All sound Greek to you? Well, not anymore! Here is a list of common Greek phrases for you to enhance your Greek vocabulary.


To start with, here is the Greek alphabet

click image to enlarge

There are 24 letters in the Greek alphabet. The Greek language does not use the same characters as English (although most of the English alphabet is derived from the equivalent letters in Greek, which in turn was adapted from the Phoenician alphabet).

For Greek phrases, common expressions, Greek for tourists and other useful phrases we highly recommend this site GreekLessonPages  or this site BBC  which both include phonetic audio links too. 

The Greek Language

If you are visiting Greece you can quite happily enjoy your stay with absolutely no knowledge of the Greek language. Many of the Greeks you meet, such as personnell in shops and hotels, waiters or bar staff, are usually able to speak English. They also speak other languages, such as French, German, Italian, Spanish or Arabic. As these people have made such an effort to learn your language, it only seems polite to at least make a small effort to be able to speak a little Greek back, and who knows, you may even start to enjoy it.

When starting out, the first thing to remember is keep it simple. It is amazing how you can soon learn to communicate with just a few words, some hand gestures and a bit of miming. If you try learning long, grammatically perfect sentences, you will probably get a long sentence back that you will simply not understand.

Most Greeks you meet will appreciate that you have at least made an effort, and will be happy to help you out with the pronunciation of any words you may be having difficulty with, so don't be shy, and have a go.

As the Greek alphabet is different from the English, it is best at this stage to ignore the written word and concentrate on the pronunciation of a few useful words. You will be given the word, followed by a pronunciation guide based on English sounds. It is also important to stress words in the correct place, so to indicate which part of the word needs to be stressed, that part will be written using bold (red color) type.

In Greece, when you first meet someone it is polite to give then a greeting such as hello or good morning, so this seems to be a good place to start.

Hello > Yasas > This can be used as a greeting at any time of the day.

Good morning > Kaleemera

Good evening > Kaleespera

On leaving you may wish to say goodbye.

Goodbye > Adeeo

Goodnight > Kaleeneekhta

While out shopping you may wish to check the price of something, you can always point to the item you are thinking of buying and ask:

How much is it > Poso kanee

Having bought the item you may wish to say thank you to the shopkeeper:

Thank you > Efkhareesto

Here are a few more words that you should find to be useful:

Yes > Ne

No > Okhee

Please/Don't mention it > Parakalo

Excuse me/Sorry > Seegnomee

This is just to get you going, so don't get embarrassed, and give it a try.

Page Last Updated > June 30, 2006.

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