Learning a language adds so much to your understanding of the world. It isn’t just about being able to read the menu when you travel, it gives you an insight into other cultures.
Greek is one of the oldest languages still in use. It is the original language of the New Testament and of diaspora communities around the world. Of course, it will also come in handy when holidaying on some of the most beautiful islands on Earth.
Online study gives you direct access to courses created by native speakers and designed for learners from English-speaking countries. While Greek may seem at first like a difficult language to learn, it opens the door to a country with ancient archeological sites, beautiful beaches, and some of the friendliest people in the world.
In this article, I’ll be providing my recommendations for the best online courses to learn Greek. But while it really is worth the effort, we can’t ignore the challenges that native English speakers face when learning Greek. I’m going to first outline these difficulties before we start, and then we’ll take a look at how each course meets these challenges.
Table of Contents
The challenges of learning Greek
While learning a new alphabet can be daunting, the reality is not quite as hard as it seems. The Greek alphabet has only 24 letters, and almost half of them are very similar to English letters, at least in the upper-case form.
Declension of nouns
For native English speakers, this is probably the most difficult aspect of learning Greek. Like Latin, Greek has different cases of nouns. This means that the word ending changes according to the noun’s role in a sentence.
How to choose the right course for you
When choosing a language course, you’ll need to consider not only what you want to learn but how you prefer to learn. Do you prefer watching and listening to clips of native speakers, or do you prefer lots of activities and exercises?
Of course, practical considerations like cost will also be a factor for most students, so we’ll let you know whether those premium features really are worth the extra cash.
Recommended Greek courses
Best Overall: GreekPod101
GreekPod101 provides a comprehensive course in Greek with a wealth of resources and several different subscription options. Though there is a free option, it’s really only a taster. If you’re serious about learning Greek, you’ll need to pay for a subscription. As a teacher, I think that the premium versions of the course have a lot to offer, but the basic subscription is very limited.
Audio lessons with native speakers mean you get up to speed with the language quickly. You can choose whether or not to display subtitles in Greek, English, or the Romanized transcription of the Greek dialogue. There are also lots of games to practice what you’ve learned and grammar notes to help with understanding.
As well as detailed notes for each lesson, there is a separate grammar resource that you can use to check anything you’re not sure about. There is also an alphabet resources section with flashcards and writing practice sheets to help with handwriting. This course has the best alphabet resource of all those I’ve looked at.
With GreekPod101 you can study as much or as little as you like each week. You can progress more rapidly through the lessons if you like. It is however recommended do to at least a weekly lesson to keep on track with your learning.
The GreekPod101 interface can be a bit daunting at first, but it does eventually get easier to find what you want. The disadvantage of having so much material is that sometimes you don’t know what’s there, never mind how to find it.
While there is a free option with GreekPod101, it is quite basic. To follow a full language course, you´ll want to subscribe to one of the options below.
- Basic (lessons & podcast only): $4/month
- Premium (additional features include flashcards and quizzes): $10/month
- Premium Plus (offers personalized learning program and 1-to-1 lessons): $23/month
Significant discounts are available for paying upfront for several months.
Best for Speaking: Pimsleur Online
The Pimsleur Online Greek course is a comprehensive learning program with a 30-minute audio lesson, followed by reading activities and other skills practice. There is also a voice coach to help with pronunciation. I am personally a big fan of the Pimsleur method, with its strong focus on correct pronunciation. It’s also the method that I have made the most progress with Greek, to the extent that I have been mistaken for a native speaker at times (in terms of pronunciation, not grammar or vocabulary, mind you!).
As well as a 30-minute daily lesson, there is guided reading explaining the different letters of the Greek alphabet. There is also help with pronunciation and lots of resources to consolidate learning.
The reading lessons introduce the Greek alphabet naturally through the newly acquired language. I think this works really well and integrates learning to make it relevant. It would be nice to have more grammar notes available to review and consolidate understanding.
With the Pimsleur method, the focus is on pronunciation through repetition in audio lessons. It is imperative that you speak during the lessons – so while you can listen on the go, make sure you are in an environment where you can speak freely. Personally, I have followed most of the Pimsleur lessons in the car and while cooking.
The lessons are about 30 minutes each, and you may need to repeat lessons if you don’t feel that the content has stuck yet. It’s recommended that you ideally follow a lesson a day, so it’s geared to those who are serious about learning a language. The design of the lessons makes it difficult to just do a few minutes, so learners need to plan their study diary to make the most of the course.
The user interface works well and the progression from the audio lessons to other activities is clear. There are also very handy mobile apps for both iOS and Android, featuring an offline mode for downloading lessons and learning on the go.
You can either purchase individual courses for $150 per level. Alternatively, you can purchase an All Access subscription, which gives you access to all 51 languages offered by Pimsleur for just $24 per month.
Best for Listening Comprehension: Glossika Greek
Glossika is a course designed to help you progress to understand and speak Greek more fluently. It uses repetition and different actions to help you to learn language naturally. There is a placement test to make sure you start at the right level.
In each lesson, you learn a number of new sentences. You can choose from listening-only and full-practice modes depending on how much time you have to learn. Full practice mode involves all the skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Writing tasks help with learning grammar,e and speaking tasks can be recorded to improve your pronunciation.
