The 9 Best Books to Learn Greek in a Heartbeat

Maria Claudia Alvarado Published on May 12, 2023
Best books to learn Greek

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Choosing where to start when learning one of the oldest languages out there can be difficult. Greek learners have several options available, but picking the right one is key. Books are a tried and true method to learn a language. In this guide, we will look at the nine best books for learning Greek in no time.

Greece is an all-time favorite travel destination (27.8 million people visited Greece in 2022). Perhaps you are studying Greek because you want to explore the many temples and historic sites on the Greek islands. Or maybe you are looking for job or study opportunities and want to be prepared. Learning the local language is always a good idea, but it seems essential when we talk about Greece. An estimated 25% of the English language has Greek origins. The same applies the other way around, too! This means you already know some of the language.

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How We Picked and Tested the Best Greek Books

For any language learning products we’ve tested or researched, we follow a strict testing methodology to make sure our experts make the same considerations. Here are the factors we looked at when testing Greek learning books specifically:

  • Structure and Topics: We examined how each book is laid out and if it follows a structure that promotes the learning and retention of the language. We also checked if the book is effective and will be useful to Greek learners.
  • Quality of Content: We looked at several chapters of the book to determine the quality of the content. We looked at the explanations and examples to see how clear and effective they are. We also took into account any additional material included such as audio tracks, flashcards, and access to online practice.
  • Value for Money: We compared the price of the book with the previous factors to see if it’s a good value for the cost.

Our Top Picks to Help You Learn Greek

Below, you will find the nine best books to learn Greek. Keep reading to learn more about their key benefits.

Best Overall Greek BookComplete Greek
Best for Practicing The AlphabetMaster the Greek Alphabet
Best for VocabularyGreek Frequency Dictionary
Best for Learning Greek QuicklyLearn to Read Greek in 5 Days
Best for Reading ComprehensionModern Greek
Best for GrammarGreek: An Intensive Course
Best for Verbs333 Modern Greek Verbs
Best for KidsMy First 1000 Words: Greek
Best for TravelLonely Planet Greek Phrasebook & Dictionary

Complete Greek

Best Overall Greek Book

Complete Greek is the best overall book to learn Greek because it focuses on learning through real-life situations. It’s helpful for beginner to intermediate learners looking for a way to study on their own. The book has 24 thematic chapters to help you practice reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Paired with audio tracks available through the Teach Yourself app, you can hear how the language is spoken and work on proper pronunciation.

One feature that I found helpful was the explanations of common problems that Greek learners face based on the author’s personal experience. Some books have all explanations and examples in Greek, which can sometimes be intimidating, but Complete Greek uses English explanations and English-to-Greek translations so you won’t feel overwhelmed. Overall, this is a comprehensive option for those looking to develop all the necessary skills to communicate in a Greek-speaking environment.  You can see if this book is right for you here.

Key Benefits

  • Learn conversational Greek so you can converse effectively with Greek speakers
  • English to Greek translations and practice tests help you track your progress and make sure you understand the concepts
  • Practice and perfect your pronunciation with the available audio tracks

Master the Greek Alphabet

Best for Practicing The Alphabet

Master the Greek Alphabet is the best book for you if you want to learn the Greek alphabet through practice and memorization. With this book, you learn the correct stroke order and practice drawing the letters, much like how you probably learned to write your first language. I appreciated that the book includes both capital and lowercase letters as well as font variations. Letters can look different if they are written or typed, so it was helpful to see and practice the different variations.

This book is for learners of all ages: it’s useful for adult learners but is also easily accessible for children. One of the best features of the book is the practice pages for each letter. You can trace the letter as well as practice writing it without the letter outline. I think this is a helpful approach because it builds muscle memory in a progressive way. The author recommends photocopying the blank practice pages (for personal use only) to extend the usefulness of the book. Overall, this book achieves its goal of teaching the Greek alphabet, so it’s well worth its price. You can learn more about the book here.

Key Benefits

  • Shows correct stroke order so you learn to write the Greek alphabet correctly
  • Practice pages to write the letters until you remember them with ease
  • Phonetic pronunciations of the letters help you learn correct pronunciation as you write

Greek Frequency Dictionary

Best for Vocabulary

The Greek Frequency Dictionary is the best book to learn Greek vocabulary quickly because it teaches the 2,500 most commonly used words. The idea is that after learning these many words, you’ll be able to express your message effectively, even if some creativity is required. I like that the words are listed in frequency order as well as alphabetically so the book can be used as a dictionary, as well. It’s very simple to navigate and find the words you need.

