Category: Greek Tips

Effective study method for better conversations in Greek

Hello my friends,

In today’s post I would like to share with you an easy and effective study method which will help you feel more confident in your Greek conversations. The basic concept behind this method is based on Austin’s book “How to do things with words” (1962). In this book Austin developed the theory of “speech acts”. According to this theory, we do not use the language in order to describe things but in order to do things. When we speak, we act: we request things, we wish, we complaint, we give orders or promises, we try to convince etc.

This theory can be extremely helpful in foreign language learning since it shows us how we can work in order to learn faster and most importantly in order to speak with greater confidence. What we need to do is to make categories based on our intentions, on what we want to do with our language. Then, we can start filling in these categories with various language options.

Here is an example:
Let’s suppose that you are planning to visit Greece this summer. During your stay in Greece you will need to interact with the locals and ask things from them. You may ask them to give you information, directions, deadlines or the bill at your favourite café. No matter what you ask for the common ground in all the above cases is that you request something. So, you can now add a category in your notebook whose title will be “Πώς ζητάω κάτι στα ελληνικά”.

Νοw you can start writing all the ways of request that you know so far. If you are a beginner you must have already thought of «Θέλω» or «Θα ήθελα»: simple, sweet and most importantly effective. Honestly, you need nothing more than “Θέλω” in order to achieve this communicational purpose. 🙂 . However, as you proceed you can add more ways.

1. «Έναν καπουτσίνο, παρακαλώ.» (In this case we just say the thing that we want in accusative. Be careful! Without “παρακαλώ” and a smile, this way could seem rude.)
2. «Θέλω έναν καπουτσίνο, παρακαλώ.» (I want…)
3. «Θα ήθελα έναν καπουτσίνο, παρακαλώ.» (I would like…)
4. “Θέλω να μου φέρετε έναν καπουτσίνο, παρακαλώ”. (Ι want you to…)
5. «Θα ήθελα να μου φέρετε έναν καπουτσίνο, παρακαλώ.» (I would like you to….)
6. «Μπορώ να έχω έναν καπουτσίνο, παρακαλώ;» (Can I have…)
7. «Θα μπορούσα να έχω έναν καπουτσίνο, παρακαλώ;» (Could I have…)
8. «Μπορείτε να μου φέρετε έναν καπουτσίνο, παρακαλώ;» (Can you…)
9. “Θα μπορούσατε να μου φέρετε έναν καπουτσίνο, παρακαλώ;” (Could you…)
10. “Σας είναι εύκολο να μου φέρετε έναν καπουτσίνο, παρακαλώ;” (Is it easy for you to…)
11. «Είναι εύκολο να μου φέρετε έναν καπουτσίνο, παρακαλώ;» (Is it easy for you to…)
12. «Θα ήταν εύκολο να μου φέρετε έναν καπουτσίνο, παρακαλώ;» (Would it be easy for you to….)
13. “Θα σας ήταν εύκολο να μου φέρετε έναν καπουτσίνο, παρακαλώ;”(Would it be easy for you to…)
14. «Θα είχατε την καλοσύνη να μου φέρετε έναν καπουτσίνο, παρακαλώ (Would you have the kindness to…)

In the above list I just added 14  ( 😲 ) different ways in order to request something! Some are slightly more polite than the others but all of them are correct and completely acceptable since we have added the magical word “παρακαλώ”. You do not need to learn them all by heart but what you can do is to keep these that you like more and make you feel more comfortable. It is important though to have in hand more than one options in order for your speech to flow in real life situations. Remember: fluency is not only a matter of accuracy but most importantly it is a matter of a flowing speech.

Be brave and speak Greek!

My warmest regards from Athens,

Λυδία