To be or not to be: How are you?

We’re here to help you get on board and take you to the land of Greek.  From there, you can get the traditional courses in Greek.  We get your brain going to dig an new channel for Greek by using the language you already know: English.  We use English words that are close enough to the Greek to get you to the other side.  Once you are on the other side, you can polish up the pronunciation as you talk with Greek Cypriots.  Cypriots are very friendly and forgiving about mistake.  (This is not France.) So talk.  Speak Greek.  Just get out there and do it when you go to a restaurant or the shops.  You can even ask the Cypriots if you can record what they say in order that you can hear it over and over again.

When you use full sentences in learning Greek, it helps you remember because you are learning a full thought and not just fragments of language that you don’t know how to use in communication.   When language has meaning for us, we tend to remember it more easily.

So here’s a little grammar.  Please don’t go into shock, fear, and run away screaming.  Because you are using the verb in a full sentence, you are not learning a “verb.” You are learning how to answer a Cypriot friend in Paphos if they say, “Pos E-stay?”  (How are you?) TIP: When Greek has an “s” at the end like in Pos, it doesn’t sound like a “z” as in English.  It has a nice “ssss” sound.  So it’s not pose (poze) but pos with a long o.  Also Greeks like to run the words together, so it might sound like pos-E-stay. Notice that Greeks use a ; instead of a ? for a question. Πώς είστε;

E-mail will help you with the “to be” verbs in Greek.  Pronounce each verb with the same E you use for E-mail.  In E-mail, we put the stress on the E.  So you can do the same with the word E-may, E-say, E-nay, and E-stay.

For “We are fine” Greeks say “E-mastay.”  Think “E-must stay” or “he must stay” to help you remember.

Notice that the word for “fine” or “good” has an accent on the last α.  καλἀ.  That means you put the stress on the last syllable: ka-LAH.  If you can give the emphasis to the right syllable, Greeks will have a better chance of understanding you.

You’ll see have we have E-nay kalah for he, she, it, and even they are fine.  Greeks only use the pronouns if they need to clarify or emphasis.  So if someone asked you about your sister, you could say E-nay kalah because it is clear to both of your that you are talking about your sister and not your brother.

So you if you have any questions, visit us at our Facebook page.  Just search for Cyprus Greek.  If you are a Greek speaker and can enlighten us on any aspect here, we welcome your participation with open arms!

to be greek


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