“Who says Greek is a dead language?” asked Athens’ Kathimerini in an editorial. “Certainly not our neighbors.” Greek is quickly becoming one of the most popular foreign languages for students across the Balkans. In Serbia and other former Yugoslav countries, and even in Romania and Bulgaria, the ability to speak Greek confers instant status. We’d like to believe that the newfound popularity reflects a perception of Greece as a center of European culture. The reality, unfortunately, is more banal. Greece is one of the only countries with companies willing to invest in the perennially unstable Balkans. Having gone through our own economic transition in the 1950s and ’60s, we’re not intimidated by the unpredictability of post-communist economies. So there are plenty of Greek firms doing business in the region. Most of the students seeking fluency in our language are simply “eager to find jobs.” Still, even if Greek has had to pay its own way, no one can deny it’s “on the rise.”
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