# How Many Of You Know Greek?

1. Dec 19, 2011

### onlinementor

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?

2. Dec 19, 2011

### Office_Shredder

Staff Emeritus
What?

3. Dec 19, 2011

### onlinementor

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.

4. Dec 19, 2011

### Office_Shredder

Staff Emeritus
What about the Greek language in particular lends itself to facilitating math education?

5. Dec 19, 2011

### Ivan92

I know the Greek alphabet? Does that count?

6. Dec 19, 2011

### zoobyshoe

Because often we hear people say "Math is Greek to me".

7. Dec 19, 2011

### SW VandeCarr

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).

Last edited: Dec 19, 2011
8. Dec 19, 2011

### fluidistic

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.

9. Dec 19, 2011

### Staff: Mentor

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.

10. Dec 19, 2011

### micromass

Staff Emeritus
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...

11. Dec 19, 2011

### fluidistic

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".

12. Dec 19, 2011

### Staff: Mentor

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?

13. Dec 19, 2011

### humanino

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

14. Dec 19, 2011

### KingNothing

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.

15. Dec 19, 2011

### Pengwuino

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.

16. Dec 19, 2011

### Jimmy Snyder

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.

Last edited: Dec 19, 2011
17. Dec 19, 2011

### fluidistic

Of course not. I was just saying what I think the OP meant.

18. Dec 19, 2011

### Staff: Mentor

Ah, I see

19. Dec 19, 2011

### Proton Soup

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

20. Dec 19, 2011

### SW VandeCarr

Αριστοτέλης κανόνες!

Last edited: Dec 19, 2011