Even if you’re a complete beginner, the English translations and examples of sentences in both Greek and English will help you learn what the word means and in what context to use it. Because it focuses on the most commonly used words, it’s best for learners in the beginner to low intermediate level. If you’re more advanced, you probably already know most of the words listed. I like that the book has phonetic transcriptions to help you familiarize yourself with the sounds of each word too. This makes it a more comprehensive way to learn new words and phrases. You can learn more about the book here.

Key Benefits

  • Learn the most commonly used Greek words to facilitate easier conversation
  • Example sentences for each word in Greek and English help you learn the word in context
  • The phonetic spellings help you learn pronunciation while you study vocabulary

Learn to Read Greek in 5 Days

Best for Learning Greek Quickly

Learn to Read Greek in 5 Days is the best book if you have limited time and you want to read and pronounce the Greek alphabet quickly. The book uses short and clear explanations to each letter of the modern Greek alphabet in units that briefly go over their pronunciation, when to use them, and their forms. I think it’s helpful that the book also includes examples of English words that contain the same sound. For example, the letter “α” sounds like the “a” sound in the word “spa.” This is a clever and simple way to remember basic pronunciation rules.

This book is best for complete beginners who are just starting the language and need to learn how to read and pronounce the Greek alphabet before advancing to more complicated topics. The lesson units are short, so you can easily repeat them as needed, or you can work fast and finish the book quickly. Either way, this book is a valuable resource that can prepare you for more advanced topics quickly. You can learn more about the book here.

Key Benefits

  • Learn the 24 letters of the modern Greek alphabet in a systematic way that will help you remember
  • You’ll be able to read and pronounce common Greek words once you complete the book
  • It’s an efficient resource if you have limited time because it can be completed in a couple of days

Modern Greek

Best for Reading Comprehension

Modern Greek is the best resource for practicing reading comprehension because it has everything you need to develop this skill with tons of stories, dialogues, vocabulary, and more. More than anything, Modern Greek is a workbook that has exercises that check for your understanding and mastery of the material. While the first chapters focus on basic grammar concepts and pronunciation, they quickly move to reading passages. There are also comprehension questions at the end of each lesson so you can reinforce what you learned.

The book is designed for upper-beginner or low-intermediate learners. It’s not a good resource for complete beginners because it assumes a certain level of Greek and doesn’t teach the basics. That being said, I like that the first few lessons are a review of basic concepts so that you’re up to speed before starting more complex topics. There are also dialogues and cultural notes to learn about the Greek culture as well as the language. All in all, your reading skills will improve both practically and culturally if you complete this book. You can see if the book is a good option for you here.

Key Benefits

  • Learn about daily life in Greece while developing reading comprehension
  • You’re exposed to common Greek vocabulary in a natural way while working through the book
  • Get clarification on complicated Greek grammar topics

Greek: An Intensive Course

Best for Grammar

Greek: An Intensive Course is the best for grammar because of its clear explanations that thoroughly explain difficult grammar topics. It’s a comprehensive book of grammar lessons ready to answer any kind of doubt you might have. It’s important to note that it focuses on ancient Greek, rather than the modern dialect, so it will be most beneficial to those that want to study this particular dialect. This book has been used in many Greek language classes, but can also be used for individual study.

With that said, I would not recommend this book to a beginner. Greek: An Intensive Course is for students with at least a basic knowledge of the language because the grammar rules are complex. In addition to learning complex grammar, you’ll also see how to use vocabulary words in the correct syntax and context. You can learn more about the book here.

Key Benefits

  • Intermediate learners can study complex grammar topics methodically
  • One of the most thorough resources available for studying ancient Greek
  • Find clarifications and explanations of difficult grammar topics

333 Modern Greek Verbs

Best for Learning Verbs

If you are looking for the best guide to Greek verbs 333 Modern Greek Verbs is the right choice for you. It’s a handy reference that contains the most frequently used verbs in the Greek language with their complete conjugations. The book includes explanations and charts that show how to change verbs to fit different tenses and pronouns. When learning a new language, I always struggle to master verb conjugations. This reference makes it easy to check any verb tense on the go.

Since there are example sentences translated into English, you’ll also learn the verb in context. Keep in mind that this isn’t meant to be a stand-alone book that will teach you all aspects of the Greek language. But it is a handy reference that can be used to answer many grammar-related doubts you may have. You can see if this book is a good choice for you here.

Key Benefits

  • Useful reference to help you master Greek conjugations
  • Learn full conjugations of verbs, including the active and passive voice
  • Example sentences in Greek with English translations show you how to use the word in context.

My First 1000 Words: Greek is a simple book everyone can understand and enjoy. It’s the best book for kids because it teaches common vocabulary, like colors, the days of the week, food, animals, and more. Since every word has a colorful image, it can keep the attention of even the youngest of learners. I like that the book also includes the translation and phonetic pronunciation of the word so it’s easy to understand the words you are learning.

