Greece in fifteen questions

Posted on 25. Mar, 2014 by in Culture, Quizzes


In Greece on March 25 we celebrate the Independence Day and also the Annunciation to Virgin Mary of her conception. Instead of writing a post about a topic that can be searched on Wikipedia or on documentaries, I decided to make a quiz about Greece. Making a quiz about Greece is not easy and I always find it hard to think what comes to the mind of non-Greeks when they hear the word “Greece”. Is it sun, bouzouki and tzatziki? Maybe mythical creatures, and incest stories? Democracy and philosophy or just poverty and decadence?

Greece cannot be included in fifteen questions.  However, if you want to test your knowledge about Greece and whatever goes with it, and maybe to learn something you didn’t know, feel free to do the following quiz.  It is dedicated to all my students and foreign friends who make me see a new aspect of my country every day.


1.       Who is the god of wine?

a.       Apollo (Απόλλωνας)

b.      Zeus (Δίας)

c.       Dionysus (Διόνυσος)

d.      Pan (Παν)

2.       You cannot make tzatziki (τζατζίκι) without:

a.       Tomatoes

b.      bread

c.       Dill

d.      Garlic

3.       Pythia (Πυθία) is:

a.       The priestess of Apollo

b.      The Muse of  poetry

c.       The daughter of Venus

d.      A monster

4.       The first Constitution was voted in:

a.       1821

b.      1822

c.       1799

d.      1900

5.       The expression “between Scylla and Charybdis” (ανάμεσα στη Σκύλλα και τη Χάρυβδη / anamesa sti Skila kai ti Harivdi) means :

a.       To be possessed by daemons

b.      To have to face a difficult situation

c.       To have to choose between two beautiful women

d.      To not be able to navigate

6.       If you go to Plaka, in Athens, you won’t see:

a.       A solar clock

b.      A church

c.       A children’s museum

d.      An Opera

7.       The Greek doctor George Papanikolaou  (ΓεώργιοςΠαπανικολάου) discovered:

a.       The vaccine against polio

b.      The Pap test

c.       The elixir of youth

d.      The penicillin

8.       Which population never invaded Greece:

a.       Franks

b.      Venetians

c.       Persians

d.      Aborigines

9.       Kalamatianos (Καλαματιανός) dance consists of:

a.       7 steps

b.      12 steps

c.       16 steps

d.      No steps. Just get drunk and do whatever you like

10.   The Greek national poet is:

a.       Konstantinos Kavafis (ΚωνσταντίνοςΚαβάφης)

b.      Homer (Όμηρος)

c.       George Seferis (Γεώργιος Σεφέρης)

d.       Dionysios Solomos(Διονύσιος Σολωμός)

11.   Traditional mastic products are produced in:

a.       Chios  (Χίος)

b.      Limnos (Λήμνος)

c.       Amorgos (Αμοργός)

d.      Lesvos (Λέσβος)

12.   Which one of the following words is not of Greek origin:

a.       Nostalgia

b.      Melody

c.       Orgasm

d.      Algebra

13.   Which one of the following drinks cannot be found in a Greek tavern:

a.       Pisco (Πίσκο)

b.      Tsikoudia (Τσικουδιά)

c.       Ρακόμελο (Rakomelo)

d.      Ρετσίνα (Retsina)

14.   If you were a Greek god/goddess you would eat and drink:

a.       Ouzo and fish

b.      Honey and grapes

c.       Nectar and ambrosia

d.      Olives and water

15.   The Greek word for “freedom” is:

a.       Αγάπη (agape)

b.      Φιλία (filia)

c.       Ισότητα (isotita)

d.      Ελευθερία (eleftheria)

Answer Key:

1. a            6.d              11.a

2.d            7.b              12.d

3.a             8.d             13.a

4.b            9.b             14.c

5.b            10.d          15.d

If you are overwhelmed by a long winter, watch this video by Stian Rekdal.

