When visiting any country it pays to try and learn a few local words and in Greece the people appreciate your attempts at common Greek phrases even if they are wrong.
Whilst it may seem like a difficult language at first you will be surprised how quickly you pick things up. As one of the oldest languages in the world and over 5000 words used or adapted in English you probably already know more than you think.
I am in no way fluent in Greek but usually remember enough each visit to get by, and most people speak English anyway. I’ve listed a few tips that I use below in red which might help you as well.
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kalimera = good morning – καλημέρα. M for Morning!
kalispera = good afternoon – καλησπέρα. Used only when coming to a place or meeting someone in the evening or at night. P for PM!
kalinihta = good night – καληνύχτα. Used only as a goodbye greeting in the evening or at night.
yassou = hello or goodbye – γειά σου. A greeting to one person or a friend. Ou for just one of YOU!
yassas = hello or goodbye – γειά σας. A greeting to more people or a more formal and polite way to greet an unknown person
Yassou file mou Yanni = Hello my friend Yanni
Other useful phrases
Efharisto = Thank you
Parakalo = You’re Welcome
Parakalo = Please ( yes, the same as above – its a handy word)
yes = Nai ( the opposite of what feels natural right!)
No = oxi
Sorry/excuse me – Sigonmi ( sick on me)
Milate Anglika? = Do you speak English?
Logariasmo parakalo = The bill, please.
Mporo na bgalo mia fotografia? = May I take a photo?
Then katalaveno = I don’t understand
Ela = Come
Pos se lene? = What is your name?
Fiye = Go away!
Me lene … = My name is …
Ise omorfi = you are beautiful
Apo pou eisai? = Where are you from?
Eimai apo Anglia = I am from England
Thelo ena kafe = I want a coffee
Ehete thomatio? = Do you have a room?
Thelo ena tsai = I want a tea
Thelo mia mpira = I want a beer
Cheers/Salute – Stiniyahmas ( skinny arses)
Wine = krasi
Menu = menou
Taxi = taxi
Church = Ekklisia
Airport = Aerodromia
Ferry = Porthmeio
Love = agapi
Doll = koukla ( often used for small children/babies)
Oops/Yay – Opa!
If you’d like to learn more common Greek phrases try a free online course or check with the local Greek Orthodox Church in your area. Like any language practice makes perfect and the more you try and use your knowledge the more likely you will retain it.