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Culture

Our Everyday Greek: Survival Guide for Greece Travelers: Buying Feta and Yogurt

June 2, 2018
Dimitra Pontoporou

Let’s make it very easy. You enter a grocery in Greece and you want to buy food. You need to define that you want something. The verb I wantmeansθέλω. By using this verb, you can build your first sentences.

BEING POLITE

Some of the polite forms that are used in English are not very common in Greek. In English you would say “I would like …, please”. In Greecenoone will think you are not polite, if you just say “I want” = ”θέλω”. But it is not nice to say what you want before greeting the people with a simple γειασας (hello!). It is also polite to say ευχαριστώ =thank you and again γειασας(goodbye) in the end. Note that we use the same word for hello and goodbye.

BASIC GRAMMAR

All Greek verbs end in -ω. You don’t have to say the personal pronoun I = εγώ (remember the English ego), because the person is indicated by the ending of the verb. That means that the verb’s ending changes according to the person or persons to which it refers (you, we, he, they etc.).

SOUGHT OUT GREEK PRODUCTS: CHEESE AND YOGURT

Travelers in Greece usually seek feta cheese, Greek yogurt in the Greek Super Markets. It is enough to say θέλωφέτα or you can say θέλωτυρίφέτα. Greece produces very good sheep yogurt. The word πρόβειο defines that it is produced from sheep milk.

Θέλωφέτα.

THElo FEta.

I want (I would like) some feta.

Θέλωτυρίφέτα.

THElo tiREE Feta.

I want (I would like) some feta.

Θέλωγιαούρτι.

THElo yiaOOrti.

I want (I would like) some yogurt.

Θέλωγιαούρτιπρόβειο.

THElo yiaOOrti PROvio.

I want (I would like) some sheep’syogurt.

DEFINE THE QUANTITY

How much would you like to buy?

Θέλωένατέταρτοφέτα.

THElo Ena TEtarto FEta.

I want (I would like) a quarter kilo of feta cheese.

Θέλωμισόκιλόφέτα.

THElo miSO kiLO FEta.

I want (I would like) a half kilo of feta cheese.

Θέλωένακιλόφέτα.

THElo Ena kiLO FEta.

I want (I would like) a kilo of feta cheese.

Θέλωέναγιαούρτιπρόβειο.

THElo Ena yiaOOrti PROvio.

I want (I would like) one sheep’syogurt.

Θέλωδύογιαούρτιαπρόβεια.

THElo DEEO yiaOOrtia PROvia.

I want (I would like) two sheep’syogurts.

BASIC VOCABULARY

GREEK WORD        PRONUNCIATION  MEANING

Γειασας          yiA sas                       hello or goodbye

Ευχαριστώ    efhariSTO      thank you

Θέλω  THElo I want, I would like

Τυρί    tiREE  cheese

Φέτα   FEta    feta cheese

Γιαούρτι         yiaOOrti          yogurt

Πρόβειο         PROvio          made from sheep’s milk

Ένακιλό         Ena kiLO       one kilo

Μισόκιλό        miSO kiLO     half kilo

Ένατέταρτο    Ena TEtarto   quarter kilo

Ένα Ena                    one

Δύο     DEEo two

GREEK YOU ALREADY KNOW

Kilo is κιλό in Greek. It comes from the Greek word χιλιόγραμμο (hiliOgramo) which means a thousand grammars.  The Greek word τέταρτοcomes from the Greek word for number four (τέσσερα) and is being used in English in words like tetrahedron, tetrathlon.A good example of a word in English that comes from δύο = two is the word dia+logue>δύο+λόγος = two persons speaking.

EXERCISE

Match the English phrases with their translation in Greek.

1.Θέλωδύογιαούρτια.          1. I would like some feta cheese.

Θέλωένατέταρτοφέτα. 2. I would like a sheep’syogurt.
Θέλωέναγιαούρτιπρόβειο. 3. I would like two yogurts.

PRONUNCIATION KEY

i (ill), ee (beer), e (ever), o (organ), oo (boot), y (yes), h (helium), th (theory), d (the). The capitalized syllables are accented.

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