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Greek for Beginners

Greek has a documented history of over 3,400 years, which is the longest of any single natural language in the Indo-European language family. With fragmentary records dating back to the 15th or 14th century BC, it is also one of the world's oldest recorded living languages.

Modern Greek is full of inflexions, which makes it daunting to learn. All articles, adjective and nouns decline, while verbs conjugate, so there are many patterns to remember. It is spoken today by approximately 17–25 million people in Greece, Cyprus, Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Italy, Turkey, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Egypt, Jordan as well as in emigrant nations like Australia, the United States, Germany, and even Canada.

Lesson 1 / Μάθημα Ένα

The Alphabet / Το Αλφάβητο

The Greek alphabet may seem a bit hard with all these diphthongs, letters with same pronunciation and rules, but at least the way a word is pronounced is very specific. Once you will know he rules of reading it you will have no doubts on how to read each word.

Also another advantage, very useful for a foreigner is that we mark with a stress the vowel that is stressed. This happens always for words that have more than one syllables. Att: syllables, not vowels. So the word ποιος has 3 vowels but only 1 syllable so it is unstressed. It is pronounced /pços/.

The (modern) Greek alphabet has 24 letters:

 Capital  Lower Case  Greek Name  English Name  IPA Value  Approximative Sound
 Α  α  άλφα  alpha  a  Italian amore
 Β  β  βήτα  beta  v  victory
 Γ  γ  γάμμα / γάμα  gamma  ɣ / ʝ¹  Dutch gaan / Swedish jord
 Δ  δ  δέλτα  delta  ð  this
 Ε  ε  έψιλον  epsilon  e̞  Spanish bebé
 Ζ  ζ  ζήτα  zeta  z  zoo
 Η  η  ήτα  eta  i  keep (but shorter)
 Θ  θ  θήτα  theta  θ  thanks
 Ι  ι  ιώτα / γιώτα  iota  i  keep (but shorter)
 Κ  κ  κάππα / κάπα  kappa  k / c¹  English sketch / Hungarian kutya
 Λ  λ  λάμδα  lambda  l  Italian lira
 Μ  μ  μυ / μι  mu  m / ɱ²  meat / symphony
 Ν  ν  νυ / νι  nu  n / n̪³  need / enthrone
 Ξ  ξ  ξει / ξι  xi  ks⁵  fox
 Ο  ο  όμικρον  omicron  o̞  Spanish todo
 Π  π  πει / πι  pi  p / p̪²  English speak / German Apfel
 Ρ  ρ  ρω / ρο  rho  r  Italian mare
 Σ  σ, ς  σίγμα  sigma  s / z⁴  soap / tourism
 Τ  τ  ταυ  tau  t / t̪³  English stop / Spanish todo
 Υ  υ  ύψιλον  upsilon  i  keep (but shorter)
 Φ  φ  φει / φι  phi  f  fast
 Χ  χ  χει / χι  chi  x / ç¹  Scotish loch / German ich
 Ψ  ψ  ψει / ψι  psi  ps⁵  drops
 Ω  ω  ωμέγα  omega  o̞  Spanish todo

¹ γ is pronounced /ʝ/ before /e̞/ and /i/, /ɣ/ in all other cases.
¹ κ is pronounced /c/ before /e̞/ and /i/, /k/ in all other cases.
¹ χ is pronounced /ç/ before /e̞/ and /i/, /x/ in all other cases.

² μ is pronounced /ɱ/ before /v/ and /f/, /m/ in all other cases.
² π is pronounced /p̪/ before /f/, /p/ in all other cases.

³ ν is considered an alveolar consonant and it's pronounced /n/, but before the interdentals /ð/ and /θ/ tends to be pronounced as a dental one /n̪/.
³ τ is considered an alveolar consonant and it's pronounced /t/, but before the interdental /θ/ tends to be pronounced as a dental one /t̪/.

* Σίγμα has two versions of the lower case. The second one (ς) is used when it is the last letter of a word and the first version (σ) everywhere else.

σ is pronounced /z/ before voiced consonants, /s/ in all other cases.
ς is pronounced /z/ if the next word begins with a voiced consonant, /s/ in all other cases.

ξ should be considered an affricate because the articulations of /k/ and /s/ are simultaneous.
ψ should be considered an affricate because the articulations of /p/ and /s/ are simultaneous.

