#Greek Courses


Course Descriptions

Modern Greek Course and Credit Hours:

Students enrolled for Demotic Greek, GK 2710 (3 hours) or GK 5710 (4 hours). The Modern Greek course is an intensive course designed to promote contextual and experiential learning of Modern Greek in Greece for students who have studied at least one year of Ancient Greek. Furthermore, the study of Modern Greek in Greece will provide students with an additional linguistic and cultural context for their understanding of the ancient language.

Pedagogical Procedures:

Students are provided each day with a two-page document in Modern Greek, which they are encouraged to decipher through making connections and tracing continuities with Ancient Greek. The text both serves as a linguistic object, exposing students to Modern Greek vocabulary, grammar, and syntax, and as a springboard for broader cultural discussions that themselves construct the context for further experience based language acquisition. Furthermore, students are encouraged to perform Modern Greek Language inside and outside classroom on a daily basis.

Patras students will work individually or with small groups of American students as “language buddies,” to facilitate the language learning process under the supervision of the course instructor.

An important means of evaluating student performance will be a weekly response paper. These papers will ask students to respond in English to a specially chosen Modern Greek excerpt. Students are expected to offer their own understanding of the passage making use of broader cultural connections between Ancient and Modern Greek. The response papers will be designed for an increasing degree of active use of Modern Greek, culminating in the theatrical performance at the end of week 5.

COURSE UNITS (with University of Patras faculty)

  • Week 1 (Papachrysostomou) Food and Culture in Modern Greek
  • Week 2 (Athanasopoulou) Going Local: Travelling in Land and Sea
  • Week 3 (Karakantza) Learning through Literature
  • Week 4 (Christopoulos) Greek Language and Music
  • Week 5 (Athanasopoulou) Going Visual: Theatre and Cinema

Week 1

The aim of Week 1 is to familiarize students with basic Greek vocabulary about food and culture, whilst underlining the crucial parameter of language continuity, which links the past to the present. The first two sessions will focus on food-related language and terminology. The students will be provided with the opportunity of a twofold learning experience; theoretical, in-class analysis (e.g. study of culinary texts) and empirical, outside the class approach (by visiting a local winery). The third and fourth sessions will revolve around cultural and scientific language and terminology. Through the study of original and adapted texts the students will be prompted to detect the Greek roots of modern terminology used worldwide in medicine, physics and other sciences (e.g. astronomy). Students will be evaluated a) on the basis of their everyday performance (50% towards the overall evaluation). At the end of the week, students will be asked to respond in writing, in English, to one or more Greek texts. This written assessment will focus on the coherence and continuity of Greek language and its diachronic effect upon international terminology.

Week 2 aims at familiarizing students with Greek topography using Modern Greek texts thematically oriented around land and sea. This week will expose students to excerpts from Greek newspapers, tour guides, and other texts that emphasize the element of space and place in Greek culture. In particular we will use as framework digitized topo-centered projects so as to understand how for example interconnected places of an Iliadic or other narrative became once again interconnected in modern tour guides (e.g. Odysseus or Menelaus’ route back home in past sources and present info). Students are going to be evaluated on the basis of a) short in classroom oral group activities underlining analogies and b) weekly response paper (1500 words) which will ask students to respond in English to a specially chosen Modern Greek excerpt. Students are expected to offer their own understanding of the passage making use of broader linguistic and cultural connections between Ancient and Modern Greek.

Week 3    introduces the students to chosen excerpts from Modern Greek literature. These excerpts come from different Modern Greek literary genres ranging from poetry to prose to graphic novel and explore cultural, historical and linguistic continuities between Ancient and Modern Greece. In particular, for pedagogical reasons the course begins with two recently published graphic novels which constitute contemporary Modern Greek receptions of Ancient Greek myths and institutions (e.g. George Melissaropoulos (Meliss), Θεοί σε κρίση [Gods in Crisis], 2016) and Alecos Papadatos, Abraham Kawa and Annie Di Donna, Δημοκρατία [Democracy], 2015). Modern Greek texts combined with vivid illustrations are used to facilitate the linguistic acquisition process preparing them for their exposure to Modern Greek poetry with the inclusion in the syllabus of Cavafy’s poems- receptions of Homeric poetry (Η Κηδεία του Σαρπηδόνα [The Funeral of Sarpedon], Τρώες [Trojans], Ιθάκη [Ithaca]). The course will culminate with the reading of passages from Rea Galanaki’s [Οι φωτιές του Ιούδα, στάχτες του Οιδίποδα [Fires of Judas, Ashes of Oedipus], a prose work in partial dialogue with Oedipus’ tragic myth. The students will be evaluated on the basis of both their in classroom and outside the classroom participation and overall performance.

Week 4 continues the important theme of cultural and historical continuity using Modern Greek poetry and song. Moving towards a more dynamic model of linguistic acquisition students will be evaluated for their competence in Modern Greek with a combination of oral presentation και small projects. Oral presentations will concern the work of Modern Greek poets whose poems have been set to music using information available online and in the suggested bibliography. The projects will be assigned to 2 to 3 students and will be focused on commenting on Modern Greek poems, prose works or the historical background behind them (e.g. Cavafy and Alexandreia, Elytis and the Greek islands).

Week 5 introduces students to Modern Greek theatrical and cinematic receptions of Ancient Greece. Students will be provided with Modern Greek translations of ancient Greek tragedies and encouraged to trace linguistic similarities and differences. Students will also study Modern Greek theatrical renderings of classical texts (e.g. Homer’s Iliad by Livathinos, Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War by Kokkinou) so as to discuss how these new receptions in Modern Greek re-inform our understanding of the Ancient World. They will also contemporary Greek films that deal with the past (e.g. Cacoyannis’ Electra (1962), Sevasticoglou’s Electra (2014)). The session will culminate in students’ performance of a scene of an Ancient Greek play in Modern Greek. The students will be evaluated on the basis of a) a short response paper (1000 words) addressing a Modern Greek reception of a classical text and b) with the theatrical performance in Modern Greek of an excerpt from an Ancient Greek play.

The UPatras Side of the Program