So, did you know you can speak Greek?

Today’s blog post is written by Konstantia Sotiropoulou, who’s been helping us to translate and record our Maths apps in Greek.

I bumped into the picture below a while ago and I thought this should be interesting. Undoubtedly, Greek is one of the richest languages in the world and is distinguished by an extensive vocabulary. In the past, the Guinness Book of Records ranked the Greek language as the richest in the world with 5 million words and 70 million word types!

You speak Greek, You just don't know it
The front cover of You speak Greek, You just don't know it, a book by Annie Stefanides (Ianos, 2010)

Well, many of these words have been widely borrowed into other languages, including English. Greek roots are often used to coin new words for other languages, especially in the sciences and medicine. Mathematics, physics, astronomy, democracy, philosophy, athletics, theatre, rhetoric, baptism and hundreds of other words are Greek. Moreover, Greek words and word elements continue to be productive as a basis for coinages: anthropology, photography, telephony, isomer, biomechanics, cinematography, etc. and form, with Latin words, the foundation of international scientific and technical vocabulary, e.g. all words ending with –logy (“discourse”). Interestingly, an estimated 12% of the English vocabulary has Greek origin. Greek has contributed to English in several ways, including direct borrowings from Greek and indirectly through other languages (mainly Latin or French).

In a typical 80,000-word English dictionary, about 5% of the words are directly borrowed from Greek; this is about equivalent to the vocabulary of an educated speaker of English (for example, “phenomenon” is a Greek word and even obeys Greek grammar rules as the plural is “phenomena”). However, around 25% are borrowed indirectly. This is because there were many Greek words borrowed in Latin originally, which then filtered down into English because English borrowed so many words from Latin (for example, “elaiwa” in Greek evolved into the Latin “oliva”, which in turn became “olive” in English).

Greek and Latin are the predominant sources of the international scientific vocabulary. Greek is often used in coining very specialized technical or scientific words, however, so the percentage of words borrowed from Greek rises much higher when considering highly scientific vocabulary (for example, “oxytetracycline” is a medical term that has several Greek roots).

In education, an excellent way to build vocabulary is teaching students how to find roots in words. Since many words have their base in the Greek language, beginning with the roots from this ancient language is a good place to start. This list of English words with Greek origin will give students a basis for further exploration into the roots of the English language.

Now you that you have seen how many Greek words you know, I am going to teach you some more common ones like “kalimera” which means “good morning”, “Ya sou” which means “hi”, “Me lene” which means “my name is” and “efharisto” which means “thank you”. And if you are interested in learning more and discovering how many you already know, try EuroTalk’s uTalk Greek app.

And who am I to be talking about the Greek language? I am the Greek intern of EuroTalk, who translated and recorded into Greek their new Maths apps for young children. An interesting and fun experience for a young translator like me. I have to say that I really enjoyed working in this office, which gives you the sense of a family home. People here are calm and friendly, the kitchen is fully equipped with all kinds of snacks and during the day we get to listen to nice music while working! How amazing is that?

Maths, age 3-5 and Maths, age 4-6 - the apps I translated and recorded during my time at EuroTalk

I started towards the end of January by translating the scripts of the app and soon after I recorded the first topics. I caught myself playing the app more than I needed to, as the games are really fun! I am sure young kids will truly enjoy it while learning basic Mathematics rules. And I know that my three-year-old niece, who will be playing the app in a few weeks, will at least have a constructive and educational first contact with technology!

So, whether you want to take up a new language or help your child have a nice start with Maths, you know that EuroTalk is here for you!

* There is an interesting video on YouTube that explains the History of English and the influence that it had from other languages!


18 thoughts on “So, did you know you can speak Greek?”

  1. I am trying to learn ancient greek.
    Ive found some sayings differ from source to source.
    I’ve seen the “me lene” my name is, first, but i see more commonly “onoma” more often for name.

    So, why do I see two different words for one word and which should I use?

