One morning, Corelli feels guilty for ousting Pelagia from her bed. He decides to learn how to say "good morning" in Greek so he can make her smile, so he asks Dr. Iannis for help. Dr. Iannis tells Corelli an obscenity but when he learns that Corelli wants to say it to Pelagia, he tells him the correct phrase and explains that the correct phrase is the feminine version. Corelli says "good morning" to Pelagia and then uses the obscenity to greet Velisarios, Kokolios, and Stamatis. When they all scowl at him, he thinks he shouldn't try to speak Greek at all. He learns that night that Dr. Iannis misled him and feels miserable.
Dr. Iannis makes Corelli look like a jerk by doing this, which in turn will encourage the Greek villagers to continue to hate Corelli. This illustrates how someone can feign kindness and turn it against someone in order to gain the upper hand. Notably, the reader has already been led to sympathize with Corelli, so this makes Dr. Iannis look as though he's abusing his power.