Tuesday, April 5, 2011

More Greek

Last Wednesday I took a placement test to see if I could take the second level of Greek with a free program sponsored by the European Union. Since I didn't hear anything to the contrary, I showed up for the first class tonight. I don't know how many people were there last time, as I had sat near the front, but since I had Elisabeth with me this time, I sat at the back. Of the 13 people there, six were given the test to take, so obviously hadn't been there last week. Of the other seven of us, five received their tests back with a smile and a "good job", but the other two of us got independent little talks, encouraging us to please stay in the class if we wished, and ask all the questions we wanted, and we'd certainly soon be caught up.

I took the first level course in one of the villages, to accompany a friend (who then had to drop out), and my class met right after a second-level course at the time, which K, whom I knew from Tots, was taking. Last Thursday we chatted, and she'd taken the same test the evening before that I had, planning to re-take the second level. She said that the teacher, A, helped them and even "encouraged them to cheat", talking with each other and using the dictionary and so on, saying that he really wanted them to pass, and that he would catch them up. A was a nice enough teacher, but I think I understand now why I didn't learn quite as much in the first level class as I either should have or wanted to! I do think that this is going to go better with my new teacher.

Not that much happened at this first lesson...For one thing, half of the class was taking the test. Then the administrative stuff seemed to take forever, passing things out and signing them and correcting people who put their telephone numbers instead of their ID numbers and an explanation that as an American I don't HAVE an ID number, just a passport number, and no, I don't have a yellow slip OR a pink slip, etc. And it was a bit ridiculous just how many times the teacher had to tell people to stop talking so that she could be heard!!

45 minutes into the class, the first interesting thing happened: we were handed back our tests. I got 22 out of 30 points on the test, which surprised me, 4 out of 7 of those on the essay. We were going to go over the tests and talk about them, but because of the six new people taking the test at the same time, right there in the room, we couldn't, and we had to turn them back in, so so much for my plans to figure it out myself with a dictionary. Maybe we'll get to do that next time.

Then we were given a photocopied worksheet to review writing and spelling. The first section was just writing the letters of the alphabet, and the next was filling in vowels and consonant combinations, but we were given the letters to put it, so I didn't understand that point of that. The next section, however, was words with missing letters and we had to figure out (or remember or guess...) the correct letters. I was able to do about three-quarters of those, but the last section had me rather worried, as I didn't recognize one single one of the 16 words listed, which we apparently had to re-write on the line next to each word. The directions were all in Greek, so I stared at it for a bit, and finally just started copying the "words". It wasn't until word number 10 (I have the paper here in front of me) that I finally twigged: these were anagrams!! So no wonder I didn't know what "κλαρεκα" meant, as there's no such word: had to be (slightly) unscrambled to make "καρεκλα". (I can change the keyboard to Greek, but only know how to make accents on a German keyboard, so have to leave them out.) I was pleased to then be able to figure out about half of them, but when I got home and Marie was looking at it, she immediately spotted several more!

Anyway, doing that worksheet and then going over it took about 15 minutes (counting the teacher telling the people who were taking the test to stop talking...), and then we spent three minutes reviewing the vowel combinations. We didn't get books yet, as they haven't arrived. We're only going to take August off, in the hopes of catching up by the time classes start again next October--normally, they take off June through September. That's fine with me, because a four-month break seems rather absurd!

And that was it. Less than 20 minutes of anything approaching "lesson time" in the hour and a half, but again, I AM optimistic that it will be better. While I didn't necessarily need to review the alphabet, at least it was a short amount of time--not the six weeks my beginning class spent on it!

This afternoon I actually got to USE Greek, which is unfortunately a rare experience. I just heard yesterday that there is a shop in Larnaka that sells Birkenstocks, so I went looking for it. I've definitely been down that street before and definitely would have noticed it if it had been there before, so figured it was new. The lady in there either spoke very little English (as in less than I speak Greek, so VERY little) or wasn't confident about using and/or didn't understand my American accent. But I was able to point to the ones I like (Rio) and ask if they only had black and white (yes), ask if they have Bali (no), say that the children's sandals had much prettier colors (she agreed), and ask if the shop was new (yes.) They're getting more models in in another couple of weeks. So that was fun as far as the Greek goes. However, no success with the sandals, although it was kind of a relief that they didn't have the ones I wanted anyway, as they wanted €58 for the ones that are under €40 in Germany! I haven't checked if I can order them from Germany, but I'm sure I can, and that the shipping charges would be less than €18! In any case, I hopefully have a pair coming to me in a few weeks, as my friend Barbara can probably get me some (and discounted even from the normal price in Germany) and Jörn will bring them back with him. However, the duct tape on my fakentstocks is holding up just fine, so no hurry. :-)

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