Modern Greek/Lesson 03.2

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Lesson 3.2: Gender of Nouns[edit]

In Lesson 3.1 we saw that in modern Greek there are three genders, masculine, feminine, and neuter. Every noun has a gender. For some nouns this is obvious (like actor and actress in English), but for some it is less obvious. The endings of nouns often help to identify the gender, though there are many exceptions. Later we will see that adjectives have to agree with the gender of the nouns, as well as some of the question words. For now though, we introduce the definite article for each gender, and some common nouns.

Masculine nouns[edit]

Σκύλος, dog, is a masculine noun. Note the different forms of the definite article.


Example
Case Singular - Plural -
Nominative ο σκύλος the dog οι σκύλοι the dogs
Accusative τον σκύλο the dog τους σκύλους the dogs

Audio recording: About this sound Modern_greek_2a.ogg
NOTE: This recording was made by a non-native speaker of Greek.
We would be grateful to any native speaker who could redo it.


NOTE: Previously it was possible to drop the "ν" at the end of τον under certain circumstances. In Modern Greek (as of very recently) this is no longer true, and the masculine definite article should always be τον, though you will find lots of counter-examples still.

The ending -ος is the most common one for masculine nouns, and σκύλος demonstrates their regular pattern. Another noun in -oς is άνθρωπος (e.g. anthropology), human/man

Example
Ο σκύλος δαγκώνει τον άνθρωπο. The dog bites the man.
Ο άνθρωπος δαγκώνει τον σκύλο. The man bites the dog.

Audio recording: About this sound Modern_greek_2b.ogg
NOTE: This recording was made by a non-native speaker of Greek.
We would be grateful to any native speaker who could redo it.


Although -ος is by far the most common ending for masculine nouns, there are others, including -ας as in πατέρας, father, and -ης, as in ναύτης, sailor..

For example: Ο σκύλος δαγκώνει τον πατέρα. The dog bites the father.

Feminine nouns[edit]

The noun Η ώρα (the hour, the time) is shown below:

Example
Case Singular - Plural -
Nominative η ώρα the hour οι ώρες the hours
Accusative την ώρα the hour τις ώρες the hours

Audio recording: About this sound Modern_greek_2c.ogg
NOTE: This recording was made by a non-native speaker of Greek.
We would be grateful to any native speaker who could redo it.


NOTE: With the feminine accusative the final ν of την can be dropped under certain circumstances, but should be retained if the noun starts with a vowel, or κ, π, τ χ, θ, ξ φ, ψ, σ

Example
Πάω στην Θάλασσα I go to the sea.
Πάω στη δουλειά I go to (the) work.

NOTE: The presence of the additional sigma is because I'm going TO the sea, and σε + accusitive gets abbreviated, this will be explained more fully in TBC and serves only as a common example for now.

Neuter nouns[edit]

Το παιδί (the child) is an example of a neuter noun.

Example
Case Singular - Plural -
Nominative το παιδί the child τα παιδιά the children
Accusative το παιδί the child τα παιδιά the children

Below is an example of a sentence using the noun.

Example
Tο παιδί έχει το σκύλο. The child has the dog.

Summary Table[edit]

A summary table of the definitive article. Note that the "ν" is kept only if the following word starts with κ,π,τ,ψ,ξ or a vowel.

Example
Case Masc. Sing. Fem. Sing. Neut. Sing. Masc. Plu. Fem. Plu. Neut. Plu.
Nom. ο η το οι οι τα
Gen. του της του των των των
Acc. τον τη(ν) το τους τις τα

Summary[edit]

  • We have seen TBC.

Exercises[edit]

Now try the exercises here.