really have to be able to compose or speak in it, which makes things a lot easier. As long as I can recognize the part of speech when I see it, I'm good to go; I don't necessarily have to be able to pull a given grammatical form out of thin air. I can learn at my own pace and in my own way.

I'd forgotten how much fun this is.


Interesting! I didn't realize there were different Greek languages, but now that I think of it, it makes sense, as English has gone through many changes.

I learned Latin in high school, for a year. Only because I was tired of French (3 years). Then in college I took Spanish and Anglo-Saxon English.

I wish I stuck with them. I can only do basics now. Even with Spanish, I never used it. I was told growing up, oh my gosh, you need to learn a second language, Spanish is it, etc etc. I took French to rebel, lol. Then I took Spanish, but I never, ever heard Spanish outside of the classroom, TV, and songs.

So it never stuck. I should start up again though. I just have to decide which one!

posted by johnnyFive: 274 days ago