March has rolled around for another year, and with it too the Speak Greek in March campaign.
Now in its fourth year, the popular Melbourne-originated campaign is once again setting out to encourage people to initiate, develop, and implement activities that promote the use of the Greek language within their own fields.
To maintain people’s interest throughout the month in a bid to achieve the campaign’s desired outcome, each year organisers select a topic of focus with activities for each day of March. In 2017 it was countries from the Hellenic diaspora covering all five continents, and this year it is the Greek language itself.
“We will be exploring in greater depth issues of relevance to the Greek language,” revealed Christina Despoteris, secretary of the Speak Greek in March campaign.
“Topics such as the history of the Greek language and contribution to other languages; why the retention of the Greek language is important in the diaspora? How can students from Greece help in this retention?”
Some of her suggestions include establishing a sister-school relationship, and playing games, with a big focus on technology such as app development, social media, and regular Skype interactions to help students learn Greek.
A number of schools and community organisations have jumped on board this year, with a range of initiatives organised.
Among them, organisation ‘ENA’ is sponsoring two scholarships to be awarded to Greek students to assist in their learning of the language.
NUGAS, as in previous years, will be taking part sharing activities via its website and social media channels to engage tertiary students; and Omiros College Greek Language & Cultural School is organising activities for students. Alphington Grammar School, which is fittingly hosting its sister-school, the First Junior High School from Voula, Athens, will be putting on a session for students to exchange ideas about the Greek language.
Meanwhile the Federation of Greek Elderly Organisations will be hosting a meeting on Friday 9 March to discuss how grandparents can contribute to the learning of Greek.
“We believe that learning another language enhances one’s competence in his or her primary language,” explains Ms Despoteris.
“As language and culture are interrelated, retaining our mother tongue will strengthen our ability to maintain our cultural identity in multicultural Australia. It will also benefit Australia, as multilingualism in our globalised world is acknowledged to have cultural, educational and trade advantages.”
For more information on how to get involved in the Speak Greek in March campaign and to keep up-to-date with developments through the month, visit speakgreekinmarch.com/ or on Facebook @SpeakGreekInMarch where you can show your support by adding the logo and slogan to your Facebook profile photo.