When you suddenly realise you know more than you think

It’s interesting that at some point in your language learning journey it will occur to you how much you have learnt. You may not realise this for quite some time but when you do, it hits you like a bullet.

To explain a bit about my personal story, I love the Greek language and I started from scratch. Although being an English speaker you could debate that given the amount of words that have their origins there. I used to spend many hours listening to https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=RDEMh-SVbgWi4o0giQEIFYvZUg Kostas Martakis songs because they were simple bubblegum pop and he is certainly easy on the eyes being a former model.

I followed this by watching Nikos Vertis – Eisai einai asteri https://youtu.be/6Ye0NOn7nrI
or You are a star. It is a beautiful love song that you can easily find with English lyrics. For those that are not quite so sappy try To Kyma (wave) by Melisses (honeybees). https://youtu.be/GBSqFT1yqqU

For more song practice I tunes is good as it’s one of the few places you can get hold of Greek songs and there English versions too. Beware because of the grammatical differences between the languages you might end up with some funny phrases. Helena Paraparizou sings about the love police in Fiesta https://youtu.be/TTEMu1t4BxM
but it’s also present to some extent in the Greek version but it’s agape poli or much love here. https://youtu.be/JG-TPHlqerg

If soaps is your thing, there are subtitled Greek soaps made occasionally by the Lacta company which makes Greek chocolate bars. These shows https://youtu.be/k4L0he1WC0I
are really funny and the acting while completely over the top is so very Greek. You don’t really need the subtitles unless you want to know every little thing. These are an amusing diversion from studying but your still learning.

I also have a Greek version of the BFG to progress with as it was above my level last time I tried reading out loud. This is a lot more difficult than just reading.

Now I have progressed to the point that I’m watching Ted x talks but in Greek. https://youtu.be/fZi1f2OS7nU
There fascinating for the cultural insight that they give you and the fact I just love the sound of the Greek language. There is of course huge variance just like with all languages and people. I haven’t got to the point yet where I’m understanding why he suddenly laughs but I will get that eventually.

As well as reading a Greek newspaper (see recent posts) with Google Translate and a Greek language learning FB group as backup; I can write to one of my Greek friends and she can understand. She has for instance asked me where am I on meeting my brother in law and asked when am I visiting as she misses me. I do still need help with spelling so the internet and autocorrect are helpful here. I don’t think I will ever have a native level but I’m not aiming for that. The ability to communicate effectively is sufficient. This has must certainly been quite an undertaking though. Learning a foreign language when you have dyslexia is not for the faint hearted.

What challenge have you undertaken that is now starting to yield results?

Best wishes


Published by

Athena Minerva

A place for me to write about things that concern myself and the world around me. Please check out my page on Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01G9629BG after you have finished my blog or drop me a line at theenglishintrovert@beyondtheenglishintrovert.com

15 thoughts on “When you suddenly realise you know more than you think”

  1. I think it’s amazing that you chose greek – most people I know start with an alphabet they know and are comfortable with.
    I can, occasionally catch things in French or Spanish and know the gist of it – it depends on how fast it’s being said and the local accent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have heard French before and depending on the speed, accent and the standard I may get something out of it. Spanish I understand a little but Greek is my third foreign language I’ve tried to learn. It’s the one I’ve made the most progress with as well due to motivation, opportunity and understanding how I learn.


  2. I think it’s so challenging what you’re doing to learn Greek and as you said you might not realize how much we have learnt and I believe you’ll feel great when you discover the point you have reached so far! I must focus on learning Spanish, I started many times and stopped, so I think the best way is through a private teacher or a cultural center…
    My other challenge was English, I only learned French in school and I learned English alone, mostly from reading, movies, songs….it was a great struggle and I can’t believe the progress I have reached just by learning all alone 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Greek would be one of the toughest languages to learn, I think, so good for you! I’m impressed. I’ve studied languages in my later years, and I find things just don’t stick! I’m no good at them at all, although I’ve tried to study Spanish, French and Arabic. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Arabic is way harder than Greek but I guess it’s a matter of perception. It also depends on what your native language is as that decides which languages are closer to your own and therefore easier.


      1. That may be true. My native language is English but I also found Arabic difficult. Although it is phonetic so it has a certain logic to it. I was determined to learn some, so it was fun to study, although my memory is like a sieve! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Arabic is rated as the most difficult I think mainly due to the alphabet but I guess if you talked to people it would be easier. It also sounds so harsh to be so I’m disinclined to learn anything that sounds so discordant to me. Sorry I’m a bit of a walking thesaurus at times.


          1. The brain doesn’t forget languages that have entered into your subconscious. You stop being able to access it as easily as it becomes buried but it’s not lost. I do have to remember though that there are generally reasons why people stop speaking certain languages.


          2. I hope you’re right. Athena. If so, that’s good to know. Being in the U.S., we are quite insulated from other languages, so the biggest problem is finding places to practice. Full immersion seems the best, but even that doesn’t always help some of us who are language-challenged! 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  4. As a fellow introvert, the most difficult challenge in learning a new language would be the need to apply your learnings in a face to face social context. Learning French has humbled me in Paris for example.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s