Greek Listening #17: Greek Job Search Vocabulary Challenge | Greek Comprehension

Helinika’s Greek listening exercise #17 will help you expand your Greek career and job search vocabulary. With the help of the story of a young Greek college graduate named Alexandros. Can you respond to the questions correctly?

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Read the script:

Γεια σας! Σήμερα θα κάνουμε κάτι διαφορετικό. Θα αφηγηθώ μια ιστορία χωρίς υπότιτλους και θα κληθείτε να απαντήσετε σε ορισμένες ερωτήσεις. Η ιστορία σχετίζεται με την αναζήτηση και εύρεση εργασίας – δουλειάς δηλαδή. Έτσι θα προσθέσετε περισσότερες λέξεις στο λεξιλόγιό σας που σχετίζονται με τον εργασιακό χώρο.

Καρτέλα λέξεων:

(η) δουλειά= (the) job

(η) εργασία= (the) work

(το) βιογραφικό (σημείωμα)= (the) resume/ CV

(η) συνοδευτική επιστολή= (the) cover letter

(ο/η) εργοδότης-τρια= (the) employer

(ο/η) υπάλληλος= (the) employee

(ο/η) υποψήφιος-α= (the) candidate

(η) συνέντευξη= (the) interview

(η) αγγελία= (the) posting/ ad

(η) προϋπηρεσία= (the) previous job experience

(η) εμπειρία= (the) experience

(η) πλήρης απασχόληση= (the) full-time job

(η) μερική απασχόληση= (the) part-time job

(η) μαθητεία/ (η) πρακτική (άσκηση)= (the) internship

*Δεν χρειάζεται να γνωρίζετε όλες τις λέξεις που θα ακούσετε παρακάτω. Σημασία έχει να «πιάσετε» το νόημα.

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Η ιστορία:

Ο Αλέξανδρος πρόσφατα αποφοίτησε από το Πανεπιστήμιο. Ολοκλήρωσε τις σπουδές του στον τομέα της Πληροφορικής. Ασχολείται δηλαδή με τους υπολογιστές – με τα κομπιούτερ που λένε κάποιοι. Ο πατέρας του Αλέξανδρου αγόρασε μια εφημερίδα για να τον βοηθήσει με την εύρεση εργασίας.

Όμως, ο Αλέξανδρος είχε ήδη αρχίσει να αναζητά αγγελίες εργασίας στο διαδίκτυο – στο Ίντερνετ δηλαδή. Και εκεί βρήκε μια αγγελία που του τράβηξε το ενδιαφέρον. «Ζητούνται Πτυχιούχοι Πληροφορικής για Οχτάωρη Εργασία σε Νεοσύστατη Επιχείρηση».

Ο Αλέξανδρος διάβασε με προσοχή το περιεχόμενο της αγγελίας. Ο εργοδότης δεν ζητεί προϋπηρεσία, όμως ο Αλέξανδρος είχε την τύχη να εργαστεί για τρεις μήνες σε μια εταιρεία ηλεκτρονικών παιχνιδιών στην πόλη όπου σπούδαζε. Εκεί έκανε την πρακτική του. Ήταν Διαχειριστής Συστημάτων Πληροφόρησης. Δηλαδή, είχε την ευθύνη για την ασφαλή και αποτελεσματική λειτουργία των συστημάτων ηλεκτρονικών υπολογιστών. Η αγγελία περιέγραφε έναν παρόμοιο ρόλο.

Ο Αλέξανδρος άρχισε να συμπληρώνει το βιογραφικό του σημείωμα με την βοήθεια ενός προγράμματος στον υπολογιστή του. Συμπλήρωσε τα στοιχεία επικοινωνίας του, όπως την διεύθυνση ηλεκτρονικού ταχυδρομείου (το e-mail του δηλαδή) και τον αριθμό τηλεφώνου του. Το κινητό του φυσικά, καθώς το έχει πάντα μαζί του. Έπειτα, πρόσθεσε τις σπουδές του και την σύντομη -μικρή δηλαδή- εργασιακή του εμπειρία.

Έπειτα, ο Αλέξανδρος έγραψε μια συνοδευτική επιστολή – ένα γράμμα που θα έστελνε στον εργοδότη μαζί με το βιογραφικό του. Ο πατέρας του Αλέξανδρου του πρότεινε να αρχίσει με την επίσημη προσφώνηση «Αξιότιμε κύριε/κυρία,». Όμως ο Αλέξανδρος γνωρίζει πως οι νεοσύστατες εταιρείες πληροφορικής έχουν έναν πιο ανεπίσημο χαρακτήρα. Επομένως, άρχισε την επιστολή του με ένα «Καλησπέρα,».

Ο Αλέξανδρος ανέφερε τους λόγους που ταιριάζει με το προφίλ του υπαλλήλου που ψάχνουν και έκλεισε το γράμμα του λέγοντας «Με εκτίμηση, Αλέξανδρος Παπαδόπουλος». Έπειτα, επισύναψε το βιογραφικό και την επιστολή σε ένα μήνυμα ηλεκτρονικού ταχυδρομείου και πάτησε «αποστολή». O πατέρας του Αλέξανδρου του είχε προτείνει ή να στείλει τα έγγραφα ταχυδρομικώς ή να παρουσιαστεί στην εταιρεία αυτοπροσώπως. Όμως οι συμβουλές αυτές δεν ανταποκρίνονται στην σημερινή εργασιακή πραγματικότητα. Επομένως, ο Αλέξανδρος δεν άκουσε τις συμβουλές του.

