A resolution to improve my Greek….again

Every few years I resolve to go and see my friends in Greece again, and of course I need to be able to speak to them and their friends. Each year I struggle to learn a few more words and remember a bit more grammar; I’ve seen most of the books and tried most of the systems, but it takes real effort to get any progress. My brain isn’t the correct shape for language training! Perhaps by making it more public, it will become more of a commitment. I doubt it, but at least I’ll leave some things here that may help other make some progress. I’ve put some of the word lists here in a format usable by Anki, the latest application that I’m using to learn words with. It’s free for most formats, but is worth a donation. This year I’m going o start with the kypros.org lessons and then go back to the Hellenic American Union scripts which are more of a challenge. They are podcasts and are easy to use. Kypros-Net should do the same with their audio.

I could recommend the byki flashcard application; it has done me quite well over the last couple of years. I have created lists of flash cards for languages, A level chemistry and other smaller tasks. It is relatively easy to build up a set of cards, with a built in on-screen Greek keyboard. You are able to add graphics and sound. The main annoyance has been the very simplistic repetition algorithm and the proprietary file format. Having recently used the scoring system of the Anki flashcard system, where it scores more difficult words for repetition at varying intervals, I have decided to move my word lists across. It’s free and open source apart from the iPhone version which is considered a donation to the project. I’ve made some lists for the Hellenic podcasts as well, but they are my translations, so bear that in mind if you’d like to download them. I’m currently building up a list for the lessons 11-20. The list from 1-10 has around 200 words, which seems a manageable size. Anki is about to bring out a beta for version 2 which will be able to share lists more easily; I shall upload them there, but if you need them earlier, just let me know. WordPress doesn’t allow txt file upload, otherwise I’d upload them here.

If you create, as I do, within Excel on a Mac, it’s fairly painless to get into the correct UTF-8 format output. This is how I do it, which works, but I’m open to easier suggestions. The aim is to end up with a plain UTF-8 format text file with two columns of words, separated with a tab. You could use a comma as separator, but this would preclude it from being used within a phrase. My main aim is to use Anki for text tests, so I haven’t worried about audio and sound files here( although it will handle them).

My lists exist within Excel, where I can arrange them more easily. I can then copy and paste from here into the built in Macintosh text editor TextEdit. You’ll find it in the Applications folder if not visible in the applications bar. You need to create a new file and then set it to be Plain text format before the Paste, from the Format menu, if it isn’t already (otherwise the text is pasted into a table). You may then save this type of file as Unicode (UTF-8) format. Put the entries in twice if you want to test both English to Greek and Greek to English.

Anki comes with some useful lists for the kypros Greek site, but I have created a few other lists that you can download and these are shown below. I have started the HAU podcasts a couple of times but they become intermediate level quite quickly and have no translations, so I am reverting back to the audio lessons from kypros.org for my basic refresh training this year. I’ll go back to HAU afterwards. I’ve had a go at most series, over the years, so we shall see how far we get this year. Another resolution to break! Real player was a bit awkward for me, so I downloaded and moved them into iTunes. I also have a set of 400 food words.

I have also put the HAU pdf files into plain text without the pictures etc, for more simple printing and highlighting. They’re below also, as far as I’ve got. Might be useful for someone. I found them more compact this way when I was reading them, but that may change if I take them onto my iPad.

If you want to add to or correct the lists, you could tweet me or ask for an email to send them to. I shall be enthusiastic for a month or two, I’m sure. I’ll add them to the lists and re-publish. WHen Anki version 2 is out of beta, I’ll stick them up as shared lists, if I haven’t given up learning by then.

I made a small list to help my wife learn Greek letters, greekletters WordPress doesn’t allow uploading of text files, so this one is an Excel document.

Anki comes with the word lists for the first two Kypros levels; this spreadsheet is for the remainder of the levels,kypros vocab

The HAU podcasts, without images, are here; I’d be interested to know if anyone has translated them.



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