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The work with Greek texts is considered to be the most important and developmental process while learning Greek and other foreign languages. To provide you with the clearest view on how to work with a text, Greek teachers of offer you some advice.


Tip No. 1. Do not rush to open a dictionary- try to catch the meaning first!


Let`s imagine, you start reading a Greek text which is not simple and full of new words. Don`t hurry to look up these words in a dictionary. Take your time and read up the text till the end in a thoughtful way. Do not concentrate your attention on the amount of new words you come across while reading. Try to follow the main idea of the text (what was that paragraph about?) and formulate this thought in brief, in your own words. After that, you can start the second paragraph. Having reached the end of the text, you can get its overall impression, its main idea.


You should translate (specify) only those words without which you can’t locate the main idea of the reading passage. Then, try to make a plan of the whole text so that every passage reflects its particular point. This plan will serve you a lot, every time you need to recall the contents of the text.


TipNo. 2. Pay careful attention to synonyms and antonyms!


You are often given the following tasks after the text:


Testing type: follow up the idea of the text choosing the correct variant. (see tip. no. 1.)


Work with synonyms and antonyms. As a rule, the 1st task doesn’t present a big number of challenges. That’s why we will look at another kind of work in greater detail. It will be synonym and antonym choice. Of course, this task implies that you possess a good enough active vocabulary. But if no, how can we replace a word with a proper synonym or antonym?


Unfortunately, no magic method exists. The paramount factors here are your work with texts and a sufficient amount of practice on this type of tasks while learning Greek online or on your own.


The wrong way of choosing synonyms and antonyms:


Let`s suppose you recognize the word from the Greek text presented in the task. You translate it into your native language, for example, Russian. You try to choose the best alternative for the context you have in mind in accordance with the Russian language and at the end you happily write down the word. Mistake! Never rely on your mother tongue! Always remember that words which have the same meaning can be used in a different way and have completely different synonyms (and antonyms) in various languages.


Then, you open a Greek dictionary of synonyms (or antonyms) with a suggestion of a hope for escape! And what do you see? You are offered 10 synonyms! Mistake! The best substitute here must be only one! To choose at random is absolutely the same as a shot in the dark.


The only right variant here is to refer each time to the context. You need to do this because you are supposed to pick the right synonym depending on the ongoing context. So, firstly, find the target word in the text. Then, read the sentence carefully and choose the word that best suits your needs.


Do the same with antonyms. Select the precise antonym depending on the context. Sometimes it`s much easier to choose a synonym, first and then, find antonym for this synonym.


Don`t take the bait, mistake! Don’t try to put prefix «α» or on the contrary, put «α» away at the beginning if you are not aware of the fact that these antonyms exist in pairs. For example:


Δυνατός – αδύνατος (strong-weak). In this case, by a fluke, the antonym fits the meaning.


Let`s look at another example. You are given the word αμόρφωτος (uneducated). What should we do? It seems to be pretty easy- you put away the prefix «α» and it`s done. But there is no the word like μόρφωτος, there is only μορφωμένος.


That`s why it`s highly advisable to be careful enough with the prefix «α».


Let`s have a look at verbs now. You are given a Greek word αποδυναμώνω (to weaken, to enfeeble). What should we do with this word? You can try to omit the prefix «απο» and get the word δυναμώνω (to strengthen). Andagain, youarelucky! Yougottheantonym!But does this method always work?


No, this method can seldom cope with this thing. It happens because prefixes often change the meaning of a word. For example: Αποχωρώ (to move away, to step back) – χωρώ (to contain).


Conclusion: when working with a Greek text, the change of prefixes is not a foolproof method. Let it be your last alternative when all the ways to find an antonym have been tried.


So, what is the best way to select the appropriate synonym or antonym which best match the meaning of a given word? You need to get the main idea of a sentence, context and take a lot of practice.


There is one more technique that can help you in the exam. Put the negative particle «μη» before an adjective (sometimes, a noun). Do not only make an excessive use of this method, use it seldom!


I will pay your attention one more time to the fact that a great number of Greek words are polysemantic. The task is not designed in a way to make you demonstrate your ability to identify the meaning of one of the words. Doing this exercise you show that you are able to get the right meaning of the word in the given context.


It`s important to find synonym and antonym and that both of them can be the best matches with the target word with respect to number, gender, case or person, and tense.


To enlarge your vocabulary, it`s highly advisable to read and work out the texts written in its original language. You will also find it useful to work with synonyms and antonyms, the usage of which makes you speech beautiful and different!


2 essential things all learners must always keep in mind: 1. Analyse a Greek word on the base of the context. 2. A grammatical agreement is maintained in the Greek text.


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