When I went to Greece for the first and only time, I quickly learned my knowledge of Italian wouldn’t get me far. I needed to pick up a very different Greek language to get by on my trip. As one of the oldest languages still spoken, Greek boasts an oral tradition dating back thousands of years. And you would think, in those thousands of years, the language would get easier to speak for travelers visiting the country. While mastering Greek would involve some serious studying of the Greek alphabet, there are several words you can master right off the bat, that will help your travels in Greece.
Yassas: When you greet someone with a hello, you can utter, ‘Yassas,’ most simply.
Parakaló: The word parakaló translates as please in English. It is not just in used in a polite setting. You will also hear Greeks answer the phone with a ‘parakaló’.
Kalimera: You can’t walk past the hotel desk in the morning without hearing a ‘kalimera’, meaning good morning.
Kalispera: When you go out for the evening or arrive to a dinner meal, you might be greeted with, ‘Kalispera,’ meaning good evening.
Efharisto: You shouldn’t pack your bags for Greece without knowing how to say thank you, efharisto.
Ne: Perhaps one of the most confusing Greek words for a traveler is that of ‘ne‘. While you would think ne means no, it actually means yes in Greek.
Ohi: Just as yes in Greek sounds more negative, no in Greek sounds a bit more like ok than no. If you want to object, say, ‘ohi‘.
Signómi: If you think you just offended someone or need to apologize, say, ‘Signómi.’
Anikto: If you are looking for an open sign, watch out for the word ‘anikto’, more commonly spelled with the Greek alphabet as ‘anoixto’.
Kleistó: Before you walk into shops that are in fact closed, look out for the word ‘kleistó’, meaning closed.
Andio: When it’s time to leave, in Greece you say, ‘Andio,’ for goodbye.