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Greek/ancient Greek translation

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Question
Hi Maria,

I would like to know how to say "hello" in ancient Greek, as one man would say to another singular man.  I have seen it written as both "khaire" and "khairei."  Which one is correct?  Is this how a man would have greeted another man upon being introduced to him for the first time?

Thank you very much,
Felicia

Answer
Hello,

χαῖρε, transliterated as “ chaĩre” or "khaĩre, is just the correct polite expression used  in ancient Greek when meeting or greeting someone, even if we are greeting someone "upon being introduced to him for the first time", as we read in Homer, Odyssey, book 1, line 123, where Telemachus is greeting a stranger that he really does not know and says : χαῖρε, ξεῖνε, (chaĩre, xeĩne..)… meaning “Hello, stranger…”.

Note that χαῖρε, transliterated as “ chaĩre”, is the 2nd person singular, present imperative of the verb “χαίρω” (chaírō, present indicative, 1st person singular) literally meaning “I rejoice, I am glad, I am welcome”.

Also, note that “χαίρετε” (chaírete) in the 2nd person plural, present imperative, is used as a form of greeting when we are addressing to many persons instead of to only one person.

As for "khaírei" (Greek, χαίρει), it is the 3rd person singular, present indicative meaning "he/she rejoices" or "he/she is glad" as well as "he/ she is welcome",but  not "hello" as as a form of greeting.  

Best regards,

Maria

Greek

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Maria

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I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning ANCIENT GREEK. So, do not ask me please questions regarding MODERN GREEK as it is different from Ancient Greek either in spelling/meaning or in pronunciation.

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Over 25 years teaching experience.

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I received my Ph.D in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy) and my thesis was about ancient Greek drama (Aeschylus).

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