An introduction to Greko Language through Literature
What is Greko?
Greko is an extremely endangered Greek variety which is spoken in the south of Italy. At present, less than 300 people speak the language. This is the first Greko online course ever – by learning with us, you have the chance to learn more about the Greko community through the most inner aspects of the Greko language. You’ll see that any word, or grammatical rule that has survived in Greko through centuries is there to tell you something about the community that use it, about the history of the land that has cradled it.
The course is an introduction to Greko language through poetry and songs.
This course was created with the support of
and the 3 week open access has been funded by
Engaged humanities in Europe: Capacity building for participatory research in linguistic-cultural heritage (ENGHUM). This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 692199.
Humanistyka Zaangażowana w Europie: budowanie potencjału dla partycypacyjnych badań dziedzictwa językowo-kulturowego. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 692199.
In addition, the author renounces her fee in favour of Danilo Brancati, Eleonora Petrulli and Freedom Pentimalli who voluntarily teach Greko to young people in the grekophone villages of Calabria.
Danilo was born and raised in the Ammendolea valley where, within the lively greko-speaking context, started learning the typical instruments of his town: tamburjneaccordeon, sulàvria (cane pipes) and ceramèdde (hornpipe).
It’s with his pappù (grandfather) that he first heard Greko for the first time. Being in close contact with the other Greko speaking people of his community, he learned to speak the magni glossa (beautiful language) himself, a language that for centuries had been spoken in the valley of the Calabrian Greeks. Living in accordance to the sorroundings, he grew up feeling a proud Greek of Calabria.
He is fond of music, which he has always nurtured, researched and protected, and that allowed him to go around the world while keeping him connected to his beloved greka land.
Since 2014, he is member of the renowned Greko speaking Association “Jalò Tu Vua”, one of the first and most important cultural associations protecting and teaching the Greko Calabrian language. In 2015 he was elected member of the association Management Board.
Today, he is determined to spread this precious cultural heritage, which still doesn’t surrender to today’s mass globalization, preserving in time the ancient knowledge of his people: the Greko people.
Freedom was born in Gioia Tauro (RC) in 1988 and completed classical studies in high school. In 2007 he moved to Rome where he studied Modern Languages at the Università La Sapienza and he graduated in 2014: his dissertations (undergraduate and masters) dealt with literary translation from Spanish into Italian. Together with Spanish, he also studied Modern Greek and Chinese. During his academic career he won several scholarships in Greece, among which the THIESPA in Athens (2012) and IMXA in Thessaloniki (2013). In 2012 he attended the seminar on literary translation in Paros (Greece), organised by the Modern Greek department of Università La Sapienza of Rome.
After graduating, thanks to the Leonardo da Vinci programme, he worked as an intern for four months in Spain, collaborating with the Italian department of the Facultade de Filoloxía da Coruña in Galicia.
In 2015 he attended a training course in Rescue, Protection and Valorisation of Language and Culture of Speakers of Calabrian Greek: Language, History and Traditions, organised by the Università per Stranieri Dante Alighieri of Reggio Calabria and by Paleaghenea Association of Roghudi Nuovo (RC).
From September 2015 to June 2017 he had a scholarship at the Petrou Chari Institute in Athens, to participate in a professional training programme for new translators of Modern Greek literature.
Eleonora was born in Bologna, but her parents both come from Chora and are extremely attached to their origins. She grew up feeling split between Bologna and Bova, because, as she often reminds those who tell her she is not properly Calabrian, “to ema ene to ema – blood is blood.” At home, her parents speak the dialect, her father plays the accordion and her mother dances tarantella, transmitting her the pride for her roots, and the ever-present melancholy and desire to return to the town of her origins. She cultivated both her love for foreign languages and gender studies, and the fascination with the sounds of tarantella, the accordion, the tambourine and songs a usu anticu (old-style).
Her maternal grandmother told her stories of her infancy, the story of her life, the daily life of a time not far removed, and even the muttette of her suitors, which she surprisingly still remembers by heart. From her paternal grandmother and aunt she heard Greko language being spoken and sung for the first time, and she was taken aback: she decided to learn how to speak Greko.
During high school she went to study in the United States on a scholarship. Once back in Italy, she graduated in physiotherapy at the University of Ferrara, and she completed her studies in Antwerp, Belgium. Even though her approach to international studies is the common desire of the young to run away and look for better opportunities, she had always felt the strong call of Italy, and an even stronger call of Calabria. She then went back to Italy, firm in her idea to stay and do something concrete for her country, and especially for the only place she really and viscerally felt home: Bova.
