We’ve all used the phrase, “It’s Greek to me!” when describing something completely, totally over our heads. But guess what? It doesn’t have to be! At least, not if you learn a few phrases at home before boarding the next plane to Athens.
While traveling in Greece, I was struck by how proficient people were in English—especially young Greeks—but there were many times I wished I had a bit more linguistic fodder at my disposal. Well, here you have it: the essential Greek phrases to help you stay safe, see some beautiful ruins, and generally fall in love with Greece!
The phrases below are written phonetically in the Latin alphabet, but if you want to learn how to read the Greek alphabet, check out this website for a great basic guide to modern (and ancient) Greek letters and pronunciation!
Hello Yia sas
Good morning Kalimera
Good evening Kalispera
Thank you (very much) Efkharisto (pAra polY)
How are you? Pos eisai/elste?
I’m sorry/excuse me Sygknomi
My name is______ To onoma mou einai_______
What’s your name? Pos sas lene
Do you speak English? Milate anglika?
I need… Prepei na echo
I need a doctor Chreiazomai ena giatro
Tampon Tampon (pronounce the “p” like a “b”)
Birth control Elenchos genniiseo̱n
Bbirth control (specifically the pill) Antisylliptiko xapi
I have… Echo
Urinary tract infection Loimo̱xi̱ tou ouropoii̱tikou systimatos
Yeast infection Molynsi̱ zymi̱s
Leave me alone! Ase me isychoStop! Stamata!
I would like… Thelo̱
How much is it? Poso kanei?
The bill, please O logariasmos, parakalo
Where is… Pou einai…
A huge efkharisto to Katie Lamb, Katerina Ragkou and Christina Kolb for their help with this post. Any errors remaining in it are mine and mine alone.
Have you been to Greece?