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Ellenika

After three hours of playing German with my neighbors, they suggested to do some Greek, which I was more than happy to do.

Ti ine afto? — Afto ine ena kokino stilo.

Ti ine afto? — Afto ine ena mavro stilo.

I always had to slow them down, especially the girls were trying to teach me the whole of Greek in ten minutes :) Limit! They also were always translating for me, which I had to stop them from doing all the time.  I really could feel how these translations were killing my Greek thinking. They were also changing the setup every three seconds, so I told them that it’s important to have a simple, well designed setup.

Ti ine afto? — Afto ine ena ble stilo.

Ti ine afto? — Afto ine ena xylo.

Ti ine afto? — Afto ine ena prasino vivlío.

They wanted to do more and more items. Limit! again.

Ti ine afto? — Afte ine toθecomo stilo.

Ti ine afto? — Afto ine toθekosu kafé xylo.

List: Toθekomo, toθekosu

Ti ine afto? — Afto ine toθekotis prasino vivlío.

Ti ine afto? — Afto ine toθekotu kokino stilo.

They are amazed how fast I learn, i tell them I’m not a Genius, I’m a Veteran. Also, “Limit is Power”.

Ochi, ne.

Ti ine afto? — Afto ine toθekotis prasino vivlío.

List: mavro, kokino, aspro, kafé, ble, prasino, kitrino.

Here I explain Obviously! for the first time, because they are trying to show me “kitrino”, but the color is between green and yellow, very confusing.

Xana!

Ti ine kitrino? — Afto ine kitrino.

Afto ine kitrino? — Ne, afto ine kitrino.

Afto ine ena kokino stilo? — Ne, afto ine ena kokino stilo.

Pu ine to ble stilo? — To ble stilo ine eki.

Afto ine toθikomo prasino vivlío? — Ochi, afto θen ine toθikosu prasino vivlío. Afto ine toθikotis prasino vivlío.

Efcharisto — Parakalo.

I’m teaching a 6year-old girl with Greek parents German for two hours per week, for two years now. She has almost no German contact except me (goes to an English school), so she’s still speaking very broken German, but nevertheless I could witness her from zero to “fluent”, which was amazing. I never really “taught” her, just played with her while speaking German.

Now her father is learning German too, for work purposes, and he’s not bad, but he has heavy explicit grammar ballast (always thinking hard about in which case this part of speech stands now), which slows him down enormously. I played WAYK with him several times, with mixed success, because while he’s playing along, he’s always dragging his grammar with him. And as I’m not established enough in WAYK/Language Hunting, and am quite fond of talking about grammar, he sometimes derails me.

Today, I tried to finally hunt some Greek from them, and realized quickly that the setting is really important! :) With a table full of stuff, two children and two more guest children jumping and playing all over the place, there was no way for me to get into a mode where i could get into a mode where there were any hopes of Greek sticking. Anyway, I learned “Τι είναι óτι” (?), and for some seconds could get a full glass of coke :)

Then i sat down with the father for some German; because he really wanted to concentrate on Akkusativ/Dativ cases, I took some plastic Bauklötze in grün, orange and blau, and practiced “über, unter, vor, hinter, auf, zwischen”. I only used Bauklötze because they’re of male grammatical gender, the only gender where the different cases are really clearly distinguished: “wer? der. wen? den. wem? dem.” in this case, “wo? auf dem …” (indicating position) and “wohin? auf den …” (indicating movement). I’m doing the hand signs most of the time, him too, but it doesn’t feel like the accelerated learning that’s possible with full throttle Language Hunting. Maybe it was that their kids (2 and 6) were destroying the piano electronic keyboard, or that the smaller one was throwing a package of lego on the floor every two minutes :)

Then I practiced some pronunciation, although pretty explicitly; eg i told him that after a/o/u, the German “ch” is pronounced IPA [x], while after e/i/ä, it’s [ç]. But he told me that he can tell himself ten times it’s “ich” with a [ç], and he will nevertheless pronounce it with a [x] later when speaking. I told him that’s why he has to learn it in context, implicitly, but he always says he has no time for this because his test is in two weeks or so. Of course he’s saying that for months now :)

I also tried to train his German “t”; it’s pretty hard and aspirated, while he says it more like “d”. I learned on the language blog “Belles Lettres” last week that in Ancient Greek τ is unaspirated, while the θ is aspirated, but after a second realized that Modern Greek does this differently, so that was of no use :P

So, I realized that a) I’ll have to find a calmer setting next time, and b) need to get much more training Language Hunting with people that fully accept the method, especially in groups bigger than two people (including me), which is still kind of a hurdle to me.