The Organising Committee for 2016 comprises volunteers of first, second and third generation Greek Australians including John Pandazopoulos and myself.
The Organising Committee's policy is to encourage the various stakeholders to initiate, develop and implement activities appropriate to their own fields of endeavour.
For example, schools that teach Greek may organise during March (but also throughout the year) competitions, celebrations, debates, lectures and special projects related to the Greek language.
The Committee chose March for the campaign for a number of reasons. March incorporates a plethora of Greek cultural activities, it is the beginning of the school year and includes the celebration of the Greek National Day.
Speak Greek in March Themes
To assist schools and other organisations as well as individuals to plan for their participation in next month's campaign, we have developed an exciting concept to ensure a heightened interest on a daily basis. We have identified 31 themes, one for each day of the month - see attachment/link. The themes vary from simple topics like the "alphabet", "arithmetic", "grammar" to "philosophy", "politics", "economics", "the Olympics" and "mythology" to name a few. All the themes chosen are English words which have their origin in the Greek language.
To read about the themes for each day, click here.
Do you speak Greek?
Do you speak Greek? No you say, but you do, because the English language has 490,000 words out of which nearly 42,000 are of Greek origin. In a typical English dictionary with about 75,000 words, about 5% of the words are directly borrowed from Greek. The real percentage is more like 25%, as many Greek words, which were borrowed originally by Latin, ended up in English.
For more information on the Greek origins of many English words, click here.
And for a list of some of these wordsm click here.
Speak Greek in March - Australia-wide and overseas!
While the campaign originated in Melbourne, it has quickly spread to other parts of Australia and overseas. The aspiration of the organising Committee is that the campaign be embraced not only by the Hellenic Diaspora, but also by the other minority communities in Australia.
|Victoria from Speak Greek in March at the Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial. Photo Jim Claven 2016|
|Anzac's from NSW with Evzone's on the Acropolis, 1941. AWM|
Anzac's Speaking Greek
When the Anzac's arrived in Greece in 1915 and again in 1941, they were welcomed by the Greek people. Famously in 1915 one Australian nurse gave up-to-date midwifery advice to all the midwives on Lemnos. Photographs abound of the camaraderie between the Anzacs and their Greek hosts - like the famous one above - taken on the Acropolis in March 1941.
|Ballarat's Lt Henry Moran with his copy of the Crete News from 1941. Photo Ballarat Courier|
Did you know that when the Anzac's arrived on Crete to defend the Island in May 1941, they were given some tips on how to speak Greek! Not many words, but a start. Here it is reproduced from the Allied troops newspaper, Crete News:
|Excerpt from Crete News, Friday May 16th 1941, Vol 1 No 1. Courtesy of Mick Moran|
Thanks to Mick Moran, the son of Anzac Henry Moran, MiD, for supplying this information.
To read the media release for Speak Greek in March, please click here.
Public Relations Sub-Committee - "Speak Greek in March" Campaign
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee