Greek, Latin, and Hebrew are all prominent and classical languages. To understand classic languages better, it’s important to study these three. All these languages greatly contribute and very significant in our modern world.
Is it better to speak Greek, Latin or Hebrew? Greek is better as it still exists and used by many in communication, especially in other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea.
Greek was greatly influenced most of the western languages like English, French, Italian, and Spanish. If you are an English speaker, Italian or Spanish it is easier for you to learn Greek.
Whereas the Latin and Hebrew are used in different forms, both are very useful and significant today in some other ways.
Latin vs. Hebrew
Latin is contemplated no longer existing as no one speaks Latin as their first language, but still used in daily life for some people. In reality, it is used in School, taxonomy, in medicine and very significantly to Christianity for many centuries, whereas; Hebrew is the only dead language that has been born.
Since Jews were outcast Hebrew began to banish as a spoken language, but nowadays, Hebrew has been the only dead language that had been revived into a living language which is used in Israel as their official language. It was also conserved as a written language for prayers and holy texts
What are the Importance of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew in the Modern World?
Since Latin, Greek and Hebrew are classics and the oldest languages in the Universe still they have the importance in today’s living. Our modern world needs these three languages for many reasons.
In Christian Faith
In order to understand the Bible in its original written language, one must be educated to learn Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic and Koine Greek.
As we all know the Bible is the word of God and it’s very significant to the Christian faith. In fact, the original writing of the passage and the texts were generally written in Biblical Hebrew so called Classical Hebrew.
In the 2nd or 3rd century BC Greek is the very first translation of the Hebrew Bible known as the Septuagint (LXX). The first part of the Hebrew Bible the Torah was the first five books of the Old Testament that was interpreted into Koine Greek. Since then, it has become the written text of the Old Testament and the foundation of the Biblical canon in the Catholic Church.
Used for learning in the school
Latin is very useful nowadays, especially in the School. It is used to study society in old times, how the languages work and used to study the Romance languages.
Currently, Latin is useful in taxonomy, biology, and others. Scientific names are written in Latin, groups, species of living things and in medicine as well.
English expressions obtained from Ancient Greek
English expressions come from Ancient Greek. Greek mythology has been very dominant in Western culture, specifically its art and literature. Some usual expressions in English obtained from these ancient myths and beliefs.
Example derived from a Greek myth
To have an ‘Achilles heel’ means to have a weakness or vulnerable point. Derived from a Greek hero’s myth named Achilles. He was only vulnerable at his heel.
Expression: ‘Achilles heel’
English: I’m trying to eat more healthily, but chocolate is my Achilles’ heel.
The idiom “ Crocodiles tears” was derived from Greek antiquity and the phrase is an ancient belief that means “crocodiles weep while eating their victims.”
Example from a Greek antiquity
Idiom: “Crocodile tears”
English: The president shed crocodile tears while allowing the war to go on.
Latin was very significant to Christianity for many centuries
Latin is used during religious activities. The mass ceremony in the extraordinary form is performed in Latin especially in Rome. It is also the official language in the Vatican where the Pope resides.
The most important language in Europe and in the middle Ages
Latin is the main language used in teaching in many Universities and European Schools. About 1900 several universities acquired dissertations written in Latin.
Latin became less important during the Reformation, but it was frequently used by authors of scientific books and encyclopedias.
The Greek Phoenician Script was the foundation of many writing systems
The Greek Alphabet which is the Phoenician script was the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.
Greek and Latin influenced other languages
Greek words have been entirely borrowed into other languages, including English: mathematics, physics, astronomy, democracy, philosophy, athletics, theatre, rhetoric, baptism, evangelist, and so forth.
Almost western languages, namely English, French, Spanish and Italian are greatly influenced by Greek and Latin languages.
What are the Differences between Greek, Hebrew and Latin
- Latin appeared in script in 75 BC, next the Hebrew script in 1000 BC and the Greek script was in 1500 BC.
- The main difference between Greek and Latin can be considered on their language usage.
