The Greek language is believed to be one of the oldest European languages, which has an oral tradition of 4000 years and a written tradition of approximately 3000 years.
Works that will never become outdated have been expressed through this language. All Arts and Sciences were born and developed using it. Written texts in Mathematics, Physics, Astronomy, Law, Medicine, History, Politics, Ethics, Gastronomy, etc were written in this language thousands of years ago.
All ancient literature, tragedies and comedies, Homer's epic works, the New Testament, the Byzantine, and modern Greek literature. The first encyclopedia was written in Greek.
Nothing makes your travels easier than knowing a few words in the local language. In Greece, even a few words will warm your welcome and may even inspire a lasting friendship.
Some words you will see repeated in many places in Crete:
"odos" means "street" and where you find (not often) a street name sign you'll know what it means. Villages rarely have signs displaying street names.
Don't confuse 'yes' and 'no'. Yes is né - which sounds like 'no' or 'nah' to English speakers. No is ókhi - which sounds like 'okay' to English speakers.
Think you're really mangling your Greek pronunciation? Smile wider - this will completely compensate for any mistakes you may make.
Avoid relying on your understanding of spoken directions. Get a good map to use as a visual aid when you ask - but make sure your informant knows where you are to start.
Greek is an inflected language - which means that the tone and accent of the words change their meanings. If you mispronounce something, even words that look or sound alike to you, many Greeks truly will not understand what you meant. They are not being difficult; they really don't mentally classify their words that way. Getting nowhere? Try emphasizing a different syllable and have directions and names written down whenever possible.
Print this short guide and bring it with you to Crete - don't worry how you sound, what your accent is like, any attempt by a visitor to speak but one word in Greek is always appreciated.