    • It’s not the same thing! Onoma is a noun, me lene is a verb. So Onoma means name but you can use both. they have the same meaning but it’s not exactly the same thing. You can either say me lene… Or to onoma mou einai….
      You will see many other words that in greek differ and in English mean the same thing. That’s because the greek language is very different from any other language and it wil take you time to actually realize when to use what word. What you’re doing is very difficult but also very interesting and it will teach you a lot about why things have the name that they have ( etymology) so good luck and study hard 🙂

  2. Pingback: It’s all Greek to you? or isn’t it? | The Travel Company
  3. As a Greek I have yet to see the validity of those ridiculous claims of people assuming “Greek is one of the richest.” and all I admit is that Modern Greek is NOT even particulary rich. and this articleis biased.

    I mean how it is EVEN rich? Because it has 1 million words or so according to claims? Big deal. Most of these words are utterly worthless and actually the same EXACT concepts like “μάθηση”(learning) and “εκμάθηση”(learning) repeated reduntantly a thousand times. That IS the so-called “richness” of Greek language… useless overepeated words with no purpose.

    Oh, you said “aeroplane”? Did you know that Old English name for “air” is “loft”? You can make something as “loftboard” and you are done. “Chemistry”, you say? Wow, really? Big fucking deal. Just take “juice” and make “Juician” or “Juictry” or smth. Actually, you can pretty much make all the Greek-devirative scientific names with purr English Anglo-Saxon words… no big deal. No one wil bat an eye.

    For a language that doesn’t have an exact word for “actually” and the phrase “in fact” that are essential to scientific thought, Greek takes a hella LOT of credit.

    • Thanks for your comment. Our post, as you know, was written by someone from Greece, so she probably is a bit biased! – but even so, her observation that Greek is the richest language was based on it being ranked as such by the Guinness Book of Records back in 1990. But of course this is only one opinion, and we appreciate you taking the time to offer an alternative view.

      • We have to admit the “research” back in 1990 was poorly done. And it had holes. “Word forms” are not strictly words also. Most American had this notion back then that Greek was some kind of super duper language.

        Most Greeks today who are idiots and autistic think this way, that their language is “dah richest”, I don’t. I logically question things. I mean the dictionary said English has more or less 400.000 words… And that’s a lie. English has actually far FAR than that in fact 1 million or more.

        Of course I don’t take any alternate “view” because as you said her view is wrong and I am simply correct. If there is any actual proof then I will consider changing my “view” which in in fact logic and fact-acceptance. I just admit reality.

        I am not saying Greek is not rich, I think it’s richer..hmm… than Spanish, Albanian and Serbian for example. It’s a pretty decent language on its own if it wasn’t for Modern Greeks to ruin it and defy even it’s modern basic grammar.

    • I’d say this comment is biased and furthermore uneducated.

      Ι’ll try to give you a hint without getting into loads of linguistic details.

      Greek words(even modern greek)often have a deeper meaning about things and their state of being.Most words don’t just mean something,instead they resemble a whole complex of ideals behind them.They have philosophical extensions and furthermore they define the meaning of a particular word with 100% accuracy.
      In this regard we can not say “loftboard”(loft + board) instead of aeroplane [αεροπλάνο(aeroplano in greek) = ἀήρ + πλανῶμαι]and deliver the exact same meaning.We would be inconsistent if we’d choose to do so.

      Another great example is the greek word “τέλος”(telos).In english we use the word “end” which phenomenically means the same thing BUT,the greek word telos actually delivers a much more richer meaning.The greek word telos refers to intelligently designed ends, that is, ends which serve a purpose(Telos of the Cosmos didn’t simply mean the end of the universe for ancient Greeks,rather than Cosmos serving its purpose according to the Logos,or the divine plan if you like)- hence the word “teleology” we use in english is unique in its meaning and can not be said otherwise.

      There are tons of words which through the study of etymology would further validate the main article’s statements.

      • “I’d say this comment is biased and furthermore uneducated.”

        You actually exposed the idiocy of your comment you know that, right?

        “Ι’ll try to give you a hint without getting into loads of linguistic details”

        Let’s see your circus.

        “Greek words(even modern greek)often have a deeper meaning about things and their state of being.”

        Nope, WRONG.

        No, actually they don’t. You are drinking the magic puff puff mystical nonsense pill therefore intentionally blinding yourself. I am speaker of Modern Greek and I KNOW they actually in fact do not.