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Let’s talk about the Past! Greek Irregular verbs you must know

Posted on 19. Mar, 2014 by in Grammar


Feggy Art@flickr

Αόριστος (Aoristos, Past Simple) is one of the most challenging tenses beginners have to deal with. For information on the Aoristos conjugation check this entry

Below there’s a list of some common verbs which have an irregular form and a dialogue in order to put these verbs in context.








Past Simple




to be





to have





to say, to tell





to see





to give





to go





to eat





to drink





to listen, to hear





to take, to get





to leave, to go





to understand





to go out, to get out



(Άννα): Γεια σου Στέλλα, τι κάνεις; (Geia sou Stella ti kanis)

Hi Stella, how are you?

(Στέλλα): Είμαι πολύ κουρασμένη. Χθες το βράδυ ο Μάριος ήταν άρρωστος. (Ime poli kourasmeni. Hthes to vradi o Marios itan arostos)

I’m very tired. Last night Marios was ill.

(Άννα): Είχε πυρετό; (Ihe pireto)

Did he have a temperature?

(Στέλλα): Ναι. Τριάντα εννιά και πέντε. Και το πρωί δεν έφαγε τίποτα. Ήπιε μόνο νερό. (Ne. Trianta enia ke pente. Ke to proi den efage tipota. Ipie mono nero)

Yes. 39.5. And he had nothing to eat in the morning. He drank just water.

(Άννα): Πήρε κανένα φάρμακο; (Pire kanena farmako)

Did he take any medicine?

(Στέλλα): Όχι, αλλά τον είδε ο γιατρός. (Ohi, alla ton ide o giatros)

No, but we called in for the doctor.

(Άννα): Και τι είπε; (Ke ti ipe)

What did he say?

(Στέλλα): Δεν του έδωσε αντιβίωση. Θα κάνει εξετάσεις πρώτα. (Den tou edose antiviosi. Tha kani extasis prota)

He didn’t prescribe any antibiotics. He has to have done some tests first.

(Άννα): Εσύ που πας τώρα; Στο σπίτι; (Esi pou pas tora? Sto spiti?)

Where are you going now? Home?

(Στέλλα): Ναι, πήγα στο φαρμακείο. Πήρα βιταμίνες και ασπιρίνες. (Ne, piga sto farmakeio. Pira vitamines ke aspirines)

Yes, I went to the pharmacy. I bought vitamins and aspirins.

(Άννα): Είσαι μόνη σου; (Ise moni sou?)

Are you by yourself?

(Στέλλα): Ναι. Ο Αντρέας λείπει. Έφυγε προχθές. Θα γυρίσει σε είκοσι μέρες. (Ne. O Andreas leipei. Efige prohthes. Tha girisei se ikosi meres)

Yes. Andreas is away. He left the day before yesterday. He’ll back in twenty days.

(Άννα): Κατάλαβα(Katalava)

I see…

(Στέλλα): Εσύ τι κάνεις; (Esi ti kaneis?)

How are you?

(Άννα): Καλά… Βγήκα για τρέξιμο αλλά δεν είχα πολύ χρόνο. Τώρα γυρίζω σπίτι. (Kala. Vgika gia treximo alla den eiha poli hrono)

I’m good… I went for a quick run cause I didn’t have much time. Now, I’m heading home.

(Στέλλα): Πάμε μαζί. Άκουσες για το φόνο στο πάρκο; (Pame mazi. Akouses gia to fono sto parko?)

Let’s walk together.  Did you hear about the murder in the park?

(Άννα): Σοβαρά; Όχι, δεν άκουσα τίποτα! Για πες! (Sovara? Ohi, den akousa tipota! Gia pes!)

Murder? Really? No, I know nothing about it! Tell me all about it!


Free Samples of Modern Greek Language Books

Posted on 12. Mar, 2014 by in Uncategorized



Learning a foreign language is not easy. Sometimes learners tend to buy loads of books in their attempt to master the new language as quickly as possible. However, instead of learning the language they often overload the shelves of their bookcase with books that they will never read.

