You are already in Greece when you read these few lines and, helpless in front of a shopkeeper or an inhabitant with whom you would like to converse a little, at least to say “Hello” and to show him your interest for the legendary Greek language, nothing comes out “Hellas”… So let’s learn together to say “hello”, but also “goodbye” or “hi”!
How to say Hello in greek?
Every society has its own customs. The greeting is one of them. The Greek greeting is said in a very particular way.
In addition to the expression itself, the morning or later greeting is surrounded by formality, the mastery of which will allow you to integrate easily.
“Hello” in greek, in the morning: Kalimera
The literal translation of the word hello in Greek is “καλημέρα” = “kalimera” .
This is the word used to say good morning until noon or even 1pm. In Crete and Greece generally. Considered as an interjection kalimera can be used in all circumstances, whether you are addressing children or adults, men or women.
“Hello to you”: Kalimera sas
The word can be accompanied by “σας” = “sas” which in Greek means “you”.
So by saying “καλημέρα σας” = “kalimera sas” you are actually saying hello to you. This rather formal group of words can be seen as a sustained expression to say hello to people with a certain status (elderly people, employees, etc.).
It is also an expression used to say good day. Using it can be a way of informing the other person that you are from the capital. You can also practice on the beaches of Crete, in Balos or Elafonisi, or why not by talking to the shopkeepers in Chania.
“Hello” and “goodbye” in greek: Geiá
“γειά” = “geiá” is a Greek word that is used in several contexts. It is used both to say hello and to say goodbye.
“γειά σου” = “geiá sou” is the expression that is used to say hello, but also to show your desire to communicate with your interlocutor.
It should not be confused with “γειά σας” = “geiá sas” which means goodbye.
You may therefore prefer this expression if you are new to the area.
“Hi” in greek: Yassou
“Yassou”, like its english version, is a more relaxed and youthful version of the greeting.
This Greek word can be considered a colloquial expression meaning greeting.
Υαssou is used to address young people, children, or people with whom you have a familiar relationship.
If you want to address an elderly person, it would be yassas.
Good evening in greek: Kalispera
From 1pm (approximately) and the beginning of the afternoon, kalimera is replaced by “kαλησπέρα” = “kalispera” which means good evening and is used for the afternoon greeting.
Greetings in greek: the recap
Want to test your greek level in Greece?
After learning some basic Greek with us on this article, perhaps you can go and have a real-life experience in language immersion in Crete or its capital, Heraklion? If so, here are some activities we recommend before you check into your hotel in Crete!