Phrasebook Greek

One of the things I've done to prepare for my trip to Greece is dig out the Greek phrasebook I've been storing since my previous trip, almost 20 years ago.

I'd forgotten quite how horrible and useless the Institute for Language Study's “Vest Pocket Modern Greek” was.

Here are real, honest to goodness, phrases that they provide. While reading these, keep in mind that there are only about ten phrases per page, and the phrase section of the book runs under seventy pages. And they still decided to include these.

  • What a fool!
  • Alice is less diligent than Barbara.
  • The girl with the big brown eyes was elected the queen of the ball.
  • My brother-in-law has a new truck.
  • I have never gone bankrupt.
  • Just continue your work. Don't look at the camera.
  • I appreciate truth.
  • What is faith? It is life's foundation.

You have to wonder what sort of traveler they had in mind. Apparently, one who needs to say, “The beautiful Greek girl didn't come to see us.”

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7 Responses to Phrasebook Greek

  1. Ann Bartow says:

    As I remember it, the three most important phrases were (spelling is phonetic)
    1. Parakalo – which seemed to mean please, thank you, may I help you, may I take your oder, aloha, etc.;
    2. Ef Charisto – which means thank you;
    and 3. Endoxi – which means okay.
    “Ella” means “come here,” but if paired with the word “malacha” then someone is cursing you out. Happy travels!

  2. Buce says:

    “I gyneka mou thelei alli mia birra”‘=”my wife wants another beer.”

    Got that one from somebody’s phrasebook, I forget whose.

  3. architect66 says:

    Here are some other useful phrases that you may wish to try out:

    eho mialo koukoutsi = I have a brain like a sesame seed
    to mialos mou einai san fistiki = my brain is like a little nut (say, a peanut, or a pistachio)
    Vromoskilos = Dirty Dog.
    Vromoskilaki = dirty little dog
    vromoskilaki mou = my dirty little dog
    O pithikos pou kapneesi. Kapneesi! = Smoking monkey. He really smokes!
    ee kaki kota = the bad chicken! (like, morally bad, or maybe just naughty.)
    ee nostimi kota = the delicious chicken
    nostimes domates = delicious tomatoes

    Hope these prove to be of some use to you.

  4. “My hovercraft is full of eels.”

  5. Evelyn Blaine says:

    see here:

    (“They Thought You’d Say This: Unlikely phrases from real phrasebooks”)

    and check out the other phrasebook-related pages on the site as well

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  7. de Selby says:


    “My brother-in-law has a new truck” and “I have never gone bankrupt” are EXACTLY what’s called for if you’re a properly entrepreneurial American tourist trying to combine a little business and pleasure.

    “Alice is less diligent than Barbara” and “Just continue your work. Don’t look at the camera.” could be entrepreneurially useful too (if your business is pleasure), but this is probably not the right place to discuss such things.

    “What a fool!” is something all American tourists are expected to be able to say, n’est ce pas?


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