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18th April 2014

Rounding ones vowels

I was explaining to one of our guests in the lovely villa Coral Rosa in Coral Bay, how to say ‘Happy Easter’ in Cyprus. The words are ” Kalo Pasca”. Luckily, the guests who’ve rented this beautiful villa, which is just opposite the Coral Bay beach, are from my neck of the woods ie they are Geordies, so ‘sounding’ out the ‘hard A’ at the end of the word, Pasca, is easy for them.

Other guests ,for example the lovely people staying in Apartment Isis in Peyia, are from the South of England and struggled with not ‘softening’ the ‘A’, adding an imaginary ‘r’ to the word  – so it sounded more like ‘Kalo Pascar’ – and would have been laughed at in the restaurants by the waiters!

Its a very English thing to try to ’round the vowels’: my Mum, who speaks terribly beautiful and with a perfect ‘Joanna Lumley’ type accent, lived here for 6 years and just couldn’t get the pronunciation of ‘thank you ‘ ie ‘efaristo’: she had to ‘soften it’ for fear of sounding like a Northerner and it often came out sounding like ‘Efarrristoe’ – or worse, after a couple of gins, ‘Ofairystow’………..Needless to say, it was funny!

The Germans, Swedes and Norwegians have no problem with the hard sounding words here . I’m learning to let the vowels stay in the shape they are meant and to sound them out as flatly and intoned as they were born.

Am also looking into a way to create a phonetic style guide for our holiday guests who take barths not baths, to help them ‘talk proper Cypriot pet!’

If you’d like to hear more of the language or more about this fun and happy island and the holidays in rental villas, please email to me on

Wishing you all a Happy Eastarrrrr !