Learning Greek can be a very rewarding experience for both diaspora Greeks getting in touch with their cultural heritage, and also for non-Greeks who get to learn and appreciate so much about the birthplace of western civilization as can be seen in the case of Harlem KAPPA IV public school.
Apart from learning from fun games and creative quizzes, story-telling is a very educative and entertaining method to teach language, traditions, and culture! That’s why we’ve placed so much importance on creating “Ellinopoula Short Stories”!
The wonder of Story-telling
It’s one of the primary wonders of the human mind; the primary “vehicle” for passing on essential information from one person to another. As infants we’re exposed to nursery rhymes, as young children to simple picture-book stories such as “The hat on the little girl’s head, protects her from the sun.”
As teens and adults we’re exposed to masterpieces of storytelling such as Homer’s “Iliad” or Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea.” Stories, whether short or long, pass down and reinforce knowledge, traditions, and customs very effectively because the human brain loves to “contextualize” what it perceives is relevant information through plots, scenarios, and dramas of all sorts; that’s why teaching languages through the use of short stories is so effective!
Short Stories to Learn Greek
Learning Greek is no exception! Luckily, Greece is blessed with a very rich historical heritage, culture and language. That’s why we’ve collaborated with teachers who specialize in teaching Greek to diaspora children to create “Ellinopoula Short Stories”, a fun cartoon-based series to reinforce basic Greek vocabulary and teach some of the more “challenging” letter combinations found in the Greek language. “Ellinopoula Short Stories” is made up of of a list of animated short stories featuring timeless Greek themes and stories which are simple to follow and can be viewed independently. The short stories are accompanied by visual cues, text, and audio to teach vocabulary, letter combinations and Greek customs and traditions such as the “Christmas Karavaki”, the mischievous “Kallikantzaroi”, and “Smashing the Pomegranate” on New Year’s Day.
Mastering the Basics of the Greek Language
Does your child love basketball? Consider the spelling of Greek national team and Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo’s name; Giannis Antetokounmpo is a Greek national of Nigerian origin and written in the original Nigerian way, his surname would be “Adetokunbo”. Greek, however, is creative in making the equivalent of the Latin “d” sound by combining the letters “n” and “t”, the sound for “u” by combining “o” and “u”, and “b” by combining “m” and “p”. Hence “Adetokunbo” became “Antetokounmpo” (“Αντετοκούνμπο”) with American and international sports commentators finding it hard to pronounce his name correctly, often reverting simply to calling him “Giannis”.
School kids in Greece however, would have the tools to read and pronounce a surname of non-Greek origin as this one the Greek way, as they go through the first and second grade of primary school learning the alphabet and special letter combinations which either create other sounds (diphthongs) or combinations of sounds that are slightly more difficult to pronounce.
Our short story “Babis is Painting” teaches children how to pronounce m+p (μπ), and our short story “Toothache” teaches n+t (ντ), allowing them to read, write, and pronounce a whole of Greek words and names, as well as explaining the Greek spelling of this new NBA superstar’s surname to children of other ethnic backgrounds!
Why not browse around our “Ellinopoula Short Stories” and see how they will help your child learn Greek!