"If the violin is the most perfect musical instrument, the Greek language is the violin of the human thought" - Hellen Keller
I'm sure you have used or heard the phrase "it's all Greek to me" before! The phrase is an expression used when you have not understood what is being said or there has been an excessive use of slang. However, being a native speaker of the Greek language I can vouch it is indeed quite complex and difficult even for us native speakers sometimes! The language has words that cannot be translated into any other language and there is literally a word to express anything and everything you can imagine.
And its not enough that its hard to learn; the Greeks also have a reputation that they love to talk, non stop and in the major cities they also speak very fast! On top of that all of this can also be complemented by the the mediterranean temperament of talking loud and with hand gestures!
In Greek there is a formal and informal way to address or speak to others. A rule of thumb is to use the formal way, unless you know the person well. However, as a newbie to Greek, even using the informal will go down well. Greeks love it when you try and speak their language.
Although Greek is the official language in Greece (and in Cyprus), you will find that the majority of the younger generations now speak fluent English too. Nevertheless, there is no better way to indulge in a culture than learning the language, or at least learning some basic phrases. This way the locals will feel more connected to you and you will see that their immediate reaction will be to respond in Greek and maybe even try to teach you some more. Win-win!
Now, Greek is not an easy plug and play language, but you can definitely try to learn some basic phrases. So I have created a cheat sheet for you with some basic phrases and their phonetic breakdown for you to download on your phone.
Click on the image below or the pdf link below the image to download your free copy of the My Greek Island Basic Greek Phrases for you to use during your trips to Greece.
Interested about learning a more than just the basic phrases before your trip? My Greek Island Podcast co-host (and favourite travel buddy!) has designed a course to help travellers learn Greek in an easy, fast and fun way.
George is bilingual in Greek-English having been born and raised in Greece before moving to the UK at the age of 10 and is also fluent in two more languages (French and Italian).
So book an online session with George to learn a few more phrases before you head to Greece. To learn more about booking a class with George, click here to email us quoting the subject "Greek with George".
And also, don't forget to listen to Episode 6 of the My Greek Island Podcast: Basic Greek Phrases - Part 1.
Click here or find us on your podcast platform of choice.
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