This is a different kind of question than is normally asked, but since Ancient Greek is on-topic for the meantime, I think this is a surprisingly good place to ask. I wanted to get the opinion of those who might know. Does learning Modern Greek help your knowledge of Ancient Greek? I can think of at least a few reasons why it may.

First, there is a shared vocabulary, and anything that makes you more fluent in that shared vocabulary is a good thing.

Second, I find that knowing English improves my knowledge of Latin, because it gives me a greater appreciation of Latin, seeing Latin roots and constructs show up in my own language. This is somewhat psychological—if you appreciate a language more, then you will have more motivation to learn it, and thus acquire a better knowledge—but I think most people can testify that it's true. By analogy, the same could be said of Greek.

Do you think it's reasonable to expect that learning Modern Greek would help me feel more comfortable or become more knowledgeable in Ancient Greek?

I'm interested in both first- and second-hand experiences of learning the two languages, as well as the opinions of those who know one and not the other.


2 Answers 2


I think it's at least moderately helpful. I remember studying simultaneously Modern Greek (from an introductory grammar), Classical Greek (from an old-style grammar that concentrated far more on military terminology [Xenophon] than I was interested in), and New Testament Greek (by studying an interlinear Greek NT). That was many decades ago, but I remember the Modern Greek study being helpful (probably more so for NT than Classical Greek).

That said, there are a lot of differences in both grammar and vocabulary, and many words that persist in Modern Greek have somewhat different meanings, so all-in-all, I don't know if there's enough benefit to recommend studying Modern Greek unless one has an independent interest in it.

But, if you really like Greek culture, as I do - from Homer to NT to the Byzantine empire down - then I definitely think it's valuable.

  • Thanks for your feedback. NT Greek is quite important to me, so that would be a good reason to learn Modern.
    – ktm5124
    Jul 29, 2017 at 6:10

Yes, I think so. In any case, when learning Ancient Greek one encounters various dialects. To get a good range of reading experience a learner should read passages from Homer (Epic), Herodotus (Ionic), Plato (Attic) and Theocritus (Doric) at least, along with perhaps some New Testament Greek (Koine). Therefore you might consider Modern Greek another dialect to add to the mix. Certainly my few words of Modern Greek have helped me remember where the accent lies in Ancient Greek; I believe it is usually in the same place.

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