Οι ερωτήσεις:

Α) Ο Αλέξανδρος είναι φοιτητής Πληροφορικής. Σωστό ή λάθος;

Λάθος – ο Αλέξανδρος έχει ήδη αποφοιτήσει και αναζητά εργασία.

Β) Πόσα χρόνια εργασιακής εμπειρίας έχει ο Αλέξανδρος;

Όχι χρόνια, μήνες. Ο Αλέξανδρος έχει κάνει μόνο μια τρίμηνη πρακτική άσκηση.

Γ) Τι απέστειλε ο Αλέξανδρος μαζί με το βιογραφικό του σημείωμα;

Μια συνοδευτική επιστολή – αυτό που λένε στα αγγλικά “cover letter”.

Δ) Μπόρεσε ο πατέρας του Αλέξανδρου να βοηθήσει τον γιο του να βρει δουλειά;

Προσπάθησε αλλά δεν τα κατάφερε. Ο πατέρας δεν γνωρίζει τις σύγχρονες διαδικασίες εύρεσης εργασίας.

Μην διστάσετε να αφήσετε ένα σχόλιο εξηγώντας ποια ερώτηση σας δυσκόλεψε περισσότερο. Εάν σας άρεσε αυτού του είδους η άσκηση, μην διστάσετε να κάνετε like και θα επαναληφθεί στο μέλλον. Να έχετε μια όμορφη μέρα!

Learn Greek at Home During Quarantine

If you are interested in learning Greek but there are no classes taking place in your area, don’t be discouraged. Helinika, a platform dedicated to the Greek language, history, and culture, offers affordable Greek language lessons online. Learn Greek during Quarantine.

This Is Your Sign for Learning Greek

You have been debating whether you should start learning modern Greek and you constantly postpone it. Whatever the reason might be, here is the sign you were looking for. Start learning Greek today.

Greek Drama Ep.4: Helen by Euripides

A beautiful woman accused of causing chaos and bringing all evils to this world. She could be Eve or Pandora. But, this time, she is Helen. The one accused of causing the Trojan War. The one who left her husband’s side and traveled to Troy with another man, Paris.

Greek mythology and the Homeric hymns that kept them alive focused on brave heroes who fought battles and explored the world. Greek tragedy, on the other hand, placed the misunderstood characters under the spotlight. In the IIiad and the Odyssey, we hear what men had to say about Helen. In the play Helen by Euripides, we listen to her side of the story.

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Euripides’ Helen (Theatrical Play)

In 412 BC, the ancient Greek tragedian Euripides presented a trilogy of plays at the annual theatrical competition of Dionysia in Athens. One of those plays was Helen – inspired by the legend of Helen of Troy.

Helen’s Myth | Helen of Troy

According to the myth, Helen was the most beautiful woman in the world. She was the daughter of Zeus and Leda and wife of king Menelaus of Sparta. One night, Helen reportedly escaped Sparta with her Trojan lover, Paris. The latter was a young prince who was promised by goddess Aphrodite the most beautiful woman in the world. And, despite popular belief, it is not clear whether Helen chose to leave with Paris.

Ancient Greek sources are contradictory regarding Helen’s stance on this matter. Herodotus and most sources mention she was abducted by Paris. The poet Sappho, however, argues that Helen left Sparta willingly. “Full easy it is to make this understood of one and all: for she that far surpassed all mortals in beauty, Helen her most noble husband. Deserted, and went sailing to Troy, with never a thought for her daughter and dear parents.”, she writes.

Looking closely at the storyline, we can easily notice how irrelevant Helen’s stance appeared to be. Nobody really cared whether Helen was abducted or decided to escape from Sparta because she was unhappy. She was portrayed as the destructive woman – source of all evils- for whom several ships sailed towards Troy. And many young men fought and lost their lives. She, a “wicked woman”, was blamed for starting a vicious war.

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Euripides’ Take on Helen’s Myth

The unconventional ancient Greek tragedian Euripides wanted to defend Helen. Inspired by Herodotus’ claim that the Spartan queen was taken to Egypt by god Hermes, he told her version of the story.

In Euripides’ version of the story, Paris did not travel to Troy with Helen herself, but with an “eidolon” – a lifeless copy of her. Goddess Hera, protector of marriage, wanted to stop Paris from doing so. The Trojan prince had offered the apple of discord to another goddess and she aimed at punishing him. She ordered the messenger god Hermes to guide Helen out of her palace and transport her to Egypt, where she took refuge at the palace of Proteas.

The play starts with Helen standing next to Proteas’ grave, explaining her story. She is hopeless. She was taken away from home against her will. She had no way of returning home and she knew her name was tainted anyways. Not only that, but she felt uneasy in Egypt after her protector’s death. King Proteas’ son, Theoklymenos, put a lot of pressure on her. He wanted to marry her.

Helen then comes across a familiar face. Teucros, the best Greek archer who participated at the Trojan war, had visited the palace of Proteas to ask for a prophecy. Proteas’ daughter, Theonoe, was a well-known fortune teller at that time. Helen is desperate to know where her husband is and if he is searching for her. Teucros, however, informs her that Menelaos is probably dead. She also becomes aware of how hated she is by both Greeks and Trojans. Helen then starts mourning on stage, along with a group of Spartan women. She has lost all hope.

