Essential Modern Greek Grammar

4 Greek, Books

March 10, 2013

Author  Douglas Q. Adams
Series  Dover Essential Grammar
Publisher  Dover Publications
Publication Date  1987
Price  $6.95
Skill Level  Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

I loved this slim, carefully written volume by Douglas Q. Adams, but it is not for the grammatically faint of heart, and you should know going into it that it is an overview of the Greek language and its grammar, not an exercise book.

Essential Modern Greek Grammar lasts a mere 77 pages (diminutive ones at that!), excluding a brief glossary that explains some grammar terminology for those who need it. There is lots of white space, and it has a gratifyingly minimalist aesthetic. If you find hard-core grammatical explanations intimidating, this might not be the book for you, what with the discussion of things I had never heard of before, such as deponent verbs and aorist passive.

It is in any case definitely best for people who already know something about Greek. I didn’t know enough, but I still loved it anyway.

The marketing copy on the back says, “Written primarily for the tourist or business traveler with limited learning time, this concise, well-organized grammar provides a clear-cut system for learning to communicate, in both speech and writing, in simple everyday Greek.”

Ignore that. I don’t think I could learn to communicate well from it, and I didn’t perceive a “system.” But I do like Essential Modern Greek Grammar as a companion piece to my other materials. 

The fun part was being able to read and understand examples in Greek. Greek just looks cool!

A Great Little Greek Grammar
A Great Little Greek Grammar

Comments (4)

Tim • Posted on Mon, April 01, 2013 - 9:30 pm EST

I’ve been a fan of these Essential…Grammar books ever since high school French. The Greek was admittedly a bit rough going, but I found the Dutch and Portuguese to be quite useful. The best thing is they’re cheap.

Ellen Jovin • Posted on Mon, April 01, 2013 - 9:45 pm EST

I didn’t even realize until I was putting together this directory of reviews that the Essential Greek and Portuguese books came from the same Dover source. (The covers are so different.) Alas, I wish I had tried the Dutch.

I want to study Swedish so I can use their Swedish book!

Jim • Posted on Fri, August 25, 2017 - 5:20 am EST

The standard grammar book, the one that Greek kids use at school, is called Neoellenike Grammatike, by Manole Triantaphyllide (transcriptions of the alphabet may vary). The best way to track it down is via the ISBN number. For Google just copy the bit between the quotes “ISBN: 9600600244”.

Ellen Jovin • Posted on Sun, December 03, 2017 - 5:28 pm EST

Thank you so much, Jim!

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