As part of a series focusing on Greek Language Education in the U.S., we present an essay by Thomas Bruno, an instructor at the Greek Institute in Cambridge, MA.

The mission of The Greek Institute is to create a deeper awareness and understanding of the achievements of Greek culture from antiquity to the present.
Throughout the ages, Greeks have always had an ongoing conversation with the Greeks of the past.  Plato's dialogues are full of Homeric quotations; the Alexandrians casually drop lines from tragedies produced centuries before them; the historian Prokopios consciously emulates the form and style of Thukydides, a thousand years his senior; and Greek Orthodox priests today go from New Testament koine and Byzantine hymns to colloquial sermons without missing a beat.

The key to this conversation is that Greeks have always felt their language to be one whole entity, whose changes over time are far less important than the continuity. The feeling of continuity is reinforced by the way Greeks make no distinction between pronouncing the ancient, medieval, and contemporary forms of their language. To the best of our knowledge, Greeks have never made such distinctions. To be sure, there have been endless squabbles over proper forms and the elements of good style, but when Plato quoted Homer, we can be reasonably certain that he did so in the pronunciation of his time. The same is likely true for the Alexandrian tossing out a snippet of Euripides, or for Prokopios reciting his beloved Thukydides. As for the Orthodox priest, you need only attend the Divine Liturgy on Sunday to hear that it is still true today.

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Tomorrow's Philhellenes,
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Struggle of the Greek Language,

an essay by Nina Gatzoulis

It is for this reason that we should learn to pronounce Ancient Greek as Greek is pronounced today. By doing so, we maintain a living connection with the classical world and ensure that this wonderful, three-thousand-year-long conversation between past, present and future that is the Greek language may continue and flourish.

About the Greek Institute:
The mission of the Greek Institute is to create a deeper awareness and understanding of the extraordinary achievements of Greek culture from antiquity to the present. An independent, non-profit (501c3) cultural and educational institution, the Greek Institute is located at 1038 Massachussetts Avenue at Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA. It is governed and advised by individuals of Greek descent and by Philhellenes who are dedicated to the success of its programs and long-term goals.

The Institute offers courses and tutorials in ancient, New Testament, and modern Greek; a children's language workshop; and practical courses in English as a Second Language. It presents exhibitions of the work of artists who have been inspired by Greece and Greek culture, and publishes books in both Greek and English -- some in collaboration with prestigious Greek publishing houses. The Greek Institute Bookstore offers more than 1,500 titles in Greek literature, history, mythology, and education. Support for the Institute comes from private donations, corporate and foundation grants, memberships, and revenues from programs and classes.  More information can be obtained by calling (617) 547-4770. Visit the Greek institute online at