But what Helen, the tragic character of play, does not know, is that Menelaos is alive and hiding on the riverside of the Nile. He was washed ashore when his ship sunk. Him, the counterfeit Helen, and his men, were all hiding in a cave.

Menelaos then decides to seek for help at the palace of Proteas, where he comes across an old maid. The woman explains that Greeks are not welcome here. Theoklymenos, the son of Proteas, will execute any Greek who steps foot at his house, to keep Helen by his side. Menelaos is buffled. Who is this Helen she is talking about?

Menelaos and Helen finally meet and after a long dialogue – during which they are both skeptical about each other – they reunite. “I was tricked by the gods into taking to my arms a misty phantom-form, to my sorrow.”, he says. With one of the characters replying: “How so? Was it then for this we vainly toiled?”.

With Theonoe’s help, they manage to escape by boat and return to Sparta. Theoklymenos becomes enraged and almost kills his sister. But Theonoe is saved last minute with the help of the gods and goddesses.

Helen, a Play with Anti-War Sentiment

On a surface level, the tragedy focuses on the importance of virtue and oaths, especially between husband and wife. But Helen is more than a play about loyalty. The play is about the nonsense of war. What was the purpose of the Trojan war? Just a lifeless shadow. Euripides had just witnessed the defeat of Athens in the Sicilian Expedition. This war had caused great panic to Athenians and people started questioning the necessity of war.

Moreover, the play brings forward the voices of women who have been shamed and blamed from society without much proof. Both the feminist and anti-war sentiment of the play were inspired by the teachings of the sophists. The latter were Greek lecturers who questioned the values and ethics of their time. Some of them argued that women should be equal to men, that war only brings destruction, gods and goddesses do not exist, and that humanity should focus on science.

Euripides’ plays were controversial, since they questioned the morals of his time. He is known as the misunderstood tragedian and it took years to get recognized for his contribution to theatre. Helen has inspired many contemporary artists, including the Greek poet Yorgos Seferis.

Greek Drama Ep.6: The Concepts of Hybris, Nemesis, and Catharsis

Hybris, nemesis, and catharsis are three important aspects of every ancient Greek tragedy. Hybris and nemesis were mentioned way before the birth of Greek theatre; we know the terms from ancient Greek mythology. And catharsis is a concept that was introduced in drama. But what is the meaning of these three theatrical terms?

Greek Drama Ep.5: Antigone by Sophocles

Antigone by Sophocles is one of the most well-known ancient Greek theatrical plays. It belongs to a collection of tragedies – the Theban plays – since it takes place in the Greek city of Thebes. It was written by the great tragedian Sophocles and was presented at the theatrical competition of Dionysia in 441 BC. It is based on the myth of Oedipus but Sophocles manages to make the story even more tragic. It focuses on the subject of written vs. unwritten rules and absolute power.

Top 10 Coolest Neighborhoods in Athens (to Explore or Live in)

When non-Athenians visit Athens, they usually explore the three historical neighborhoods surrounding the Acropolis hill. But Athens is more than Plaka, Monastiraki, and Thiseio. Here are some of the lesser-known Athenian neighborhoods you should explore or consider living in.

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Best Athenian Neighborhoods

  1. Koukaki
  2. Neo & Paleo Psychiko
  3. Pangrati
  4. Kolonaki
  5. Neapoli
  6. Exarcheia
  7. Ano Petralona
  8. Palaio Faliro
  9. Nea Smyrni
  10. Mets

Mets, Athens

Mets is a popular and quite central neighborhood of Athens. Built amphitheatrically between the Hill of Ardettos and the Hill of Loginnos, most houses and apartment buildings have a great view of the city of Athens. Mets is also very close to the ancient Temple of Olympian Zeus. The neighborhood got its name from the first Athenian brewery that was founded by the Bavarian Karl Fuchs.

Today, Mets it’s the neighborhood of choice for artists and writers. The local art center frequently organizes cultural events and exhibitions. Although it is situated in the heart of Athens, it is quiet and green. Last but not least, it is one of the few neighborhoods of Athens where you can still find many neoclassical buildings from the 19th century.

Nea Smyrni, Athens

Nea Smyrni is a family-friendly municipality in the southern part of Athens. Its name derives from the Greek refugees who settled there after the catastrophe of Smyrna in 1922. Many Athenians choose Nea Smyrni because it is close to the city center but, at the same time, it has the benefits of a suburban area. It has parks, a small forest called “Alsos Neas Smyrnis”, and many two-story houses with gardens.

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Paleo Faliro, Athens

Paleo Faliro is a coastal district in the southern part of Athens. Just like Nea Smyrni, Paleo Faliro housed many Greeks from Asia Minor in early 20th Century. Today, locals often call it “Falirofornia”. That is because of the countless palm trees planted across its beautiful marina and public park called “Flisvos”. Athenians love it because of its ideal geographical position. You can easily reach the center of Athens and the port of Piraeus. And most importantly, finding an apartment with a seaside view is easier than in other parts of Athens.

Ano Petralona, Athens

When visitors arrive in Athens, they start exploring Syntagma, Plaka, Thiseio, and Monastiraki. But they often overlook a central Athenian neighborhood that is known for its authentic (and non-touristic!) Greek tavernas and restaurants.

