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Understanding colloquial Greek Posted by on Sep 30, 2019 in Pronunciation

Do you find it hard to understand the Greeks when they speak, even though your Greek is good? This happens because they speak fast and also because they do not always pronounce the words and phrases as they write them. In this post, we will see how the Greeks speak when they interact in an informal context.

 

Photo by dimitrisvetsikas1969 via Pixabay

 

#1. Εντάξει → ‘ντάξει

It is one of the most common Greek words. When we speak fast we tend to drop the –ε. However, it would be inappropriate to use ‘νταξει in a formal context.

#2. Ευχαριστώ → ‘φχαριστώ

#3. the personal pronoun σου drops the ου sound when τον, τη, το, του, τους, τις, τα follow.

Examples:

Σου τον αγόρασαστον αγόρασα (I bought him for you. Him refers to a masculine singular noun).

Σου τις πλήρωσαστις πλήρωσα (I paid them for you. Them refers to a feminine plural noun).

#4. When we use the personal pronouns το (it) and τα (them) before a two or three-syllable verb starting by a vowel, the vowel is omitted.

Examples:

Σου το είπασου το ‘πα or στο ‘πα (I told you so).

Τα είδατα ‘δα (I saw them).

Το αγόρασατ’αγόρασα (I bought it).

#5. Articles το and τα lose the vowels ο and α when placed before a noun or adjective which starts by α: το αγόρι μου (my boy) → τ’ αγόρι μου / θέλω τα άσπρα θέλω τ’άσπρα (I want the white ones).

#6. Type Α (ending in –άω, -ώ) verbs have two forms in Παρατατικός (Past Continuous).

Examples:

Μιλούσα / Μίλαγα (μιλάω, to speak). The second type is used in oral speech: Όταν τον είδα, μίλαγε με τους φίλους του. (When I saw him, he was speaking with his friends).

Ξεκινούσε / Ξεκίναγε (ξεκινάω, to start): Το μάθημα ξεκίναγε στις οκτώ. / The class used to start at 8.

Περνούσαμε / Περνάγαμε (περνάω, to spend, to pass): Περνάγαμε ωραία μέχρι που ήρθε η Μυρτώ. (We were having a nice time until Mirto came).

Note the following sentences:

We write: Σου το είπα ότι θα το αγόραζαWe say: Στο ‘πα ότι θα τ’αγόραζα. (I told you I would buy it).

We write: Τα έφαγες τα αυγά σου;Τα ‘φαγες τ’ αυγά σου; (Did you eat your eggs?)

 

You can see an example of colloquial Greek on the funny video that follows. It is about the different types of hotel guests:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydkgmPDKEKI

 

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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. Esther:

    I really like and appreciate these posts, especially the ones about about colloquial Greek language. My Greek friend writes like he speaks, so sometimes he uses words or phrases that I don’t understand. But with the help of the posts in the blog, many of them became clear to me. Like today στο είπα instead of σου το είπα.


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