One day, however, I was surprised to discover that there was more to the classics than just the Romans, and their influence. There was an entire other civilization and language that contributed just as much to Western antiquity as the Romans did:
At age 14, I remember looking through an Ancient Greek textbook and marvelling at all the words and roots that I could recognize—demos, which I knew from democracy, platea, which became the Italian piazza, and phobia, which became, well, phobia.
The Greek language clearly held the key that could unlock a deeper understanding of my own culture and language, in addition to great works of philosophy and literature from the likes of Plato, Aristotle, and Homer.
Altogether, I was missing a powerful enough "why".
Normally, when I learn a language it is for a mixture of reasons that include travel, learning, and the opportunity to strengthen existing friendships with native speakers, as well as form new ones. While I had all of that with Hungarian, I didn't yet have that with Greek.
1. Take about 30 minutes to identify your why before you start learning. You need to really sit down and think about the amount of time and energy it can potentially take to learn a language well, and decide if Greek is really worth all that sacrifice. If it's not, go back to the drawing board.
2. Use visualization as a tool to develop and strengthen the emotional impact of your "why". Personally, I use the S.E.E. visualization technique before I start every new language, which helps me both see and feel what it's like to "live" a language, before I've even learned my first words!
3. Once you have your "why" (and your visualization along with it) you need to write it down. It's a good idea to keep a written record of your "why" close to your daily learning space, so you can review it when necessary.
When I picked up Greek for the second time in 2017, I started it just as I started every new language: I used my special Bidirectional Translation technique, side-by-side with an Italian copy of Assimil's Greek with Ease.
This was the critical moment. I knew I couldn't keep just reading and translating short texts; since I was now at an intermediate level, I needed to do more challenging activities that would really help me improve my Greek level.
Nowadays, in addition to the above, I've been working with multiple different video-based resources, such as The Online Greek Tutor and Astronio YouTube channels. Most recently, I've even made the jump to audio-only materials, with the addition of Learning Greek with Podcasts from the Hellenic American University.
1. Though you should gradually expand your library of Greek resources as you improve, absolute beginners should start with only one resource. Think of Assimil, in my case, which I used on and off for one year before moving on.
2. Plan your resources in advance, but don't overdo it. You should start looking for new resources when you have about two weeks left to go on your current one. You don't want to be completely done with a resource and be stuck without anything to do.
3. Pick resources you find enjoyable. Just because you started with one series of resources as a beginner, you don't need to feel obligated to continue with it. Experiment, try new things, and aim to settle for the materials that get you most motivated to learn.
In that moment, that's when I knew I was glad I had picked Daria to be my tutor. She wasn't just anybody; rather, she was a tutor that I hand-picked after reviewing everything I could learn from her PolyglotClub.com profile page.
From that page, I knew that Daria was kind, attentive, and that she gave great feedback. Those are all qualities I highly value in a tutor, and I was glad Daria had them once my Greek speaking didn't start off so smoothly.
1. Read your tutor's profile thoroughly. You can tell a lot about the quality of a tutor from the amount of experience they have, the tone and frequency of the reviews they get, and how they come across in their messages. Look for someone who seems (and is described) as kind, and easy to talk to.
2. Come to the lesson prepared. Some tutors like to plan everything for you, others expect everything to be planned by you. In either case, you should always come to a lesson with something you're ready to talk about, or a question you're ready to ask. This will ease the tension for both you and your tutor.
3. Don't be passive. Though every tutor will have some ideas and recommendations about what Greek topics to learn or talk about, not all of those things will be a good fit for you. Always remember that since you're paying for the lesson, you have every right to choose what to talk about (and what not to talk about) during a lesson. And when you're talking about things you're interested in, you'll be more engaged, as well.
P.S. Recently I've been using two great bilingual texts to improve my Greek: The Clockmaster, and The Crack on the Hourglass, both written by Roubina Gouyoumtzian. If you'd like to improve your Greek reading skills, click the (affiliate) links to check them out over at InterlinearBooks.com.