Ano Petralona is a neighborhood located next to Thiseio. It has an excellent public transportation system and it is much quieter than most Athenian neighborhoods that are located within walking distance from Syntagma square. It is also an affordable neighborhood to live in, considering its central location.

Exarcheia, Athens

Exarcheia is both one of the coolest and one of the most avoided neighborhoods of Athens. Situated close to Panepistimiou Street and the National Technical University of Athens, it is inhabited mostly by students and young Athenians. The area has also attracted many left-wing intellectuals and artists, since it has been associated with the Polytechnic Uprising of 1973 against the Greek Junta. Over the years, radical activists and anarchists started residing there.

Foreign visitors often avoid Exarcheia because of its reputation as the “Anarchist Neighborhood” of Athens. But the chances of a random person being bothered by the anarchists of Exarcheia are very rare. Visitors usually have nothing to be afraid of in Exarcheia but it is recommended to avoid the neighborhood on November 17th and December 6th, to avoid coming across a protest. You should also avoid parking your vehicles in this neighborhood.

Neapoli, Athens

Next to Exarcheia, there is the historical and picturesque neighborhood of Neapoli. Located on the northern slope of Mount Lycabettus, it offers a panoramic view of the city. It is perfect for those who want to live in the center but despise large crowds and noises. Neapoli is also known for its countless bookstores and publishing houses. Many writers and artists reside there.

Kolonaki, Athens

Close to Neapoli and Exarcheia, there is Kolonaki neighborhood. The name literally translates to “little column”. That is because of an old 2-meter high marble column that was located there.  

Kolonaki is one of the most upscale neighborhoods of central Athens. It is the fashion center of the Greek capital, with many fashion designers and architects choosing one its countless neoclassical buildings for their studios. Benaki Museum, the Byzantine Museum, and the Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art are all located there.

Kolonaki square is known for its fashionable cafes, restaurants, bars, and clubs. The neighborhood has two major metro stations (Evangelismos and Megaro Mousikis) and countless luxurious hotels for business travelers. Finally, Kolonaki is the home of many foreign embassies.

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Pangrati, Athens

Few blocks away from Syntagma square, right by Kalimarmaro stadium, you can find one of the coolest neighborhoods of Athens: Pangrati. The neighborhood has recently received great attention from young and creative business owners, which translates to higher rent prices.  

Pangrati is one of the most authentic Athenian neighborhoods, since it rarely receives attention from tourists. Athenians visit Pangrati for its historical cafes and parks, and often choose it for their main residence.

Neo & Paleo Psychiko, Athens

Psychiko – Neo and Paleo – is located just 5 km northeast of the city center. It is a wealthy residential area, chosen by doctors and lawyers. It was historically the home of Greek aristocrats and “old money” families. Psychiko has also countless prestigious private schools, such as Moraitis School, Arsakeio, and Athens College. Finally, just like Kolonaki, the neighborhood hosts many foreign embassies.

Koukaki, Athens

Koukaki was a snubbed neighborhood of Athens that gained great popularity the past ten years. Vogue has announced that Koukaki is now the “new cool neighborhood of Athens”.

Koukaki is a popular brunch destination for Athenians, but it is also known for its hip cocktail bars. Many galleries and museums are located there, including the Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum.

 But the main reason locals love Koukaki and are desperately trying to find an apartment there, is its proximity to the Acropolis Hill. Koukaki is not as crowded nor touristic as Plaka, but it is just few steps away from the temple of the Parthenon.

Did you know any of these neighborhoods? If yes, what is your favorite?

Greek Listening #16: Pronouncing Greek Consonants (Β, Γ, Δ, Ρ etc.) | Greek Comprehension

One of the most challenging things of language learning is the pronunciation of vowels and consonants. In Greek, there is a group of Greek consonants (β, γ, δ, χ, ρ, θ) that are often mispronounced. Here is what you should know.

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Read the script:

Γεια σας! Καλημέρα ή καλησπέρα – ανάλογα με την ώρα που παρακολουθείτε αυτό το βίντεο. Σήμερα, θα σας βοηθήσω να προφέρετε τα πιο δύσκολα σύμφωνα της ελληνικής αλφαβήτου. Τα πιο δύσκολα σύμφωνα είναι συνήθως το βήτα (β), το γάμα (γ), το δέλτα (δ), το θήτα (θ), το χι (χ), και το ρο (ρ).

Βήτα. Το ελληνικό γράμμα «βήτα» δεν παράγει τον ίδιο ήχο με το γράμμα “b”. Είναι πιο κοντά στο γράμμα “v”, όπως λέμε “verb”, “valley”, “Vicky”. Επομένως, ας προφέρουμε μαζί τις παρακάτω λέξεις: «βέρα», «βάρκα», «βουνό», «βαμβάκι».

Τώρα αναρωτιέστε πώς γράφονται οι λέξεις που έχουν τον ήχο “b”; Στα ελληνικά χρησιμοποιούμε δύο σύμφωνα για να αποτυπώσουμε αυτόν τον ήχο. Το «μ» και το «π» (μπ). «Μπουκέτο», «μπαμπάς», «μπούκλα», «μπεκρής», «μπύρα».

