It’s not all Greek to me!
The Greek language is the language used everywhere in Athens and along the coast. We are not Mallorca. While Greek is the native language everywhere in Greece, there are certain areas where English is widely spoken. Where you find tourists, you will find bi-bilingual native residents.
Ελληνικά / Ellinika is the language of Greece. There is Ancient Greek language and Modern Greek language, which is what you hear these days. It has it’s own alphabet and many English words have Greek origin.
For English native speakers, Greek is in the ‘Medium’ category for difficulty to learn. Voxy put together a great infographic comparing the intensity required to learn different languages.
While in Greece, as a local or visitor- learn some Greek! It’s fun and the locals love it when they see a pale skinned, blonde dude wearing sandals and socks say “Efharisto” to the waiter as he is leaving a cafe.
Want to learn a little Greek so you can communicate with the locals? Contact Thanasis who teaches Greek on Skype. He can assist you through the whole process of learning Greek or just do a few sessions with you on ‘useful phrases to use while traveling’.
English being the international language of tourism is a big factor for the high English level in Greece. Tourism is not the only reason though- many Greeks who do not have anything to do with the travel industry can speak great English. Compared to other Mediterranean countries, Greece’s English level puts its neighbors to shame.
English is more widely spoken on the Coast than other areas of Athens because of the large number of international residents and the visitors that flock to the Athens beaches. Any cafe or restaurant that you walk into in Glyfada will have staff that speak English. The same goes for the center of Athens, there you will be able to communicate with most people.
Many American and British TV programs are broadcast with their original audio and Greek subtitles. The same goes at the cinemas, you will hear the native language of the film with Greek subtitles running along the bottom of the screen (unless it is a Greek film or animation).
The Athens Coast is an extremely diverse place, especially in the summer. You can walk down Metaxas in Glyfada and within 5 minutes, hear 10 different languages. In August you may even catch more international dialect than Greek because the locals escape the city and the tourists take over.
The international community is very present in Glyfada, Voula and Vouliagmeni. People from all over the world want to live here! Some learn Greek, others learn English to get by with day to day communications.
Whatever your native tongue may be, you will find the Athens Coast an inviting community to spend time in.