Letter Combinations

* αι is pronounced like ε, /e̞/.
* αυ is pronounced /av/ before voiced consonants and vowels, /af/ in all other cases.
* γγ can be pronounced in 3 different ways:

  1. /ŋɟ/ before /e̞/ and /i/, /ŋɡ/ in all other cases, if it's found in the middle of a word; in everyday speech is often reduced to /ɟ/ and /ɡ/.
  2. In a few particular cases, it can be pronounced /ŋʝ/ before /e̞/ and /i/, /ŋɣ/ in other cases; examples: εγγενής (inborn), συγγραφέας (author, writer), etc.
  3. It is taught that it never occurs at the beginning of a word, although it can be found in popular and dialectal words and pronounced /ɟ/ before /e̞/ and /i/, /ɡ/ in other cases; examples: γγίζω (to touch), γγαστρώνω (to impregnate), etc.

* γκ can be pronounced in 3 different ways:

  1. /ɟ/ before /e̞/ and /i/, /ɡ/ in other cases, when occurs at the beginning of a word.
  2. /ŋɟ/ before /e̞/ and /i/, /ŋɡ/ in other cases, if it's found in the middle of a word; in everyday speech is often reduced to /ɟ/ and /ɡ/; if it occurs at the beginning of a word and in the second syllable of the same word, then these two consecutive combinations are assimilated and pronounced without the initial nasalization.
  3. It can also be pronounced /ŋc/ before /e̞/ and /i/, /ŋk/ in other cases, especially in scholarly and rare used words or in transliterated foreign words.

* γκτ, in this combination, the voiceless (τ) prevents the sonorisation of (κ), so this combination is pronounced /ŋkt/ or simply /ŋt/.
* γξ is pronounced /ŋks/.
* γχ is pronounced /ŋç/ before /e̞/ and /i/, /ŋx/ in all other cases.
* ει is pronounced like η, ι, and υ, /i/.
* ευ is pronounced /e̞v/ before voiced consonants and vowels, /e̞f/ in all other cases.
* ηυ, found in a few words, is pronounced /iv/ before voiced consonants and vowels, /if/ in all other cases.
* μπ can be pronounced in 3 different ways:

  1. /b/ when occurs at the beginning of a word.
  2. /mb/ if it's found in the middle of a word; in everyday speech is often reduced to /b/; if it occurs at the beginning of a word and in the second syllable of the same word, then these two consecutive combinations are assimilated and pronounced without the initial nasalization.
  3. It can also be pronounced /mp/, especially in scholarly and rare used words or in transliterated foreign words.

* μπτ, in this combination, the voiceless (τ) prevents the sonorisation of (π), so this combination is pronounced /mpt/ or simply /mt/.
* ντ can be pronounced in 3 different ways:

  1. /d/ when occurs at the beginning of a word.
  2. /nd/ if it's found in the middle of a word; in everyday speech is often reduced to /d/; if it occurs at the beginning of a word and in the second syllable of the same word, then these two consecutive combinations are assimilated and pronounced without the initial nasalization.
  3. It can also be pronounced /nt/, especially in scholarly and rare used words or in transliterated foreign words.

* οι is pronounced like η, ι, υ and ει, /i/.
* ου is pronounced /u/, like put.
* υι, found in a few words, is pronounced like η, ι, υ, ει and οι, /i/.

When preceded by a consonant and followed by a vowel, AND WHEN UNSTRESSED the letters and digraphs representing the sound /i/ often indicate a palatalization of that consonant:

 ΒΙ [vʝ]  ΛΙ [ʎ]  ΣΙ [sç]
 ΓΙ [ʝ]  ΜΙ [mɲ]  ΤΙ [tç]
 ΔΙ [ðʝ]  ΝΙ [ɲ]  ΦΙ [fç]
 ΖΙ [zʝ]  ΞΙ [ksç]  ΧΙ [ç]
 ΘΙ [θç]  ΠΙ [pç]  ΨΙ [psç]
 ΚΙ [c]  ΡΙ [rʝ]

One can not be sure from the spelling about when these /i/ indicate palatalization and when they are pronounced as separate syllables. The only way is memorizing each word separately.