        Just because you are into preposterous mystical garbage and you have stellar English that clearly doesn’t help covering your ignorance.

        “Most words don’t just mean something,”

        Wut? That’s the dumbest yet the oddest things I have read. Cut the drugs next time you try to post. That’s what happens when you try to post while taking a heavy dose of cocaine.

        It makes no sense.

        “instead they resemble a whole complex of ideals behind them”

        Well, aren’t you a CLEVER snowflake?

        Which means, according to that, that they actually MEAN something. It’s not even funny, you contradict yourself in the incarnation of illogicality you love to spew.

        Shake your head to come to your senses.

        They have philosophical extensions and furthermore they define the meaning of a particular word with 100% accuracy.”

        That’s funny… trying to claim me uneducate, it is. The fallacies and ironic delusions displayed here are validating otherwise, you ARE uneducated. Ironic you claimed “100% accuracy”… that thing is impossible and further confirms the fact you are an idiot.

        And you are throwing a ridiculous and illogical paranoid rambling that in your verbal diarrhea makes no sense. Go back to your personal psychiatric to receive a therapy before try to make a coherent thought.

        Philosophy actually is pretty vague. It is SUPPOSSED to be. That’s why is philosophy, it draws conclusions from hypotheses, assumptions. It has NOTHING to do with being accurate, but thinking so you can give food for thought. It’s thinking for the sake of thinking, in a way.

        Science on the other hand, is ACCURACY ITSELF. It has evidence and proofs that make up facts and cystal-clearly show the reality itself. Philosophy CAN’T be accurate, it’s a floating state of ideas.

        So, whatever you said was undeniably proven crazy and it holds no water. “Άερο-” itself holds no philosophical meaning, neither does “-πλάνο”, it’s just a simple blant word.

        In this regard we can not say “loftboard”(loft + board) instead of aeroplane [αεροπλάνο(aeroplano in greek) = ἀήρ + πλανῶμαι]and deliver the exact same meaning.We would be inconsistent if we’d choose to do so.”

        Wrong again. “Inconsistent”… I don’t think it means what you think it means. Also misusing Anglo-Saxon eloquency like “we can not say” in the form of the highest Down Syndrome drivel abd verbal diarrhea won’t make you pass as “smart”. You are still gargantually retarded. Hell, you are dumber than I thought

        As Itachi said, people thinking under the obstacles of their tribe or ethnicity have fallen into false assumptions, pass everything from emotion and have poor thought and so you already in fact fallen into false assumptions having poor thinking passing everything instead of logic BLINDLY through enotion. But, I know you are still a little child yet. It’s okay for you to speak though instinct.

        In reality, you claim this as “inconstistent” because you more than obviously are so dumbfounded by your psychotic ethnocentric delusions to even see forward and go figure things out. Instead you buy the Kool-Aid.

        But, now THAT’S biased.

        “the greek word telos actually delivers a much more richer meaning”

        “Actually”? That’s new one, but go on.

        “The greek word telos refers to intelligently designed ends, that is, ends which serve a purpose(Telos of the Cosmos didn’t simply mean the end of the universe for ancient Greeks,rather than Cosmos serving its purpose according to the Logos,or the divine plan if you like)-”

        Well, no and yes. People give words DEEP MEANING that didn’t originally existed in the said word. That happens in English as well and in every language. You will find that in Arabic. In Arabic “caliph” doesn’t just means “successor”. It has a deeper significant meaning as well.

        However “τέλος” in his actual, firstborn, form is unquestionably, undeniably a word meaning just “end”. End of this.

        “hence the word “teleology” we use in english is unique in its meaning and can not be said otherwise.”

        Yes, it can be actually said. You are just too retarded.

        “There are tons of words which through the study of etymology would further validate the main article’s statements.”



        Sorry, again through your untelligible frenzy-minded word-misusing derailment you forgot to not misunderstand your own awful wording.

        I suggest again to be educated through a dictionary. And that’s not tracing back etymology. Attempting this sophistry is retarded. Nice try thought, try-harder.

        Also you do you REALLY think you understand the word “validate”? If you are too gigantically retarded to understand the simplest concept of people giving words further enriching meanings and dogmatically denying it so, why you PRETEND to understand what “validate” is? Because, I am surprised that if you think you do, that you can use the toilet? Does your mommy helps you with that?

