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Common Greek filler words and phrases Posted by on Feb 6, 2020 in Vocabulary

Γεια σας! Today we will see some common filler words and phrases which are used in oral speech. These words are meaningless, so do not try to translate them. They are only used when we want to make a pause or when we feel awkward and hesitant during a conversation.

#1. Λοιπόν

It can mean “so” or “then”. Sometimes, it is used at the beginning or at the end of a sentence and is not translated.

Example #1:

Μαρία: Τι έγινε χθες το βράδυ; / What happened last night?

Άννα: Λοιπόν, χθες το βράδυ περάσαμε τέλεια. Πρώτα πήγαμε για φαγητό… / (Λοιπόν) last night we had a great time. First, we went for dinner…

Example #2:

Τηλεφώνησα στον Αντώνη αλλά μου είπε ότι δεν μπορεί να έρθει να πάρει το πακέτο αύριο γιατί θα πάει τη μάνα του στο γιατρό, έτσι πρέπει ή να του το πάμε εμείς, ή να έρθει άλλη μέρα. Λοιπόν…

I called Antonis but he tols me that he cannot come to take the package tomorrow because he has to take his mom to the doctor, so we should take the package to him or he should come some other day. Λοιπόν…

In this case, loipon ends the conversation.

 

#2. δε μου λες

It means “why don’t you tell me”. It is always used at the beginning of a question.

Example:

Δε μου λες, τι σου έλεγε χθες η Ευγενία; / (Δε μου λες,) what did Eugenia tell you yesterday?

 

#3. κοίτα

It means “look”.

Example:

Κοίτα, εγώ δεν ξέρω τι έγινε μεταξύ σας και δεν μπορώ να πάρω θέση. / Look, I don’t know what happened between you too and I cannot take sides.

 

#4. Εντάξει (or “‘ντάξει”)

 

It means “ok”.

Example:

Μαρία: Σου άρεσε το έργο; / Did you like the movie?

Άννα: Ε, εντάξει… δεν κατάλαβα και πολλά πράγματα. / (Ε, εντάξει) I didn’t understand much.

 

#5. ξέρω ‘γω

It is not translated. Ξέρω means “I know” and ‘γω (from εγώ) means “I”. It is used when we feel awkward or stressed.

Example:

Στέλλα: Μήπως έμαθες γιατί είναι η Άντζελα στο νοσοκομείο; / Did you find out why Angela was at the hospital?

Μιχάλης: Ε… μίλησα με την αδερφή της. / Eh… I spoke with her sister.

Στέλλα: Και τι σου είπε; / And what did she tell you?

Μιχάλης: Ε… μου είπε ότι, ξέρω ‘γω, έφαγε κάτι και την πείραξε και κάτι τέτοια. Eh… she said that (ξέρω ‘γω) she ate something bad and stuff…

 

#6. ρε παιδί μου

“ρε” is not translated. Παιδί μου literally means “my child”.

Example #1:

Η Σοφία έχει πολλά προβλήματα αλλά, ρε παιδί μου, κι ο άντρας της δεν το καταλαβαίνει. / Sophia has many problems but (ρε παιδί μου) her husband doesn’t understand the situation.

Example #2:

Στέλλα: Η Σοφία απολύθηκε και είναι δυο μήνες χωρίς δουλειά. / Sophia was fired and she’s unemployed for two months.

Μαρία: Τι λες, ρε παιδί μου! / Really? (or What are you talking about?)

 

#7. E…

It is the most common filler sound.

Example:

Ε… δεν ξέρω ακόμα αν θα βγω το βράδυ, γιατί ε… ίσως έρθει μια φίλη μου. / Er… I don’t know yet if I go out tonight, because er… I friend might come by.

Φωτογραφία από Jessica Hathcock από το Pixabay

 

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About the Author: Ourania

Ourania lives in Athens. She holds a degree in French Literature and a Master’s degree in Special Education for Children. Since 2008, she has been teaching Greek to foreigners.


Comments:

  1. Simon Ellis:

    Very useful. I also like the expressions ‘Για πες’ and (my personal favourite) ‘Τι λες παιδι μου’.

    • Ourania:

      @Simon Ellis Yes, these phrases are very common 🙂

  2. Stella:

    Thank You for the post Ourania. Brilliant work.
    I never thought of making a list of these words/phrases and teach them collectively or otherwise. You gave me ideas.

    • Ourania:

      @Stella I am happy to know this post can be useful 🙂