For those unfamiliar with IPA meanings, the following is a chart of the letters with comparative pronunciations. The hardest letters for a foreigner to pronounce are Γ and Χ. All the rest have equivalents in English (except for Ρ which is a trilled R, like in Spanish or Italian):

 Α α  like a in "father"
 Β β  like v "in over"
 Δ δ  like th in "there"
 Ε ε  like e in "egg"
 Ζ ζ  like z in "zoo"
 Η η  like ee in "bee"
 Θ θ  like th in "theatre"
 Ι ι  like ee in "bee"
 Κ κ  like c in "car" before /o/ /u/ /a/. Palatalized before /e/ /i/
 Λ λ  like l in "law"
 Μ μ  like m in "man"
 Ν ν  like n in "no"
 Ξ ξ  like x in "ex"
 Ο ο  like o in "pot"
 Π π  not aspirated, like in Spanish
 Ρ ρ  like r in Spanish
 Σ σ ς  like s in "several"
 Τ τ  not aspirated, like in Spanish
 Υ υ  like ee in "bee"
 Φ φ  like f in "fox"
 Ψ ψ  this is a diphthong, a "double" letter. It is read as /ps/
 Ω ω  like o in "pot"

Note that there is no difference between ι, η, υ, ει, οι and υι, as well as between ε and αι, ο and ω. The sound /u/ is written as ΟΥ, ου.

Χ χ is like the German ch. It is much palatalized before /e/ and /i/ though. It is produced between the tongue and the palate and it has nothing to do with the throat.

Γ γ is the voiced version of the X. The position of the tongue is same as in X’s case. It is also palatalized before /e/ and /i/ and thus it is then like y in "yes".

Note that K is also much palatalized before /e/ and /i/, more palatalized than c in English "care".

Why all these letters with the same sound? The reason is historic. All these letters used to have a different pronunciation in ancient times. H was a long /e/, Y was like the German ü, and the diphthongs OI, EI, YI which are now pronounced as /i/, used to be pronounced separately as /oi/, /ei/, /üi/. That changed very early though and we believe that Athenians at Plato’s times used to pronounce them as /i/ like in Modern Greek. The doubts are about how Homer and his ancestors used to read them.

The Greek language was spoken at least since 2.000 BC and that explains the complexity of its spelling.

In later times that Greeks started writing the "s" with a different way at the end of the word for reasons of calligraphy. Besides Σ and N are the only consonants in which a Greek word can end. All words ending in a different consonant than these two are foreign words (except for some ancient Greek words ending in "r", still in use today).

Many people ask about "δημοτική" and "καθαρεύουσα", the demotic (from ancient δήμος = people) and purist form of Modern Greek. They want to know if there are two forms of Modern Greek used today. Καθαρεύουσα was an artificial language, introduced by Αδαμάντιος Κοραής in the 19th century as en effort to make an official language for the Greeks who used to speak many local dialects (usually mutually intelligible though) before Greece gained independence in 1830. Καθαρεύουσα’s purpose was to be in the middle between Ancient and Modern Greek. The question which form of language should be the official caused many debates and conflicts ( even deaths!). Καθαρεύουσα was the official language till 1974. Then δημοτική, the language that people used to speak in daily life, became the official language and all these conflicts took an end. I want to make clear that now a days there is only one form of the language used everywhere and that is δημοτική, from the Parliament to every single house. Καθαρεύουσα is never used anymore, either spoken or written. You can only find it in official texts and books dated before 1974.

An Introduction to the Grammar

Greek is a conservative language. It has changed in the past 2.500 years less than English changed in the past 700. Thus, it maintains many caracteristics of the old Indo-European languages, like 3 genders, which are not in accordance with the natural gender, verbal conjugation and cases. Greek has theoretically 4 cases: nominative, genitive, accusative and vocative. In fact, most nouns have 2 separate cases and the rest are invariable. Still a few nouns maintain 4 separate cases while others (few) have 3.

Greek uses articles more than most European languages. Articles precede all kind of nouns, even proper names. The article is in accordance with the number, the gender and the case of the word it qualifies. The articles for singular and nominative are o (masc.), η (fem.) and το (neutr.).

