Greco-Australian dialect
Ελληνοαυστραλιανή διάλεκτος
Native toAustralia
EthnicityGreek Australians
Early form
Greek alphabet
Latin alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Greco-Australian[a] (Greek: Ελληνοαυστραλιανή διάλεκτος, romanizedEllinoafstralianí diálektos) is an Australian-based dialect of Greek that is spoken by the Greek diaspora of Australia, including Greek immigrants living in Australia and Australians of Greek descent.[1]


The Greco-Australian dialect is a phenomenon whereby certain words in the Greek language are replaced by Hellenised versions of English words. Although the exact number of speakers is unknown, researcher Anastasios Tamis suggests that the dialect is mostly spoken by second- and third-generation Greeks, however many first-generation Greeks and Greek immigrants to Australia have also adopted the dialect.[2]

Although the words brought into the dialect have English roots, these words were Hellenised in order to agree with modern Greek grammar rules. For example, the Greek word for "The book" is "Το βιβλίο" (To vivlío). In the Greco-Australian dialect, it is commonly referred to as "Το μπούκο" (To boúko). The additional omicron was added at the end to make it a neuter noun, allowing it to agree with Greek grammatical rules. Most adopted English words are neuter nouns in Greek.[3]

Greek surname conventions are that women use the genitive form of their family's last name until marriage, and then use their husband's last name once married.[3] As part of the Greco-Australian dialect however, most Greeks living in Australia and Australians of Greek descent do not change their surname to the genitive form as it disagrees with English surnames. For example, the name "Παρασκευούλα Παπαδοπούλου" (Paraskevoúla Papadópoulou) is referred to as "Παρασκευούλα Παπαδόπουλος" (Paraskevoúla Papadópoulos) in the Greco-Australian dialect, despite breaking grammatical conventions.[3] Some surnames however, such as those of Greek-Australians Andrew Demetriou, Sebastian Elmaloglou and Damien Fotiou, continue to use the genitive form of their surname, despite being males[citation needed]. Writer Dean Kalimniou suggests that some Greek immigrants choose to use their mothers' last names, as is the case with Kalimniou's own family.[3]


The Greco-Australian dialect is based on the Greek language, which is spoken by approximately 13.5 million people worldwide.[4] The Greco-Australian dialect is thought to have originated upon the immigration of Greeks to Australia. Most Greek immigrants were unable to speak English proficiently, so adopted some English words into their language in order to better communicate with Australian residents. It is also thought that these adoptions were made to help clear communication between Greek immigrants and their children, who were predominantly Greek speakers.[1]

The Greek language in Australia, functioning in a bilingual environment without diglossia under the influence of the dominant English language, is never homogenous and hardly ever self contained as it experiences serious functional limitations, restricted to a few language domains. During the last 170 years of Greek settlement in Australia, Greek migrants are undergoing language shift as a result of a number of socio-economic variables, including the new concepts that they meet in their new environment and naturally their language contact with the dominant language.

— Anastasios Tamis[5][6]

The development of the Greco-Australian dialect is attributed to the influence of the English language on Greek speakers in Australia. Most Greek Australians have not abandoned the Greek language, despite some being second or third-generation Australians.[7] The Greco-Australian dialect has also eased the learning of the Greek language for the Greek diaspora. The mix of the Greek and English languages is sometimes credited to factors including the dominance of the English language in Australia, the Australian educational system, interracial marriages, Greek institutions in Australia and the Greek Orthodox Church of Australia.[6] Ethnic segregation between Greek immigrants and Anglo-Celtic Australians may have also forced Greeks to adopt more English words in order to merge into Australian society.[8]

Example words

English Greco-Australian Romanisation Greek Romanisation
The book Το μπούκο To boúko Το βιβλίο To vivlío
The car Το κάρο To káro Το αυτοκίνητο To aftokínito
The market Η μαρκέτα[b] I markéta Η αγορά I agorá
The supermarket Η σουπερμαρκέτα I soupermarkéta Η υπεραγορά I iperagorá
The ticket Το τικέτο To tikéto Το εισιτήριο To isitírio
The petrol Το πετρέλιο To petrélio Η βενζίνη I venzíni
The petrol station Το πετρελιονάδικο To petrelionádiko Το βενζινάδικο To venzinádiko
The gas Η γκάζη I gázi Η βενζίνη I venzíni
The gas station Το γκαζολινάδικο To gazolinádiko Το βενζινάδικο To venzinádiko
The bank Η μπάνκα I bánka Η τράπεζα I trápeza
The hotel Το χοτέλι To hotéli Το ξενοδοχείο To xenodohío
The carpet Η καρπέτα I karpéta Το χαλί To halí
The yard Η γιάρντα I yárda Η αυλή I avlí
The fridge Η φρίντζα I frídza Το ψυγείο To psiyío
The roof Το ρούφι To roúfi Η στέγη I stéyi
The roof repairer Ο ρουφάνιος O roofánios Ο επισκευαστής στέγης O episkevatís stéyis
The floor Το φλόρι To flóri Το πάτωμα To pátoma
The toilet Το μέρος To méros Η τουαλέτα I toualéta
The chops Τα τσόπια[c] Ta chópia Οι μπριζόλες I brizóles
The chips Τα τσίπια Ta chípia Τα πατατάκια Ta patatákia


  1. ^ Also referred to as Greeklish, Grenglish or Gringlish
  2. ^ When used, it refers to a regular shop.
  3. ^ When used, it refers to meat chops.


  1. ^ a b Harris, Mary (19 August 2023). ""To Booko": The Greek-Australian Dictionary of the Greekish Dialect". Greek Reporter. Retrieved 21 October 2023.
  2. ^ Anastasios Tamis (2009). The Greek language in contact with English in Australia (Report). The University of Notre Dame Australia. Retrieved 22 October 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d Kalimniou, Dean (29 June 2020). "Tongues of Greek Australia: An Anglicised Hellenic language". Neos Kosmos. Retrieved 21 October 2023.
  4. ^ "Greek". Ethnologue. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  5. ^ Anastasios Tamis (2009). The Greek language in contact with English in Australia (Report). The University of Notre Dame Australia. p. 2. Retrieved 22 October 2023.
  6. ^ a b Anastasios Tamis (2009). The Greek language in contact with English in Australia (Report). The University of Notre Dame Australia. p. 3. Retrieved 22 October 2023.
  7. ^ Anastasios Tamis (2009). The Greek language in contact with English in Australia (Report). The University of Notre Dame Australia. p. 7. Retrieved 22 October 2023.
  8. ^ Anastasios Tamis (2009). The Greek language in contact with English in Australia (Report). The University of Notre Dame Australia. p. 4. Retrieved 22 October 2023.