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How Long Does It Take to Learn Greek? Here Are Our Thoughts

Learning a new language can be daunting. That is the case for modern Greek as well – and I know that one of the first questions that pops up in mind is “How difficult is it to learn Greek?”.

Even though Greek is an Indo-European language, and thus belongs to the same language family as English, French, German, and others, it is distinct from the majority. Greek is the only language of its branch, the “Hellenic” branch. That means that many similarities shared by other languages (such as Dutch and German) cannot be found between Greek and any other language. This can be both interesting and challenging to address.

If you are wondering how long does it take to learn Greek, then the answer is not that simple. Each language is different, and it can be easier or more difficult to approach. That is determined by a number of factors, including your prior language learning experience, motivation, the level of fluency you wish to achieve, and, of course, the time and effort you are willing to devote to it.

Let’s explore what can define the time commitment required to learn Greek. You should always keep in mind, though, that no guide can accurately predict the time each individual might need to learn a new language. Each one of us is unique, and we may require more or less time to learn something.

So, don’t worry; take this guide as an approximate suggestion, and don’t lose motivation if you have to do it in your own time!

Things to Consider When Wondering How Long Does It Take to Learn Greek

Many questions can be posed and answered so you can find out how much time is needed to learn Greek. Let’s review them one by one.

What Is Your Language Learning Background & Style?

Before we get into the specifics of the Greek language, we need to talk about something. Each person has a unique learning style, skills, and process. Each of us has a unique learning style, and what works for one person may not work for another. As a result, depending on your natural talent and/or familiarity with the language learning process, you may require more or less time than the average.

Many people will be able to learn Greek quickly the fundamentals in a short period of time. However, others might find it difficult to learn Greek for many different reasons, including time, resources, unfamiliarity with the Greek language learning process, or simply because they require more time than others. Keep in mind that each person is different, and you cannot force how long it takes to learn Greek.

What Is Your Native Language?

Let’s begin with a linguistic, unpopular opinion: there is no such thing as an “easy” or a “difficult” language. We cannot characterize a language through the narrow lens of our own language experience.

What can be true, though, is how the structure, phonetics, and grammar of your native language can all affect how quickly you can learn Greek. A Spanish native speaker who is already familiar with the sounds /θ/ and /r/, for example, or a Romanian native speaker who is already familiar with verb inflection, moods, and cases, may find it fairly easy to learn Greek. Due to the differences in grammatical structures between the languages, an English or Japanese native speaker may encounter more difficulties.

This is something that should be considered every time you begin learning a new language, especially if you wonder how long it will take to learn Greek. It is always important to be aware of how your native language may affect your learning timeline and how to adjust your learning strategies accordingly.

How Consistently Are You Willing to Study?

Without a doubt, staying in touch with the language is the most effective way to learn. Consistent study is the key to mastering Greek faster. By putting in half an hour or an hour per day will be much more beneficial than studying for 2-3 hours once or twice per week.

If you can persist and study each and every day, while also doing things such as watching movies or listening to podcasts and/or music in Greek, you will achieve the best results in the smallest amount of time.

Repetition and multiple study sessions are essential for achieving fluency faster. This means you should practice what you’ve learned at least once a week. Another effective strategy is to schedule multiple study sessions per day rather than trying to study everything all at once. That way, you will be constantly in touch with the Greek language.

Which Level of Fluency Are You Aiming to Achieve?

Before discussing how long it will take to learn Greek, the last and most important question is the level of fluency you hope to achieve. For example, if all you want to do is learn some basic conversational Greek, you’ll only need a couple of months. If, however, you are aiming to be proficient in Greek, you are going to have to study for much longer – actually, it would take years.

Don’t worry, though. Within two years, you may have reached the level required for everyday communication. Let’s find out how long it takes to learn Greek at any level.

How Long Does It Take to Learn Basic Greek?

Basic Greek is the level of fluency that can be obtained through language apps and self-study. It’s the amount of Greek you’ll need on a daily basis.

Learn the Greek Alphabet

Your first step in learning basic Greek is to master the Greek alphabet, both the letters and their pronunciation. Despite the fact that some letters are different, the Greek alphabet is very similar to the Latin alphabet. That means you’ll be able to learn the Greek alphabet in about a week or two.

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Learn How to Read and Write In Greek

The second step is to put this knowledge to use. You should not only know but also be able to use the alphabet. That means you should learn to read Greek words and also be able to write what you hear.

This can be a little tricky because modern Greek has a little… “quirk” in its writing. Similar to French and English, you don’t always pronounce what you see written.

Don’t worry – you will master it over time. But you should give yourself another couple of weeks to learn how to read and write Greek properly.

Study Up on Vocabulary and Basic Sentence Structure

English speakers may struggle to understand Greek sentence structure. It is not dissimilar to English, but it is far freer. Even though English has a strict S-V-O rule, Greek sentence terms can be moved around freely, and many of them can also be omitted.

For instance, in English, you would say: I eat an apple (I = subject, eat = verb, an apple = object).