Some examples:

 Ο άνθρωπος  the human
 Ο κύριος  mister
 Ο άνδρας (άντρας)  the man
 Ο μαθητής  the pupil
 Ο φοιτητής  the student
 Ο δρόμος  the road
 Ο υπολογιστής  the computer
 Ο δάσκαλος  the teacher
 Ο καθηγητής  the professor
 Ο Θεός  God
 Ο Γιώργος  George
 Ο Αλέξανδρος  Alexander
 Η γυναίκα  the woman
 Η κυρία  Mrs
 Η μαθήτρια  the pupil (fem.)
 Η φοιτήτρια  the student (fem.)
 Η οδός  the street
 Η δασκάλα  the teacher (fem.)
 Η καθηγήτρια  the professor (fem.)
 Η γλώσσα  the language
 Η Μαρία  Mary
 Η Ελένη  Helen
 Το παιδί  the child
 Το μάθημα  the lesson, the course
 Το σχολείο  the school
 Το σπίτι  the house
 Το πανεπιστήμιο  the university
 Το βιβλίο  the book

This will be also the vocabulary for the first lesson. Try to learn the alphabet and to memorize the above words till the next lesson. Below I give also some common Greek greetings, farewells etc:

 Γεια  hi and bye. The most common informal greeting
 Γεια σου  same as above when addressing one person. It is less used though and you should prefer γεια when talking to friends
 Γεια σας  hello when addressing many people or formal for addressing one person
 Χαίρετε  more formal hello
 Καλημέρα  good day, goodmorning
 Καλησπέρα  good afternoon
 Καληνύχτα  goodnight
 Αντίο  goodbye (γεια is more in use)
 Χαίρω πολύ  nice to meet you (formal)
 Χάρηκα  nice to meet you (less formal)
 Τι κάνεις;  how are you? (sing.)
 Τι κάνετε;  how are you? (plural or formal)
 Πώς είσαι;  how are you? (sing.)
 Πώς είστε;  how are you? (plural or formal)
 Καλά, ευχαριστώ  well, thanks
 Ευχαριστώ  Thank you, thanks
 Παρακαλώ  please
 Συγνώμη  excuse me, I am sorry
 Στο επανιδείν  see you (formal)
 Τα λέμε  see you (informal)
 Καλώς ήρθες  welcome (sing.)
 Καλώς όρισες  welcome (sing.)
 Καλώς ήρθατε  welcome (pl.)
 Καλώς ορίσατε  welcome (pl.)

Note that the 4 expressions for welcome are pronounced as one single word. The stress of the first word is lost.


Lesson 2 / Μαθημα Δευτερο

Pronomial Pronouns

The pronominal pronouns:

  Singular  Plural
 1st person  Εγώ  I Εμείς  we
 2nd person  Εσύ  thou (you)  Εσείς  you
 3rd person  Αυτός  he  Αυτοί  they (masc.)
 Αυτή  she  Αυτές  they (fem.)
 Αυτό  it  Αυτά  they (neutr.)

Note that since the verbs are fully conjugated we usually omit the personal pronoun, just like in Spanish. We add the personal pronoun before a verb when we want to emphasize the person that makes the action.

In Greek we use εσείς when addressing one person formally. The conjugation for αυτός, αυτή, αυτό is the same as well as for αυτοί, αυτές, αυτά. So when I give conjugations I will omit the feminine and neutral persons.

Present Tense

You will learn now to conjugate some verbs in the present tense. Greek has only one present tense: Ενεστώτας. Ιt stands for both the simple and the continuous present. In Greek there is an infinitive but it is not used as in French or Spanish or Portuguese. When we talk about a verb we never name it after its infinitive. We use the 1st person singular of the present tense instead. Here are some verbs you will learn in this lesson:

 Κάνω  to do
 Θέλω  to want
 Δίνω  to give
 Παίρνω  to take
 Εννοώ  to mean
 Τηλεφωνώ  to call on the phone
 Ενοχλώ  to disturb

These are also the 1st persons singular of the present tense. As you noticed in some of them the ω is stressed and in some it is not. This is how the verbs are distinguished. Verbs that have an unstressed ω form the first conjugation and verbs with a stressed ώ form the second. Here is the conjugation for the above verbs in ενεστώτας:

 κάνω - to do
 Εγώ κάνω  -ω  I do
 Εσύ κάνεις  -εις  You do
 Αυτός κάνει  -ει  He does
 Εμείς κάνουμε  -ουμε  We do
 Εσείς κάνετε  -ετε  You do (plur)
 Αυτοί κάνουν-ε  -ουν/-ουνε  They do (masc)

The rest I will give without the pronouns:

