Transcend the “everything Greek (or Chinese) to me” barrier

Transcend the "everything Greek (or Chinese) to me" barrier

“To be taught a language is to have one other window by which to view the world.”

In response to the Web, it is a Chinese language proverb about language studying, however Dai Yifan, a 20-year-old trade scholar in Athens, opposes it.

Equally, 21-year-old Stamatis Karasavvidis stated that “the boundaries of my language are the boundaries of my world” just isn’t Greek, regardless that the Web claims so.

In response to Karasavvidis, 21, one of many unmistakable Greek sayings is: “It is utterly Chinese language to me.”

The Greek scholar, who has been finding out Chinese language for 2 years, stated that it is a frequent expression amongst Greeks once they do not perceive one thing.

Some say that the Web has made it too straightforward to know different cultures, whereas others argue that it has heightened cultural stereotypes and misunderstandings. Both approach, it’s all the time obscure a tradition completely different from your personal, particularly these as historic and sophisticated as China and Greece.

“We’re two international locations with a wealthy historical past and plenty of similarities,” Krasavides instructed the Shanghai Each day. “We should be taught extra about one another as a result of studying is one thing we’ve got in frequent – ‘Γηράσκω ἀεὶ διδασκόμενος, ‘Stay to develop outdated, be taught to be outdated’.”

Studying a language can undoubtedly be helpful. The Shanghai Each day spoke with Dai and Karsavidis in regards to the joys of language studying and the stereotypes they’ve labored to beat.

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Dai Yifan (fourth from proper) poses with language class academics and colleagues on the Nationwide and Kapodistrian College of Athens.

Q: Somewhat self-introduction, please. And when you’ve got a Greek/Chinese language title, what does it imply?

Dai: I’m a junior scholar at Shanghai Worldwide Research College (SISU), majoring in Greek. I got here to Athens in September 2021 on a one-year trade programme.

My Greek title is Ανθούλα (Anthoula), which implies “little flower”. I used to be given by my Greek instructor once I was in my first 12 months. I actually favored it.

Karasavidis: I’m 21 years outdated and an undergraduate scholar on the Worldwide Greek College (DIPAE). I come from Sidirokastro, a small city in Serres District within the Central Macedonia Province.

I’ve been finding out Chinese language for practically two years on the Confucius Institute in Thessaloniki. My Chinese language title is Ma Chao, it was given to me by my instructor and I instantly beloved it.

As a result of I used to be conversant in the historical past of the Three Kingdoms interval of China (220-280 AD), I all the time had a deep appreciation for one of many heroes of that period, Jin Ma Chao (the good-looking Ma Chao).

crossing a barrier

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Stamatis Karasavidis and colleagues wrote, composed, sang, and recorded a track in Chinese language.

Q: How did you determine to be taught languages? Had been your loved ones and mates stunned once they came upon about your alternative?

It’s virtually as if the Greek selected me and never the opposite approach round! SISU has all the time been my first alternative of college, and I put Greek as my first alternative of main earlier than taking the faculty entrance examination. I succeeded.

Many mates and family members had been just a little stunned, as a result of it’s not a well-liked possibility, actually, among the many least frequent. What amuses me is that they all the time ask me how one can precisely pronounce the Greek alphabets which all of us realized in math and physics lessons. They need to examine if their math or physics academics are proper.

Karasavedis: There are lots of causes.

I’ve all the time had a deep appreciation for Chinese language civilization from its historic historical past to the current, all about its artwork, music, philosophy, literature, financial and political system and thought.

I realized in regards to the Confucius Institute from a good friend in Romania who additionally teaches on the Confucius Institute there. I regarded for it immediately in Greece. Are you able to think about my pleasure once I came upon that there was one simply opened in Thessaloniki?

My family members weren’t so stunned as a result of everybody is aware of an awesome deal about my deep curiosity in China and its tradition, in addition to my love of languages ​​basically.

Nonetheless, they had been impressed with what I used to be going to attempt as a result of most individuals suppose Chinese language is tough.

We even have the phrase “It is all Chinese language to me” after we do not perceive one thing.

crossing a barrier

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Karasavides on the Seal Sculpture Lesson on the Confucius Institute

Q: What’s the largest change in impressions of Greece and China earlier than and after studying the language?

Dai: My impression of Greece was restricted to its historic historical past, resembling Greek mythology, structure, fantastic Mediterranean meals, and delightful islands.

Now you might have realized extra about trendy Greece and its individuals. How do they have a good time the vacations? What’s their life-style? Subsequently, studying Greek has been an ongoing course of for me to interrupt stereotypes and uncover the nation’s multi-layered appeal.