There’s nothing wrong with buying books and usually learners who buy books are highly motivated and engaged in the learning process. The problem is that sometimes they buy books based on the reviews or on the book description but when they get their copy they realize that this book is not the right one for them. Some authors and publishing houses provide readers with free samples. Below, there’s a list of Modern Greek Language books suitable  for learners of all levels, accompanied by free samples.

For more information on the six levels of language learners according to the Common European Framework and for the equivalence with North American Standards click here:

For proficient users

1. Καλειδοσκόπιο, Επίπεδο Γ1, Ιφιγένεια Γεωργιάδου (εκδόσεις Ακακία και ΚΕΝΤΡΟ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΟΥ ΠΟΛΙΤΙΣΜΟΥ)  (Kaleidoskopio, C1 level by Ifigenia Georgiadou, the HELLENIC CULTURE CENTRE and AKAKIA editions)

2. Καλειδοσκόπιο, Επίπεδο Γ2 (C2 level). It’s probably the only book for C2 level students available.

These series present aspects of the Greek society and are suitable for demanding students of higher levels who want to sit Certification exams or to get a picture of the Greek reality by stydying authentic texts.

You can download free samples here:

For beggining / intermediate students

1. Φύγαμε για ελληνικά, Μαρίνα Μπράιλα, Κωνσταντίνος Οικονόμου, Δώρα Στοϊμενίδου, εκδόσεις Οσελότος (Figame gia ellinika, Marina Braila, Konsantinos Economou, Dora Stoimenidou, ocelotos editions, Off we go to learn Greek!) is suitable to intermediate students who want to practice their reading and listening comprehension.

More information about the book and free sample:

2. Κλικ στα ελληνικά επίπεδα Α1 και Α2, Μ. Καρακύργιου, Β. Παναγιωτίδου, Κέντρο Ελληνικής Γλώσσας (Klik sta ellinika A1 and A2 levels, M. Karakirgiou, V. Panayiotidou, Centre for the Greek Language)

Suitable for teenagers and adults who have no prior knowledge of the Greek language and who wish to sit Certicifation exams or to develop their communicative competence in Modern Greek.

Click here for a free sample:

3. On the website of the School of Modern Greek Language of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki you can find free samples to all the textbooks. Just click on “read more” and then on “sample”.

4. Series Ελληνικά Τώρα  ΔΗΜΗΤΡΑ ΔΗΜΗΤΡΑ, ΜΑΡΙΝΕΤΑ ΠΑΠΑΧΕΙΜΩΝΑ (Ellinika Tora 1+1, Greek Now 1+1, Dimitra Dimitra and Marineta Papachimona) Nostos editions)

Textbooks for A1 and A2 level students.

Textbooks for B1 and B2 level students.

5. Ελληνικά Α’, Παυλοπούλου Αγλαΐα, Σιμόπουλος Γιώργος, Κανελλοπούλου Ρίτα, Παθιάκη Ειρήνη, εκδόσεις Πατάκης (Ellinika A, Pavlopoulou Aglaia, Simopoulos Giorgos, Kanellopoulou Rita, Pathiaki Eirini, Patakis editions)

6. Ελληνικά Β’, Σιμόπουλος Γιώργος, Τουρλής Γιώργος, Παθιάκη Ειρήνη (Ellinika B, Simopoulos Giorgos, Tourlis Giorgos, Pathiaki Eirini)

7. Επικοινωνήστε Ελληνικά, Κλεάνθης Αρβανιτάκης, Φρόσω Αρβανιτάκη, εκδόσεις Δέλτος (Epikinoniste Ellinika, Communivcate in Greek series, Kleanthis Arvanitakis, Froso Arvanitaki, Deltos editions)

Free samples of the series here;


Καλό διάβασμα!  (Kalo diavasma, enjoy studying!)