Basic Greek Words: 30+ Great Phrases And Sayings To Know

Basic Greek Words

How about learning Basic Greek words so that you can converse with local Greek people? Many people who visit Greece want to learn some basic Greek phrases and words before their vacation. This article includes some useful Greek words that Greeks use on a daily basis.

Knowing basic Greek words and language will prove that you’re not just interested in learning the language but also want to be a part of their community. Take a look at what you need to explore first before meeting your Greek friends.

Introduction To Basic Greek Words And Language

The Greek language is one of a kind. The alphabet dates back thousands of years, and many of the terms we use now were also used in Ancient Greece.

The Greek alphabet is difficult for most tourists to master. However, after you’ve memorized the Greek letters, you should be able to read simple Greek words and phrases.

This will come in handy when commuting around Greece and the Greek islands since you will be able to read any traffic signs that are exclusively in Greek.

Useful Greek Words And Their Pronunciation

According to the prominent Greek linguist Georgios Babiniotis, the Greek language has over 100,000 words and Greek phrases. 

As you can imagine, very few of those words are used on a daily basis. Here are some of them.

‘Neh’ is the Greek word for ‘Yes.’ When we answer the phone, we also use Neh.

greek masks

What Are Some Basic Greek Words?

1. Yes – Neh – Ναι

Note: It’s worth noting that this precise word indicates ‘No’ in numerous other languages!

2. No – Óchi – Όχι

‘The Greek word for ‘No,’ chi’ or ‘hi,’ is a short word that many English speakers find difficult to pronounce. You can pronounce it as ‘oh-hee,’ with a hard ‘h’ sound.

3. Good Morning – Kaliméra – Καλημέρα

In Greece, ‘Kalimera’, in the basic Greek words list is one of the most commonly used terms. It is a compound word made up of the words kali, which means “excellent,” and imera, which means “day.”

‘Kaliméra,’ which literally translates to ‘good day,’ is commonly used when meeting someone for the first time throughout the day, or until late in the afternoon. It is perfectly OK to use it until 1-2 p.m.

4. Good Evening – Kalispéra – Καλησπέρα

In Greek, ‘Kalispéra’ means ‘happy evening.’ You can use it when you believe it is too late for ‘kaliméra,’ such as after 4-5 p.m.

Some people will convert to ‘kalispera’ just after lunchtime, which may seem a little severe given that it is not yet nightfall.

5. Goodnight – Kaliníhta – Καληνύχτα

‘Kalinchta’ is used to say goodnight to someone when you won’t see them again that evening.

It’s handy if you’re leaving a bar where you had dinner. If you stay in a hotel with a receptionist, you can say ‘kalinhta’ on your way back to your room.

6. Hello/Goodbye – Yiá, Yiássou, Yiássas – Γεια, Yεια σου, Yεια σας

If kaliméra, kalispéra, and kalinhta are too complicated, another customary greeting is yiássou, or yiássas. This basically means ‘to your health’ and can be used as both a greeting and a farewell.

7. Thank You – Efharistó – Ευχαριστώ

‘Efharistó’ is the first word that any courteous traveler will wish to learn, and it will make people smile. In fact, I’d argue that Greeks don’t say “thank you” as much as other people!

8. Please/You Are Welcome – Parakaló – Παρακαλώ

In contrast to ‘efharistó,’ the Greek word for ‘welcome’ is rather simple to pronounce: ‘pa-ra-ka-lo.’

We use the exact same word to say ‘please’ – not that you will hear this word all too often here!

10. Cheers – Yiá mas – Γεια μας

Assume you’ve ordered meals and beverages in a Greek taverna, and it’s now time to raise your glasses and shout ‘cheers.’ That is referred to as ‘yiámas’ or ‘yiá mas’, which means ‘to our health’.

11. Water – Neró – Νερό

Given that Greece is a warm nation, at least in the summer, the word ‘water’ may be the most helpful Greek term you learn.

If you wish to buy a bottle of water, know the words’mikró’ (little) and’megálo’ (large).

Basic Greek Words Tourists Need to Know

The Greek language is difficult to learn and speak. When traveling anyplace in the globe, learning a few phrases like ‘hello,’ ‘please,’ and ‘thank you’ is always a kind gesture, and the Greeks appreciate the effort, no matter how excellent or awful the attempt. These are essential greek words.

General Rule Of Thumb: Greetings

Up until 12:00pm, you would say ‘kalimera’ (good morning), but from then on, ‘yia sas’ (hello) will be the usual greeting. From late afternoon through the end of the day, you will hear ‘kalispera’ (good afternoon/evening). You would say ‘kalinihta’ after leaving a restaurant or passing by the hotel reception desk on your way back to your room (good night). Want to prepare before going to Greece? Here are some Greek Travel Phrases that you might enjoy.

basic greek words to greet

Responses To Greetings

If you’ve put your best Greek phrases to the test, many Greeks may respond to your polite greeting with any of the following:

Kalo-so-ri-sateh – welcome (or we welcome you)

Kalo Vrathi – wishing you a pleasant evening

Kalo Xi-mero-ma – wishing you good dawn or daybreak (usually after you’ve said “good night”)

Greek Pronunciation Pointers

Pronouncing the letter “g” when we speak English is a tough one for those with English-speaking backgrounds. The “g” or gamma in Greek can be pronounced like a “y” as in yellow and also as a soft “g” which we don’t have an exact reference for in English.

