Should you cancel that Greek

Greek for travelers

The Greek language is believed to be one of the oldest European languages, which has an oral tradition of 4000 years and a written tradition of approximately 3000 years.

Works that will never become outdated have been expressed through this language. All Arts and Sciences were born and developed using it. Written texts in Mathematics, Physics, Astronomy, Law, Medicine, History, Politics, Ethics, Gastronomy, etc were written in this language thousands of years ago.

All ancient literature, tragedies and comedies, Homer's epic works, the New Testament, the Byzantine and modern Greek literature. The first encyclopedia was written in Greek.

Some words you will see repeated in many places in Crete:

"odos" means "street" and where you find (not often) a street name sign you'll know what it means. Villages rarely have signs displaying street names.

"Anikto" means - Open. "Kleisto" meaning - Closed.

"Eisodos" means - Entrance. "Exodos" is - Exit

Now a short vocabulary:

English / Greek

Excuse me : Signomi

Thank you : Efharisto

(if you are several people - being served in a restaurant or cafe:

We thank you (is better) Efharistoomay

Good morning / good day (until about 1300 or so!) : Kalimera

Good Afternoon or Good evening : Kalispera

Good night Kalinihxta

See you / Hello / Hi : Yassas (if to one person or a stranger or older person. "Yassoo" is usually used for those you know or people much younger than you - but you will also find both used freely - don't worry, either will be appreciated!)

How much is this? : Posso Kanay Afto?

How far is it? : Posso makria eenay?

Excuse me, where is. : Signomi, poo eenay.?

Do you have a toilet? : Eheeyete Too-aletta?

One room for (five) nights. : Enna domatio ya (penday) vradia

Can we see a menu: Boroomay na doomay enna menoo

Can we pay the bill? : Boroomay na plirosoomay?

Is there a cardphone? : Iparhee kartotelefono?

Do you speak. : Milatay.?

English: Ag-glika ?

German : Yermanika ?

French : Gallika ?

Spanish : Hispanika ?

Japanese : Yaponayzika ?

Sorry, I don't speak Greek. : Signomi, then milow ellenica

This one : Afto

That one : Ekino

That's enough [polite] : Arketa

Yes : Ne (as in Next)

No : Ohxi/Ohee


1 Enna

2 Dio

3 Tria

4 Tessera

5 Penday

6 Exi

7 Efta

8 Ohxto

9 Ennaya

10 Deka

11 Endeka

12 Dodeka

13 Deka-tria

14 Deka-tessera

15 Deka-penday

16 Deka-exi

17 Deka-efta

18 Deka-ohxto

19 Deka-ennaya

20 Ekosi

30 Trianda

40 Saranda

50 Peninda

60 Exinda

70 Evdominda

80 Ohxdonda

90 Eneninda

100 Ekato

1000 Heelia

10, 000 Deka-heeliadess

100, 000 Ekato-heeliadess

1, 000, 000 Ena-Ekatomeerio

2, 000, 000 Dio-Ekatomeerio

23 Ekossi-tria

37 Trianda-efta

49 Saranda-enaya

51 Peninda-ena

66 Exinda-exi

74 Evdominda-tesera

85 Ohxdonda-penday

91 Eneninda-enna

108 Ekaton-okto

109 Ekaton-enaya

200 Dia-kosia

300 Tria-kosia

400 Tetra-Kosia

500 Penta-kosia

600 Exa-kosia

700 Efta-kosia

800 Ohxta-kosia

900 Enaya-kosia

1, 000 Heelia

Most interim numbers follow this pattern:

To say 850 just use the word(s) for 800 followed by 50:


1, 500 Heelia-penta-kosia

More phrases:

Bigger : Mega-littero

Smaller : Mikro-tero

Too expensive : Polee akrivo

Please (not used a lot!) : Parakalo

Taverna : Taverna!

Cafe : Cafe

Traditional cafe : Kafenee-oh (Kafeneio)

With milk : May-galla

Water : Nerroh

Fish : Psari

Chicken : Kotopooloh

Lamb : Arr-nee

Salad : Salata

Potatoes : Patates

Wine : Kras-si

Beer : Birra

Greek coffee : Elliniko

No sugar : Sketo

A little sugar : Metrio

Sweet : Gleeko

Juice : Xhimo

Orange : Portokali

Fruit : Froota

Cheese : Tiree

Bread : Pso-mee

Hotel : Ksenodohxio

Rooms for rent : Dohmatia

Airport : Airodromio

Port : Limani

Car : Afto-kinito

Mobile (phone) : kinito

Petrol : Benzeeni


Don't confuse 'yes' and 'no'. Yes is né - which sounds like 'no' or 'nah' to English speakers. No is ókhi - which sounds like 'okay' to English speakers.

Think you're really mangling your Greek pronunciation? Smile wider - this will completely compensate for any mistakes you may make.

Avoid relying on your understanding of spoken directions. Get a good map to use as a visual aid when you ask - but make sure your informant knows where you are to start.

Greek is an inflected language - which means that the tone and accent of the words changes their meanings. If you mispronounce something, even words that look or sound alike to you, many Greeks truly will not understand what you meant. They are not being difficult; they really don't mentally classify their words that way. Getting nowhere? Try emphasizing a different syllable and have directions and names written down whenever possible.

6 Travel Tips for Travelers to Greece
6 Travel Tips for Travelers to Greece
Learn Greek: Top Ten Greek Words for Tourists
Learn Greek: Top Ten Greek Words for Tourists
Greek Tourism Industry Expects Record Number of Travelers
Greek Tourism Industry Expects Record Number of Travelers
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