By Vasiliki Theodosiou,
150,000. More than 150,000 english words stem from greek ones.
50%. More than 50% of science terminology and symbols have a greek origin.
And if math is not your cup of tea -it definitely is not mine anyways- let us have a look on some other reasons behind the belief that “learning modern greek can be beneficial”.
Well for starters, you will be able to exercise a language that has a different structure than yours. By doing so you will expand your linguistic knowledge as well as your general understanding on how various languages across the world work. This will also open the paths to your language learning skills by expanding them and making it way easier for you to pick up on new languages and new vocabulary should you decide to do so. Moreover, this dimension could potentially be implemented in a cultural level as well. What I mean by this, is that when you ‘dive into’ another language you instantly “dive into” another culture than your very one. This enables you to perceive your very own culture from a different perspective while getting into a comparison process and gaining a deeper understanding of human nature and its’ common points.
Moreover, it goes without saying that you will be able to enjoy greek music, greek literature and greek songs and poetry and at the same time enjoy the human interaction by speaking the language with greek friends, relatives or with locals as a visitor in the country itself. It is by them that you might sometimes realise how much Greeks enjoy the connection with the glorious ancient past, a realisation that one could make by simply looking at the ancient greek language or at the history as a whole.
And even if you are not a history person or enjoy museums and word etymology you will find out how appreciated your effort to speak greek will be by greek people. Yes, we are well aware that the “it all sounds greek to me” phrase was made for a reason and that the trouble of delving into our language is a lot to deal with. That is exactly why we are extremely happy when we hear a non-greek speaker making an effort to pronounce words or to express their gratitude about something with a simple “efharisto”. The excitement of the locals when they will see you speaking greek will be too hard for them to contain and too surprising for you to deal with. But I can assure you it will be a pleasant surprise. Most of the Greeks, being aware of the challenges of their language, will usually learn english, be it in an academic level or at a beginner level in order to communicate with tourists, understand technological terminology or survive in a short trip abroad. Needless to say, that English people learning Greek is not that common or necessary. That is probably the reason why we highly appreciate it when somebody actually chooses to do so.
To get into a more intellectual argument and to end this relatively short article on a final positive note it would be worth quoting George Seferis words who was pointing out that the Greek language has a long, long history behind it: “The Greek language has never ceased to be spoken. It has undergone the changes that all living things experience, but there has never been a gap. This tradition is characterised by love of the human; justice is its norm.”
 George Seferis, 1963