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Petra Mens-Omtzigt

(1963)
Teacher of Modern Greek
Petra
Hi, my name is Petra Mens-Omtzigt and I am a teacher of Modern Greek by profession since 2001, even before I graduated as a Master of Arts from The University of Amsterdam. I have been occupied with Modern Greek for a long time, even before I started studying Modern Greek Language and Literature at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands in 1996.

I once started as a young girl, on my own without a teacher, in a time when there were only a few books Modern Greek in Dutch and no internet at all. Jokingly, I often tell my students that I have found myself in all the pitfalls of Modern Greek grammar .... and soon my personal mission became for me:
"how can I make this beautiful language attractive and accessible to a large audience?"
for sure, there is no greater language than Greek!

This resulted in 2005 in my first book, Modern Greek for Beginners, of finally 4 books that I wrote with the title Dàt is Grieks voor mij! (a Dutch version of the so called “It’s all Greek to me”, but to state that it actually can be learned) And no matter how important books are, when learning a language you can't ignore the importance of listening and speaking, so I searched for new possibilities.

Since 2016, I have been working together with Bernard, a fabulous guy withrofound knowledge of Greek and programming computers on the website www.grieksonline.nl, which means that since that moment we can also offer lessons on Modern Greek online via internet, fully adapted to this time. Recently we published my first book Nieuwgrieks voor Beginners from 2005 as an online book with integrated audio and visual material in Dutch. The English translation of this e-book has recently published on www.greekebook.com. We can’t wait to hear your experiences.

Bernard Aukema

(1986)
Programmer
Bernard
I was fascinated by the Greek Language since I was approximately 17 years old. However at school the Old-Greek courses and history didn't get my attention, I got familiar to the Greek alphabet and a little grammar anyway. Learning languages didn't have my attention, because I had more technical affinity. In my spare time I was already programming a lot, and making fun of publishing of websites for myself or for friend of mine. I learned myself HTML, PHP, ASP and Javascript to construct interactive websites.

In the same period, I got connected with a Greek pen-friend from Athens who sent me some music from Greece, and we learned each other some basic word expressions from our countries. Next to Greek, I listened a lot of Italian music as well. The Italian language was a little bit understandable and the sounds were familiar with the Dutch pronunciation. However, Greek was a totally different language without any clues to understand. On top of that, I was not able to hear separate words (spaces) for instance!
Learning Modern Greek became something 'exotic' for me because of the difficulty. The years after, during my study of Architecture at the technical university of Delft, I fell in love with a half-Greek girl. Since than I focused more and more on Modern Greek music, language and culture because of her roots.

Slowly, I knew more single words but speaking Greek was still far away. I already was looking for Greek courses, but because of limited time during my study, I decided to wait. When I started working, I contacted Petra to follow a Greek course at her private school in the Netherlands, to boost my Greek speaking-skills. Since then I quickly learned Greek better and better. Petra learned me how to construct simple sentences with two verbs (for instance: I WANT to DRINK...), and she explained the Greek Grammar in a fun and very structural way. Following her learning method en lessons stimulated me to keep learning!
I mentioned that the Greek Language is so structured and is so logic, that I should be able to program the grammar! I started to build a script that constructed random sentences automatically.
After my first attempts, Petra and I became so enthusiastic and fanatic that we launched the website: www.grieksonline.nl five months later; a website for Dutch people to learn, practice the Greek Language. The most content is connected to sound-files, so people can hear the correct Greek pronounciation. The website is also usefull during Petra's lessons.
I am still very proud of the result, that gave my programming skills a boost as well...

Later, we made this international Greek E-book.com based on Petra's succesfull course Dàt is Grieks voor mij!.

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