Navigating the Dialects in Modern Greek

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So, you spent a lot of time learning Greek and you’re excited to practice speaking. After a while, you may start to notice that there are some people you can understand a lot easier than others. This would be especially obvious in Greece as you travel to the different regions. You may find that you understand the people in certain regions better than others. Why is this the case?

Learning Different Greek Dialects

One of the reasons why you could find some people easier to understand than others is because of their dialects. While learning the language in a formal way, it is likely that you could be learning Standard Modern Greek, which is also referred to as Modern Greek Koiné. This is the form of the language that is taught in schools. It is also used in entertainment. For example, Greek news anchors tend to use the standard dialect since it is something that other people can understand. On the other hand, if you learned Greek at home, chances are pretty good that you learned the dialect that your family speaks. This would also impact your ability to understand others.

How to Understand Different Dialects

For the most part, if people hear you speaking Standard Modern Greek, chances are pretty good that they will adjust their speaking slightly so that you can understand them better. If this doesn’t happen, you will need to learn some tricks that will help you. Here’s a look at some of the things you can do to help you navigate the different dialects:

  • Learn how to listen. If you boost your listening skills in the Greek language, it makes it a lot easier to understand different dialects. Practice listening to different Greek programs, such as movies and television shows, to try to get a handle on the different accents.
  • Ask them to repeat themselves. If you didn’t quite catch what someone said, don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat themselves! Try saying this to get them to slow down: Παρακαλώ μιλάτε πιο αργά – Parakalo dilate Pio arga – Please speak slowly.
  • Become familiar with Standard Modern Greek. If you have learned a particular Greek dialect, you should spend some time getting familiar with the standard dialect. That way, if you hear that someone is speaking a different dialect from you, you can switch to the form of Greek that most people seem to understand.

There are different dialects in the modern Greek language. For example, the people of Athens speak a different version of the language than people on the islands. Knowing that these dialects exist can help considerably, but you should also get to know Standard Modern Greek as best as possible since it will enable you to communicate with people all over Greece. Although the dialects are still part of the Greek language, pronunciation and word choices can differ slightly, making it difficult for those beginning their language studies to understand.


Varieties of Modern Greek

The Learn Greek section on 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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This post was written by Greek Boston

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