Opa! You’re heading to Greece and want to learn a few greetings in Greek to mingle among the locals. That’s very Greek of you! Let’s get onto it!
So you’re going to Greece, am I right? I bet that on your bucket list is exploring ruins, counting the shades of blue in the waters of the islands, and stuffing yourself with an incredible amount of feta cheese and halloumi completely doused in incredibly tasty olive oil. Just like on many other tourists’ bucket lists, learning Greek is not by far a priority.
Don’t worry, I completely understand, and I think I can tell you the reason why you may be a bit scared of this language – The Greek alphabet. The maximum interaction most of the tourists have with this alphabet is just through movies where college fraternities use and abuse them.
Greek people are known for being very friendly and welcoming. They are, in fact, one of the happiest, most uplifting, and friendly people in the entire world. That is why learning a few words in Greek can be a major help to make your passage through Greek lands as pleasant as possible.
Greek people will absolutely love your funny attempts to speak their language, and if you trade a little banter with them in their language, they will most likely first laugh at your horrible accent and then bend over backward to help you with whatever you need. If you get served with a bit of halva cake or a shot of ouzo at the end of your meal, you know that learning a few greek words was worth it.
This is the magic of new languages; they allow us to connect, get to know each other, to know other cultures, other influences, and traditions. Learning new languages allows us to get to know other realities and opens a new wide array of people you can eventually call friends!
Greetings in Greek
The most common way to greet in Greek is by using the Greek word Γειά σου (YAH-soo), which means Hello in English. It is used in various situations, such as greeting a friend or relative or saying hello as you walk into a shop or restaurant. It is often shortened to just Γεια (Ya), which is the equivalent of saying “hi” or “hey”. If you’re addressing more than one person, then you should use Γεια σας (YAH sas).
Another way to greet people is by saying Good morning/afternoon/night, depending on the time of the day you’re approaching people. This is formed by the Greek word Καλη (Kali) along with the words μέρα (Mera), σπέρα (Spera), or νυχτα (Nikta) for the morning, afternoon, or night, respectively.
Below you’ll find a series of sentences you can use during your trip to Greece, both in Greek and English. If you can’t memorize all of them, just keep this article with you and come back whenever you need it.
Common Greek Phrases Travellers Should Know
Here are some basic Greek phrases that might come in handy during your trip to Greece. These are sentences that everybody going to Greece should check out and learn. For every Greek phrase, you have the translation to the English alphabet and the English Translation.
- Where is the bathroom?: Πού είναι η τουαλέτα (Poh-EE-nay ee tua-LEH-tah)?
- Do you speak English?: Μιλάτε αγγλικά (Mee-LAH-teh ag-li-KAH)?
- Cheers!: Στην υγειά μας! (STIN-eh YAH-mas)
- Bottoms up!: Ασπρο πάτο (AHS-pro PAH-toh)
- How much is it?: Πόσο κάνει αυτό (POH-soh KAH-nee af-TOH)?
- I don’t understand: Δεν καταλαβαίνω (Then Kah-tah-lah-VEH-noh)
- Help! Βοήθεια (voh-EE-thee-yah)
- I love Greece: Αγαπώ την Ελλάδα (Ah-gah-POH teen Eh-LAH-tha)
- Oops!: Ωπα (OH-pa)
- So good/so cool: και γαμώ (kay-gaMOU)
- What’s up/How’s it going?: Τι λέει (tee-LEI)
If you want to learn a few more phrases, words, and vocabulary about the Greek language, head to our blog and check out all the incredible and fun articles available for you about this ancient language. We talk about topics that are very important and relevant to you, such as other useful travel phrases, some of the most common Greek names, and the best Greek dishes you must try on your trip.
Perhaps by this point, you’re already wearing a Toga, holding a scroll, calling your father centurion, and eating a whole Feta sandwich on your own, thinking that you’re already part of the Greek society; you couldn’t be more wrong. What you’ve just learned is just a tiny little piece of the world that is the greek language.
With the information I just gave you, you can absolutely steal a smile and a laugh from your waiter; however, you still don’t have the full knowledge to have a complete conversation with someone who speaks Greek fluently. There are still many things you have to learn and, most importantly, practice!
Yes, I know that the Greek language and alphabet may be a bit tricky, but don’t let that stop you from learning this beautiful language! I have a tool that will help you master it in no time!
Learn Greek With Ling App
It is called Ling app, and it is a language learning application that will help learn over 60 languages from all over the world, including Greek.
Lessons are focused on keeping you engaged, entertained, and most of all, learning at your own pace. You can learn by dedicating 15 minutes a day or full-on 2 hours daily. It is up to you!
You’ll learn both the greek alphabet and the ins and out’s of the Greek language through games, puzzles, and quizzes that will help you retain better relevant and useful information.