One of the most pervasive influences of ancient Greece on Western civilization shows through in our language. Hence, it is not surprising that perhaps the most frequently used argument for learning Greek is the positive impact it will have on your English language skills. A number of commonly used English terms are derived from Greek, including, for example: architect, athlete, Catholic, Christ, dyslexia, fancy, holistic, pedagogy, psychiatry, and sophomore. In addition, most technical vocabularies – from philosophy to biology to theology – are based largely or wholly on Greek. When you leave the doctor’s office thinking, “Was he speaking Greek??” he actually was!
Students from the fields of hard science, medicine, philosophy, theology, history, political science, literature, and theater, in addition to the more obvious fields of ancient history/classics and archeology, will find that understanding Greek is highly recommended, if not required. Clearly, much of the terminology used in these fields is derived from ancient Greek, but many of the concepts are as well. The Greeks were the first practitioners of democracy, and wrote frequently on the topics of fairness, morality, propriety, public good, vice and virtue – concepts and viewpoints which today inform much of the society we take for granted. The ability to read these writings in the original Greek is an invaluable skill that give you a solid foundation to pursue a well-rounded education and understand more clearly the concepts discussed in your political science, theology, philosophy, history, literature and other classes.
The Greek spoken in modern-day Greece is not the same as that used by Thucydides and Aristotle. However, the alphabet is the same and you will find that understanding how Greek handles the rules of grammar is similar for both. Furthermore, as a living language, knowing Greek remains a useful skill in the fields of business, economics, international trade and politics, tourism, and for your own personal use. As a student who traveled to and lived in Greece, your language skills will be an invaluable asset to companies looking to expand growth there. Furthermore, since Greece is a member of European Union, students interested in that political body may find that their Greek skills opens up opportunities for work and research there.