Christopher C. (via email)

Posted on 09 Sep 2019

A good many years ago, in a pub near the old London docks, I heard some Greek sailors use a word that proved (for me) to be a very deceptive word-googly: they talked about the time they'd spent in Alexandria's 'spitallia'. For many years subsequently, I thought that those sailors had been referring to the fine (Greek owned) houses of that seaport. Much later I learnt that they had been speaking about the hospitals where they had been treated.

An interesting adaptation from Mesarka's 'horkatika' is the word used to describe a person that could not be trusted to keep a confidence (a secret): such a 'gossip' is known as a 'reouter' (i.e., from Reuters the press-agency). This is well known amongst many of the Greek Cypriots who came to London more than sixty years ago.