Learn Greek words, Learn how to speak Greek

Learn Basic Greek Words And Phrases

Greek language is considered as one of the most difficult languages to learn. This page is not going to teach you how to speak Greek, but you can learn some basic Greek words and phrases in order to impress your friends in Crete.

As it happens in every country, people in Crete will be glad to hear you trying to speak their language. Even if all you can say is “kalimera” or “Yassou”, people will smile and open up.

Greetings in Greek

In all the following, “e” is read as in “egg” and “th” is read as in “this”. The emphasis in pronunciation falls on the syllable which is in underlined script

kalimera = good morning – καλημέρα. Used both when coming to and going away from a place.

kalispera = good afternoon – καλησπέρα. Used only when coming to a place or meeting someone in the evening or at night.

kalinihta = good night – καληνύχτα. Used only as a goodbye greeting in the evening or at night.

herete (e as in egg) = hello – χαίρετε, used between 10:00 and 14:00

yassou = hello or goodbye – γειά σου (greeting to one person or a friend)

yassas = hello or goodbye – γειά σας (greeting to more persons or a more formal and polite way to greet an unknown person)

adio = goodbye – αντίο

Yassou file mou Niko = Hello my friend Niko, an easy way to please a Greek friend of yours.

Names of Towns and Places in Crete and Greece

In all the following, “e” is read as in “egg” and “th” is read as in “this”. The emphasis in pronunciation falls on the syllable which is in underlined script.

  • Ellatha = Greece – Ελλάδα
  • Ellinas = Greek (man) – Ελληνας
  • Ellinitha = Greek (woman) – Ελληνίδα
  • Athina = Athens – Αθήνα
  • Kriti = Crete – Κρήτη
  • kritikos = Cretan man – Κρητικός
  • kritikia = Cretan woman – Κρητικιά
  • Iraklio = Heraklion – Ηράκλειο
  • Hania = Chania – Χανιά
  • Rethimno = Rethymnon – Ρέθυμνο
  • Ayios Nikolaos = Agios Nikolaos – Αγιος Νικόλαος
  • Sitia = Sitia – Σητεία
  • Knossos = Knossos – Κνωσός
  • Phaistos = Phaistos – Φαιστός
  • Samaria = Samaria (Gorge) – Σαμαριά. Most tourist guides call it Samaria, which is wrong because the emphasis is on the last syllable. The same applies to Chania, Knossos and Phaistos.

Learn the Greek Numbers:

Greek numbers – How to count in Greek, learn numbers in Greek and math symbols.

Learn the Colours in Greek

  • aspro = white – άσπρο
  • lefko = white – λευκό
  • mavro = black – μαύρο
  • gri = grey – γκρι
  • kokkino = red – κόκκινο
  • ble = blue – μπλε
  • kitrino = yellow – κίτρινο
  • prassino = green – πράσινο
  • kafe = brown – καφέ
  • mov = purple – μωβ
  • galazio = light blue – γαλάζιο

Greek Names of countries

  • Alvania = Albania – Αλβανία
  • Ameriki = USA – ΗΠΑ
  • Anglia = England – Αγγλία
  • Finlanthia = Finland – Φινλανδία
  • Gallia = France – Γαλλία
  • Iaponia = Japan – Ιαπωνία
  • Ispania = Spain – Ισπανία
  • Italia = Italy – Ιταλία
  • Kanathas = Canada – Καναδάς
  • Kina = China – Κίνα
  • Norviyia = Norway – Νορβηγία
  • Ollanthia = Holland – Ολλανδία
  • Polonia = Polland – Πολωνία
  • Rossia = Russia – Ρωσία
  • Souithia = Sweden – Σουηδία
  • Thania = Denmark – Δανία
  • Tourkia = Turkey – Τουρκία
  • Velyio = Belgium – Βέλγιο
  • Voulgaria = Bulgaria – Βουλγαρία
  • Yermania = Germany – Γερμανία

Learn Common Greek Phrases

In all the following, “e” is read as in “egg” and “th” is read as in “this”. The emphasis in pronunciation falls on the syllable which is in underlined script.

Efharisto = Thank you Parakalo = Your Welcome

Milate Anglika? = Do you speak English?

Milate Yermanika? = Do you speak German?

Then katalaveno = I don’t understand

Pos se lene? = What is your name?

Me lene … = My name is …

Apo pou eisai? = Where are you from?

Eimai apo Anglia = I am from England

Thelo ena kafe = I want a coffee

Thelo ena tsai = I want a tea

Thelo mia mpira = I want a beer

Thelo ena poto = I want a drink

Thelo ena thomatio = I want a room

Ehete thomatio? = Do you have a room?

ya mia mera = for one day

ya thio meres = for two days

ya mia vthomatha = for one week

ya thio vthomathes = for two weeks

Poso kanei? = How much is it?Poso hrostao = How much do I owe?

Logariasmo parakalo = The bill, please.

Mporo na bgalo mia fotografia? = May I take a photo?

Ela = ComeFiye = Go away! (fi as in fish, ye as in yellow)

Ise omorfi = you are beautiful M’ areseis = I like you

S’ agapo = I love you

M’ agapas? = Do you love me?

Agapi mou = My love, Darling

Filise me = kiss me Fili = kiss

Filos / F ili = friend (male) / (female). Pay attention to the small difference from “kiss”.

Eho filo = I have a boyfriend

Eimai pantremeni = I am married (female)

The Greek Alphabet and the sounds of the Greek letters

greek alphabet

Combinations of letters (Greek diphthongs) :

greek letters combinations diphthongs

Greek words used in the English language

Many words used in English and other European languages come from Greek words. Here are some examples: apathy, basic, basis, cartographer, crisis, democratic, dialogue, enthusiasm, enthusiastic, geography, geometry, harmony, harmonic, history, magic, method, organ, organisation, organize, oxymoron, pachyderm, pathos, politics, problem, strategic, technology, telepathy, telephone, titanic.

A great percentage of medical terminology is also Greek:

In 1957 and 1959, the Greek economist Professor Xenophon Zolotas, Governor of the bank of Greece and Governor of the Funds for Greece, delivered two speeches in English using Greek words only. As Prof. Zolotas said:

“I always wished to address this Assembly in Greek, but I realized that it would have been indeed Greek to all present in this room. I found out, however, that I could make my address in Greek which would still be English to everybody. With your permission, Mr. Chairman, I shall do it now, using with the exception of articles and prepositions only Greek words”.

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