I have just come back from my stay in Greece where I tried to learn Greek (more on the results of that in my next post) and that experience got me thinking about: those of you who go to foreign countries and try to learn the local language will know that learning it will not come by itself: you actually have to put a lot of work in; and even then sometimes it’s very hard. In this day and age of English as the international language, speaking opportunities are scarce and even then conversations end prematurely due to your low level of the language or you just don’t seem to be able to discuss difficult topics. At the end of the day, you end up staying in the country and not learning much if any of the local language. That’s where I got an idea.

Just a couple of tips that I think are helpful to learn languages while you are living in the country (like me in Greece). I assume most people should know them but I get surprised by how many times they don’t. Here we go.

A few months ago, I made a switch which has helped me improve my Russian. The switch was simple and it didn’t really require me to dedicate Russian any extra time for learning at all. It is quite common sense, really, but many people still don’t do it. What did I do? Well, the TV shows(!) and the movies that I watch anyway… I started watching them in Russian instead.

The Greek alphabet has only 24 letters many of which are very easy to recognize and we happen to have borrowed an awful lot of letters from the Greek alphabet for our needs. Whether you want to learn how to read the alphabet to read some Greek signs or remember the names of the letters to impress your friends, it’s easy and worth doing. Here’s how you do it.

On one hand, it seems that languages are very different in their level of difficulty in when starting to learn them from scratch: anywhere from Riau Indonesian to Finnish. On the other hand, the general linguistic consensus seems to be that children need the same time to learn the language and they speak them by four. I have been thinking how to reconcile those two and then I thought maybe that’s because children and adults learn languages differently.