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Instant Greek

It is possible to survive in Greece just knowing English. Greeks have seen so many English-speaking tourists and have such strong connections with the English-speaking world that you are always bound to find Greeks that can understand your basic utterances.

Most Athenians have some knowledge of English and most Greeks are delighted to find a visitor making stabs at speaking Greek.  The Greeks do not ridicule you for making mistakes:  they themselves have a hard time with Greek spelling and the complicated Greek grammar.  Whatever you can accomplish will be rewarded.  Good luck!

Greek Alphabet
Α - α  as in father
Β - β v as in visa
Γ - γ gh before consonants and a,o and oo; y before e, as in year
Δ - δ h as in Then
Ε - ε e as in let
Ζ - ζ z as in zebra
Η - η E as in keep
Θ - θ th as in theory
Ι - ι e as in keep
Κ - κ k as in king
Λ - λ l as in million
Μ - μ m as in mouse
Ν - ν n as in no
Ξ - ξ ks as in jacks
Ο - ο o as in oh
Π - π p as in pebble
Ρ - ρ r as in rasin (roll those r’s)
Σ - σ s as in sun
Τ - τ t as in table
Υ - υ e as in keep
Φ - φ f as in favor
Χ - χ h as in help
Ψ - ψ ps as in copse
Ω - ω o as in oh
1 e-na
2 dio – “the d is like a td sound”
3 tria – “roll those r’s!!!”
4 te-se-ra
5 pen-de
6 ek-si
7 efta
8 ok-to
9 en-ea


20 I-ko-si
30 tri-an-da
40 sa-ran-da
50 pe-nin-da
60 ek-sin-da
70 ev-tho-min-da
80 og-thon-da
90 e-ne-nin-da
100 e-ka-to
1000 hi-lia

Double Consonants
μπ b at the beginning of a word and mb in the middle of a word
ντ makes the d sound as in dog
τζ dz as in adze
γκ gh at the beginning of a word and ng in the middle of a word.
αι e as in let
αυ av or af as in avert of after
ει as in keep
ευ ev or ef as in ever or effect
οι e as in keep
ου oo as in pool

Days of the Week:  Μέρες της εβδομάδας (Meres tis evthomathas)                               


Monday = Def-te-ra
Tuesday = Tri-ti
Wed. = Te-tar-ti
Thursday = Pem-pti
Friday = Pa-ras-ke-vi
Saturday  = Sa-va-to
Sunday  = Ki-ri-a- ki
Yesterday = ktes
Today = si-me-ra
Tomorrow = a-vri-o
Day after tomorrow = meth-a-vri-o
Next week = tin a-li ev-tho-ma-tha

Getting Around:

Thank you = ef-harry-sto (singular)
            Efharry-stoume (plural/polite)
very much =  para poli
excuse me =  sig-no-mi
It doesn’t matter = den  bi-ra-zi
It’s nothing =  ti-po-ta
Certainly/polite = yes ma-li-sta
Can I…? =  Bo-ro na..?
When? =  Po-te?   – accent on the o
Where is..? = Pou i-ne..?
Do you speak English? = Mi-la-te  ta  An-gli-ka?
Do you understand?  = Ka-ta-la-ve-ne-te?
What time is it? = Ti  o-ra  i-ne?
10:10 O’clock =Einai deka kai deka
What time will it leave?  = Ti o-ra tha fi-gi?
I don’t = then (plus a verb)
I want = the-lo
I have = e-ho
Here/there = e-do/e-ki
Near/far = kon-da/ma-kri-a
Small/large = mi-kro/ge-ga-lo
Quickly = gri-go-ra
Slowly = ar-ga
Good/bad = ka-lo/ka-ko
Warm/cold = zes-to/kri-o
Bus = le-o-for-i-on
Boat = ka-ra-vi   or   va-po-ri
Ticket = I-si-ti-ri-o
Road/street = dro-mos/o-dos
Beach = pa-ra-li-a
Sea = tha-la-sa
Church = e-kli-si-a
Ancient ruin = ar-he-a
Center = ken-dro
Square (as in village square) = pla-it-aI
s there…? = E-hi…?
How much does it cost? = Po-so Ka-ni?
It’s (too) expensive = E-ne (poli) a-kri-vo
How much? = Po-so?
How many? = Po-sa?


Hotel = kse-no-do-he-o
Bed = kre-va-ti
Key = kli-di
Entrance = I-so-dos
Exit = ek-so-dos
Toilet = tua-le-ta
Women’s = i-ne-kon
Men’s = an-dron


Store = ma-ga-zi
Kiosk = pe-rip-te-ro
Open/shut = a-nik-to/klis-to
Post office = ta-ki-dro-mi-o
Stamp = gra-ma-to-simo
Letter = gra-ma
Envelope = fa-ke-lo
Telephone = ti-le-fo-no
Bank = tra-pe-za
Do you have? = E-hie-te…?


Doctor = Ya-tros
Hospital = no-so-ko-mi-o
Pharmacy = far-ma-ki-o
Police = as-ti-no-mi-a
Station = stath-mos
HELP = vo-ee-thee-a!

Basic Expressions:

It doesn’t matter = den pirazi
It’s nothing = tipota
Certainly = malista
Good bye = ade yia
We will speak again = ta leme
We will see (you again) = tha doome
Where are you from = Apo pou eisai?
I am from = eimai apo tin
What is your name = pos se lene
Good = kalo
Bad = kako
Warm = zesto
Cold = krio
Window = parathiro
Kiosk = periptero
Car – amaxi = aftokinito
Cell phone = kin-i-to
Embassy = pres-vi-a
Passport = di-a-va-terio

Let’s not forget about love!

Love = a-ga-pi
Kiss = fi-li
I love you = s-aga-po
Sunset = ilio–vas-sil-ema

Out for a drink or a coffee:

Drink = po-to
Water = ne-ro
Ice = pa-go
Bottle of water = boo-ka-li  ne-ro
Orange juice = porto –ka-lada
Lemon = lemoni
Soda as in Club
Carbonated = ana-psi-kti-ko

Coffee = ca-fé

*a note about coffee in Greece:
Filtered coffee is called  fil-tro or Gal-li-ko (French)
Nescafé is famous in Greece – cold whipped with foam or hot whipped with foam you ask for  “Frappé”  for cold and  “nes” for hot.

With milk = me  ga-la
Sweet = gli-ko
Medium = met-rio
A frappé sweet with milk please: Ena frappe gliko me gala, para kalo.
Espresso – hot, cold or a double -with or without milk – fredo is cold
Diplo = double
Or Cappuccino!  Or cold cappuccino – Fredo