In basic terms you pronounce the “y” when we speak English like “yellow” when it has an “I” or “E” after it; e.g. Giro is YEE-ROH.

You use a soft “g” when there is an “A” “O” or “U” after it. E.g. Gala (milk) is “GH-ALA”. Think of the CH in bach or the Loch Ness monster.

Listen for this soft “g” sound in the phonetic audio below in “SIG-NOMI” (sorry or excuse me).

Learning A New Language Like Greek Is Always Fun

I am a great believer that communicating with natives in a distant location in one’s original language is a rewarding experience. Aside from the enjoyment of learning a new language, conversing with people in their native tongue will endear you to them even more as a visitor.

Some languages are simple to learn, while others are difficult. Greek, in my opinion, falls in the middle of the range. That’s simply because the Greek alphabet is more distinct than the Spanish and French alphabets. However, with only these 30 fundamental words, you’ll be able to tour Greece like a true native! Related Article Link: Greek Travel Phrases: #1 Accurate Guide

What Are The Most Common Words And Greetings In Basic Greek?

1. YAH-Soo – Hello And Goodbye

Every interaction, of course, begins with a simple “hi”! in the local language, The Greek language is remarkable in that “hello” and “goodbye” are the same words. Yah-soo, like ciao in Spanish/Italian and annyeong in Korean, may be used as a welcome as well as a farewe2. Eff-kha-ri-STO – Thank you to speak greek.

2. Eff-Kha-Ri-STO – Thank You

A good traveller is one who is courteous and good at speaking Greek if one is traveling Greek. When you’re in Greece, you’ll probably hear the term Effkharisto a lot. So give yourself some additional time to perfect your speech! Fortunately, it’s pronounced the same way it’s spelt!

3. Para-Kah-LOE – Please/You’re Welcome

Another Greek term with two meanings! You’ll most usually use this term to express “please,” but it might also signify “I beg your pardon.

4. Neh – Yes; OH-Hee – No

As in “neh”, I would like to visit the Acropolis in Athens, but “Ohhee”, I do not want to walk all the way there in the summer heat! 

5. See-GHNO-Mee – Sorry/Excuse Me

Athens is frequently busy during the day, particularly in tourist areas. If you come across someone who is impeding your progress, use this to grab their attention and request passage. If you trod on their foot WHILE you’re passing by, apologies again.

6. Endáxi – Okay/All Right

That’s not to suggest the Greeks don’t grasp the word “Okay.” After all, that is an international term. However, if you want to sound more like a native, use this term instead!

7. The Main Question Words

Look at the questions enlisted.

Before you can learn how to form certain questions, pay attention to these important question words and memorize them! 

How To Ask For Directions In Greek?

1. Edó – Here; Eki – There 

When all else fails, just point and say these words! 

2. Pou Ine To – Where Is The…

As in, pou une to nearest McDonald’s restaurant? 

3. Pou Pao Sto – How Can I Get To…

Another crucial phrase to remember when asking for directions. Don’t worry, I understand that simply memorising this sentence is insufficient. So, at the very end of this essay, I’ve added a table with some popular places and nouns to go with it.

4. Pou Mporo Na Vro – Where Can I Find…

Yes, yes, pou mporo na vro the key to your heart? -wink- 

5. Tha Ithela Na Pao – I Would Like To Go To…

If you forget how to use this phrase, your best chance is to get out a map and point!

6. Boreeteh Na Meh Voytheeseteh – Can You Help Me?

If you’re attempting to get instructions from someone on the street, this sentence is critical. However, I would not advocate uttering this remark in front of the Olympian Gods. They’re not well-known for being particularly helpful.

how to ask for help in greek

7. Pooh Eemeh? – Where Am I?

Speaking of the Olympians, in the unlikely event that you meet Dionysus in human form and get completely wasted before waking up somewhere you have no memory of, remember this phrase! 

8. Pooh Eeneh I Tualéta? – Where Is The Toilet?

And of course, the most important location (in my opinion at least) every traveler needs to know. After all, a happy traveller is one who travels with a relatively comfortable bladder. 

How To Order Food In Greek?

1. Tha Ithela Na Parageilo Parakalo – I Would Like To Order, Please

You might also raise your hand to draw attention to yourself. But approaching the waiter with this simple Greek phrase? They’ll be impressed, I’m sure.

2. Tha Ithela Na Eho – I Would Like To Have…

Again, just knowing this phrase isn’t enough. So I’ve got a table below with some common nouns. Don’t worry, I won’t abandon you the way the Olympians abandon their children!

3. Tha Mporousa Na Eho Ligo Nero? – Could I Have Some Water? 

Surprisingly, Nero was a Roman Emperor most known for setting the Great Fire of Rome. But don’t worry, if you say “Tha mporousa na eho ligo nero,” you will get a glass of water.

Learn Greek With Ling!

We have your back at Ling App! Start learning with Ling and improve your vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation if you want to have smooth discussions with native speakers. Greek is a handy language to be spoken and to be learned. There are basic Greek words that ought to be learned if one has to visit Greek or the nearby areas where Greek is being used as a first language.

In this article, one can clearly grasp basic ideas and basic words to communicate in Greek with locals in an easy way. You must have realized after readings this article that Greek is not that much tough, and anyone who has a good command of English can easily ace this language.

What are you waiting for? You can start becoming a master of the Greek language by downloading the Ling app on the Play Store or App Store now!

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