Posts Tagged ‘ancient Greek’

“Posh” Greek

April 19, 2010

Have you ever wondered why Greeks sometimes say lefkό krasί and sometimes άspro krasi when ordering white wine? If yes, you are entering the world of ‘posh’ Greek …

Modern Greek is a natural development of ancient Greek that was spoken by the predecessors that lived here 2000 and more years ago. Although there are many similarities, there are also enough differences to make it extremely hard for a Greek anno 2010 to get by if he had a time machine to travel back to his great, great, great, great, great grandfathers.

Some ancient words have survived in everyday Modern Greek and we tend to use them when we are talking about certain special things, like wine, for example.

The Modern Greek word for white is άspro but the ancient one is lefkό and so, when ordering that liquid sent from the gods, we ask for lefko krasi… If we want red wine, we use the modern word kόkkino (red) but if you look at most Greek wine bottles, it says erythrόs oinos, erythros being ancient Greek for red and oinos (pronounced eeenos) ancient for wine.

The ancient word for blue is galάzios or galanόs, which is why the Greeks call their flag Galanόlefki….sounds nicer that bleaspri, doesn’t it?!? The White House is Washington could be called άspro spiti in Modern Greek but because it is a unique, official building, it is called Lefkόs Oikos (ancient for house).

There are tons of examples: the island Lefkada, Lefcas, is named after its white rocks and the Red Sea is called Erythrά Thάlassa.  A blue blooded person is called Galazoaimatos (aima is blood) and if you want to compliment someone on their blue eyes, say they are galάzia or galanά…it will be appreciated.

If you have questions about Greek or are interested in books about Skiathos and Greece, please visit: http://www.skiathosbooks.com

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