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Show your emotions with Greek interjections Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 in Culture, Vocabulary

The Greek language is rich in interjections. They are short words or phrases which are invariable and are accompanied by the appropriate extralinguistic characteristics, such as body language and facial expressions. They are used in oral speech and also in literature.

 

Greencolander  under a CC license on Flickr

Greencolander on Flickr under a CC license

Α! (ah) : it is used to show exclamation or amazement. We also use it when we are scared.

Αμάν! (aman): a word of Turkish origin. It can be used to express indignation or frustration.

Άντε! (ade): we use it when we are pleasantly surprised. It can also be used to express anger.

Απαπα! (apapa): it is used to express a strong disapproval.

Άου! (aou): we use it when we are in pain.

Άουτς! (aouch): the same as “άου!”

 Αχ! (ach): it is a sound produced when we are in love, in pain, or when we feel sorrow.

Γιούπι! (youpee): we use it to express joy.

Ε; (e): it is a sign that we don’t understand what our interlocutor says, when we need them to repeat what they said (although it is rude) and when we need them to agree with us. It can be translated as “what?” or “isn’t it?”

Ε! (e): we use it when we want to call someone, when we are angry or when we want to express disapproval.

Επ! (ep): we use it when we see unexpectedly someone we know very well or when we catch someone doing something wrong.

Εύγε! (evge): it is used to express praise.

Μακάρι!(makaree): we use it when we wish for something to happen.

Μπα! (ba): it is one of the most common Greek colloquialisms. It can be used to express admiration, amazement, refusal and sarcasm. It can be very rude depending on the context and the tone of the voice.

Μπράβο! (bravo): it is an Italian word but it is always invariable. We use it when we praise someone. However “άντε μπράβο!” (ande bravo) is used to express anger.

Οέο; (oaio): it is used at the end of the sentence and it means “where?”

Ου! (oo): it can be translated as “boo” and it is used to express disapproval.

Ουφ! (oof): we use it when we are tired or sad.

Ποπο! (popo): another common word. It is used when something bad happens and it can be very dramatic. It can be also used to show admiration.

Χμ! (hm): we use it when we hesitate.

Ωχ! (och): we use it when we hear something unpleasant or something unexpected.

Tambako the Jaguar under a CC license on Flickr

Tambako the Jaguar under a CC license on Flickr

 

 

 

 

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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:

    I like saying αμάν and απαπαπα to my Greek teacher. But what about βρε?

    • Ourania:

      @Simon Βρε is acceptable only if your teacher is a member of your family or if you are close friends.

  2. Chnoudotos:

    Is there a Greek colloquialism or interjection that equates to “wtf” aka “what the fuck” to express incredulity and/or annoyance?

    • Ourania:

      @Chnoudotos Όχι ρε γαμώτο or έλα ρε γαμώτο, I think.

  3. Jeremy:

    Hi, useful information thanks! Quick question, are the phrases “Bravo” or “Well done” ever used sarcastically in Greece?

    • Ourania:

      @Jeremy Hi,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Yes, we use bravo and well done sarcastically.