Thursday, July 16, 2009

Greece: Language

The Greek language is a beautiful language that has been in some of the greatest stories, poetry, plays, history writing, and philosophical dialogues. Over 15 million people speak the official Greek language. According to the CDC 99% of citizens of Greece speak Greek. When visiting Greece, it may be a good idea to learn a few phrases. There is a website that is trying to promote the Greek language, and the information they have provided is greatly appreciated.

When walking around in Greece
Excuse me -- Signomi
Thank you -- Efharisto (in a restaurant or café thank you is better: Efharistoomay)
Do you speak English? -- Milatay Ag-glika? Spanish? Hispanika
How far is it? -- Posso makria eenay?
Excuse me, where is…? -- Signomi, poo eenay…?

If you are at a restaurant:
How much is this? -- Posso Kanay Afto?
Do you have a toilet? -- Eheeyete Too-aletta?
Can we see a menu? – Boroomay na doomay enna menoo?
Can we pay the bill? – Booroomay na plirosoomay?
Too expensive – Polee akrivo
For me – Ya menna
That’s fine – Andaxi
OK – Andaxi (but remember what hand gesture NOT to use!)
It’s good (food, anything) – Oraya

Introducing yourself:
Good morning/good day (until about 13:00 or so) – Kalimera
Good Afternoon or Good evening – Kalispera
Good night -- Kalinihxta
See you/Hello/Hi -- Yassas ("Yassoo" is usually used for those you know or people much younger than you)
How are you – Ti-kanis
Well/good – Kala
I do not understand – Den katalave’no
What is your name? – Pos se le’ne?
Nice to meet you – He’ro poli’
How are you? -- Ti ka'nete?

How much does this cost? -- Po'so ka'ni afto'
What is this? -- Ti' i'ne afto'
I'll buy it -- Tha to agora'so
I would like to buy -- Tha I'thela na agora'so
Do you have -- 'Ehete
Do you accept credit cards? -- Pe'rnete pistotike's ka'rtes

Traveling and directions:
Are there any vacancies for tonight? -- e'hete e'na doma'tio gia' apo'pse
Where is ...? -- pou i'ne
How much is the fare? -- Po'so ka'ni to isiti'rio
One ticket to ..., please -- E'na isiti'rio gia..., parakalo'
Where are you going? -- Pou' pa'te
Where do you live? -- Pou' me'nis

English is the most widely studied and understood of foreign languages in Greece. All personnel in the tourism industry should have basic knowledge of English, as well as any person under 40.

Have you ever said anything to anyone in another language, and find out it meant something totally different?


  1. This is a great post... too bad I don't have the first idea on how to pronounce anything in Greek! :)

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