 Θέλω - to want
 Θέλω  -ω  I want
 Θέλεις / θες  -εις  You want
 Θέλει  -ει  He wants
 Θέλουμε  -ουμε  We want
 Θέλετε  -ετε  You want (plur)
 Θέλουν-ε  -ουν/-ουνε  They want (masc)
 Δίνω - to give
 Δίνω  -ω  I give
 Δίνεις  -εις  You give
 Δίνει  -ει  He gives
 Δίνουμε  -ουμε  We give
 Δίνετε  -ετε  You give (plur)
 Δίνουν-ε  -ουν/-ουνε  They give (masc)
 Παίρνω - to take
 Παίρνω  -ω  I take
 Παίρνεις  -εις  You take
 Παίρνει  -ει  He takes
 Παίρνουμε  -ουμε  We take
 Παίρνετε  -ετε  You take (plur)
 Παίρνουν-ε  -ουν/-ουνε  They take (masc)
 Εννοώ - to mean
 Εννοώ  –ώ  I mean
 Εννοείς  -είς  You mean
 Εννοεί  -εί  He means
 Εννοούμε  -ούμε  We mean
 Εννοείτε  -είτε  You mean (plur)
 Εννοούν-ε  -ούν / -ούνε  They mean (masc)
 Τηλεφωνώ - to call on the phone
 Τηλεφωνώ  –ώ  I call
 Τηλεφωνείς  -είς  You call
 Τηλεφωνεί  -εί  He calls
 Τηλεφωνούμε  -ούμε  We call
 Τηλεφωνείτε  -είτε  You call (plur)
 Τηλεφωνούν-ε  -ούν / -ούνε  They call (masc)
 Ενοχλώ - to disturb
 Ενοχλώ  –ώ  I disturb
 Ενοχλείς  -είς  You disturb
 Ενοχλεί  -εί  He disturbs
 Ενοχλούμε  -ούμε  We disturb
 Ενοχλείτε  -είτε  You disturb (plur)
 Ενοχλούν-ε  -ούν / -ούνε  They disturb (masc)

As you can see in all the above verbs there are two versions of the 3d person plural: one without the final –ε and one with it:

Κάνουν/κάνουνε, θέλουν/θέλουνε etc. They are both correct. Also both θέλεις and θες are in use in both daily talk and formal speaking and there is no difference between them.

So the endings so far are: -ω, -εις, -ει, -ουμε, -ετε, -ουν/-ουνε for the first conjugation and –ώ, -είς, -εί, -ούμε, -είτε, -ούν / -ούνε for the second. Except for the stress you can see a difference only at the 2nd person plural. The rest are the same.

Keep in mind that these endings are not the only existing ones.

Αυτά… (that's it...)

Exercises

Exercise A: Translate to English:
1) Παίρνετε
2) Ενοχλείτε
3) Τηλεφωνεί
4) Εσείς κάνετε
5) Εννοούμε
6) Αυτοί κάνουν
7) Θέλω
8) Εννοείτε
9) Θέλουμε
10) Δίνεις
11) Αυτός κάνει
12) Δίνετε

Exercise B: Translate to Greek:
1) He takes
2) You call (plur)
3) We give
4) They take (masc)
5) I mean
6) They give (masc)
7) I call
8) He gives
9) He wants
10) He disturbs
11) We take
12) You do (sing)

Solutions

Solution of Exercise A:
1) You take (plur)
2) You disturb (plur)
3) He calls
4) You do (plur)
5) We mean
6) They do (masc)
7) I want
8) You mean (plur)
9) We want
10) You give (sing)
11) He does
12) You give (plur)

Solution of Exercise B:
1) Παίρνει
2) Τηλεφωνείτε
3) Δίνουμε
4) Παίρνουν / Παίρνουνε
5) Εννοώ
6) Δίνουν / Δίνουνε
7) Τηλεφωνώ
8) Δίνει
9) Θέλει
10) Ενοχλεί
11) Παίρνουμε
12) Εσύ κάνεις


Lesson 3 / Μαθημα Τριτο


Vocabulary

 Τηλεόραση  television
 Τηλέφωνο  telephone
 Όραση  sight, vision
 Φωνή  voice
 Σήμερα  today
 Αύριο  tomorrow
 Χτες / χθες  yesterday (the first is more in use in daily talk)
 Σπίτι  house, home
 Ναι  yes
 Όχι  no
 Και  and, too
 Δίνω (ένα) μάθημα  to take an exam (idiom. expr.)

