Γεια!, Greek is my mother tongue!

Γεια!, Greek is my mother tongue!

More and more children all over the world are growing up speaking two or more languages. Being bilingual has incredible advantages for children, and speaking a language like Greek gives you a head start when learning other European languages.

rte podcast
Greek is one of the oldest languages in Europe and is spoken by over 15 million people today. The English alphabet we use everyday originally came from the Greek alphabet that is still used today in the Greek language. The longest ever written word is found indeed in the Greek language with 183 letters: Lopadotemachoselachogaleokranioleipsanodrimhypotrimmato-silphiokarabomelitokatakechymenokichlepikossyphophattoperi-steralektryonoptekephalliokigklopeleiolagoiosiraiobaphetragano-pterygon. Can you even read this?!
 
In this fun podcast we produced with RTE’ Junior you can hear Rosie, Eric and Alice, three siblings from Dublin. Their mum is Greek and their dad is Irish. Here they talk about visiting Greece in summertime, their favourite Greek food and beautiful songs and stories from the Greek culture

If you are a Greek speaker living abroad and want your child to keep up your language, here are some tips:

start as early as possible: speak Greek to your baby from birth, or as early as possible. 

make it part of your routines: use Greek regularly in your routines, from preparing breakfast, to walking to the park, to bed-time routines. 

make a plan: plan games and activities to do together in Greek, and check out our website for ideas and resources

identify resources: find books, games and other resources that can help you along the way. 

find someone to help you: it is important for children to see that there are other families who speak Greek in their environment. Find a Greek parent and toddler group in your area or arrange meetings with other families who speak Greek. For older children, try to find a language class so your child can experience the language and the culture also outside the home.

– Praise your child’s success: when your child says a new word, when they talk to you in Greek, or when they learn to read, don’t focus on the errors but praise their efforts and show them how much you enjoy speaking Greek to them. 

Want more? Check out our resources below!

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Being the Ireland’s largest organisation focusing on childhood bilingualism, we connect a large community of parents and educators. Mother Tongues Members have access to a hub of online and downloadable resources, professional training, and a space for a parent community to access educational videos, guides and courses.
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