How many languages do you speak?
I speak 3 languages - Greek, English and Hungarian.
What is the most difficult aspect of Greek to teach?
Like in all languages I suppose it’s hard to teach how to use the language as a native speaker. When you correct a grammatical mistake, students can quickly understand what they did wrong and they can easily improve it. But, what if everything they say or write is grammatically correct and still, somehow it doesn’t sound ‘Greek’? Learning to choose the most fitting word out of its many synonyms, or to prefer a certain word order from another in order to precisely give your sentence the emotional charge you wish to deliver, or to master those popular phrases and slang that one hears in everyday conversation yet no one can really translate… I think this is something that requires a long-time experience in the native environment of the language, where one learns it gradually without even realising it. In my lessons when students face these kind of difficulties, the only answer I can personally give is: “It’s OK. You will get this σιγά σιγά”.
Is there something you particularly enjoy teaching?
Yes, I really enjoy teaching students to talk about their daily routine. When pupils are able to tell in which hour and what they do on a certain day of the week, that is usually the first time I can read from their faces this Wow-I-speak-Greek-feeling. This is a heart-warming moment both for them and for me, and once they have this experience, their enthusiasm for learning Greek grows.
Do you find there is much difference teaching Greek to different nationalities? Do different nationalities exhibit different strengths / weaknesses for example, and if so, can you give a couple of examples?
It can be difficult to understand the use of the accusative case for students if in their native language the object of the sentence is not indicated in a similar way. The same is true, for example, for the presence or lack of the articles. However, I don’t think that it’s someone’s native language that makes the difference, but the number of foreign languages one speaks. The more experience someone has in learning languages, the quicker their progress in Greek becomes.
How would you describe your teaching methodology?
In my lessons I strive for empathy and structure. First, I try to observe my students’ emotional state and energy level in each class, and subsequently I adapt to that. Our cooperation during the lessons is much more fruitful if we are on the same wavelength. Second, I always aim to prepare a well-structured lesson plan which is in-line with the sequence of the previous and the following lessons. As a student it gives me a feeling of comfort when I can clearly separate the parts of the lesson, and understand the aim of each activity, and acknowledge where we are heading to. Via my teaching methodology, I wish to provide the same feeling to my students.
And now a bit more about you personally....
When life returns to a more normal state, what restaurant in Cyprus would you like to visit again and what dish would you order?
I’m looking forward to sit again for a dinner with my partner and friends at Chrisalinniotis Garden (Kήπος της Xρυσαλινιώτισσας). It’s a very simple open-air place with a few simple but delicious Cypriot dishes with a convivial staff. Sitting there feels almost like being in a village since the tavern is located in a small park very close to the Green Line. You can easily find a table on the grass under the trees, chill out and share your best bites with the beautiful and witty cats of the park... and there are many.
Ah, yes, the food... I would order bulgur with yoghurt (πουργούρι με γιαούρτι) and zuccini with eggs (κολοκυθάκια με αυγά). And I would kindly ask a little bit from my friend’s french fries, not because I would still be hungry, but those fries are so good.
What's your favourite place in Cyprus to visit?
The Old Town in Nicosia. It’s funny, because I have been living in the Old Town for years, but still… whenever I have time I go for a walk inside the Walls, and it never stops amazing me. Another place that captivates me is the Park of Peace outside the Gate of Paphos. I wish there were more parks like this throughout the city.
What country would you like to visit most, and why?
I would love to visit China, not only because I’m very interested to see this amazing place, but also because I have a very dear friend whom I rarely have the opportunity to see in person. I’m particularly drawn to Chinese culture and cuisine, and would like to observe the distinctiveness of each region.
Can you tell us your favourite book, tv series and film?
One of my favourite books is Frigyes Karinthy's A Journey Round My Skull, and my favourite tv series is Handsome Siblings on Netflix. Can I name a second tv series which I like instead of a film? If so, it’s Hwarang (on Netflix again).
Name 3 things you'd take on a desert island with you.
My partner, a ship and a captain to bring us back the soonest possible. I don’t like the idea of being stranded on a deserted island.