My first trip to Greece was the very first trip I ever did alone. I was a reasonably introverted guy, freshly landed in Athens, and I had trouble getting to know people and connecting with the locals. I was getting through fine with just my English, but I felt that something was missing, people were nice and friendly, but the conversations I would start would always end a few sentences after the first contact.
Probably because people had a basic knowledge of English and were a bit afraid to keep the conversation going, and also because they would see me as a tourist that was there just to enjoy the views.
I was supposed to stay for a whole month in Greece, and after 2 days, I felt lonely and sad most of the time. I had a basic knowledge of Greek but nothing much that would allow me to have a conversation or at least show others that I cared about their culture and language.
So I decided to investigate a bit and learned how to introduce myself and ask some questions in Greek. Oh my god, this was life-changing! Suddenly, I was having entire conversations with people (in English, of course) just because locals saw my effort to learn their language and laughed at my horrible accent, which broke the ice! I met so many people, had incredible experiences, and learned so much about greek culture!
It was one of my best decisions. I spent one-morning learning and practicing some Greek sentences and words, and little did I know this would change my whole stay in this beautiful country!
This is why I decided to create this little guide where I’ll teach you some words and phrases that will help you talk to people in Greek and introduce yourself to them. You’ll see that you’ll get through to them much faster and start making friends in no time. Ready to learn? Πάμε! (Páme!)
Simple Greetings In Greek
First of all, you should learn how Greek people greet each other. It is the easiest way to start the conversation and basically let them know you want to talk to them.
The most common way to greet in Greek is using the word Γεια (Ya), which means Hello. This word can be used on every occasion and is usually accompanied by a pronoun indicating the number of people you’re greeting. So, for example, you use Γεια σου (Ya su) if you’re greeting one person and Γεια σας (Ya sas) if you’re greeting multiple people. This last one can also be used if you want to address someone in a more formal way.
If you don’t want to remember two words, then remember just one: Χαίρετε (Hérete). This word can be used no matter the number of people. The downside of this word is that it is not very common among the younger generation, so you might reconsider learning the other two above.
There are also other great options to greet people in greek, specifically those based on the time of the day. Here are a few examples:
- Καλημέρα! (Kaliméra! – Good morning!)
- Καλησπέρα! (Kalispéra! – Good afternoon!)
- Καληνύχτα! (Kaliníhta! – Goodnight!)
It is pretty easy to understand that while in English we use two words to express this greeting, in Greek, it is combined into one where Καλή (kalí) means “good” and μέρα (méra), (ε)σπέρα ((e)spéra) and νύχτα (níhta) means morning, afternoon and night, respectfully.
Other Greek words that can also be used are:
- Γεια χαρά! (Ya hará! – Hey!)
- Γιο! (Yo! – Yo!)
- Χρόνια και ζαμάνια! (Hrónia ke zamánia! – Long time no see!)
- Χαίρω πολύ! (Héro Polí! – Pleased to meet you!)
Best Ways To Introduce Yourself In Greek
After the greeting, people will wait for you to continue the conversation or ask questions. This is the opportunity for you to show your skills in the Greek Language and share your name, home country, or job:
- Με λένε… (Me léne… – They call me…)
- Είμαι ο / η… (Íme o / i… – I’m…)
- Ονομάζομαι… (Onomázome… – My name is…)
- Το όνομά μου είναι… (To ónomá mu íne… – My name is…)
These two options are used commonly daily, on both formal and informal occasions. Note that in the second example, the article is subject to change, with ο used for men and η used for women.
Questions To Continue The Conversation
Now that you’ve established who you are, let’s explore a few questions that usually pop up during the initial conversations you have with people you’ve just met. Along with the questions, I will show you a few essential phrases you can use if the questions are directed at you.
Where Do You Live/Where Are You From?
Greek: από που είσαι? (apó pou eísai?)
