Greek is an Indo-European language that has been spoken and written for four thousand years in a small area of southeastern Europe. The written tradition of Greek is evidenced in texts in Linear B (a syllabic script) from ancient times (15th century BCE). Today, Modern Greek is the official language of Greece, a small country with a population of eleven million people. Although Modern Greek is a language spoken by a small number of people in a limited area of the world, it has had a great cultural impact all over the planet.
Ancient Greek and Modern Greek are not two different languages. The language has maintained such cohesion of structure and vocabulary that it is recognized by both scholars and native speakers as one language. But, as with English, Greek has gone through several periods which mark the evolution of the language through history.
The learner of Modern Greek seeks not only to speak a contemporary European language with an important presence in literature and art, but also to understand the deeper ideas and conventions that were exported through the Greek language into Western thought and civilization. With the turn toward classical studies during the Renaissance (14th to 17th centuries), Europe came to know, study, and be influenced by the great Greek thinkers of antiquity: the philosophers (Heraclitous, Empedocles, Democritus, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, and others), the poets (Homer, Pindar, Sappho, Alcaeus), the tragedians (Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes), the historians (Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, Polybius, Pausanias), the physicians (Hippocrates Galenos), the orators (Demosthenes, Isocrates), the grammarians (Dionysius, Apollonius and others) and other writers (Plutarch, Lucian, Theophrastus, Archimedes, Euclides, Strabo) and so on. Thus, it has been encouraged that scientists and writers should learn both Latin and Greek because those were the academic languages for many centuries until the middle of 19th century.
Window to Greece
Modern Greek lecturer Chrysanthi Koutsiviti has created a blog for students interested in learning more about Greek culture: Window to Greece
Modern Greek at UChicago
Modern Greek courses are offered at the elementary and intermediate level, and the instructor (Chrysanthi Koutsiviti) hosts bi-weekly Greek Corner meetings for Greek learners to socialize while practicing the language. In addition, the university's Office of Study Abroad offers a full quarter study abroad experience in Greece (Athens: Greek Antiquity and Its Legacy) which fulfills the College's civilization requirement. Finally, the University of Chicago has a Hellenic Student Association (HSA) which brings students of both Hellenic and non-Hellenic backgrounds together in order to learn more about the culture, politics, and history of Greece. Visit their Facebook page for more information.
Elementary Modern Greek I, II, III
MOGK 10100-10200-10300/30100-30200-30300. This course sequence is designed to help students acquire communicative competence in Modern Greek and a basic understanding of its structures. Through a variety of exercises, students develop all skill sets. Autumn, Winter, Spring.
Intermediate Modern Greek I, II, III
MOGK 20100-20200-20300. PQ: Elementary Modern Greek sequence or placement exam. This course sequence builds on the student's knowledge of modern Greek in all four skill areas through the use of authentic cultural materials (short stories, films, newspapers, etc.), with emphasis on grammar, vocabulary building, and fluency in expression and accuracy in writing. Autumn, Winter, Spring.
Modern Greek Literature: The woman in Modern Greek Literature
GNSE 21209. This course aims to reveal the woman and her world or what the society claims to be this world through prose and poetry written in different historical periods in Greece. The works chosen are part of major contemporary Greek literature and interact with culture, history and social ideas of the country. They represent three different periods: the beginning of the 20th century, the years of dictatorship (1967-1974) and the period after the dictatorship until today. They all have a big impact on Greek literature and they all have drawn the interest of excellent translators in English. The works are offering the opportunity to observe the changes in women’ s position in Greece, and mostly to analyze major works examining the inner nature of the human being. The texts will be taught in English. No knowledge of Modern Greek is required. However, students with such knowledge are encouraged to study the text in Modern Greek, as well, since the chosen editions are bilingual. Winter.
Please contact Chrysanthi Koutsiviti if you have questions about a placement exam, or if you would be interested in studying at an advanced level.
Modern Greek class at the cinema with the director of the magnificent Greek film "Worlds Apart" Mr C. Papakaliatis, February 2017:
Modern Greek class field trip to the National Hellenic Museum in November 2015: