Learning the Lingo

Part of our homeschool plan is to learn a list of common words and phrases for each country we are visiting:

  • England
  • Scotland
  • Ireland
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • France

England, Scotland and Ireland

In theory, we speak English. But what I’ve found from other trips is that we actually speak American. We pronounce a lot of words completely wrong (from a Brit point of view) and we use the wrong words – a lot! We are making a list of words that are used differently so we can use the right ones when appropriate.

American pants are British underwear

American truck is British lorry

That kind of thing.

We’ll also learn a few Gaelic phrases for Ireland and practice the accent for Scotland.


Greece

This one is truly challenging for me. We don’t even use the same alphabet. Everyone says, don’t worry, all the signs are in English, too.

But are they really? Will we be racing for the last ferry and have a choice of Έδρα and Θήρα and end up on the right boat?

So I am learning the alphabet, so I can at least sound out words. And we have a list of words, phrases and numbers that we think will be useful.


Italy

We’ll come up with a lot of words, but we already know the most important ones, which are gelato and pizza.


Spain

I’ve never been to Spain and my only Spanish may be more appropriate for a trip to Mexico. But, we are studying Latin in our home school curriculum, so hope that helps with all these Latin based languages.


France

I’ve been to France several times and also to some French speaking African countries – generally my French has been painful but appreciated (and amusing at times). My goal is to walk into a shop and greet the staff, ask for what I need, pay correctly and thank them as I leave. We can do that.

Greek Phrases

This page of Greek phrases is designed for printing out, two sided, and cutting down to size. We’ll tuck it in our guide book so we can always ask for the toilet and directions. The list includes really easy and useful things like Hi and where is the toilet? 

English Greek Pronunciation
hi xαίρεται [xairetai]
how are you? πως είσαι? [pos eisai?]
I’m good, thank you είμαι καλά, ευχαριστώ. [eimai kala, eecharisto.]
and you? εσύ? [esύ?]
what is your name? πως λέγεσαι? [pos leyesai?]
my name is Maya το όνομά μου είναι μάγια [to onoma moe einai mayia]
nice to meet you χάρηκα [chareka]
toilet τουαλέτα [toealeta]
How much is this? πόσο κοστίζει αυτό; [poso kostizei aeto;]
Can you help me? μπορείς να με βοηθήσεις; [mporeis na me voetheseis;]
Can I help you? να σε βοηθήσω; [na se voetheso;]
Where is the airport? πού είναι το αεροδρόμιο; [poύ einai to aerothromio;]
Go straight πηγαίνετε ευθεία [peyainete eetheia]
Then μετά [meta]
Turn left στρίψτε αριστερά [stripste aristera]
Turn right στρίψτε δεξιά [stripste thexia]
Travel Greek Pronunciation
airport αεροδρόμιο [aerothromio]
airplane αεροπλάνο [aeroplano]
train τρένο [treno]
taxi ταξί [taxi]
bus λεωφορείο [leoforeio]
car αυτοκίνητο [aetokineto]
ticket εισιτήριο [eisiterio]
hotel ξενοδοχείο [xenothocheio]
reservation κράτηση [kratese]
passport διαβατήριο [thiavaterio]
luggage αποσκευές [aposkeees]
tourism τουρισμός [toerismos]
Survival Greek Pronunciation
doctor γιατρός [yiatros]
medicines φάρμακα [farmaka]
pharmacy φαρμακείο [farmakeio]
hospital νοσοκομείο [nosokomeio]
ambulance ασθενοφόρο [asthenoforo]
poison δηλητήριο [theleterio]
help me βοηθήστε με [voetheste me]
danger κίνδυνος [kinthenos]
accident ατύχημα [atύchema]
police αστυνομία [astenomia]
headache πονοκέφαλος [ponokefalos]
stomach ache στομαχόπονος [stomachoponos]

For more lessons, check out: 

The Greek alphabet, numbers and commonly used words.

Greek Numbers

Greek Numbers – Cardinal and Ordinal below. (Much more useful than holding up fingers!)

