www.athens-greece-guide.com - Greek Language, the 3000 year old language

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Greek Language

Greek Language

The Greek language is over 4,000 years old dating back to the Mycenaens, it has lent the English language so many words like pharmacy, ego, phobia, economics, democracy, astronomy, history.... just to name a few. Like every language Greek has changed over the years, but a modern Greek can still understand and read, and probably converse in ancient Greek. Could an English speaker understand English from 500 years ago - never mind 2,000.

There are two types of modern Greek - Katharevusa The language of formal speeches, government publications, editorial page of newspapers etc - Dhimotiki the normal everyday Greek used by everyone.

Although many people in Athens speak English, knowing a little Greek goes along way and will be appreciated by most Greeks. Greece is a difficult language to learn and you have to learn a whole new alphabet.

Greek Alphabet

Α    α    αλφα    alfa        Ν    ν    νυ      nee
Β    β    βητα    beta        Ξ    ξ    ξι      ksee
Γ    γ    γαμμα   gamma       Ο    ο    ομικρον omeekron
Δ    δ    δελτα   dhelta      Π    π    πι      pee
Ε    ε    εψιλον  epseelon    Ρ    ρ    ρω      ro
Ζ    ζ    ζητα    zeeta       Σ    σ/ς  σιγμα   sigma
Η    η    ητα     eeta        Τ    τ    ταυ     taf
Θ    θ    θητα    theeta      Υ    θ    υψιλον  ipsilon 
Ι    ι    ιοτα    yota        Φ    φ    φι      fee 
Κ    κ    καππα   kappa       Χ    χ    χι      khee
Λ    λ    λαμδα   lamba       Ψ    ψ    ψι      psee
Μ    μ    μυ      mee         Ω    ω    ωμεγα   omega

Some general Greek words and phrases.

hello            γεια σου          ya soo
hi               γεια              ya
yes              ναι               ne
no               οχι               ohi
good morning     καλημερα          kalemera
good night       καληνυχτα         kalinikta 
good evening     καλησερα          kalispera     
goodbye          γεια σας/αντιο    ya sas/adio 
please           παρακαλω          parakalo 
thank you        ευχαριστω         efharisto
sorry            συγγνωμη          signomi 
my name is       με λενε           me lene 
how much is it   ποσο κανει        poso kane
where is         που ειναι         poo eene
is there         υπαρχει           iparke

I am English              
ειμαι Αγγλοσ/Αγγλιδα
eeme Anglos/Angleetha


I don't speak Greek
Δεν μιλαω ελλενικα
then meelao elenica 

I don't understand Greek
δεν καταλαβαινο ελλενικα  
then katalavano elenica 

Greek numbers 1 - 10.

1   ενα      ena       6     εξι     exi
2   δυο      thio      7     εφτα    efta 
3   τρια     tria      8     οκτω    octo 
4   τεσσερα  tesera    9     εννια   ennia
5   πεντε    pende     10    δεκα    deca