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Essential Words And Phrases To Know Before Your Trip To Greece
In the Greek language, some letters are pronounced differently than in English, such as "B" sounding more like "V", while "H," "I," and "Y" make a long "e" sound, like in "ZEE-bra." The "P" is usually pronounced "r" with a rolling sound, "Y" is usually a soft g, and the combination of "Nt" is almost always pronounced as a hard "d."
Pronunciation Tips
The first phrases you'll want to learn in any language are greetings, and "Yassas" is the most common way to say "hello" in Greek. If you're greeting a friend or someone you know well, use the less formal "ya" for saying hi to an individual, and "yassas" for groups. This is also used to express a more informal goodbye, similar to "ciao" in Italian.
Essential Greetings in Greek
The most well-known phrase to English speakers in Greek is "opa!" which means "oops!" but also good to know are "yes" ("né") and "no" ("ókhi" or "ochi"). According to Trip Savvy, many Greeks speak other languages, so while they'll appreciate the effort, perhaps the most handy phrase for you will be "Do you speak English?" ("Milate agglika").
Other Useful Greek Phrases
In Greek, "please" and "you're welcome" are the same word — "parakaló" — and also good to know are "thank you" ("efkharistó"), and "I am sorry" ("signomi"). Also, Greek culture is big on showing respect to elders, so if you’re unsure of whether or not to use the informal and formal ways of communicating, just default to the formal option.
Greek Politeness
At a restaurant, you can ask "I would like to order please" ("tha ithela na parageilo parakalo"), but at a bar or cafe, you would say, "I would like a glass of" ("tha ithela ena potiri"), followed by "water"("nero"), "coffee"("kafé"), wine ("krasi") or "ouzo," which is a Greek liquor. "Cheers," which is always good to know wherever in the world you find yourself, is "geia mas!"
Dining Out