Lipamai. Ta 'linika mou eina skata!
I'm afraid that I'm still nowhere near fluent. I make frequent mistakes in pronunciation and stress. However, I can give you a tip; a method I use to remember words.
Take something like the word for "the fountain".
Pronounced "Toh seentreevan
ee" with the stress on the "van".
In my head I make up a picture of a sentry (in full dress uniform) looking at a van, with a large "E" painted on it, parked in a fountain.
So "seentree van ee" becomes "sentry van E" in picture form.
The word for "the nose" is "η μύτη" - "ee meaty". Just think of a bulbous, meaty nose and you've got it!
In a similar vein, the word "unfortunately" is δυστυχώς pronounced "thisteehoss
". It sounds a bit like "fisticuffs" so my association is simply: "unfortunately, it's got to be fisticuffs".
I don't promise this will work for everyone but it's worth trying.
Of course many English words evolved from the Greek so an association already exists. For example, the word for paint or colour is "Chroma", which should be easy to remember.
Similarly "cold" is "Kreeo", which is where we get "cryogenic" from.
Some words and phrases are virtually impossible to remember by means of mental pictures so you just have to damn well learn them; practise saying them, over and over, till you get used to the sound.
"I am full up" is "είμαι φουσκωμένος" pronounced "eemeh fooskomen
os" (for a man) or "eemeh fooskomen
ee" (for a female). It really means "I am bloated" so it's emphasising that you don't have room even for "a wafer thin mint"! But it is still reasonably polite.
If you are tempted to say "eemeh yematos", (I am stuffed), please don't, because it's a crude way to say "I am pregnant". Some might laugh but some might think you are simply being offensive.
If you want to be ultra-polite you can say "το φαγητό ήταν αρκετό", toh fageeto ee
, meaning "the food was enough" (or we would say "quite sufficient").
On the matter of politeness, it is generally accepted that you thank the waiter/owner profusely at the end of the meal
, and not before. Do not say "efharisto
" every time the waiter brings something to the table because that obliges him to say "parakalo" and he will quickly tire of this game, although he'll be too polite to show it. A smile and a nod is all that is required whenever food or drink is brought.
Oh, an exception: if he says "to your health" (steen ee ya sas) then do
Final comment: Notice how most locals roll their Rs when speaking and say "eet" instead of "it". It's more noticeable when they speak English. Copy what you hear. Practise speaking English with a Greek accent. Eet weel eempr
(Feel free to correct me if you think I made a mistake. I'm still learning!)