The book has an index that will let you find words according to their category and comes with English translations and phonetic pronunciation. Adults can find it helpful too. Some people find it a fun way to go over Greek words as a quick refresher for easy vocabulary. Many people purchased this book as a gift for someone trying to learn the Greek language. You can learn more about the book here.

Key Benefits

  • Excellent beginner resource for Greek learners of all ages
  • Learn common vocabulary that you’ll encounter frequently in everyday situations
  • The English translations and phonetic pronunciations help you master the new vocabulary words

Have you ever wondered what you would do if you lost your luggage at the airport or needed to call an ambulance while traveling through Greece? Lonely Planet Greek Phrasebook & Dictionary is the best option for travelers because it prepares you to communicate clearly in situations of all kinds. From parties to hospital rooms, this book provides you with tons of phrases that will help you understand and speak Greek while traveling abroad.

This book covers common scenarios like dealing with the bank, asking someone on a date, shopping, sightseeing, etc. You can even access the material on your phone by downloading the FastTalk Phrasebook & Dictionary app. I recommend this book for anyone visiting Greece because it’s pocket-sized so it’s easy to carry around in case you find yourself in an offline situation. You can read more about the book here.

Key Benefits

  • Prepares you for travel and emergencies you might face
  • Learn useful vocabulary and phrases that will help you talk with Greek speakers
  • Pocket-sized book and Fast Talk Phrasebook app guarantee that you’ll be able to access the material in any situation

Other Greek Language Books We Researched

While we’ve tested the books on this list, we also reviewed many more. Here are a couple more Greek books that didn’t make our top picks:

  • Greek for Beginners – This is a helpful reference for absolute beginners who just want to test the waters of the Greek language. You can learn the basics, but there are more beneficial resources available for both visitors to Greece and Greek learners.
  • Tiny Stories for Greek Learners – This book is helpful for beginner and intermediate learners who want to begin reading in Greek but can’t yet read at a native level. Because it covers simpler topics that are easy to understand, the types of stories can become repetitive and not offer much value.
  • Learn to Speak Greek: Without Even Trying is a roadmap that shows you how to learn the Greek language by forming a concrete study plan. While it seems like a good idea, in the end, it’s not really a necessary resource and you can find similar information for free online.

Why You Should Use Books To Learn Greek

Using textbooks to learn a language is a great way to learn Greek. You can take them everywhere and go over them as much as you like. Even when completed, they are a great resource to keep on your shelves for the next time you have a question or want to reference a specific topic. It’s one of the best ways to study Greek without distractions.

How To Use Books To Learn the Greek Language

The best way to use books to learn a language is to find the right one to fit your specific needs. Once you find the right choice for you, it’s important to study consistently. Constant practice will help you see steady progress and language development.

It’s always a good idea to use different types of resources for language learning. For example, you could choose a book with audio lessons to help you develop your listening and pronunciation skills. A Greek language app is another excellent choice to improve your language skills.

Best Books To Learn Greek: Final Thoughts

There are many excellent options available if you want to study Greek with a book. You might discover that you adjust better to the methodology of one more than the other, or that you would rather learn a lot of vocabulary than read passages. In any case, the books mentioned above provide great tools to help you build up your level of Greek language. You’ll be speaking Greek in no time!

Best Books To Learn Greek: FAQ

What’s the best book to learn Greek?

Complete Greek is the best book to learn Greek, because it features real-life examples and translations of Greek to English. Most people liked the audio tracks available on the Teach Yourself app. With this book, Greek students can practice reading, writing, listening, and pronunciation at home or on the go.

What is the best way to learn Greek?

The best way to learn Greek is to develop a studying routine and stick to it. Reading and completing the exercises in a book or listening to hours of audiobooks won’t help you unless you are consistent. It’s also a good idea to use a variety of resources so you can develop all your language skills.

Can you learn Greek on your own?

Yes, you can learn Greek on your own, especially if you are a beginner. There are many different resources available, and many of them are even available for free. You can use a language app, a comprehensive textbook, listen to podcasts, and more. To become fluent in Greek, you’ll need to practice speaking and listening with another Greek speaker.

Is it difficult to learn Greek?

The U.S. Department of State classifies Greek as a hard language for English speakers to learn. This is because the two languages have significant differences, including using different alphabets. It will be easier to learn Greek if you speak a foreign language that’s similar.

Check out this fluency calculator to see how long it will take you to learn Greek!

Maria Claudia Alvarado

Maria Alvarado is a content writer and translator from Lima, Peru. She graduated from the Savannah College of Arts and Design in 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree in Writing. She is fluent in Spanish and English, has intermediate knowledge of French and German, and is learning Japanese. She hopes to bring consciousness about the importance of language learning through her articles and aspires to learn as many languages as possible.

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