Glossika allows you to use Romanized transliteration and gradually introduces the Greek script. For some languages, there is a downloadable grammar guide, but sadly there doesn’t seem to be one for Greek.
This course is very flexible and you earn reps for every sentence you learn, so your progress is always recorded even if you only do a few minutes a day.
Glossika has an excellent analysis of learning progress which allows you to track your progress easily.
In order to study Greek, you need to take out a subscription. If the learning process works for you, it might be worth upgrading to an all-language subscription.
- Basic subscription (1 language) $16.99/month
- Pro subscription (all languages) $30.99/month
Best for Kids: Ellinopoula
Ellinopoula offers a child-friendly learning environment with cartoon stories, games, and songs. This is by far the best Greek language learning resource for kids. As well as the child’s world, there are lots of resources for parents and teachers to help kids learn. The course is well-structured and tailored to each child’s age and abilities.
The course uses cartoon stories to introduce language points as well as stories from Greek history and cultural enrichment. Apart from videos, there are also matching games and other activities to consolidate learning. Each lesson must be completed in order to move on to the next lesson. The PremiumPlus version also includes weekly online live lessons.
The beginner’s course introduces all the letters of the alphabet through lessons. This thorough approach also applies to grammar points. Though cartoons are used in this course, the material is taught like a real class.
There is no specific recommended time to spend on the course. All the activities and lessons are fun for kids and the course is designed so that they can work through the material independently.
This very simple interface is really easy to use. It is clearly laid-out so you don’t need to go looking for anything. If you just want to contrate on practice, this site is the best for you.
This is one of the more expensive learning options, but the quality is excellent. There are two levels of subscription and exactly how much you pay depends on the payment plan.
- Premium €15.99-19.99 per month
- PremiumPlus €30.92-34.99 per month
Best Casual Learning: Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone offers a very well-constructed course based on interactions solely in Greek. Lessons include matching activities for reading and listening, as well as speaking pronunciation practice. The user interface is easy to navigate and the immersive language experience gives a rapid learning trajectory.
Each lesson has a range of activities which makes the learning program interesting. Speaking lessons with voice recognition really help to improve pronunciation. Live lessons are available to premium subscribers.
You can change the setting to get extra help with the alphabet if you need it, but there is no explicit grammar instruction. The course is designed so that you learn by listening and doing.
To get the benefit of Rosetta Stone, you do need to put some time into it. Half an hour a day is the minimum recommended time – but more casual interaction with the app also works well (but will of course not lead to the same level of progression)
The site is well laid out and it is easy to find what you need. You need to complete one lesson before you can move on to the next, but there are other resources available to download separately.
Rosetta Stone offers both subscription and buy outright options.
- One-off payment for lifetime access (all languages): $179.00
- 3 months: $35.97
- 12 months: $95.88
Best for Vocabulary: LingQ Greek
LingQ uses authentic video and audio content to teach new vocabulary. The site keeps track of every word you recognize and those you’re still learning. As you progress, you can see your vocabulary increase. Lessons are grouped according to difficulty, but you don’t have to take them in order.
When viewing or listening to a lesson, you mark the words you know and those you don’t. This can be a bit slow at first but gets quicker as you learn more words. Once you have added words to your known list, you will see the percentage of new words in each lesson.
Even though the app is mainly focused on vocabulary, there is a full grammar reference guide, including an introduction to the alphabet.
From as little as 5 minutes a day. Because there is no fixed course structure you can do as little or as much as you like.
Milestones and Tests
The course is designed for learners to complete one lesson a day for 30 days. Other than that, target there are no specific aims or tests to mark progress.
The website is quite easy to navigate, but there is not very much information about the online courses. For instance, the site doesn’t say how long each lesson is.
The free version is probably adequate for most users, but if you choose the premium option you can pay as little as $7.99 a month
Best Free Course: LingoHut
LingoHut is a completely free course of 125 subject-themed lessons. Lessons consist of vocabulary and phrase learning, with games to test your knowledge and reinforce learning. It’s very simple to use and you don’t need to register to learn. Simply go to the website and start learning.
The layout isn’t particularly inspiring, but the lessons cover just about every subject you can think of. The games are fun and there is enough repetition to reinforce vocabulary learning without becoming boring.
Lessons are vocabulary-based and concentrate on different topics. The course consists of words and stock phrases, but it lacks explanations. A selection of games allows you to practice your new vocabulary. Disappointingly, there is no specific grammar instruction or introduction to the alphabet, though the transliteration of the Greek alphabet is shown.
Because all the lessons are vocabulary based, there isn’t any specific grammar teaching. Another limitation is that there is no introduction to the alphabet, so you go straight into learning words and phrases and hope to pick up the letters as you go along.
The recommended time for this course is only 5 minutes a day, but you could easily spend 25-30 minutes on each lesson if you do some practice with flash cards and games.
The style of the site is not very exciting and looks a bit dated, but it is simple to use and easy to access all the lessons and games. Overall, it could do with a bit more color and maybe some pictures to bring the language to life. But having said that, it is free!
The best thing about LingoHut is that it is completely free forever. You don’t even need to set up an account.