Greeklish, a portmanteau of the words Greek and English, also known as Grenglish, Latinoellinika/Λατινοελληνικά or ASCII Greek, is Greek language written with the Latin alphabet. Unlike standardized systems of Romanization of Greek, as used internationally for purposes such as rendering Greek proper names or place names, or for bibliographic purposes, the term Greeklish mainly refers to informal, ad-hoc practices of writing Greek text in environments where the use of the Greek alphabet is technically impossible or cumbersome, especially in electronic media. Greeklish is commonly used on the Internet when Greek people communicate by e-mail, IRC, instant messaging and occasionally on SMS.
Sometimes, the term Greeklish is also used informally for a non-standard language variety used by bilingual speakers of English and Greek, i.e. Greek with heavy admixture of English words or vice versa.
In phonetic use, there is no concern to reproduce Greek orthography, and the Greeklish is a phonetic transcription (usually with English phonetic norms, sometimes with other languages' like German) of Greek words --- although often there is a mixture of the two. In particular, iotacism is preserved: the various letters and digraphs now pronounced as /i/ are transcribed as i, and not differentiated as they are in an orthographic scheme (e.g. h, i, u, ei, oi for η ι υ ει οι). In a phonetic scheme, xi is usually x or ks; ks is used if x has been chosen, following orthographic norms, for chi (χ). Psi and theta will usually be the digraphs ps and th.
An example of orthographic Greeklish could be the word "plateia", which in Greek means "square" and using the Greek alphabet is spelled "πλατεία". The word "plateia" derives from the exact replacement of each Greek letter with its Latin respective: π=p, λ=l, α=a, τ=t, ε=e, ι=i, α=a.
An example of phonetic Greeklish could be the same word, "square", written like this: "platia". The reason the same word is, in this occasion, written without the letter "e", is the fact that, phonetically, the word "square" in Greek sounds exactly like this: "platia" (since -"εί"- is now pronounced/i/, as an instance of iotacism).
The most extreme case of orthographic Greeklish, which achieves the greater optical resemblance to the Greek prototypes, is perhaps the so-called "byzantine" or "arabesque" or "calligraphic/artistic" Greeklish introduced in the Hellas mailing list by the mathematician George Baloglou Main characteristics of Baloglou's "byzantine" is the distinction of σ and s (σ=c ς=s), the distinction οf lower and upper letters, such as π=n, Π=TT or 5, θ=8, Θ=0 or Q, ψ=y, Ψ=4, and the unusual, but with great resemblance with the Greek prototype, transliterations σ=c, π=n ρ=p Ρ=P.
A counter argument used by forum users is that a lot of users live abroad, and write from computers they don't own (university or internet cafes). There, they don't have the ability to write in Greek (lack of fonts or proper locale), so Greeklish is the only option (because it's much simpler than it seems).
It is considered by some that Greeklish is dangerous for the cultural integrity of the Greek language. However, others disagree and although they do not support wide use of Greeklish, they do not consider it an intimate threat.
Not withstanding the loaded politics of Greeklish, jocular use of English, transcribed into Greek and then transliterated into Greeklish, shows how users can manipulate the use of script to ironic effect: if a user, in the middle of a Greeklish conversation, types "dis iz xarnt tou rint" for "this is hard to read" (transliterated via δις ιζ χαρντ του ριντ), they are ironically distancing themselves from their code-switching to English, doubly ironic since the script is Roman but the orthography effectively Greek. (One might retort that this is aesthetically displeasing—but of course that is the point.) This artifice is particularly widespread on the Hellas mailing list
Wide use for Greeklish in long texts is nowadays (2006) unusual. It is still used, however, among friends as an informal, alternative means of communication for short messages.
Another current trend in Greeklish is the introduction of Leet phrasing and vocabulary. Many Leet words or slang have been internalized within the Greek spoken language through Greek gamers online in games such as World of Warcraft.
|Tsagia||"Good bye", being a word meaning teas, but jokingly used as ciao in supposedly plural|
|Re c||Pronounced "re sy" meaning roughly "you"|
|Kalimerez, Merez||Kalimeres (καλημέρες), meaning (Good) Mornings; note that the final z is inspired from byez|
|Tpt||Tipota (τίποτα), meaning "nothing"|
|Dn||Den (δεν), meaning "not"|
|M||Mou (μου), meaning "my" or "mine"|
|S||Sou (σου), meaning "your" or "yours"|
|n||na (να), meaning "to" or en (εν), meaning "not" in cypriot dialect|
|tr||tora (τώρα), meaning "now"|
|smr||simera (σήμερα), meaning "today"|
|klnxt||kalinixta (καληνύχτα), meaning "goodnight"|
|tlm||ta leme (τα λέμε), meaning "we will talk again"|
|sks||skase (σκάσε), meaning "shut up"|
|kn1||kanena (κανένα), meaning "no one"|
ego n 3ero re pe8kia.. skeftoume skeftoume omos tpt.. n mporo na me fantasto na asxoloume tin ipolipi m zoi me ena single prama.. kathe mera jini i idia i doulia. enna spaso. omos me tes epilogies p ekama .. tino pros iatrika j etsi.. (http://www.varkoume.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=558876&sid=07416b68bb274b6bb6954cba283449bb , 2006-03-25 )
Εγώ εν ξέρω ρε παιθκιά... σκέφτουμαι σκέφτουμαι όμως τίποτα... εν μπορώ να με φανταστώ να ασχολούμαι την υπόλοιπή μου ζωή με ένα sinɡle πράμα... κάθε μέρα τζιείνη η ίδια η δουλειά. Εννα σπάσω. Όμως με τες επιλογές που έκαμα... τείνω προς ιατρικά τζιαι έτσι...
IM-isms: n = en εν "not" (in Standard Greek: d = den δεν); tpt = tipota "nothing" as in Standard Greek; j = je τζιαι "and"
An initiative has started to create a freely-available, open-source converter using user-supplied word transliteration: Greeklish OUT!