Speak Greek next March The month-long celebration of Greek language is set to return

Following the success of this year’s inaugural Speak Greek in March (SGM) campaign, the initiative encouraging use of the Greek language at home is set to return in 2016.

Heading the campaign is committee member Mike Zafiropoulos AM, who is excited to be taking maintenance of the Greek language Down Under one step further.

“This campaign is important, because despite our community’s efforts, our language continues to decline in such a way that if current trends continue, subsequent generations will not speak Greek as a second language in Australia,” Mr Zafiropoulos told Neos Kosmos.

The committee, which held its first meeting on Tuesday, saw key institutions come on board, including the Greek Community of Melbourne and Victoria, the Greek Australian Cultural League, the Modern Greek Teachers Association, Greek media, and various other individuals such as former minister of the Victorian government, John Pandazopoulos.

While next year’s SGM will borrow from this year’s program, there will be a slightly different approach. To extend the reach of the campaign’s message and target young people, Mr Zafiropoulos says social media will play a crucial role.

Additionally, he says “the campaign’s marketing subcommittee has proposed for next year the identification of 10 thematic categories and 31 specific themes, one for each day of the month of March.”

In conjunction with the campaign, former chief examiner for Modern Greek in Victoria, Kyriakos Amanatides, will also be publishing a book entitled Learn Greek through the English Language, highlighting the large number of words of Greek origin found in the English language.

The committee’s concern for language preservation, however, extends beyond the Greek language. At the meeting, chair of Community Languages Australia Tasos Douvartzidis spoke about the United Nation’s proposed International Year of the Mother Tongue.

Set to take place in February, representatives of other language groups will gather at Parliament House, where they will also learn about the Greek language campaign and hopefully be inspired to implement their own future campaigns.
But what Mr Zafiropoulos can’t stress enough is that for the initiative to be a true success, all who play a role in promoting the Greek language need to get on board, including parents and grandparents, children, Greek language schools and community organisations, extending right through to the broader Australian community.

Though he says he is happy with the campaign’s success thus far, it is clear that the vision is long-term.

“We will know that we have achieved our mission when over the medium term we ascertain that we have arrested the current decline of our language,” he concludes.

For more information and to stay up to date, visit www,speakgreekinmarch.com