Monday, April 27, 2015

Home School for Cheap or Free - Why Greek is Better than Latin!

Greek is the ideal foreign language to study from a variety of standpoints - Latin can't hold a candle!

If you're a homeschooler, and trying to decide what language to teach your child, let me share a few reasons why I think Greek is best. 

1. Greek the language of the Original New Testament, and the language still used for Worship by the Greek Orthodox Church.


Greek is the language in which the New Testament was written. Want to read the words of Jesus EXACTLY as the Gospel writers recorded them? Want to pray the same way the Christians did in the earliest centuries of Christianity? Greek's your language.

(Just a side note, if you do not speak Greek & wish to visit a Greek Orthodox Church - do not despair - there's usually plenty of English, too - and Greeks are known for their hospitality : )

Personally, point one is enough to convince me that Greek is the ideal language to study. To me, this is FAR more important than a hoped-for college admission test score. But, if you want further support, Greek has a lot MORE going for it!

2. Greek the source of many Medical and other academic terms - it will help your child ace that University Qualifying exam!


It is often said that many Medical terms come from Latin. Which is kinda true. But, anyone who knows Greek well will notice that English Medical terms are generally a breeze for them! Why is that? Well, who were the doctors in Ancient Rome, who CREATED the Latin Medical Terms? They were Greeks, of course! Little known historical fact, most of the occupations that we think of in modern times as being prestigious were occupied by slaves in Ancient Rome - including that of Doctor! When a Greek doctor was taken captive by the Roman Army, he was made a slave - but a slave who was still a doctor. (Source: Private Lives of the Romans by Harold Whetstone Johnstone, p.340) Many, if not most, medical terms are Greek root words with a Latinized ending. And one doesn't have to think long to think of other academic disciplines (like, say, Mathematics or Logic) that were strongly influenced by the Greeks and have lots of Greek terms. Latin can claim marginally more technical terms than Greek - but once you remove the words with clear Greek origins from the Latin count, Greek claims a huge percentage of the terms! (I know, I know, I'm sounding like the Dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding - but facts are facts! ; )

3. Greek has a very similar complex logical structure to Latin, if you're looking for brain-building.


Greek has a complex structure with Declensions and Noun Genders just as Latin does - so IF study of such a classical language does, in fact, mature a child's logic (which is debatable, but is a popular theory amongst Classical Homeschoolers) - then Greek and Latin are interchangeable for this task. 

4. Greek study has built in accountability.


It is easy to impress acquaintances by saying "I'm in my third year of Latin" or "I can conjugate 15 Latin verbs!" or "I took Latin at University." This is an easy way to impress others even if you aren't a good Latin student. In fact, it's easy to impress others this way even if your Latin is so bad that you couldn't say "Where is the bathroom?" in Latin if your life depended upon it. And that ability to to impress without accountability can be bad for your character.

Not so with Greek. Invariably you will encounter a native-speaker toddler or an illiterate Yiayia (Grandmother) whose grasp of Greek puts you to shame. That's something that will never happen with Latin.

And that's good for your Character : )

5. Greek is the best language for ordering a Frappe on a beautiful Mediterranean Beach. It's also the best language for conversing with my little girl's dear, sweet Yiayia (and my dear sweet Mother-in-Law).

Can't say that about Latin, now can  ya? ; )


If you're convinced, stay tuned for two companion posts that will list lots of great cheap & free resources!
Homeschooling for Cheap or for Free - Reading Greek
and
Homeschooling for Cheap or for Free - Conversational Greek
(look for new posts on Monday Mornings!)

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15 comments:

  1. Hi Anna! You build quite a case for studying Greek! My dad is a doctor, and he always said that Latin helped him a lot, but maybe Greek would have been even more of an edge? I had no idea.
    I can certainly relate to the 'brain building' part of your post. Anything that keeps our brains clicking is a good thing!
    Hope you're having a great Monday :)
    Ceil

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting! I loved your recent post, http://www.ceilryan.com/2015/04/26/lessons-from-the-silent-grass/#comments - and often enjoy reading your blog : ) May God Bless your Dad in his service to the sick & infirm : )

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  2. I had a year of New Testament Greek as an adult and it is a tough language to learn.

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Kathy! It IS a tough language to learn, but stay tuned - there are some truly GREAT - and often FREE - resources out there that make it approachable - even for a young child : )

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    1. I'm delighted! Thanks so much for visiting & sharing a kind comment! : )

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  4. I've been studying Hebrew and Greek with the aid of the Interlinear Bible for 23 years, and while it's easier to understand Greek because of the many Greek root words in English, I see Hebrew as the language of the Millineum and Heaven, though hubby thinks we won't need language in Heaven. I like to be able to say the Biblical liturgy of the Temple in the same language as Jesus did when He was on the earth, and some people think there were also Hebrew versions of New Testament books, and they are available now. But I agree totally about Latin. Scientific terminology is often from Greek, though some fields have more Latin roots.

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    1. You bring up a very interesting point, and remind me of one of the GREAT arguments in favor of Greek! When Jesus quoted from the Old Testament, He almost always quoted from the Greek translation (Septuagint) http://www.theorthodoxfaith.com/the-bible-of-the-early-church/. And, when the Bible was compiled by the Early Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, It consisted of the Greek New Testament, and the Greek Old Testament.

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  5. I have never thought about this but I love your case. Greek would be a better choice over Latin. I have taken a lot of medical classes and most root words come from Greek. Great post! Thanks for sharing at #HomeMattersParty

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting & for your kind comments. I really appreciate you hosting! : )

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  6. There is a lot to be said about studying Latin as well =) My hope is to have my kids learn both Latin and Greek. The Bluedorns who wrote Teaching the Trivium said (if I remember correctly), "If you learn one language, make it Greek. If you learn two languages, learn Greek and Latin." That is what I'm going for!

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    1. That's a great quote! Thanks for sharing! : )

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  7. These are great points for studying Greek instead of Latin! Thanks for sharing. :-)

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  8. I was always under the impression that learning biblical Greek would not enable you to converse with modern-day Greek speakers. You've rather rocked my world with that today. Thank you.

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    1. It IS true that you cannot converse in Biblical Greek (aka Koine Greek) with Modern Greek speakers. BUT - there is so much overlap that if you know one, it will greatly help you with the other. And, many speakers of Modern Greek go to Church (where Biblical Greek is used) often enough that they will get the gist of what you're saying if you accidentally use a word or two of Biblical Greek in a Modern sentence : )

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