The Greek Alphabet

Emma2My three-year-old son, Leo, loves to learn and seems to have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge! We conquered numbers a long time ago, closely followed by the Greek alphabet, and one of his favourite things at the moment is spelling! I think this came about by playing ‘I Spy’ in the car to keep him entertained. It took a while but he’s finally got the idea that you have to be able to see the thing you are ‘spying’ (no, Leo, we cannot see a snake… well, we’d better not be able to see one!) As a result of this he now asks how everything is spelt—and I mean EVERYTHING. I feel like I’m living in some kind of spelling competition. I’m not complaining, obviously: it’s a good thing he is so interested, but it can be tiring!

He always asks how things are spelt or what the letters are when he sees a sign or writing on anything. My usual response is, ‘I don’t know, you tell me what letters you can see’. When he tells me the letters I then tell him what it spells. This works well until we find a Greek sign!

Earlier in the year my parents were attending Greek lessons, and to help them learn the alphabet my Mum made a puzzle/matching game. It wasn’t actually intended for Leo, but once he spotted it he claimed it as his own!

He loves Nana’s ‘Greek Game’ and because of this he almost knows the whole alphabet now.

It’s the simplest thing ever—made from a cereal box, with the uppercase letters written on a grid and the lowercase on individual cards. You then place the cards on the matching letter on the grid.

Leo can now name a lot of the letters, only really getting confused with the ones that look like English letters (P, H, X, etc.). Recently he was spelling out a word on the side of an ice-cream van: Κύπρος (Cyprus). He said ‘K, U [then, seeing the π] oh no, I start again… kappa, upsilon, pi… hmm, is that P or R next…? O and S. What does that spell, Mummy? Is that in Greek?’

I think it won’t be too long before he overtakes me in the Greek language, especially now that he’s at school and speaking only Greek there most of the time.

How to learn Greek?

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Emma is an expat wife and mother who moved from England to Cyprus when her eldest son was just six months old. She started writing a blog A matter of choice to document her life in a new country.

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