(* The prefix tele- is ancient Greek and it means "away". So television is what brings vision away and telephone is what brings the voice away)

Text

-Το παιδί ξέρει μία γλώσσα
-Η γυναίκα έχει ένα βιβλίο
-Ο άνδρας βλέπει τηλεόραση
-Ο φοιτητής δίνει ένα μάθημα σήμερα
-Έχεις ένα σπίτι

Indefinite Article

Greek has no indefinite article. Instead of that it uses the number one. It’s like saying "I have one apple" instead of "I have an apple". The number "one" has three forms, masc., fem., and neutral: ένας (masc.), μία or μια (fem.), and ένα (neutral). The two forms of the feminine are interchangeable although the stressed one is more prefered when writing. The unstressed is pronounced like "mña" in Spanish.

Some more verbs:

 Ξέρω  to know
 Έχω  to have
 Βλέπω  to see, to watch
 Παίζω  to play
 Διαβάζω  to read

These are all verbs of the first conjugation. Could you conjugate them as an exercise?

Now you can go back to the text and translate it. Note that in the text, the second noun of every sentence (γλώσσα, βιβλίο, τηλεόραση, μάθημα, σπίτι) is in the accusative, but in their case the accusative is same to the nominative. For other nouns this doesn’t happen so don’t try to put other nouns in their positions and make other sentences. Maybe you would have to make changes to put them in the accusative then. The expression «δίνω ένα μάθημα» in daily talk means "to have exams on a class".

Text Translation

- The child knows a language
- The woman has a book
- The man watches television
- The student gives a course today
- You have a house

"To Be"

One more verb to memorize, but this time it is a verb of the passive voice. Greek has active and passive verbs, just like in English: "to touch", "to be touched".

 The verb είμαι – to be
 Είμαι  I am
 Είσαι  You are
 Είναι  He/She/It is
 Είμαστε  We are
 Είστε / είσαστε  You are (plur)
 Είναι  They are

Both forms of the second plural are interchangeable although the first is a bit more in use.

Exercises

Exercise A: Translate to Greek:
1) She is a pupil.
2) We know a language.
3) They watch TV.
4) You (sing.) have a house.
5) The woman disturbs the child.
6) The student (fem.) is reading.

Solutions

Solution of Exercise A:
1) Είναι μαθητής.
2) Ξέρουμε μια γλώσσα.
3) Βλέπουν-ε TV.
4) Έχεις ένα σπίτι.
5) Η γυναίκα ενοχλεί το παιδί.
6) Η φοιτήτρια διαβάζει.


Lesson 4 / Μάθημα Τέταρτο

Noun Cases

Modern Greek has 4 cases. This doesn't mean all the forms are different among them. Usually only 1 differs and the rest are same. They vary between singular and plural. We will begin with the group of words that maintain 4 different cases, the most difficult. These are the masc. and fem. nouns ending in -ος. They can be divided again into two subgroups: 1st. the oxytone and paroxytone and 2nd. the proparoxytone ones. The difference between the two subgroups is this: In the 1st subgroup the stress remains stable while in the 2nd (proparoxytone words) the stress falls in the genitive (both singular and plural) and the accusative (plural only).

Note that the fall of the stress in the accusative of the plural is not essential now a days. It still makes it more formal though.
Some examples:

1st. subgroup

 Ινδός = Indian (masc.)λόφος = hill (masc.)
  Singular Plural
Nom.  o Ινδός  o λόφος  οι Ινδοί  οι λόφοι
Gen.  του Ινδού  του λόφου  των Ινδών  των λόφων
Acc.  τον Ινδό  το(ν) λόφο  τους Ινδούς  τους λόφους
Voc.  Ινδέ  λόφε  Ινδοί  λόφοι

For those who are unfamiliar with the terms and usage:

 Nom = Nominative  used when a noun is used the subject.  "boy" in "The boy ate the apple."
 Gen = Genitive  used when the noun is being owned.  "apple" in "The boy's apple"
 Acc = Accusative  used when action is happening to the noun.  "apple" in "The boy ate the apple."
 Voc = Vocative  used to call someone.  "Hey boy!"

The declension is same for female nouns and adjectives..

2nd subgroup

 πίθηκος = monkey (masc.)
  Singular Plural
Nom.  ο πίθηκος  οι πίθηκοι
Gen.  του πιθήκου  των πιθήκων
Acc.  τον πίθηκο  τους πιθήκους
Voc.  πίθηκε  πίθηκοι

Articles

Αs you see the articles are declined as well. The declension of the articles is the following:

 Masculine article: o
  Singular Plural
Nom.  ο  οι
Gen.  του  των
Acc.  το(ν)  τους
Voc.  -  -

The final of the accusative is maintained before κ, π, τ, γκ, μπ, ντ, ξ, ψ.

