Greek Language – Lesson 1

When in Greece, it is fun to try to speak some Greek. It is quite a difficult language to learn, especially because of its non-roman alphabet, multi-syllabic words and grammatical rules. But don’t let that put you off. Have a go – the Greek people love it when tourists make an effort; they appreciate how difficult it is for us! Here are a few common phrases that you could try on your first visit to Greece. I have written the word phonetically, as you would say it, and have underlined the syllable that you should stress.

Greek Lesson 1

Hello/Goodbye (to someone you don’t know, or to a group of people) Yassas
Hello/Goodbye (to someone you are familiar with) Yassoo
Good evening (to someone you don’t know, or to a group of people) Kalispera sas
Good evening (to someone you are familiar with) Kalispera
Good morning (to someone you don’t know, or to a group of people)Kalimera sas
Good morning (to someone you are familiar with)Kalimera
Thank youEfharisto
Please Parakalo
I would like… Tha ithela …
…a coffee (you will be given a traditional Greek coffe) Enas caffes
…a Nescafe (if you don’t want a Greek coffee) Mia Nescafe
…a beer Mia beera
…a small bottle of water Ena mikro boukali nero
…a large bottle of water Ena megalo boukali nero
…the menu, pleaseTo menu, parakalo
…the bill, pleaseTon logariasmo parakalo
Where are the toilets?Poo eene ee tooalettes
Do you speak English please? Milaatay Anglika parakalo

I often give my guests an easy way of remembering some of the words.  For example, saying “a ferret’s toe” quickly, sounds very much like “efharisto” for Thank You.  And “parrots galore” said quickly and without sounding the “s” sounds very much like “parakalo” for Please.

One evening a guest came back to The Tower House, having been determined to practise some Greek that day.  She was quite despondent, saying that no-one understood her when she was trying to say “Thank You”.  I asked her what phrase she had been using.  “A weasel’s tail” she replied.    Hmmmm….. not quite the same as a ferret’s toe, but I can see her line of thinking…!



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