Ways to Learn Colloquial Greek

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When you learn Greek, you may notice that there are two basic types of Greek that you can study. There’s the “proper” form of the language that most people learn in school, and there is the colloquial form of the language that includes slang phrases, dialectal differences, and other changes. The proper form of the language is something that nearly everyone in the country can understand. The colloquial forms of the language may not be spoken by everyone.

While studying the language, most of what you’re doing will involve learning the proper way to speak. However, you should also learn some elements of colloquial Greek, such as the slang phrases and idiomatic expressions. This will make your Greek a bit more approachable while you’re speaking the language. Here are some strategies that will help you learn colloquial Greek:

Pay Attention While Conversing

When you’re speaking Greek with others, you may find that they occasionally use words and phrases that you have never heard. While this will be a fairly common occurrence as you learn since there won’t be much you know, every now and then you may notice that the Greek you don’t know is actually colloquial. You will only really get to know the difference while you are in conversation with those who know Greek better than you. Pay attention to any words and phrases that sound like they may be slang. Find out what they mean and then try to learn the best way to use them yourself.

Watch Movies and Television Programs

You can actually learn a lot by watching movies and television programs. Writers tend to create their dialogs so that they sound realistic, and in order to do this they need to at least use some colloquial words and phrases. Try to watch these programs more than once because each time you watch them, you are sure to learn something new. Write down any colloquial words and phrases you may notice and then take the time to learn their meanings. Try to use them whenever you can in order to get comfortable with them.

Focus on the Basics and the Rest Will Come

Even if colloquial Greek often sounds a little bit different, it still follows the basic rules of grammar in the Greek language. You should become comfortable with these basics because it will help you identify colloquial expressions when they do arise. Also, some colloquial words, phrases, and expressions do appear as if they break some grammatical rules, but that doesn’t mean they are wrong. You need to know what the rules are so you can break them properly.

While learning Greek, you should keep in mind that there are colloquial words and phrases to know, as well. Keep an open mind and learn them as you go along. Knowing colloquial Greek will help you sound more like a native speaker.


The Learn Greek section on GreekBoston.com was written by Greeks to help people understand the conversational basics of the Greek language. This article is not a substitute for a professional Greek learning program, but a helpful resource for people wanting to learn simple communication in Greek.

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