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Our intention when we arrived in Cyprus to live was to learn the language as soon as we could. But we hit three huge barriers from the start:
1) Greek is very hard to learn
2) Everyone we deal with speaks English
3) I’m too thick to learn Greek
I know very few words in Greek, in fact I know more Russian, Spanish, Italian and certainly more German and French than I will ever know in Greek. I just find that it’s not sinking in. Jo, my wife, is doing a lot better than me, but even then I doubt she could hold a conversation in Greek.
It’s not that you can easily pick up a phrase book in Greek and start jabbering away. Most Cypriots seem to speak a sort of country dialect of Greek and I’ve seen instances where Greeks and Cypriots talk to each other in English because each has a unique twist on the Greek language, so much so, English is sometimes the preferred language.
Of course in the years we have been here, there has been an influx of Russians, Serbians, Ukrainians, Nordic types, Filipinos and even the odd French person. So English is becoming the de facto language in many ways.
But even so, I do feel quite bad that Greek as a language has not rubbed off on me, but unless you practice it on a daily basis, it will never come naturally. It is, quite literally, all Greek to me.
Tom Kane (c) 2017
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