Greek tragedy or just plain tragic?

It’s fair to say I’ve been trying to learn Greek for quite some time now – not exactly an easy task, I can tell you.  After all, the written word doesn’t just resemble a load of Hieroglyphics, the language has 19 tenses and when spoken, it’s hard to tell where one word has ended and the next one has begun.  Still, God loves a tryer, as they say, so when my neighbours invited me to join a goup that was learning to speak Greek through song, naturally I thought ‘why not?’

Then again, after two or three glasses of wine it would seem like a good idea, wouldn’t it?

Of course, in the cold light of day it no longer felt such a fun proposition – particularly for a woman who can’t actually sing.  But having committed myself thus far, my conscience told me it wouldn’t be fair to just back out without warning.  And on the plus side, if my vocal range was going to lend itself to any type of singing arrangement, naturally, it was going to be the Greek tragedy!                                                                                                                                            

Moreover, at least I could console myself in the knowledge that I wasn’t the only one nervous about what was to come.  Oh yes, as we jumped into the car and headed out, it seemed my neighbours were also aware that they could be about about to make a complete show of themselves, too.
However, I don’t know if it was the rhythm of the music that somehow made the rhythm of the words easier to pronounce, but you’ll be pleased to know it wasn’t long at all before each of us was singing along with the best of them.  Not pitch perfect in a musical sense, of course, but we were certainly grammatically and linguistally correct – which wasn’t bad to say we’d never even heard of Giorgos Dalaras or his rendition of Ola Kala prior to our arrival.  In fact, it wasn’t as if we’d ever even come across some of the words we were now melodically vocalizing, yet there we were committing them to memory…  And having such fun with it!
So for anyone out there who fancies joining me in learning a new language, I’d definitely recommend having a go at learning it through song. 

4 responses to “Greek tragedy or just plain tragic?

  1. Very true, John. I've also found that in Greek there are so many words that include loads of consonants (often straight after each other) but not many vowels, to the point that saying them can be quite a tongue twister… Put the exact same words to music though and for some reason the challenge suddenly becomes a whole lot easier x

  2. It's partly because you read some of these consonent combinations and think it can't be done because in English we never START a word with them, but they occur in the middle of words all the time -how about the pst combination in lipstick? Very entertaining piece again, Suzie. I always love your posts

  3. You're so right, Jenny. Also, even if a word does start with more than one consonant in English (as in psychology, know etc) we tend to silence one of them. In Greek, because it's a phonetic language, every letter has to be verbalised… hence, the tongue twisting x

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