Trip Start Oct 25, 2009
Trip End Nov 02, 2009

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Flag of Cyprus  , Larnaca,
Monday, October 26, 2009



Most Cypriots speak English, so instantly a visitor is accepted and given a taste of the local culture and way of life. The people's helpful nature means that if your car ever breaks down you will never be stuck at the roadside for more than a few minutes before someone stops to help……ONLY if it is somebody from Greece who cannot quite understand the Cypriot pronunciation and dialect!


One such incident happened while I was in Nicosia with friends from the choir, and at a cross road we saw a queue of cars and a desperate driver trying to start his car that seemed to have a problem. The cars behind were waiting patiently for the man to have his car out of the way, and the poor guy was asking for some help in the Cypriot dialect which is a bit different from the Greek.  My Greek friends could not understand a word of what this guy was saying and the words were like this:

Cypriot :  "En tzila….Tanate mou"

My friends were hearing this over and over again, but they could not understand a word.  What he was saying was that the car was not going on, and the word in Cypriot –tanate mou- means “Help me”

My friends were laughing for a minute or two hearing this, as it was impossible to understand a word of what it was being said, until I listened and interpreted to them that the man was saying that his car could not go on, and that he needed help.  Well, during that interpretation of mine, some Cypriots were found near by who started pulling the car on the side of the main road.

What a laugh… friends had!

The reason is that Cypriot traditional language is a bit heavier.  Cypriots talk the real ancient Greek language sometimes. 

For example:

In the afternoon : in Greek is “ to apogevma – in Cypriot is “to dilis”

He went: in Greek is Epigie while in Cypriot is Epiien

Early in the morning in Greek is –Proi proi while in Cypriot is (pornon pornon)

The word (run) in Greek, it is completely different in Cypriot – Voura!

Come here in Greek is “ ela edo” while Cypriots say “ela dame”

Usually Cypriots put an –N at the end of some words, and people from Paphos area speak with their local pronunciation which is kind of heavy.

I have a friend who says for instance “( my siplings – adelfia in Greek and she says “ aekkia” ….I laugh every time I hear her.

A Greek friend of mine asked me why Cypriots have two consonants in some names one next to the other and how they pronounce these words.

I told her for instance that the name (Ttofis) which is a Cypriot name is pronounced with a double strong T like we pronounce the word (toffy) in English.  The route of this Cypriot pronunciation come from the ancient Greek which Cypriots keep in their pronunciation and way  of talking.


Another funny incident that my friends burst out laughing was while we were walking in the streets of old Limasol near the port looking to find a shop selling kebabs – we call SUVLAKIA.

Well, while walking and staring at the wonderful buildings a friend of mine saw a sign in a shop window.

The sign goes like this:    We sell the air of this building

                                           ΠΩΛΕΙΤΑΙ  Ο ΑΕΡΑΣ

My Greek friends burst out laughing telling me that Cypriots know how to deal with commerce so well, that they even sell the air!

At first I had not seen the sign, and I had no idea what they were talking about, until I was asked to go and take a picture of this sign, which I have attached in my entry.

You see, when a Cypriots says that he sells the air, it means that the person who is operating the business -usually a shop- is selling his business license, with the rights of rental of the premises. Buying air, essentially means that you buy off the previous tenant including his contracts with the building owners and will keep your rent the same as he was paying.

This incident cannot be forgotten.  My friends are still laughing when they remember this sign.

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Dawid Zysnarski on

I am a foreigner in Cyprus and my knowledge of Greek is, of course uncomparable with yours, yet I DO UNDERSTAND the note mentioned by you and attached on the photo very clearly - it reads: shop (shopping) space for sale... Have asked other people about this and they said it's the same to them ;) So, here comes my question: is Cypriot Greek REALLY so different to the mainland Greek, that a note of that kind make Greeks laugh? I keep on getting surprised every single day! ;)

Caroline on

Sound great, make me feel like want to visit here, may be one day perhaps.

Language Transfer on

We have a free Greek course ( to download and on youtube, and this year we will release a Cypriot conversion course! Also free!

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