Greek is still a native language to many people; therefore it is a living language. Latin is considered an extinct language because this was no longer used as a first language. While Hebrew is considered a dead language too, but resurrect into a Modern Hebrew.
- Greek and Latin have in common; they are part of an Indo-European language family. Whereas, Hebrew is an ancient Semitic language of the Afro-asiatic language family.
- Most of the western languages have greater influenced by Greek and Latin including English, French, Spanish and Italian.
- Hebrew had not been a spoken language since the fall of Jerusalem in 587 B.C.E. but at the end of the 19th century, European Jews commenced to restore the language.
- Modern Hebrew is the official language of the State of Israel to which it has been said the success of reviving the language and has been the spoken language of Israelite today.
- Latin was considered a dead language, was preserved for writing purposes by all Jewish societies for a vast range of uses—not only liturgy, but also in philosophy, science and medicine, poetry, commerce, daily correspondence and contracts.
- Greek is still a native language to many thus; it is observed a living language. While Latin is considered an extinct language because there are no native speakers of Latin, and not used as a first language only performed for a mass ceremony in Rome.
How the Greek and Modern Hebrew Differ?
Since Greek and Modern Hebrew are considered living languages today, they have language differences and how they were used in today’s modern world.
If you are interested in learning these languages, there are varieties of differences between these two.
Greek Grammar Structure
An affirmative sentence in Greek follows the SVO pattern (Subject + Verb + Object), similar in English. But, the SVO structure is considerably more relaxed in Greek than in English Greek was more nourished with morphology than English. Accordingly, it is mostly quite clear which noun designate the subject and the object, because of their morphological endings.
Example for Greek SOV pattern: “She him loves.”
English SVO pattern: “She loves him.”
Modern Hebrew Grammar Structure
Like English, Modern Hebrew is Subject-Verb-Object, thus the grammar is halfway analytic, indicating forms as dative, ablative, and accusative using prepositional particles rather than morphological cases.
Example Hebrew SOV pattern: “Loves she him.”
English SVO pattern: “She loves him.”
Modern Hebrew grammar also combined of morphemes in a way which is often difficult to read. Conjugation also plays a role in the arrangement of verbs and nouns and the declination of prepositions with pronominal suffixes.
Conflicts the Biblical View
In classical education there’s a criticism into Christian education ideas that conflicts the Biblical view tries to assimilate both Biblical/Hebraic and Greek thought.
Greek Genders in Noun
Greek has three Noun Genders; masculine, feminine, and neuter. However, all nouns have a precise gender, but contrary to English, even none things, including hard objects and abstract ideas can be masculine, feminine, or neuter. There is no way to distinguish the gender from the semantics of the noun a great factor that confuses a lot to learners of Greek.
Hebrew Genders in Noun
In Hebrew some nouns shown to be masculine but are actually feminine, even in some familiar nouns such as mother and earth. These nouns were distinguished feminine nonetheless, do not represent feminine endings.
Hebrew Alphabet/Writing System
The Hebrew alphabet defined by scholars as the Jewish script, square script, and block script has 22 letters five of these letters shifted when they are at the end of a word.
Its writing system is called “abjad” a kind of script used in the writing of other Jewish languages, most especially Yiddish, Judaea-Spanish, Judeo-Arabic, and Judeo-Persian. An “äbjad” is a type of writing system where every symbol represents for consonant maintaining the suitable vowel. A writing script used in the writing of the Hebrew language.
Greek Alphabet/Writing System
The Greek Writing system has 24 Alphabet letters and the first alphabetic script to have different letters for vowels and consonants too. Aside from its use in writing the Greek language, the Greek alphabet today is useful as a means of technical representation and labels in several domains of mathematics, science and other fields.
Greek numerals are a system of constituting numbers using letters of the Greek alphabet., also known by the names Mile Sian numerals, Alexandrian numerals, or alphabetic numerals.
The most untimely alphabets-related system of numerals used with the Greek letters was applied much like Roman numerals called “acrophonic Attic numerals.”
