“Glossopolis” is a website that teaches foreigners Greek and rewards them with discounts in participating businesses when they visit Greece.
The platform goes beyond the “kalimera” and “ena souvlaki parakalo.” It teaches the language Greeks use in their everyday lives, full of colloquialisms and slang.
Those who plan to visit Greece and have learned useful phrases and can strike a conversation with a local, will be rewarded with discounts at participating businesses, such as hotels, restaurants bars and shops.
The Glossopolis idea belongs to Athena Pitta, a professional translator. Pitta told Kathimerini newspaper that the idea came to her while in an Erasmus program for young entrepreneurs in 2013 and after talking with other entrepreneurs Brussels.
Upon her return to Greece and having acquired the skills and business contacts, she began to implement the idea, joining a cluster of startups called Orange Groove, organized by the Dutch embassy in Athens.
The clients of the platform are travel agencies that offer the Greek language courses to customers who will book their summer holiday in Greece.
The basic idea of learning conversational Greek caters mainly to those visitors who want to mix with the locals. ln a competitive business such as tourism, finding ways to make the stay in Greece more pleasant is very important, Pitta told Kathimerini.
There is a lot of humor involved in the lessons, making the learning of the language fun, she said, adding that “students” love the Greek proverbial expressions. For instance, “Swearing in Greek” is a very popular lesson, Pitta said.
Other sections are “Ordering souvlaki,” “Ouzo and mezedes,” “At the museum” or “The metro.” Words that are difficult to memorize are avoided.
According to Pitta, Glossopolis shows an upward trend and she has added new members to the staff. Her immediate plans include expanding the partner network on the Greek islands, in Northern Greece and Cyprus.
Regarding the users’ profile, over 70% are 25-45 years old traveling alone or in couples. So far, citizens 118 countries are using the platform. The most zeal is shown by Russians, followed by Americans, British, French and Germans. Lately there is a rise in the number of people from the Middle East and Asia.
Pitta believes that the platform will soon be able to expand to France and Spain, two tourist destinations very popular in Europe.