Γάμα. Πολλοί προφέρουν αυτό το σύμφωνο ομοίως με το γράμμα “g” στα αγγλικά. Λένε για παράδειγμα «γκάτα», αντί για «γάτα». Το γράμμα γάμα όμως είναι πιο κοντά στο αγγλικό γράμμα “y”. “Yes”, “yellow”, “young”, “you”. Ας δούμε ελληνικές λέξεις που αρχίζουν από γάμα. «Γη», «γέννα», «γονείς», «γάλα».

Το ελληνικό λεξιλόγιο δεν έχει πολλές λέξεις που έχουν τον ήχο «γκ» (g). Ο συγκεκριμένος ήχος αποτυπώνεται στο χαρτί με τον συνδυασμό δύο συμφώνων – γάμα και κάπα (γκ). «Γκάιντα», «γκολ», «κάγκελο».

Δέλτα. Το γράμμα «δέλτα» μοιάζει περισσότερο με το αγγλικό “th” (σε ορισμένες χρήσεις του), παρά με το “d”. Λέμε «Δανάη», όχι «Ντανάη». “The”, “They”. «Δέμα», «δάσος», «δράκος», «δύναμη», «δουλειά».

Για τον ήχο “d”, χρησιμοποιούμε τα σύμφωνα «ν» και «τ». «Ντουλάπι», «ντραμς», «νταντά».

Θήτα. Το γράμμα «θήτα» (θ) είναι παρόμοιο με το «δ», αλλά δεν παράγει ακριβώς τον ίδιο ήχο. Σκεφτείτε πάλι το αγγλικό “th”, όμως όχι στις λέξεις που είδαμε πιο πάνω (they, the), αλλά σε λέξεις όπως “thunder”, “thorough”, “thyroid”. Με αυτές τις λέξεις κατά νου, ας προφέρουμε όλοι μαζί τις παρακάτω λέξεις: «θυμός», «θύρα» (η πόρτα), «Θήρα» (Σαντορίνη), «θάλασσα», «θερμοκρασία», «θύμα».

Χι. Το γράμμα «χι» (χ) μοιάζει άλλοτε με το αγγλικό γράμμα “h” ή τον συνδυασμό “wh”. Σκεφτείτε λέξεις όπως “who”, “hero”, “hello”, “hi”, “help”. Κι ας προφέρουμε μαζί τις παρακάτω λέξεις: «χαρά», «χάδι», «χιόνι», «χυμός», «χέρι», «χουρμάς».

Ρο. Το γράμμα «ρο» (ρ) δεν δυσκολεύει τόσο τους αγγλόφωνους λαούς, όσο τους γαλλόφωνους και τους γερμανόφωνους. Οι τελευταίοι προφέρουν το «ρ» σαν «γ». Λένε «γουθούνι» αντί για «ρουθούνι». Για το συγκεκριμένο γράμμα, δεν αρκεί να αναφέρω ορισμένες αγγλικές λέξεις για να μιμηθείτε τον ήχο που βγάζει το πρώτο σύμφωνο. Χρειάζεται εξάσκηση. Πολύ εξάσκηση, μέχρι να αρχίσει η γλώσσα να κινείται σωστά. Σκεφτείτε πως έχει κολλήσει κάτι στον ουρανίσκο σας και προσπαθείτε ελαφρά να το σπρώξετε με την γλώσσα σας στα μπροστινά σας δόντια. Ελαφρά, ελαφρά. «Ρ». «Ρόμπα», «ράχη», «ροή», «ρήξη», «ρήμα», «ρουθούνι».

Αν δυσκολεύεστε να προφέρετε το συγκεκριμένο γράμμα, μην ανησυχείτε. Με επιμονή και υπομονή θα το καταφέρετε. Πολλοί Έλληνες έχουν το ίδιο πρόβλημα. Ο αρχαίος Έλληνας πολιτικός και ρήτορας Δημοσθένης δυσκολευόταν να προφέρει το «ρ», παρόλο που είναι ένα συνηθισμένο γράμμα στην ελληνική αλφάβητο. Ο Δημοσθένης έκανε πολλές ασκήσεις βάζοντας χαλίκια στο στόμα του για να σηκώσει την γλώσσα του. Δεν σας προτείνω να κάνετε το ίδιο.

Ελπίζω να βρήκατε χρήσιμο το βίντεο. Να έχετε μια όμορφη μέρα.

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Greek Drama Ep.3: Ancient Greek Stage Machinery (Mechane, Periaktos etc.) | Ancient Theatrical Tricks

Theatrical machinery – devices used for theatrical effects – are much older than you might think. They were used on stage since the beginning of the history of theater. Here are some of the tricks ancient Greeks used to help the audience get fully immersed into the play.

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Ancient Greek Stage Machinery:

  1. Mechane
  2. Periaktos
  3. Ekkyklema
  4. Theologeion
  5. Anapiesma (Trap)
  6. Vronteio & Keravnoskopeion
  7. Other Theatrical Tricks

Mechane/ Deus ex Machina

You may know this machine with its latin name “Deus ex Machina”. “Mechane” or “Aiorima” was a crane used in ancient Greek drama. Ancient Greek tragedies would often require the intervention of a god or goddess in times of crisis. The divine character would hang over the stage with the help of the mechane and provide a solution to the tragic character’s problem. Euripides, the most alternative tragedian, used the aiorima for a non-divine character – Medea. Since then, mechane has been used to land any type of character on stage, if the plot requires them to fly around.  

