# How Many Of You Know Greek?

I see a lot of people having problems in physics in here but almost all of those problems could be solved if Greek was taught in the elementary curriculum.

How many of you were taught Greek, learned Greek, or still don't know why it's so important?

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Office_Shredder
Staff Emeritus
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but almost all of those problems could be solved if Greek was taught in the elementary curriculum.
What?

What?
Leaving Greek out of the educational system is a serious mistake. Establishments of higher learning still use Greek as we see in fraternities and sororities but <1% of those students understand the value of the language and how it relates to math and science.

If it were a standard in the basic curriculum progress in math and science would come much quicker and with less effort. JMHO.

Office_Shredder
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
If it were a standard in the basic curriculum progress in math and science would come much quicker and with less effort. JMHO.
What about the Greek language in particular lends itself to facilitating math education?

I know the Greek alphabet? Does that count?

What about the Greek language in particular lends itself to facilitating math education?
Because often we hear people say "Math is Greek to me".

Doesn't everyone know the numbers 0, 1, 2, 3,..........,$\infty$ came from Greece? Hmmm, or maybe it was just the Arab part of Greece? Anyway $\infty$ is a Greek letter for sure, isn't it? (after omega I think).

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fluidistic
Gold Member
I see a lot of people having problems in physics in here but almost all of those problems could be solved if Greek was taught in the elementary curriculum.

How many of you were taught Greek, learned Greek, or still don't know why it's so important?
You are wrong. In physics we use Greek letters like $\Xi$ because we're missing letters in our alphabet to assignate variables in problems. Learning an alphabet (or some letters of it) is not learning a language.
By the way in France at least in public high schools (age around 13) you have the choice to "learn" old languages like Latin and old Greek. Very few people (around 2 I think) chose the later in my high school.

Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
I've heard similar arguments that learning Latin would help in learning biology, in reality I think this is a naive view. Just because a modern field takes words and symbols from another language doesn't mean that learning that language will help understand the field.

I learned Greek in high school (and I forgot most of it) and I don't quite see how it would be able to help me in mathematics...

fluidistic
Gold Member
I think the point of the OP is "if you don't know what epsilon and delta are, you can't understand limit proofs" or something like that.
It's not "if you know what epsilon and delta are, then you know how to do limit proofs".

Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
I think the point of the OP is "if you don't know what epsilon and delta are, you can't understand limit proofs" or something like that.
It's not "if you know what epsilon and delta are, then you know how to do limit proofs".
But would rudimentary Greek actually help in this situation? If I take a symbol from any alphabet and say "this symbol represents W.XYZ" how will knowing what the symbol originally mean help?

To learn math, you first have to learn hebrew. :rofl:

Actually, the original poster is correct. When I joined a fraternity and they taught me the entire Greek language, my math & physics grades just skyrocketed.

On a sidenote, what I said above is completely false.

Pengwuino
Gold Member
I see a lot of people having problems in physics in here but almost all of those problems could be solved if Greek was taught in the elementary curriculum.

How many of you were taught Greek, learned Greek, or still don't know why it's so important?
This is nonsense. The greek alphabet, as used in science, is just a series of symbols that represent numbers and functions. All you're doing is identifying a certain pattern of ink on a piece of paper with a number or concept in your mind. How in the world would understanding even a single Greek word or a single concept in grammar under the Greek language make that any easier?

I've never met a student who didn't understand a concept because they didn't know what a Greek letter meant in the context of the language. You're confusing not understanding what the physical implication of the letter is and what the letter is in the context of the language.

I'm pretty sure that the OP meant it as a joke and that zoobyshoe figured it out.

However, if I'm wrong, could the OP please provide us with the name of a person who is having trouble with a physics problem, along with the problem itself, and how teaching Greek in elementary school would help solve it.

The OP asks how many of us still don't know why it is important. I, for one, still don't know and I blame the OP for it. For the record, I did not learn Greek in elementary school, nor at any other time either. The closest I came was in high school where one of my English teachers did a sequence on Greek and Latin roots along with Greek and Roman mythology. I was taught that Zeus is Jupiter which hasn't helped me in astronomy one bit. It isn't even true. It's like saying Obama is Putin.

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fluidistic
Gold Member
But would rudimentary Greek actually help in this situation? If I take a symbol from any alphabet and say "this symbol represents W.XYZ" how will knowing what the symbol originally mean help?
Of course not. I was just saying what I think the OP meant.

Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
Of course not. I was just saying what I think the OP meant.
Ah, I see

maybe if the Greeks had learned Greek, their economy wouldn't be up the creek

Αριστοτέλης κανόνες!

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Office_Shredder
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Μπορώ να χρησιμοποιήσω το Google Translate πάρα πολύ

MATLABdude
I see a lot of people having problems in physics in here but almost all of those problems could be solved if Greek was taught in the elementary curriculum.

How many of you were taught Greek, learned Greek, or still don't know why it's so important?
I think learning Greek is absolutely essential! For a lesser example, that's how knowledge of the letter 'a' in the Latin alphabet lends itself to the understanding of the antidisestablishmentarianist movement in 16th century England and its applicability to 21st century American separation between church and state! That aside, you may wish to address your fundamental weakness and force yourself to learn Hindu and Arabic to properly do math.

I think learning Greek is absolutely essential! For a lesser example, that's how knowledge of the letter 'a' in the Latin alphabet lends itself to the understanding of the antidisestablishmentarianist movement in 16th century England and its applicability to 21st century American separation between church and state! That aside, you may wish to address your fundamental weakness and force yourself to learn Hindu and Arabic to properly do math.
Could you please translate this into Greek so I can really truly understand it? I would also like to say that Aristotle had the Theory of Everything over 2300 years ago. Today's physicists should be trying to find the right combinations of earth, air, water and fire that different things are made of rather than building gigantic machines to find some ridiculously small particle they call the Higgs boson. How could something so small be important anyway?

The physicist's place is in the kitchen, testing recipes. It's true this will involve some dirt, but there's nothing wrong with getting your hands dirty with honest work.

MATLABdude