In Greek, you can say any of the following:

  • Εγώ τρώω ένα μήλο. (SVO; εγώ = I = Subject, τρώω = eat = Verb, ένα μήλο = an apple = Object)
  • Εγώ ένα μήλο τρώω. (SOV)
  • Ένα μήλο εγώ τρώω. (OSV)
  • Ένα μήλο τρώω εγώ. (OVS)
  • Τρώω ένα μήλο εγώ. (VOS)
  • Τρώω εγώ ένα μήλο. (VSO)
  • Τρώω ένα μήλο. (VO; subject is omitted)

Well, you cannot say all of the above sentences in any context, but each and every one of them is grammatically correct. Also, do not be concerned about subject omission; you will always be able to infer the subject from the verb’s suffix.

Basic Greek is equivalent to A1 and A2 according to the CERF guide.

To learn basic Greek and achieve the A1-A2 level, you will need approximately 100-120 hours of study. Depending on how much you study per day, this could take anywhere from 4 months to a year.

When you reach that level, you will be able to:

  • Introduce yourself
  • Give and ask for directions
  • Make small talk
  • Exchange information about food, drinks, and other similar everyday topics.

If you want to stick to basic Greek, you can also check out our guide for the fastest way to learn Greek.

How Long Does It Take to Learn Conversational Greek?

Conversational Greek is considered to be an intermediate level of fluency. You could achieve that level by using intermediate language apps, such as Clozemaster, or by taking a class or one-on-one tutoring.

Practice Greek Grammar

After mastering basic everyday Greek vocabulary and expressions, what will really help you achieve fluency is learning Greek grammar. This is a trickier part since Greek grammar is much different than the English one. That makes Greek grammar practice a crucial part of your language-learning process.

The trickiest part is verb declension. You will have to learn about numbers, genders, moods, and tenses. It’s not as difficult as it sounds, but it will take a few months to master most verb conjugations. You can follow our guide on how to practice Greek conjugation to reach fluency faster.

Conversational Greek is equivalent to B1 and maybe B2 according to the CERF guide.

To learn conversational Greek and reach the B1-B2 level, you will need to study for 180-250 hours. This can take anywhere from 2 to 4 years, depending on how much time and effort you put in.

When you reach that level, you will be able to:

  • Read and understand small Greek texts, like short stories and news.
  • Comfortably hold a conversation with a native Greek about a wide range of topics, from everyday talks to sociopolitical issues.
  • Watch TV shows and movies with ease (well, maybe with the help of subtitles).
  • Try for the B2 certificate of Modern Greek Language Knowledge.

How Long Does It Take to Learn Advanced Greek?

If you’ve decided to pursue native-level Greek knowledge, a career in academia, or simply reading the masterpieces of Greek literature in their original versions, you’ll need to learn advanced Greek. However, this is a difficult task that could take many years. You can be confident that you will not require this level of knowledge in your daily life in Greece.

Advanced Greek will teach you abstract concepts, nuanced phrases, as well as idioms, and other vernacular phrases you will come across.

Immersive Study of Greek

The key to learning advanced Greek is trying to immerse yourself in it. You could always take a college-level course or take up tutoring until you reach the C1 or even C2 level. That is not enough, though. You should try and use Greek in your everyday life, invest in challenging textbooks that will cover every aspect of the Modern Greek language, and read novels.

Advanced Greek is equivalent to C1 and C2 according to the CERF guide.

More than 500 hours of study are required to learn advanced Greek and achieve the C1-C2 level. This may take longer than six years, but it is actually a lifelong pursuit.

When you reach that level, you will be able to:

  • Read and comprehend complex texts and literary works.
  • Comprehend and express your view on abstract or nuanced topics, such as science, politics, and philosophy.
  • Learn and use idioms and vernacular language.
  • Communicate as effectively as a native in private and public services.
  • Try for the C2 certificate or similar University studies.

How Long Does It Take to Learn Greek: Conclusion

As previously discussed, determining how long it takes to learn Greek is a difficult question. It is a process that can take months or years, depending on the level of fluency you want to achieve and the hours you are willing to put in.

If you are a beginner, you can look through our list of Greek resources to see if you can find something that suits you. And keep in mind, just like the Greek saying goes – whatever you leave behind, it leaves you as well. So, consistent practice and daily immersion in the language are the keys to success. Good luck!

Learn Greek faster with Clozemaster 🚀

Clozemaster has been designed to help you learn the language in context by filling in the gaps in authentic sentences. With features such as Grammar Challenges, Cloze-Listening, and Cloze-Reading, the app will let you emphasize all the competencies necessary to become fluent in Greek.

Take your Greek to the next level. Click here to start practicing with real Greek sentences!

1 thought on “How Long Does It Take to Learn Greek? Here Are Our Thoughts”

  1. I’d also add that I think the amount of time it takes to learn Greek will vary depending on the individual learner’s motivation, learning style, and access to resources. I agree with your assessment that it takes about 180-250 hours of study to reach the B1-B2 level of conversational Greek. I’ve been using Clozemaster for a few months now, and I’ve found it to be a great way to learn Greek vocabulary and grammar. Thanks!

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