Periaktos

Periaktos -often seen in plural as periaktoi – was a wooden device that rapidly changed the theatrical scenes. It had the shape of a triangle with three different backgrounds painted on each side. The periaktos would rotate, changing the set of each scene. This device gained popularity during the Renaissance period and that is when theatrical designers, such as Nicola Sabbatini, were admired for their work.

Ekkyklema

Ancient tragedies often delt with the darkest side of the human psyche. The plot usually included violent crimes, including murder. But depicting such devious scenes was not allowed. That is why they would use a wheeled platform called ekkyklema to remove and reintroduce characters on stage. For example, a character would be rolled out of the scene before his murder and pushed back in while laying on the ground.  

Theologeion

Theologeion was a stage trick similar to mechane. It was a raised platform which was very well disguised as part of the scene. Actors who played divine characters would climb up these platforms and spoke the word of god from above.

Anapiesma (Trap)

Anapiesma was the ancient Greek version of the stage trap we know today. It was a concealed opening under the stage floor, where actors and props would be hidden before they appeared on stage. Such traps are used even today.

Vronteio & Keravnoskopeion

In ancient Greek drama, weather changes often symbolized the mood of the gods and goddesses. Storms would take place when a character committed hybris. Tragedians would employ two devices to mimic the sounds and lightnings of a stormy weather: vronteio and keravnoskopeion. The first was a metal box full of rocks that was shaken to produce loud noises. The second was a type of periaktos that had a side with a mirroring effect. It was used to reflect the sunlight in a way that resembled a lightning.

Other Theatrical Tricks

Ancient Greeks constructed their theaters amphitheatrically. The goal was that everyone could see and hear whatever happened on stage. The locations were chosen carefully, and Greek theaters still have incredible acoustic. The acoustic did not only occur naturally but also with the construction of obstruction behind the stage. This happened in order to enhance the physical phenomenon of reflection, which causes echoes.

If you enjoyed watching this video, feel free to like, share, and subscribe. Stay tuned because, next week, we will be covering the plot of our first tragedy.

Greek Drama Ep.4: Helen by Euripides

In 412 BC, the ancient Greek tragedian Euripides presented a trilogy of plays at the annual theatrical competition of Dionysia in Athens. One of those plays was Helen – inspired by the legend of Helen of Troy.

Here is How Greeks Pronounce These Greek Islands

Have you ever wondered whether native Greek speakers pronounce the names of Greek islands the same way as you do? This video will help you figure out the correct pronunciation.

Pronouncing Greek Islands’ Names:

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The Names of the Islands Written in Greek:

  • Κρήτη
  • Ζάκυνθος
  • Κορφού/ Κέρκυρα
  • Θήρα/ Σαντορίνη
  • Πάρος
  • Αντίπαρος
  • Κεφαλονιά// Κεφαλληνία
  • Ρόδος
  • Εύβοια
  • Σάμος
  • Σαμοθράκη
  • Κύθνος
  • Σπέτσες
  • Ύδρα
  • Αίγινα
  • Κίμωλος
  • Σκιάθος
  • Λέσβος
  • Χίος
  • Κάρπαθος

Greek Listening #15: Greek Verbs “Ξέρω” and “Γνωρίζω” (to know) | Greek Comprehension

The verb “to know” can be translated in two different ways in Greek: «γνωρίζω» and «ξέρω». Is there a difference between these two Greek verbs? When do we use «γνωρίζω» and when do we use «ξέρω»?

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Read the Script:

Γεια σας! Σήμερα θα αναφερθώ στα ρήματα «γνωρίζω» και «ξέρω», που είναι συνώνυμα. Σημαίνουν “to know”. Όμως δεν χρησιμοποιούνται πάντοτε κατά τον ίδιο τρόπο. Και καμιά φορά, δεν υπάρχει και κάποιος συγκεκριμένος λόγος που συμβαίνει αυτό. Θα σας φέρω ορισμένα παραδείγματα.

«Γνωρίζεις ποδήλατο;». Η συγκεκριμένη φράση έχει κάτι το αφύσικο. Αυτόματα προσωποποιούμε το ποδήλατο στο μυαλό μας. Σαν να είναι άνθρωπος.

Κάποιος που η μητρική του γλώσσα είναι τα ελληνικά, θα πει «ξέρεις ποδήλατο;». Το ίδιο και με τις ξένες γλώσσες και άλλες γνώσεις. «Ξέρεις αγγλικά;», «ξέρεις ελληνικά;».

Στις δημοσκοπήσεις – στα γκάλοπ που γίνονται στον δρόμο- δίνεται συνήθως και η επιλογή «δεν ξέρω/ δεν απαντώ». Για παράδειγμα, «ποια είναι η γνώμη σας για τον νόμο που ψηφίστηκε στη Βουλή;». «Δεν ξέρω».

Εδώ, δεν σημαίνει ότι το άτομο δεν ξέρει τι νόμο πέρασαν στη Βουλή. Το «δεν ξέρω» είναι γενικό – δείχνει ότι το άτομο δεν έχει καταλήξει ακόμα κάπου. «Δεν ξέρω» καμιά φορά σημαίνει «δεν είμαι σίγουρος/η». Αλλά το «δεν γνωρίζω» δείχνει έλλειψη γνώσης.

Η φράση “getting to know smb” δεν μεταφράζεται ως «ξέρω κάποιον», αλλά ως «γνωρίζω κάποιον». Το «γνωρίζω» δείχνει διάρκεια ταιριάζει καλύτερα σε αυτή την περίπτωση.