 Feminine article: η
  Singular Plural
Nom.  η  οι
Gen.  της  των
Acc.  τη(ν)  τις
Voc.  -  -
 Neutral article: το
  Singular Plural
Nom.  το  τα
Gen.  του  των
Acc.  το  τα
Voc.  -  -

Notes

  1. Greek words (not loan ones) end only in vowels, and letters (no other consonant).
  2. The genitive plural ends in –ων always, in all genders, both in nouns and articles, with no exception.
  3. The nominative and the accusative of a noun are almost always identical in plural. (The only exception is masculine/feminine nouns in –ος, which in nominative plural end in -οι, while in accusative plural end in –ους.)
  4. The genitive singular of a noun, in colloquial Greek, is created by:
  1. Adding an ς (as in feminine nouns ending in –α, -η)
  2. Omitting an already existing ς (as in masculine nouns ending in -ας, -ης)
  3. Replacing the -ο neuter ending by a -ου [neuter nouns ending in which actually used to end also in –ο, more precisely in –ιο, and ο was dropped, just add –ου after their ι.]
  4. Replacing the –ος ending by -ου (in masculine/feminine nouns) or adding to this –ου a ς (in neuter nouns ending in –ος)
  1. The nominative and accusative form of a neuter noun/article (in the same number, singular or plural) is always identical, with no exception.
  2. The accusative singular form of all the masculine nouns (and of the feminine ones ending in -ος) is created by omitting the –ς that exists in nominative; in all the other feminine nouns the accusative singular is the same with the nominative one.

 

There are also neutral nouns ending in -ος. Their declension is the following:

 Το κράτος = the state
  Singular Plural
Nom.  το κράτος  τα κράτη
Gen.  του κράτους  των κρατών
Acc.  το κράτος  τα κράτη
Voc.  κράτος  κράτη

Note the fall of the stress in the plural genitive!

"To Be" and "To Have"

In the last lesson, you were introduced to the verb "to be" in the present tense. Here it is again, along with it in its past tense.

 verb "to be" - present tense
 είμαι  I am
 είσαι  you are
 είναι  he,she,it is
 είμαστε  we are
 είστε or είσαστε  you are
 είναι  they are
 verb "to be" - past tense
 ήμουν  I was
 ήσουν  you were
 ήταν  he,she,it was
 ήμαστε or ήμασταν  we were
 ήσαστε or ήσασταν  you were
 ήταν  they were

Now you can learn another common verb, έχω "to have"

 verb "to have" - present tense
 έχω  I have
 έχεις  you have
 έχει  he, she, it has
 έχουμε  we have
 έχετε  you have
 έχουν  they have
 verb "to have" - past tense
 είχα  I had
 είχες  you had
 είχε  he, she, it had
 είχαμε  we had
 είχατε  you had
 είχαν  they had

To make a negation, you use the word δεν (sounds like English "then")

 δεν είμαι  I am not
 δεν είσαι  you are not
 δεν είναι  he,she,it is not
 δεν είμαστε  we are not
 δεν είστε or δεν είσαστε  you are not
 δεν είναι  they are not

Exercises

Exercise A: Translate to English:
1) Είμαι φοιτήτρια.
2) Βλέπουμε το σπίτι.
3) Το παιδί διαβάζει το βιβλίο.
4) Ο δάσκαλος ξέρει τη γλώσσα.
5) Δεν τηλεφωνεί το άτομο.
6) Η Μαρία δίνει το βιβλίο στο μαθητή.

Exercise B: Translate to Greek:
1) The university has a computer.
2) The street does not have a school.
3) George takes the course.
4) He reads the course.
5) I don't know the pupil.

Solutions

Solution of Exercise A:
1) I am a student (female).
2) We see the house.
3) The child reads the book.
4) The teacher (male) knows the language.
5) She does not call the man.
6) Mary gives the book to the pupil (male).

Solution of Exercise B:
1) Το πανεπιστήμιο έχει έναν υπολογιστή.
2) Η οδός δεν έχει ένα σχολείο.
3) Ο Γιώργος παίρνει το μάθημα.
4) Διαβάζει το μάθημα.
5) Δεν ξέρω το μαθητή.


