Well, it’s that time of year. Each fall as I think about the long, slow winter invariably I tell myself: You must learn some Greek! Some winters I have done pretty well, but then come summer I am busy with visitors, few of whom speak Greek, and I lose it rather than use it.
A popular book here is “Learn Greek in 25 Years” by Brian Church. It is a collection of humour articles about how difficult the Greek language is.
I will give a couple examples. Now that I have been in Greece for six seasons I no longer ask at tavernas for butter with my bread mainly because few have it available. But voutiro was one of the first words that I learned; pronounced boo tear o, it seems simple. But in real Greek it is βουτυρο.
Hopefully the most common word that you will hear is Thanks, relatively easy at efharisto’, according to the books pronounced ef har ees toe, but I have yet to hear a Greek say it that way. What I hear sounds like pear as tal. Yet when I have asked Greek friends about it, they have no idea what I am trying to say.
Trying to explain all this I have bitten off more than I can chew. So more later—if my winter intentions remain, that is.