Our Everyday Greek: This October we Speak, Write and Read in Greek 

October 3, 2017
Dimitra Pontoporou


Do you speak, write and read in Greek? In this dialogue Maria (M) and Eleni (E) provide common phrases to form your answers in Greek.

Greek phrase            Pronunciation          Translation

Μ: Τι μαθαίνεις          TEE maTHEnis        What do you learn

στο μάθημα των ελληνικών; STO MAthima TON elliniKON      at the Greek class?

Ε: Διαβάζω βιβλία    diaVAzo vivLEEa     I read books

στα ελληνικά.             STA elliniKA.            in Greek.

Εσύ διαβάζεις           eSEE diaVAzis         Do you read

ελληνικά;                    eliniKA?         Greek?

Μ: Εγώ διαβάζω λίγο,          eYO diaVAzo LEEgo.          I read a little.

Ο Πέτρος διαβάζει καλά.     O Petros diaVAzi kaLA.      Peter reads good.

Ε: Γράφεις ελληνικά;            YRAfis elliniKA?      Do you write in Greek?

Μ: Ναι, γράφω λέξεις           NE, YRAfo LExis     Yes, I write words

και φράσεις. KE PHRAsis.  and phrases.

Εσύ γράφεις ελληνικά;         eSEE YRAfis eliniKA?       Do you write in Greek?

Ε: Ναι, γράφω.          NE, GRAfo.   Yes, I write.

Εσύ μιλάς ελληνικά; eSEE miLAS elliniKA?       Do you speak Greek?

Μ: Ναι, μιλάω λίγα    NE, miLAo LEEgo Yes, I speak a little

Greek.            eliniKA.          Greek.

Ο Πέτρος μιλάει        O PEtros miLAi         Peter speaks

καλά ελληνικά.          kaLA eliniKA.                        good Greek.


Greek word    Pronunciation          Meaning

Το μάθημα των ελληνικών  TO MAthima TON elliniKON Greek class

Εγώ μαθαίν-ω           eYO maTHEno         I learn

Εσύ μαθαίν-εις          eSEE maTHEnis      you learn

Εσύ μαθαίν-εις;         eSEE maTHEnis?   do you learn?

Το βιβλίο        TO viVLEEo  book

Τα βιβλία        TA viVLEEa books

Στα ελληνικά  STA elliniKA in Greek

Εγώ μιλ-άω   miLAo I speak

Εσύ μιλ-άς     miLAs you speak

Ο Πέτρος μιλ-άει       O PEtros miLAi         Petros speaks

Εγώ διαβάζ-ω                       eYO diaVAzo            I read

Εσύ διαβάζ-εις          eSEE diaVAzis         you read

Εγώ γράφ-ω  eYO YRAfo   I write

Εσύ γράφ-εις eSEE YRAfis            you write

Εσύ γράφ-εις;            eSEE YRAfis?          Do you write?

Η Μαρία γράφ-ει       EE maREEA YRAfi Maria writes

Η λέξη                        EE LExi          word

Οι λέξεις         EE LExis        words

Και      KE       and

Η φράση        EE FRAsi      phrase

Οι φράσεις     EE FRAsis    phrases

Λίγο, λίγα       LEEyo, LEEya          a little

Καλά   kaLA   good

Note the verb endings:

Εγώ μαθαίν-ω, εγώ διαβάζ-ω, εγώ γράφ-ω, εγώ έχ-ω, εγώ μιλά-ω. = I learn, I read, I write, I have, I talk.

Εσύ μαθαίν-εις, εσύ διαβάζ-εις, εσύ γράφ-εις, εσύ έχ-εις, εσύ μιλ-άς. = you learn, you read, you write, you have, you talk.

In Greek the verb endings indicate the person who undertakes the action. The ending -ω refers to I and the ending -εις to you (singular). Therefore, the personal pronoun (I, you, he, she, we, you, they) can be omitted.


Γράφω is to be found in all English words that end in -graphy (lithography, iconography, calligraphy etc), as well as in words like graphic, grammar. In ancient Greek γράφω meant both I write and I design. Lexicon derives from the Greek word λέξη, which means word. The noun phrase is the transliteration in English of the Greek word η φράση. The verb μαθαίνω (I learn) and μάθημα (class, lesson) are to be found in the word Mathematics.


Try to understand the questions and the possible responses. Then choose which is your case and read it loud.

Μιλάς ελληνικά; Do you speak Greek?

  1. Μιλάω λίγα ελληνικά.
  2. Μιλάω καλά ελληνικά.

Γράφεις στα ελληνικά; Do you write in Greek?

  1. Γράφω λίγο στα ελληνικά.
  2. Γράφω καλά στα ελληνικά.

Διαβάζεις βιβλία στα ελληνικά; Do you read in Greek?

  1. Διαβάζω λίγο στα ελληνικά.
  2. Διαβάζω καλά στα ελληνικά.


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


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