        Or you still do a messy job make a fine palette with shades of brown and draw some fine art on the walls in the poor institution you are held in? Because it can’t be logically explained and further validated otherwise.

        Also you pretty much copy-pasted the word “validated” from my previous comment and you decided to take a dump in it, like it’s no one’s business. But I instruct to go play with your Lego bricks elsewhere. Such discussions of high intelligence and intellectual material aren’t for you.

        Go to another area to shit on your Lego bricks.

  4. I am responding to the comment before Mihalis. I can not make his name …. Snoupos, Svoupos, whatever. People don”t have signs on their foreheads saying “I am an idiot”, other people realize that from what they say and what they do. Firstly, you have no right to write anything in public because from your comment”s syntactical and grammatical errors one can safely extrapolate how uneducated you are. Adding to that the unsubstantiated ability, on your part, to compare two languages of whom you are master of none, gives the rest of us a pretty good idea of what a self-proclaimed, know-it-all ignorant person would be. Sorry if I used any words you might not know, they are in a book called ‘Dictionary’.

    • The fact that Snoupos is ignorant is obvious when he claims that μάθηση (learning) and εκμάθηση (mastering that skill) are EXACT the same concepts! For his information -as he seems to distinguish between ancient and modern Greek (and for sure he has no idea of ancient Greek, otherwise he would be able to understand the difference between the 2 words he mentioned), there are 2 different verbs in ancient Greek: μανθάνω/ἐκμανθάνω…and he has a long way to go from the first to the second!

      • Evi,
        we have a saying,
        στού κουφού τήν πόρτα, όσο θέλεις βρόντα.

        Snoupos, that i assume is the male form for Snoopy, seems to have been outwitted in linguistics by Snoopy.

        i am pretty sure that he would even argue that the word “Theory” does not mean “Fact”.

        further, dear Snoopy,

        had you been this expert that you claim you are, you would have known that όντως pronounced (ontos/odos) is the phrase “in fact”

        see, 1 word for 2 English ones.

        then, πραγματικά (pragmatika) = “actually” you are indeed unable to use a lexicon

        to be a Greek and to be a Hellene are not really one and the

        • Dimitri, let’s not be judgmental. He is that much concerned about scientific thought that I hope he will know that “Theory” means fact in science. Being a native Greek speaker doesn’t mean that one can evaluate the treasure of this superb language and in my opinion, one must study it by analogy with another great language: Latin. Only then it becomes clear what Μιχάλης above was trying to point out: Greek is not just a language, it is a philosophical system hidden behind words, absolutely unique in the European territory.
          The investigation of the meaning of words is the beginning of education – Antisthenes (ἀρχὴ παιδεύσεως ἡ τῶν ὀνομάτων ἐπίσκεψις). Start from here, dear Snoupos, and maybe you will consider changing your “view”.

      • To bolster even more what you’re trying to point out regarding the difference of these words (μάθηση,εκμάθηση)i’d like to mention that greek language does not have ANY synonyms.There are simply no synonyms whatsoever.Greeks may use tons of different words to express the same thing but that is just a modernisation.Each word has a different meaning.I’ll bring an example..modern Greeks often use the words παιδεία ( education) and εκπαίδευση (education, training).It becomes clear the fundamental difference that even a dog can be trained (εκπαιδευτεί),but only man can be educated (παιδεία).

      • It’s pretty silly and ironic to bitch at me about being “ignorant” and claim that as a “fact” when your definition of a fact is the combination of Kim Jung Un Portokalos in a Nazi uniform. But you are excused, Modern Greeks are more brainwashed than North Koreans.

        Claiming I claimed that does nothing but sobotaging your own opinion. Accusing me out of thin air for “exact same concepts claim” is pretty stupid. I said, that those words have not ANY significant difference.

        “Εκμανθάνω” is “learn through” and “μανθάνω” is “learn”. As you can realize if you had half of a brain, the dinstiction is useless because the second CAN be used to describe the first verb and so the first verb is impractical useless extra letters/sounds.

        Now that’s my point.


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