Εάν είστε χαρούμενοι που γνωρίσατε κάποιον, μπορείτε να χρησιμοποιήσετε την φράση «χάρηκα για την γνωριμία». Φράσεις όπως «χάρηκα που σας ξέρω» ή «χάρηκα που σας γνωρίζω» ακούγονται αφύσικες.

Τώρα, εάν κάποιος σας ρωτήσει εάν ξέρετε κάποιο άτομο, μπορείτε να απαντήσετε «ναι τον ξέρω» όταν α) γνωρίζετε την ύπαρξή του β) γνωρίζετε το άτομο προσωπικά – έχει υπάρξει δηλαδή γνωριμία.

Εάν σας ρωτήσει εάν γνωρίζετε κάποιο άτομο, μπορείτε να πείτε «ναι τον γνωρίζω» όταν έχει υπάρξει γνωριμία. Εάν απλώς έχετε ακούσει πράγματα για το συγκεκριμένο πρόσωπο ή το έχετε δει στον δρόμο, μπορείτε να πείτε «ναι, αλλά δεν τον/την γνωρίζω προσωπικά», «δεν έχουμε γνωριστεί, αλλά μου είναι γνώριμος/η».

Αυτά! Ελπίζω να βρήκατε χρήσιμο το βίντεο. Θα σας δω ξανά την Τετάρτη!

Greek Drama Ep.2: Introducing the Greek Tragedians (Euripides, Aeschylus, Sophocles)

Last time, we discussed the basics of ancient Greek theater. The history of drama, its peak years with the Dionysian competitions, and the formation of the three distinct types of drama, which are tragedy, comedy, and satyr. Today, Helinika is introducing the big- three ancient Greek tragedians: Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides. Before we get started, make sure you are subscribed to this YouTube channel and never miss a video in the future.

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Aeschylus: The Father of Tragedy | Greek Drama

Our understanding of the earliest Greek tragedies comes from Aeschylus. He is the tragedian who gave great power to the art of tragedy. He added more characters than usual in his plays and added more interactions between them. He basically introduced the theatrical dialogues and the concept of the protagonist and deuteragonist (second actor). That is why he is known as the “father of tragedy”.

Aeschylus was born in 525 BC in the city of Eleusis, just few kilometers away from Athens. He came from a noble family and, before his theatrical career, he worked at a vineyard. He was a respectable member of the Athenian community.

The tragedian had also fought at the battle of Marathon against the Persians in 490 BC, where he lost his brother. One of his most well-known works are “Persai” (The Persians), the only ancient Greek tragedy that was inspired by real events, rather than ancient Greek mythology.

Aeschylus died in 455 BC in Sicily. It is rumored that he died under comico-tragical circumstances. He was allegedly walking on a field, when a turtle fell on his head and killed him. According to the story, an eagle had caught the turtle and dropped it on the ground to break its shell; a technique that eagles often use to eat their pray.

Popular Works from Aeschylus:

There are many tragedies attributed to Aeschylus. Many of them have not been saved (e.g. Myrmidons, Nereids etc.). Here are some popular tragedies by the “father of tragedy”:

  • The Persians
  • Seven Against Thebes
  • The Suppliants
  • The Oresteia
  • Prometheus Bound

Sophocles: A Successful Tragedian | Greek Drama

Sophocles was one of the most successful playwrights in the Dionysian competitions. He won 24 out of the 30 theatrical competitions he participated in. He is attributed with adding a third actor on stage and reducing the importance of the chorus – the dancing choir – in the plot. The plays now started to resemble more the theatrical plays we watch today.

The Greek dramatist was born in 497 BC in Colonus, in the outskirts of Athens. He was born into wealth and his father was an armor manufacturer. He died at the age of 91 in 406 BC in Athens. There are several urban legends on how he died. Athenians would say that he choked on a grape or that he tried to recite a long sentence from one of his plays, without pausing to take a breath.

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Popular Works from Sophocles:

Sophocles wrote over 120 plays but few have been saved:

  • Ajax
  • Antigone
  • Women of Trachis
  • Oedipus Rex
  • Electra
  • Philoctetes
  • Oedipus at Colonus

Euripides: The Misunderstood Tragedian | Greek Drama

Euripides is now one of the greatest ancient Greek tragedians, but he needed time and hard work to be recognized as such. He was the youngest of the big-three and the one who was ridiculed the most at the start of his career. He was the target of the “father of comedy”, Aristophanes.

The tragedian is attributed with many theatrical innovations. He represented mythical heroes as ordinary people. The audience could identify with their suffering. He shocked his colleagues with how he represented women: as humans with real and complicated personalities. Women were as virtuous as men, if not more. “I would rather stand three times with a shield in battle than give birth once.” – his heroine Medea says.

Euripides was the “most tragic” of the poets. He cared for the misunderstood and the misfits more than he cared for the war heroes. He died in 406 BC at the age of 74 in the Greek kingdom of Macedonia. Some say he was struck by lightning. Others, that the cold winter in the northern part of Greece were to blame.

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Popular Works from Euripides:

Euripides wrote between 92 to 95 plays, from which eighteen survived. Some of his most popular plays are:

  • Medea
  • Electra
  • The Trojan Women
  • Helen
  • Iphigeneia in Tauris
  • Iphigeneia in Aulis
  • Bacchae
  • Orestes

Stay tuned till the next episode. We will be discovering the tricks ancient tragedians used to help the audience get immersed into the plot. Did they use any machines? If you enjoyed this video, feel free to comment and like.

