Alo dali mou. It’s a phrase so familiar to the thousands of Greek Australians, but not so much in the general Greek or Australian population.
It’s ‘Greeklish’: a beautifully blended combination of Greek and English that has come from years of living in a predominately English speaking nation.
Almost all migrant communities have these special blended phrases, but now, a group of Greek Australians are hoping to document and celebrate the phenomenon.
The Australian Slang Project (TASP) is embarking on a project to eventually create a Greeklish dictionary (or as many would say, an alfavitario).
TASP founder and SBS Greek radio presenter, Kyriakos Gold, says the group is in the process of establishing an online database, much like the popular Urban Dictionary website, that will allow Greek Australians to contribute their favourite Greeklish words.
As a test run, Mr Gold and a group of volunteers have been contributing words to TASP’s social media platforms, amassing national interest.
Phrases like, shurap william (shut up will ya?) and words like roufi (roof), chopia (pork chops) all have made the list.
Mr Gold says it’s time to celebrate Greeklish rather than ridicule it.
“The Greeks from Greece look at the language here and sometimes frown upon it. They look at Greeklish as cannibalising the original language,” he tells Neos Kosmos.
“But I don’t see it like that, I see that there’s a hybrid here, that’s it’s evolving on its own and it’s got merit.”
He admits one of his favourite Greeklish words is booti, meaning ‘car boot’ but also meaning ‘thigh’ in Greek.
Already in the works are two Greeklish events, including a spelling bee and a debate.
The Greeklish Bee – to be held on the weekend of July 25 in Melbourne – will be the soft launch of the project and is being set up to include live music and trivia contests.
The debate, to be hosted later in the year, will welcome prominent Greek Australian academics to discuss Greeklish and our culture’s identity.
Those wanting to contribute before the events can follow The Greeklish Project on social media and post their own favourite terms or phrases.
TASP is also calling for volunteers and can apply through contacting the administrators via their social media networks.
Twitter: @greeklishtweets (greeklish project)