She took lessons of accordion and singing, she perfected her skills in tarantella dances and learnt Greko at the “To Ddomadi Greko” summer school, with the intention to revitalise the language she feels her own the most. Going far away means taking a run-up and then going back even closer to her origins, where everything began. To Greko.
- Lectures 96
- Quizzes 2
- Duration 50 hours
- Skill level All levels
- Language English
- Students 1001
- Certificate Yes
- Assessments Yes
In this week you will learn about the history of one of the most ancient languages and cultures of Italy. You will also be introduced to the sounds of the Greko language and some of its basic grammatical features including the personal pronouns, present tense and some basic verbs. You will also cover other useful information such as the days of the week.
In this week you will begin to delve more into the history of the Greko people and get a real feel for the culture. You will do this by looking at cultural artefacts such as poems, songs and the linguistic history. You will use these various forms to widen your vocabulary even further, and also learning more about the history of the language. This week will also touch more on verb conjugation and definite & indefinite articles.
In Week 3 you will get to know more about the people who speak Greko, and also find out why it is dying out. Sticking to this theme of people, this week introduces family and arranging a meeting. Further lessons this week include telling the time, months, numbers, a further look at tenses and exploring cases.
- Welcome to Week 3
- ‘To speak’ and talking about the future
- The Greko people and introduction to cases
- The state of the Greko language and plurals (part I)
- History of Greko (part I) and numbers
- Plurals (part II) and ‘to write’
- Telling the time
- Greko history (part II) and the months of the year
- Planning a meeting
- Greko history (part III) and nouns
In this week you will learn to develop your knowledge of Greko grammatical structures and develop your vocab through audio and texts. You will learn about the fascinating connections between this and other cultures, such as the connection between Byzantine Calabria and Arabian Sicily. As such you will see the Arabic words used in Greko, and the cultural insights that these bring. Other topics include finalising knowledge of rules on cases and further exploration of songs.
- The Accusative case and Greko history (part IV)
- ‘to love’ and articles/cases
- The accusative plural
- The accusative plural of the definite article
- Accusative (cont.)
- Arabic words in Greko and the Genitive case (part I)
- The Genitive case (part II)
- Broom fibers and the Genitive plural (part I)
- Genitive plural (part II) and holiday vocab
- Greko song (about sewing and weaving) and preposition asce
In Week 5 you will learn about how to describe the weather, seasons as well as exploring more of the culture of Greko. You will look in particular at the importance of carving wood and other materials along with other cultural aspects such as the various traditions, processions and proverbs. Further to this the similarities and differences with Modern Greek will be covered. These cultural lessons will also form the basis of learning more of the grammatical knowledge including past tense and aorist stems.
This week you will delve into the history of the Greko community and its language. In particular you will learn about colours and traditional Greko costumes, even learning how to give some fashion advice. From the language perspective you will once again use songs to explore the dative case, highlighting the links between culture and language. Further to this you will learn demonstratives ‘this and that’ as well as subject and object pronouns.
- History of the Greko people & language and the dative case
- The Genitive and Dative (cont.)
- History and Dative
- Demonstrative adjectives
- Traditional Greko costumes
- Demonstrative pronouns
- Adjectives and colours
- Adjectives (cont.)
- Subject and Object pronouns
- A Greko song (part II)
- Possessive adjectives
In this week you will learn about the paradoxically rich and poor vocabulary of Greko. Lessons this week include beginning to plan your day and also discover the many amazing words that can be used to describe goats. Most importantly, this week is where you start to construct texts of your own using everything you’ve learnt so far. From the culture perspective you will learn more poems and songs that will help with your grammar and vocabulary.
Explore cheese, goat meat and more cheese this week as Week 8 introduces you to the wonderful world of Greko food. Learn about starters, mains, desserts, fruit and for the particularly adventurous, even learn some recipes. Also learn about the role of Easter and the century-old Byzantine traditions of Calabria. You will also learn about the comparatives and superlatives, as well as ‘more’ and ‘less’. Vital lessons when learning about food!
Week 9 will introduce you to Greko music and the grammatical structures it contains. You will learn about clitics and clitic doubling through song. You will discover more about Greko music and instruments and will learn to talk about your favourite music in Greko. Further lessons include the imperfect tense and ‘if’ clauses.
- Greko music (part I)
- Greko music (part II) and clitics
- Traditional Greko instruments + doubling
- Greko music (part III) and clitics with imperatives
- Talking about your favourite music
- The imperative (cont.)
- The imperfect (part I)
- The imperfect (part II)
- ‘if-clauses’ in the past
- The pluperfect
In this week you will be assessed on your ability to write, speak, read and understand Greko