Lesson 5 / Μάθημα Πέμπτο

More Verbs

More about conjugating verbs. In the 2nd lesson we learned one pattern. Now we will learn one more. Many verbs have the ending -άω/-ώ at the 1st person singular. Examples αγαπάω/αγαπώ (love), ρωτάω/ρωτώ (ask about), περνάω/περνώ (pass), ζητάω/ζητώ (ask for). Both types are correct but now a days the types in -άω are more in use. Types in are still very popular in the southern islands, Crete, Cyprus etc. But for a foreign student I would recommend the -άω type. Here is their conjugation:

 Αγαπάω/αγαπώ -to love
 Αγαπάω/αγαπώ  -άω/ώ  I love
 αγαπάς  -άς  You love
 αγαπάει/αγαπά  -άει/-ά  He/She/It loves
 αγαπάμε/αγαπούμε  -άμε/-ούμε  We love
 αγαπάτε  -άτε  You love (plural)
 αγαπάνε/αγαπούν/αγαπούνε  -άνε/-ούν/-ούνε  They love

You can try to conjugate the rest.

Some more verbs with the same pattern:

 κοιτάω/ώ  I look
 απαντάω/ώ  I respond
 γυρνάω/ώ  I turn around, come back
 τραγουδάω/ώ  I sing
 μιλάω/ώ  I speak
 σταματάω/ώ  I stop, quit
 ξεκινάω/ώ  I start
 ακουμπάω/ώ  I touch, lean
 βοηθάω/ώ  I help
 πετάω/ώ  I fly, throw
 χρωστάω/ώ  I owe
 χτυπάω/ώ  I beat, hit

Not all verbs with a stressed have also a -άω type:

 ενοχλώ  to disturb
 φιλοξενώ  to host

These are conjugated as we learned in the 2nd lesson.

Past Tense

Now you can learn the "past tense" endings. The past tense is for relating an event that has already happened and is over, like "I saw" and "It rained". These endings are for all conjugations.

 - α
 - ες
 - ε
 - αμε
 - ατε
 - αν(ε)

To form the past tense we use an additional ε (e) letter in the beginning, if the verb (stem+ending) is less than 3 syllables, because in the past tense, the stress must be on the third syllable before the end. (Some irregular verbs do not follow this rule).

In regular verbs, the past tense stem is created from the present tense stem by adding a σ (s) after it.

An example:

γράφω = I write

It’s
έ – γραφ – σ – α ( = έγραψα, because φ+σ=ψ)

So, it’s

 έγραψα  I wrote
 έγραψες  You wrote
 έγραψε  he/she/it wrote
 γράψαμε  we wrote
 γράψατε  you wrote
 έγραψαν [γράψανε]  they wrote

Many verbs are irregular in the past tense. Some of them have an entirely different stem in the past tense. For example, the past tense of λέω (I say) is είπα (I said).

 είπα  I said
 είπες  you said
 είπε  he/she/it said
 είπαμε  we said
 είπατε  you said
 είπαν  they said

And the past tense of βλέπω (I see) is είδα (I saw).

 είδα  I saw
 είδες  you saw
 είδε  he/she/it saw
 είδαμε  we saw
 είδατε  you saw
 είδαν  they saw

In past continuous we use just the stem of the present tense, with the endings of past tense:

γράφω
έ – γραφ – α

 έγραφα  I was writing
 έγραφες  you were writing
 έγραφε  he/she/it was writing
 γράφαμε  we were writing
 γράφατε  you were writing
 έγραφαν [γράφανε]  they were writing

Exercises

Exercise A: Translate to English:
1) κοιτάω
2) απαντάς
3) χρωστά
4) ξεκινάω
5) βοηθά
6) ακουμπούν
7) πετάμε
8) χρωστάτε
9) χτυπούν
10) σταματούν
11) αποκρίνονται
12) γυρνάω

Exercise B: Translate to Greek:
1) You touch
2) You sing
3) He speaks
4) You look (plur)
5) We stop
6) You start (plur)
7) I help
8) He turns around
9) You speak (plur)
10) We sing
11) You throw
12) We beat

Solutions

Solution of Exercise A:
1) I look
2) You respond
3) She owes
4) I start
5) She helps
6) They touch
7) We fly
8) You owe (plur)
9) They hit
10) They stop
11) They respond
12) I turn around

Solution of Exercise B:
1) ακουμπάς
2) τραγουδάς
3) μιλάει
4) κοιτάτε
5) σταματάμε
6) ξεκινάτε
7) βοηθάω
8) γυρνάει
9) μιλάτε
10) τραγουδάμε
11) πετάς
12) χτυπάμε


End Of Part One

This is the end of part one.

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