Greek script
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Greek for Greece: How Do Greeks call Greece?

Did you ever wonder what’s Greek for Greece and how Greeks call their own country?

This is my first post about Greece as I recently added this fascinating country to my destination page. I’d like to take you on a trip to tell you more about this country and its language. The Greek language sounds beautiful to me but what’s Greek for Greece?

I’ve been to Greece multiple times, from the island of Corfu (very recommendable) to the beautiful city of Athens.

To me, Greece is a great mix of architecture, natural beauty, linguistic features and historical figures that have changed the Western World. But what does its name mean and how is this related to the Greek language?

So, let’s find out together explore Greece from a linguistic point of view!

What is Greek for Greece?

Can you imagine yourself going on a journey with a backpack, ready to find the hidden treasures of the world? How about a place with blue skies, beautiful beaches, and a great mix of old buildings. Most people in the world know this place as Greece.

But as you walk through busy markets and quiet towns, you find out a little secret. The people who live there call it something different than us foreigners do. So how do Greek people call Greece?

Greek for Greece - Corfu
Corfu

Instead of Greece, they use the word Ελλάδα (Elláda). It’s kind of like going on a treasure hunt to find a secret gem when wandering through a country. It seems like every place has a special word that only the people who live there know.

And as your trip goes on, you realize that the real magic isn’t just seeing new places, but also learning the special words and stories that each place has. This is especially true for Greece in my opinion.

Why is Greece not called Hellas?

As we know, history is full of stories about how names change over time. The old and poetic name Hellas was how the rest of the world first heard about this civilization. You might still hear or see it nowadays.

So, why did people stop saying Hellas and start saying Greece instead? In the past, as countries met, traded, and sometimes fought with each other, they gave each other names that fit their languages.

The famous Romans, who were always trying to leave their mark, gave this area the name Graecia. Throughout history and changes in language, the word Greece came to be used around the world, bringing with it echoes of Roman influence.

What does Hellas in Greek mean?

The word Hellas has a special place in Greek mythology. At first, Hellas wasn’t the name of the whole sunny country we now all know as Greece, but rather of a certain region of the country.

But as tales and stories grew and the pride of the people grew, the name started to mean more than just a place. The word Hellas basically became a shorthand way to talk about a shared identity, culture, and past. It united the country.

Greek for Greece - The famous Acropolis
The famous Acropolis

It also became the setting for great stories about gods and heroes, where philosophers talked about the meaning of life, and where the roots of democracy and freedom of thought began to grow. Plato is a great example of this.

And over time, it became a general term for all of Greece and the spirit of a culture that made huge contributions to the world’s cultural, philosophical, and scientific knowledge.

Today, Hellas stands as a tribute to a rich history and the unbreakable spirit of a people who, through their language, history, and customs, have told some amazing stories throughout time.

Do Greeks call themselves Hellenic?

If you learn more about the Greek mind, you’ll find that words carry the weight of history, mythology, and a huge amount of national pride.

When a Greek talks about their Hellenic lineage, they are saying that they have always been linked to the famous stories of Hercules, the ideas of Socrates, and the art of Phidias.

A statue of Hercules
A statue of Hercules

It is said that the stories of epic wars, divine comedies, and the eternal dance of humans and gods flow through their veins. This is actually what fascinates me about Greece.

Greek for Greece: FAQs

The information below is related to Greece and its fascinating language which dates back centuries ago!

Greece name meaning

Wonder where its name actually comes from? Even though I already slighlty gave it away, it’s good to put some extra emphasis on it.

There was a time long ago when powerful Romans roamed the world, building empires and giving names to places. They were looking for a place with beautiful seas, strong fighters, and smart people.

They didn’t use the original name for this place. Instead, they came up with their own word for it which was Graecia. This was their way of saying, This is the land of the Greeks.

The Parthenon in Athens
The Parthenon in Athens

Languages changed as the years turned into centuries, and stories were passed on from one family to the next. Slowly, the name Graecia changed, and in English, it became what we now call Greece.

So, every time you and I say Greece, we’re using a name that the Romans gave to the country a very long time ago!

Greece Language

Greek, which is the language of Greece, is one of the oldest languages that people still speak today. It’s cool to say that this language is so old that it has heard Socrates’ philosophical ideas, Homer’s great stories, and Pythagoras’s new ideas.

Greek isn’t just a way for people in Greece to talk to each other. It’s also like a living record of their long past and the way ideas have changed over time. In its earliest form, called Mycenaean Greek, it was written on clay tablets in a script called Linear B.

It’s good to know that this language has its roots in the Bronze Age. As the centuries passed, it changed, adapted, and developed.

During the Classical time, Greek became the language of art, science, philosophy, and literature in the Mediterranean and the Near East. The Christian Bible’s New Testament was even written in Greek!

Greek for Greece - The Greek script
The Greek script

Modern Greek still has its roots in ancient Greek, but it also shows how a language that has been around for thousands of years has changed and adapted.

When you walk around Athens or the islands of the Aegean, you’ll hear it. It’s a language that has changed with the times but is still deeply connected to its past.

Also, something that’s important to point out here, Greek culture isn’t just important in Greece. You’ll find its influence in many languages, including English. The Greeks gave us words like theater, philosophy, and democracy.

I think this is a great example of how much this language has changed the way people think and talk around the world. The Greek language has been very influential.

What is the hardest Greek word to say?

Greek is a very rich language with a lot of words. Learning to use them can be hard and fun for native speakers and people from other countries (especially considering its alphabet).

In this way, the word ξεσκεπάζω (xesképazo) is actually a beautiful piece of language. Not only does it mean to find, but the way you say it makes you want to find out more about the wide range and beauty of the Greek language.

But when it comes to the difficulty of pronunciation, I found the word ωτορινολαρυγγολόγος (otorinolaringológos) to be a mission impossible. It actually translates to an otorhinolaryngologist. I’ll admit, even in English it’s kind of a puzzle!

What is the most popular Greek word?

Greek language has many great words, but some of them are even better or more popular than others. One of these words is φιλοξενία (filoxena). Do you want to know why? Well, it’s not just a word, it’s more a way of Greek thinking.

Beyond its precise meaning of hospitality, it describes the Greek way of life: a world where there are no clear lines, where every stranger could be family, and where the doors of the heart are always open.

I think it’s a perfect word that really fits Greece and its people! What do you think?

Another great Greek word is Στην υγειά σας or Yamas. It means cheers in English and you can always use it when you drink Raki in Greece with some friendly locals.

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    The Wrap-Up: Greek for Greece

    I really think that Greece’s linguistic patchwork is like an intriguing trip through time, with many layers of history, culture, and identity to discover as you go.

    Every word seems to have a deeper meaning, from the name of the place, Ελλάδα (Elláda – which is the answer for what’s Greek for Greece), to the subtleties of the Greek language that have changed over time.

    Whether it’s the fact that the word Greece comes from the Romans or the timeless sound of Hellas, these aren’t just words; they’re the heartbeat of a society that has shaped much of the world’s story.

    So, the next time you think of Greece or say a word with Greek roots, it’s quite cool that it’s connected to a language that goes back to the beginning of time and also gave the world a lot of words we still use nowadays.

    If you’re interested in languages from this region, check out my other posts about the Bulgarian language and the Serbian language!

    And if you’re curious to discover more about Greece, check out my post about the largest islands in Greece!

    Your restless voyager,

    Dustin

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