Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Greek 101

Now that I have reached a level where I can communicate in Greek, even with my terrible grammar, it amazes me just how pointless and restrictive most of the Greek we were taught was. We were never taught any slang or anything particularly useful and applicable to survival in Greece, such as:

* Go f*ck yourself you f*cking f*ck!
* Who lets all these bloody grandpas onto the roads on the weekend?
* It wasn't my fault
* Sometimes you make me so angry I want to break something
* I'm really not interested in going out with you
* But the meter says EUR 4.50, so I won't pay you a penny over that
* Two tzatzikis, four kebabs, three chips and ten beers. No, just us two.
* If you don't behave I'll break all your bones
* I'd like to speak to your supervisor.
* Anything to do with talking on the phone.

Instead, I can recall spectacularly useless modules where the characters sit politely around a table wondering what they will order, instead of the bloodbath that usually ensues when hungry Greeks order at a restaurant, and another where a customer goes to the DEH electricity office and meets an unrealistically helpful staff member.

What would have been much more useful and realistic was to start basic Greek classes with a handful of swearwords, which constitute roughly 50% of a conversation. Furthermore, Greek classes should have been held in the same room as another language class, or with three teachers who all talk at you at the same time to give a more realistic sensation of the way communication takes place here. You develop an amazing ability to track three separate conversations at the same time, and this is not something taught.

Also, I hate using my Greek on the phone, so a few classes dedicated to that would have been good, such as getting us to call the tourist office infront of the whole class or something.

Perhaps the most pointless phrase I was ever taught was to ask if there is a bakery nearby. You will always find a bakery in Greece, just walk 5 minutes in any direction. They're as plentiful as churches.


deviousdiva said...

How about:
Get your moped/motorbike/car/truck off the f#%king pavement, as*%ole!

Pick that up, litterbug.

Standing in a queue doesn't make you a sheep, you arrogant f#$@head!

On the phone:

I'm not interested!
I'm not interested!
I'm not interested!
I'm not interested!

and some essential attitudes:

Don't you know who I am?

I am far too good to actually wait to be seen

I'm just stopping for cigarettes so don't get your knickers in a twist. I didn't actually knock you down .

Calling a number for some important information and having the patience to wait through recorded messages and jangly pop music while you are transferred at least 7 times and end up talking to the same person (I swear) who picked up the phone in the first place. X 10 if you need medical information.

lol bollybutton if it wasn't so true and frustrating.

vultures said...

Sigh... Sign me up.

Flubberwinkle said...

Too bad you wasted your time in a classroom... all you really needed to communicate with us, Greeks, is in one single page on the Internet.

That's right. One. Page.

All useful Greek phrases for any circumstance is here.


smaro said...

Exactly right! The lessons I have done along with the books I have worked through are all relatively pointless. I have also noticed that the dialogues portray calm, polite, patient Greeks--there is no such thing. When more than one Greek is around..we get a little like monsters with others around..scrabbling to be heard, excited and enthusiastic, talking and eating a mile a minute, fighting for food, for the road...

Matt said...

I feel you, BB. Especially arriving in Greece for the first time and adapting to the frustrating habits of Athenians (as I believe Athenians are a different breed to other Greeks), where after 3 years of Greek at university I couldn't blurt out a:

"OK bitch you know what? If you step on my fucking toe with your fucking FAKE Prada heels one more fucking time I swear to fucking God I will get on all fours, rip off your heels and ram them through your fucking eyeballs. AND, if you park your fucking car on the footpath one more fucking time to prvent me from entering my building like a normal person instead of having to climb over your fucking bonnet while struggling with shopping bags, a laptop bag and my emotional baggage and anger, I will slit your tyres, smash your windows and grafitti every side of your fucking car with "I AM A C**T! Do you hear me?! And tell your fucking dog to shut the fuck up! Give him to me so at least I can fucking walk the poor bastard because you're too busy sipping your fucking Freddo Cappuccino discussing Vasso's latest manicure and which guy your therapist says you should screw this weekend. RRRRAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!"

OK, maybe I got a bit carried away but y'know what I'm getting at! =)

Anonymous said...

You should maybe start your own course to teach people the real 'essential Greek'. :-)