Cardinal Greek Pronunciation
one ένα [ena]
two δυο [theo]
three τρία [tria]
four τέσσερα [tessera]
five πέντε [pente]
six έξι [exi]
seven επτά [epta]
eight οκτώ [okto]
nine εννέα [ennea]
ten δέκα [theka]
eleven έντεκα [enteka]
twelve δώδεκα [thotheka]
thirteen δεκατρία [thekatria]
fourteen δεκατέσσερα [thekatessera]
fifteen δεκαπέντε [thekapente]
sixteen δεκαέξι [thekaexi]
seventeen δεκαεπτά [thekaepta]
eighteen δεκαοχτώ [thekaochto]
nineteen δεκαεννέα [thekaennea]
twenty είκοσι [eikosi]
seventy one εβδομήντα μία [evthomenta mia]
one hundred εκατό [ekato]
Ordinal Greek Pronunciation
first πρώτος [protos]
second δεύτερος [theύteros]
third τρίτος [tritos]
fourth τέταρτος [tetartos]
fifth πέμπτος [pemptos]
sixth έκτος [ektos]
seventh έβδομος [evthomos]
eighth όγδοος [oythoos]
ninth ένατος [enatos]
tenth δέκατος [thekatos]
eleventh ενδέκατος [enthekatos]
twelfth δωδέκατος [thothekatos]
thirteenth δέκατος τρίτος [thekatos tritos]
once μια φορά [mia fora]
twice δυο φορές [theo fores]

For more Greek language materials check out:

The Greek alphabet, commonly used words and phrases.

Greek Alphabet

We made a study sheet so we can learn a few new letters each week before we go. Thank you to quinapalus.com for the helpful starting point.

Upper Case Lower Case Letter Name English Sound Like
Α α alpha Α Like art
Β β beta V Like vast
Γ γ gamma G (throaty) Like gull
Δ δ delta D Like this
Ε ε epsilon Ε like egg
Ζ ζ zeta Ζ Like zoo
Η η eta [i] Like tea
Θ θ theta th Like thin
Ι ι iota [i] Like bee
Κ κ kappa Κ Like kit
Λ λ lamda L Like love
Μ μ mu Μ Like me
Ν ν nu Ν Like now
Ξ ξ xi x Like ax
Ο ο omicron Ο Like ox
Π π pi p Like hope
Ρ ρ rho R Like Roma
Σ σ,ς sigma S Like song
Τ τ tau Τ Like pat
Υ υ upsilon long ee Like bee 
Φ φ phi F Like fly
Χ χ chi [kh] Like Bach
Ψ ψ psi [ps] Like laps
Ω ω omega [o] Like fox

Download PDF Greek Alphabet

We are also learning some Greek words, numbers (handy for shopping!) and commonly used phrases.

Thanks for this comment from Dionysios Bouzos: Great prep! Just a couple of comments on the alphabet transliteration: the Δ is always pronounced like the “th” in “this” and never like a D; the Υ is always a long “ee”; and the Γ’s “g” sound is a very throaty g sound.

It’s all Greek to us

Here’s a list of some of the Greek words and phrases we are practicing. See this post for more.

Good morning  Kalimera   kah-lee-MEHR-rah

Good afternoon / evening Kalispera   kah-lees-PEH-rah

Good night Kalinikta   kah-lee-NEEK-tah

Goodbye kherete   KHE-reh-tay

Hello Yassou   YAH-sue

How are you? Ti kanis?   tee-KAH-nis

Well / good Poli kala   po-LEE kah-LAH

Thank you Efkharisto   eff-kah-rees-TOH

You’re welcome / please Parakalo   pah-rah-kah-LOH

Sorry Signomi   seegh-NO-mee

Yes Ne   neh

No Ohi   OH-hee

What’s your name? Pos se lene?   POHS seh LEH-neh

My name is… Me lene…   meh LEH-neh…

Do you speak English? Milas Anglika?   mee-LAHS Ang-lee-KAH?

I don’t understand Den Katalaveno   then’ kah-tah-lag-VEH-no

Can you help me? Borite na me?  boh-REE-teh nah

What time is it? Ti ora ine?   tee OH-rah EE-neh

Where is…? Pou ine?   POO EE-neh

I want… Thelo   THEH-loh

How much is it? Poso kani   poh-soh KAH-nee

Left Aristera   ah-rees-teh-RAH

Right Dexia   thek-see-AH

Open Aniktos   ah-neek-TOHS

Closed Klistos   klees-TOHS

Pronunciation Notes:

Letter I Pronounced as “ee” (rhymes with “see”)

Letter G  Pronounced as  the letter “y”.

Letter D Pronounced as you would pronounce the soft “th” in “theology”.

 

For more lessons, check out: 

The Greek alphabet, numbers and commonly used phrases.