Earlier than I got here to Greece to check for a 12 months, I used to suppose that Greek persons are “lazy however excited” as a result of they do not wish to work. However then I found that many Greeks actually love their work and even think about it part of their lives.

Many homeowners of Greek eating places and retailers see all their prospects as their mates, so you may all the time discover a Greek chat in entrance of a retailer or restaurant, even when they only met.

I’ve additionally met fairly just a few Greeks who can converse a line or two in Chinese language, which stunned me. For these Greeks who’re actually concerned about Chinese language tradition, their depth of data and degree of ardour are equally exceptional.

Karasavidis: One of many issues I actually understood after I began studying the language was how completely different Chinese language dialects could be. The primary time I noticed the Shanghai dialect thesaurus, it was all misplaced to me, even when I knew the phrases in Mandarin.

crossing a barrier

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Dai in “Shipwreck Bay” in Zakynthos

Q: Is it a tough language to be taught? What’s the most difficult a part of studying a language?

Dai: Greek may be very tough, particularly grammar. Greek nouns use two numbers (singular and plural), three genders (masculine, female, and neuter), after which 4 instances (nominative, genitive, prepositional, accusative). Greek verbs can have a number of variations and plenty of particular verbs which have been handed down from historic Greek and will solely be memorized.

What’s actually enjoyable is chatting with my language classmates on the Nationwide and Kapodistrian College of Athens. I’ve colleagues from France, Germany, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and some others. We discuss our cultures in Greek, which serves as a bridge for us to be taught extra about one another’s tradition.

Karasavedis: Initially, I wish to point out that there is no such thing as a such factor as a “onerous language”.

All of it will depend on your native language and whether or not the language you’re studying is comparable or not.

With Greek changing into my native language, Chinese language generally is a very tough problem, each to realize a fundamental understanding of it and in addition to grasp it. It’s a utterly completely different language from Greek in its core, writing system, pronunciation, grammar, idioms and the whole lot.

For most individuals, tones could be very difficult when studying Chinese language. I discover the grammar half tougher, particularly the grammar, as a result of it is so completely different from all the opposite languages ​​I already know.

Humorous sufficient, within the early days of studying, grammar was what I thought-about the only a part of the language. As a substitute, I used to be the easy, naive particular person.

Q: There was an growing partnership between China and Greece lately. Did that have an effect on your non-public life? Is there extra information on Greece and China? Do your colleagues and mates pay extra consideration to the nation?

Dai: My Chinese language mates definitely pay extra consideration to the whole lot Greek, in addition to my Greek mates, largely about tradition, tourism, and commerce. For instance, many Chinese language mates know extra in regards to the lovely Greek cities and islands now than both Athens or Santorini.

Greek yogurt skincare merchandise have gotten more and more well-liked in China. And my Greek mates are very concerned about Chinese language e-commerce websites and avenue meals.

Karasavidis: Due to COVID-19, there was a rise in home information protection of China and Chinese language measures to fight it have change into a subject of debate amongst Greeks, with many approving and supporting China’s measures, whereas others are contemplating it. The measure is “too harsh”.

Sadly, as a result of affect of pretend information in Greece, there are lots of misconceptions amongst many Greeks about China. However then, happily, there are lots of completely different opinions about China right here. Some see it as a big nation with an extended, distant historical past, whereas others can’t see it appropriately, and plenty of nonetheless admire and assist its civilization and socialist system.

The overwhelming majority of Greek individuals, with all these completely different opinions, see the Chinese language individuals as mates!

E-commerce and the know-how sector are among the many issues that definitely put China on the minds of the Greeks. Ordering instantly from China on-line has change into extremely popular. Many individuals additionally see China as a rustic with very robust profession potential and the Chinese language language is a vital a part of their CV.

crossing a barrier

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Thessaloniki, the town the place Karasavides has been finding out Chinese language for practically two years

Q: One factor about Greece/China that you just actually need to do?

I actually need to promote Greek delicacies in China. It’s recent and wholesome with distinctive Mediterranean options, very appropriate for Chinese language consuming habits. It’s a pity that we wouldn’t have many Greek eating places but. I’m certain many individuals will fall in love with the genuine Greek meals!

Karasavedis: I have not visited China but, so I actually need to research and keep in China for a number of years.

China promotes stability and establishes worldwide relations based mostly on mutual respect and mutual progress in international locations which have suffered from neo-colonialism and imperialism.

The best way by which the Chinese language individuals all through the “century of humiliation” struggled and gained, and constructed socialism with Chinese language traits of their nation, for me, is a shining instance for the entire world.

So, again to the subject of the query, what’s the factor about China that I actually need to do? Research the courageous and vital path efficiently taken by the Chinese language Communists and attempt for a greater future!

#Transcend #Greek #Chinese language #barrier


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