Archive for 'Culture'

A visit to a Greek kiosk (periptero)

Posted on 10. Jun, 2015 by in Culture, Vocabulary

By Nenyaki under a CC license on Flickr

By Nenyaki under a CC license on Flickr

If you have been to Greece you have probably noticed the kiosks (περίπτερα) which are found in every city. The first kiosks appeared at the end of the 19th century, as a form of financial assistance to the war-wounded. At first, the only products found in a kiosk were tobacco and newspapers. In the 50’s and the 60’s, the kiosks had telephones. At this time, the Greek households did not have land-line phones, so the kiosks played an important role in the communication of people and they became very popular. Nowadays, they are like mini-markets. Some of the products we find in a περίπτερο are the following:

τσιγάρα= cigarettes

αναπτήρες= lighters

σπίρτα= matches

περιοδικά= magazines

εφημερίδες= newspapers

εισιτήρια= tickets

μπισκότα= cookies

τσίχλες= chewing gums

καραμέλες= candies

πατατάκια= crisps

σοκολάτες= chocolates

παγωτά= ice-creams

αναψυκτικά= refreshments

στιγμιαίος καφές= instant coffee

μπίρες= beers

γάλα= milk

νερό= water

χαρτομάντιλα= tissues

κάρτες για το κινητό= cell phone cards

καρτ ποστάλ= post cards

φάκελοι= envelopes

σάντουιτς= sandwiches

κερματοφόρα παιχνίδια= kiddie rides

By Dancing Tuna under a CC license on Flickr

By Dancing Tuna under a CC license on Flickr

It’s not necessary to have a conversation with the man (περιπτεράς) or the woman (περιπτερού) in the kiosk, unless you need to buy things which are inside the kiosk, such as tickets or cigarettes.

Ένα εισιτήριο, παρακαλώ.= A ticket, please.

Μήπως έχετε χαρτομάντιλα;= Do you have tissues?

If you want to ask about the price, you can say:

Πόσο κάνουν;= how much do they cost?

Πόσο κάνει;= how much does it cost?

When you get all the things you want you the employee is likely to ask you if you have finished. The most common phrases areεντάξει;or “αυτά;You can answer ναι (yes).

Kiosk employees know the area very well, so if you are lost you can ask them for information. If you want to have this conversation in Greek you can ask:

Συγγνώμη, μήπως ξέρετε πού είναι η οδός Χ;= Excuse me, do you know where X street is?

If your Greek is not good, you can ask them if they speak English:

Μιλάτε αγγλικά;= Do you speak English?

 

Note that some kiosks sell very few products and that sometimes they are closed on Sunday.

If you want to see what a περίπτερο is like, have a look at this link (it is the first on-line περίπτερο!):

http://www.periptero-delivery.gr

 

 

Happy Independence Day!

Posted on 24. Mar, 2015 by in Culture, Vocabulary

Aster-oid under a CC license on Flickr

Aster-oid under a CC license on Flickr

On the 25th of March we celebrate the Independence Day, i.e. the revolution of the Greeks against the Turks in 1921. This post is not about the historical facts, there are just some information about the way we celebrate, about kalamatianos, the famous Greek dance, and about the traditional foods we eat.

 
Freedom or Death (Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος)

This is the motto that best describes the principles of the Greeks who revolted against the Turks in 1921. (Ελληνική επανάσταση, Greek revolution). It consists of nine syllables (e-lef-the-ree-a-ee-tha-na-tos). The nine stripes of the Greek flag represent this phrase.

How we celebrate it

The Greek Independence Day – 25η Μαρτίου, as we call it-  is celebrated throughout the country, by parades, memorials to the heroes of the revolution and special events. The day before, there are no lessons in schools, and events, such as theatrical plays based on the life of the heroes, are organized.

Sometimes, there are performances of Greek dances organized by local organizations and clubs. The most famous Greek dance is καλαματιανός or συρτός which originates from the Peloponnese. According to some theories, it has its origins in ancient times. It is danced in all areas by men and women. The beat is 7/8 and it has twelve basic steps. The dancers  dance in circle and the one who leads improvises. If you have been to a Greek πανηγύρι (feast) you are very likely to have seen people dancing – or to have danced yourself- καλαματιανό. There are different dances in every area but kalamatianos is danced everywhere in Greece.

A video of a traditional kalamatiano song by Domna Samiou

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What we eat

We eat μπακαλιάρο (bakaliaro, salted cod) and σκορδαλιά (skordalia, garlic sauce), although it is the period of Lent and fish is eliminated. The reason is that at the same day we also celebrate the Annunciation (Ευαγγελισμός της Θεοτόκου) which is a happy event, therefore the people who fast are allowed to consume fish, oil and wine. The reason  we eat cod is because in the past people could not afford fresh fish so salted cod was a good alternative. It is a tradition that is followed even nowadays.

If you happen to be in Greece this day, just blend with the locals and go to the nearest plaza to watch the performance of traditional dances. If you don’t like dances and parades, you can still eat cod and if you are brave enough, you can taste σκορδαλιά.

Χρόνια πολλά!

Love is more than a four-letter word

Posted on 12. Feb, 2015 by in Culture, Vocabulary

Simon & His camera under a CC license on Flickr

Simon & His camera under a CC license on Flickr

The Greeks are very creative when it comes to words of love. It doesn’t matter if we are cynical or romantic, extrovert or introvert, we all use words of love when addressing our alter ego. Below there is a sample of a “Greek vocabulary of love”. You might think that some of these words are ridiculous and some Greeks believe the same. However, they are commonly used in order to express affection and love.

  • Αγάπη μου= my love. The most famous expression. The diminutive “αγαπούλα μου” (my little love) is also very common. For more information on diminutives, check my last post.
  • Ζωή μου= literally: my life
  • Καρδιά μου= literally: my heart. It’s another way of saying “my love”. The diminutive is καρδούλα μου (my little heart).
  • Κορίτσι μου / κοριτσάκι μου= my girl / my little girl. It can be used for any woman in spite of her age.
  • Κούκλα μου. Κούκλα means doll and it is used when addressing a woman. The derivatives are κουκλίτσα, κουκλάκι (little doll) or κουκλάρα (literally it means big doll and metaphorically hot woman).
  • Μάτια μου= literally: my eyes. I guess the metaphoric meaning would be “my precious”. The diminutive ματάκια μου is common as well.
  • Μωρό μου / μωράκι μου= my baby / my little baby. It can be used to address both men and women.
  • Φως μου= literally: my light.
  • Ψυχή μου= literally: my soul.

The animal kingdom could not be missing from the list. Usually women use these words to address their partners.

  • γατάκι= kitten
  • γουρουνάκι= little pig
  • ζουζουνάκι= little bug
  • κουνελάκι= little rabbit
  • λιονταράκι= little lion
  • μαϊμουδάκι= little monkey
  • τιγράκι= little tiger

The list is endless and the only limit is one’s imagination. Some people use names of flowers (τριανταφυλλάκι μου, my little rose), fruits (βερικοκάκι μου, my little apricot), or they invent words than mean nothing.

 

If you want to write a card to your Greek partner you can pleasantly surprise them by writing a few phrases in Greek:

  • Είσαι η ζωή μου= you are my life
  • Είσαι ό,τι καλύτερο μου έχει συμβεί= you are the best thing that happened to me
  • Θέλω να είμαι πάντα μαζί σου= I want to be with you always

And a  famous love song by Nikos Papazoglou called Αύγουστος (August)

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