The Greek system was acquired in Hellenistic Judaism also known as Hebrew alphabetic numerals. In this system, there is no inscription for zero, and the numeric values of each letter are added together.
In Israel today, the decimal system of Arabic numerals is used in most all cases like money, age, date on the civil calendar and the Hebrew numerals are used only in special cases, in the Hebrew calendar, or numbering a list, mostly as Roman numerals in the West.
What are the borrowed Words from Greek into English?
The amount of words, prefixes and suffixes borrowed from Greek into English are many and they can be grouped into several classes:
- Educational and sporting (“gymnasium”, “mathematics”)
- mythology (“amazon”)
- social and political (“democracy”)
- terms from Christianity (“Eucharist”, “bishop”, “catholic”)
- theatrical (“drama”, “chorus”)
- animals (“buffalo”, “crocodile”)
- place names (“Egypt”, “Ethiopia”)
The large majority of Greek borrowed words are scientific terms:
Words that start with ‘ph-‘ are commonly from the Greek origin.
example: philosophy, physics, photography, phrase, philanthropy.
Many English words are composed of parts of words (morphemes) that originally came from the Greek language,
Example: phobia (fear of) – the fear of heights.
How hard is it to learn Greek?
Learning Greek is not an easy thing. Do you want to learn Greek? Yes you can but just like any languages, Greek also has its own difficulties and complexity.
Starting learning Greek is hazardous, when you decide to learn it on your own.
Using learning materials available in the market like Course books, apps, audio books, videos are made, all to help you on your journey, but it’s very essential for you to know which ones to choose.
When getting personal tutor or taking classes online is much better as it helps you in every step of the way. However, whatever your ways on how to learn your chosen goal, it needs focus, effort and dedication.
Whether your lesson or chosen language is quite simple or easy to learn, but you don’t have the motivation and dedication your goal is impossibly be reached.
Like other languages such as Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Arabic it takes more than a year and a half to reach the proficiency level.
Greek has different letters, varied intonations and a quite confusing grammar to learn.
You’ll probably begin your language journey with a set of speculations, but be ready to take the challenge. This benefit you’re learning, no matter how hard the language is.
So even if you take many years of intensive studying, it is worth the struggle to be able to speak one of the classic, richest and most unique languages in the world. If you think that learning Greek is really for you, be confident that this is a journey well worth it to learn.
What are the Reasons to Learn Greek?
In some many reasons people studying languages for the sake of their business, travel purposes or for migration to the particular country they’re dreaming about. Whatever your reason is learning a second language is an achievement to the extent.
Almost Vocabulary words of European Languages comes from Greek
Greek is the basis of almost the vocabulary words of other European languages.
At first seemingly the words are new but very soon you’ll discover the components of words used in English, or other languages, mostly come from Greek.
Essential in School
Greek It is very significant for people who learn Classics, study Biology, Literature, Linguistics, History, Medicine and Law as well.
Written history starts in Greece
In History, Modern Greek will enable you to grasp some terms, phrases and others since written history starts in Greece.
90% of terminology in Science are Greek.
In Biology, Medicine and Law, 90% of the terminology in these sciences is originally written in Greek. You will understand better in learning those significant words and tools for the science you study.
Great Business and Job opportunity
Particularly in Greek the economy of Greece is the largest in the world. It has 80% based on service and 16% of agriculture-their industries involve tourism and shipping.
The Greek Merchant Navy is the largest in the world, where the massive demand for international maritime transportation between Greece and Asia. It has proceeded with unrivaled investment in the shipping industry.
From these two languages which are Hebrew and Latin; Greek is better because it is still used as a native spoken language in many people. It influenced European languages and its writing system was the foundation of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems in the world. Through Modern Greek you will be able to spread learning in many aspects and it’s very useful not for communicating, but in History, Literature, Sciences, Taxonomy etc. as well.
If you’re able to learn the Greek language, even if it’s hard or not learning a classic and oldest language is very fulfilling and very valuable today in the modern world.
Though the journey is very challenging, but keep in mind that learning is a process that requires in depth attention, passion, motivation and time.