Musings of a morbid mind

The general ravings of Scott Baldwin

Friday, January 21, 2005

Language Difficulties

While in Cyprus, I was trying to learn as much Greek as I could, which is complicated by the fact that the Cypriots speak a dialect of Greek, and the text book I was learning from back in Australia was main land Greek. However cultural difference also complicated things.
We drank a lot of Turkish coffee while I was in Cyprus, (although because of strained relations with Turkey some of them call it a Cyprus Coffee), but from the first time they offered me a Cyprus coffee, they asked me if I wanted it "Metrio" which I knew was the Greek work meaning Medium, which I thought logically referred to the strength of the coffee. They were all having theres "Sketo" which by logical deduction was "strong", I thought that they were assuming that I wouldn't be able to handle it as strong as they could. It was only by accident that I learnt that "Metrio" and "Sketo" referred not to the strength, but to the amount of sugar in the coffee. "Sketo" literally means straight (ie no sugar), "Metrio" (medium as I knew) meant half a teaspoon of sugar or medium sweetness, and "Gliki" means sweet (ie 1 full teaspoon of sugar). By the time I'd found out about this, I was used to having my Cyprus coffee "Metrio", and so I stuck to it, but the Cypriots had a good laugh at my mis-understanding.


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