- μενω στην αθηνα (meno stin athina) – I live in Athens
- Κατάγομαι από την Αθήνα (Katágomai apó tin Athína) – I come from Athens
- Είμαι από την Αθήνα (Eímai apó tin Athína) – I am from Athens
What Do You Do?
Greek: Τι κάνεις? (Ti káneis?)
- Σπουδάζω μηχανικός (Spoudázo michanikós) – I am studying engineering
- Εργάζομαι / Δουλεύω ως γραμματέας (Ergázome / Dulévo os gramatéas) – I am working as a secretary
What About Your Family?
Greek: Τι γίνεται με την οικογένειά σου? (Ti gínetai me tin oikogéneiá sou?)
- Έχω δύο αδέρφια (Ého dío adérfia) – I have two siblings
- Έχω μία αδερφή (Ého mía aderfí) – I have one sister
What Do You Like To Do?
Greek: Τι σου αρέσει να κάνεις? (Ti sou arései na káneis?)
- μου αρέσει να ταξιδεύω (mou arései na taxidévo) – I love to travel
- Παίζω μπάσκετ (Pézo básket) – I play basketball
What Languages Do You Speak?
Greek: Τι γλώσσες μιλάτε? (Ti glósses miláte?)
- Μιλάω ελληνικά και αγγλικά (Miláo elliniká kai angliká)- I speak greek and English
- Μαθαίνω ελληνικά εδώ και ένα χρόνο (Mathaíno elliniká edó kai éna chróno) – I’ve been learning Greek for a year
How Old Are You?
Greek: Πόσο χρονών είσαι? (Póso chronón eísai?)
Examples Of Conversations
Person 1: Γεια! Πώς είσαι; Με λένε Στέφανο.(Geia! Pós eísai? Me léne Stéfano.) – Hi! How are you? My name is Stephanos.
Person 2: Γειά σου! Χαίρομαι που σε γνωρίζω. Το όνομά μου είναι Ελένη. Από που είσαι? (Geiá sou! Chaíromai pou se gnorízo. To ónomá mou eínai Eléni. Apó pou eísai?) – Hello! Nice to meet you. My name is Helen. Where are you from?
Person 1: Είμαι από την Ελλάδα. Τι γίνεται με εσάς; (Eímai apó tin Elláda. Ti gínetai me esás?) – I’m from Greece. What about you?
Person 2: Είμαι από την Κροατία. (Eímai apó tin Kroatía.) – I’m from Croatia.
Person 1: Γεια! Χαίρομαι που σε γνωρίζω. Είμαι ο Θοδωρής. (Geia! Chaíromai pou se gnorízo. Eímai o Thodorís.) – Hi! Nice to meet you. I’m Theodore.
Person 2: Χάρηκα για την γνωριμία! Είμαι η Ίρις. Τι κάνεις? (Chárika gia tin gnorimía! Eímai i Íris. Ti káneis?) – Nice to meet you too! I’m Iris. What do you do?
Person 1: Είμαι δικηγόρος σε μια εταιρεία στο κέντρο της πόλης. Τι γίνεται με εσάς; Τι κάνεις? (Eímai dikigóros se mia etaireía sto kéntro tis pólis. Ti gínetai me esás? Ti káneis?) – I’m a lawyer in a company downtown. What about you? What do you do?
Person 2: Εργάζομαι ως κτηματομεσίτης. Φαίνεσαι νέος, πόσο χρονών είσαι; (Ergázomai os ktimatomesítis. Faínesai néos, póso chronón eísai?) – I’m working as a real-estate agent. You look young, how old are you?
Person 1: Είμαι 23 ετών (Eímai 23 etón) – I’m 23 years-old
Continue The Conversation At Ling: Learn Greek
With this guide, you’re ready to make new friends and introduce yourself in Greek to new people during your next visit to this beautiful country.
But why stop here when there is so much more to learn about this ancient language? Come join us at Ling and learn the Greek Language in a fun and interactive way!
Ling App is a language learning app that will be your best friend during this journey you’re about to embark on. Just download the app and start learning and speaking greek! As easy as that!