Newest Review: ... and phrases which are repeated in both Greek and English a few times. The CD aims to teach you around 200 essential words and phrases by... more
Not entirely effortless and enjoyable, but it is effective.
Earworms Rapid Greek: Volume 1
Member Name: HonestBob
Earworms Rapid Greek: Volume 1
Advantages: Listen and learn anytime and anywhere.
Disadvantages: The music is unlikely to be to your taste
This Greek language tutorial CD sets out to teach over 200 essential Greek words by rhythmically repeating words and brief sentences to a background of gentle guitar music with gentle drum accompaniment.
The CD begins by telling us 'close your eyes and relax. In four hours we'll be relaxing next to the Mediterranean'... The CD then goes on to teach essential phrases by anchoring them to memory with specially composed melodies.
The CD is presented in a DVD sized plastic box with a headphone wearing sillhouette pictured on the front, apparently relaxing whilst enjoying this 'revolutionary new learning technique" which the cover claims is "effortless and enjoyable"
200+ essential words and phrases are taught by listening to a language lesson delivered by a female Greek speaker to an English male learner. She says a phrase and he repeates it back. The phrase may be broken down into individual words or may be repeated several times to aid the learner in pronunciation and understanding.
The CD is broken into 10 sections:
'I would like....' Introduces us to please, thank you and the basics of ordering tea, coffee, food and beer (always essential!)
'To order...' introduces more beverages (wine - red and white!) and food (bread, olives, salad) and explains how to ask for items in the quantities sold in Greece (half a kilo of wine!).
'Have you got...?' teaches how to ask more questions relating to eating (have you got a table for two? Vegetarian food? the bill?)as well as the likely responses ("yes of course", "no sorry")
'To the Airport...' teaches phrases relating to travel, taxis and airports.
'Numbers and Days...' is self-explanatory and just involves repeating numbers or days over and over. This section does provide some useful tips on remembering the words as it describes a viualisation technique (remember theo for 'two' by picturing yourself bowing down to a large number two - imagine what you will for that one!!)
'Is there...?' includes how to ask if there are various services 'near here' (Is there a shoe shop near here?)
'Directions...' teaches 'Hello' and how to ask for directions (e.g. to the beach)
'Where, What time...?' includes phrases for purchasing bus tickets, how to ask the time and understand the response.
'Problems, problems...' With the TV, the Fridge.... how to report and solve problems during your stay.
'Time to go...' is a short recap of the CD content with a few more common phrases (see you later).
The Greek teacher regularly 'tests' the learner and this adds further repetition of the words and phrases taught in each section.
The CD is supported by a pamphlet which sets out each phrase used on the CD. The phrases are spelt out phonetically, particularly useful as the Greek alphabet is very different to the English one. The phonetical spelling is particularly useful as Greek is spoken quite rapidly on the CD and it is sometimes difficult to make out whether a p or b has been sounded or a t or d. The pamphlet can be used to check your pronunciation.
This method of teaching language aims to anchor phrases into long-term memory by using repetition and rhythm. The repetition certainly works, but after a while the music drove me crackers. It is noticeable throughout the CD, not like background or elevator music. Sometimes the music was so loud it totally distracted me from what was being said. The music itself is difficult to describe, there are some tracks with violin as the primary instrument and these sound like they want to be traditional Irish music, or in one particularly awful case a dreadful impression of American country. I found these tracks alot more irritating than those with just light acoustic guitar playing. The words are not repeated in rhythm with the music, the music is simply there in place of silence... very bizarre!
Greek is a difficult language to learn. The alphabet differs to that used in English writing, and the sentence structure is different too. For these reasons I have found this CD very useful. I haven't learnt all 200+ phrases in the couple of months that I've been using the CD, but I'm getting there. I listen to the CD in my car while travelling to and from work and in the kitchen whilst preparing food and although I cannot hold a conversation in Greek, I will be able to order food, use public transport and speak a little social Greek in time for my Cypriot holiday next summer. The four hours of learning implied by the CD introduction is a little ambitous in terms of the time required to learn all the phrases!
Overall, this is a good way to learn some 'get by' Greek. But be prepared for the background music to drive you nuts.
Summary: A good way to learn a few key phrases in a difficult language
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