Greek Books to Learn Greek | Modern Greek Literature

One of the best ways to learn Greek is to immerse yourself in the language. When it comes to learning the modern Greek language, avoid limiting yourself to classical Greek literature. Here is a list of the best Greek books of modern Greek literature that will inspire you to learn Greek or improve your Greek skills. You can order these books in Greek (reaching B1 level is essential) but you can find some of them translated in your native language.

Greek Literature and Modern Greek Authors

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Best Greek Books:

  • Το οριζόντιο ύψος και άλλες αφύσικες ιστορίες – Αργύρης Χιόνης
  • Το καπλάνι της βιτρίνας – Άλκη Ζέη
  • Η μωβ ομπρέλα – Άλκη Ζέη
  • Ένα παιδί μετράει τ’ άστρα – Μενέλαος Λουντέμης
  • H φόνισσα – Αλέξανδρος Παπαδιαμάντης
  • Το αμάρτημα της μητρός μου – Γιώργος Βιζυηνός
  • Πάπισσα Ιωάννα – Εμμανουήλ Ροΐδης

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Greek Listening #14: Narrating a Story and/or Debating in Greek | Greek Comprehension

You might be improving your Greek language skills but you find it difficult narrating stories – real or fake- and you avoid expressing your opinion. That might be because your vocabulary lacks some linking words and expressions that can help you make your points clear and jump from point to point. Here is how to organize your thoughts and express them in Greek.

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Read the Script:

Σήμερα θα μιλήσουμε για ιστορίες. Για το πώς αφηγούμαστε ιστορίες στα ελληνικά. Η λέξη «ιστορία» δεν σημαίνει απλώς “history”. Σημαίνει και “story”. Μια ιστορία μπορεί να είναι πραγματική ή φανταστική. Αποκύημα δηλαδή της φαντασίας μας.

Οι πιο γνωστές φανταστικές ιστορίες είναι τα παραμύθια (fairytales). Ιστορίες για πριγκίπισσες, δράκους, νεράιδες και μάγισσες. Τα παραμύθια αρχίζουν συνήθως με αυτή την φράση: «Μια φορά κι έναν καιρό…». Και κλείνουν με την φράση: «Και έζησαν αυτοί καλά κι εμείς καλύτερα…». Για παράδειγμα: «Μια φορά και ένα καιρό ήταν μια βασιλοπούλα που ήταν άσπρη σαν το χιόνι». Μπορείτε να καταλάβετε ότι αναφέρομαι στο παραμύθι της Χιονάτης με τους επτά νάνους.

Όταν αφηγείστε μια ιστορία που δεν είναι παραμύθι – πραγματική ή μη- τότε μπορείτε να αρχίσετε την αφήγησή σας με φράσεις και λέξεις όπως: «Όλα άρχισαν όταν…», «Η ιστορία μας πάει πίσω στο…», «Όλα συνέβησαν όταν…». Μπορείτε να μπείτε όμως κατευθείαν στο κυρίως θέμα. «Κατευθείαν στο ψητό», όπως λέμε. Ειδικά εάν αφηγείστε ένα νέο της επικαιρότητας.

Όταν αφηγείστε την πλοκή μιας ιστορίας και συνέβη κάτι που θα ξαφνιάσει τους ακροατές, μπορείτε να χρησιμοποιήσετε φράσεις και λέξεις όπως: «εκεί που δεν το περίμενε κανείς…», «ξαφνικά…», «από το πουθενά…». Για παράδειγμα: «Καθόμασταν στο παγκάκι και ακούστηκε μια φωνή από το πουθενά» ή «Οι αστυνομικοί εισέβαλαν στο διαμέρισμα του κακοποιού. Ξαφνικά, δέχτηκαν πυροβολισμούς».

Εάν τώρα πάλι συμφωνείτε ή διαφωνείτε με κάποιον και θέλετε να αριθμήσετε ορισμένα επιχειρήματα, μπορείτε να χρησιμοποιήσετε λέξεις και φράσεις όπως: «Πρώτον», «Δεύτερον», «Τρίτον» (ως εκεί), αλλά και «Αρχικά», «Επίσης», «Επιπροσθέτως», «Ακόμα», «Από την άλλη», «Η άποψή μου είναι ότι…». Ας φέρω ένα παράδειγμα: «Αρχικά να πω πως διαφωνώ με την άποψη του συνομιλητή μου. Από την άλλη όμως, μπορώ να καταλάβω πώς κατέληξε στο συγκεκριμένο επιχείρημα. Επιπροσθέτως, θα ήθελα να εκφέρω την δική μου άποψη. Η άποψη μου είναι λοιπόν ότι…».

Ελπίζω να βρήκατε χρήσιμες αυτές τις λέξεις και φράσεις. Σαν μια μικρή άσκηση, μπορείτε να αφηγηθείτε μια πολύ σύντομη ιστορία χρησιμοποιώντας oρισμένες από τις συνδετικές λέξεις. Εάν το επιθυμείτε, μπορείτε να γράψετε αυτή την μικρή ιστοριούλα στα σχόλια. Να περνάτε όμορφα, τα λέμε την Τετάρτη!