Modern Greek/User Language Questions

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easy reading materials?[edit]

Hi Andreas and -- It's great to see that we have two native speakers working on the book now -- that's twice as many people available to clean up all my mistakes :-) Do either of you have any very easy reading materials that we could use in the early lessons? I haven't had much luck finding anything that's both easy and public domain. I was thinking that children's songs or folk songs might work well, since they might be in present tense, and use simple vocabulary and constructions. (But we'd want to avoid anything that used archaic language.) Once the past tense has been introduced, there are a lot more possibilities. Does anyone have Aesop in modern greek, in a version that's public domain? I also thought it would be interesting to use selections something by Alexandros Pallis, such as his dhimotiki Gospel of Matthew, or his translation of The Merchant of Venice, but I can't seem to find either online. Any ideas?--Bcrowell 23:38, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

How about the Greek National Anthem? -- 00:49, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
Hmm...the vocabulary is kind of difficult, and the sentences are long. How about something more like "One, two, buckle my shoe. Three, four, shut the door?" :-) Or did you mean for use in one of the later lessons? --Bcrowell 00:57, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Here are some recordings that might be relevant:,+Florida))

I can't understand the words, though. :-) --Bcrowell 01:49, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

This one has decent sound quality. It's a children's song. Can you folks make out the words?

--Bcrowell 01:54, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

I'm afraid I can't access these files. It says "Temporary file not found. Display failed."-- 03:07, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Oh, I see, the links don't work when you just put them in a browser. OK, try this:
Agapi pou ephyge makria Image:modern_greek_song_agapi.ogg
To mikro potamaki Image:Modern greek song potamaki.ogg <------------- This one seems like a good possibility.
Yati-Yati (the second one)
To aidoni
Oi vounisioi
Parakalo sychorise me

--Bcrowell 03:13, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

words to Το Μικρό Ποταμακι[edit]

Here's what I've been able to decode:

Ποταμακι μου καλό,
----------, παρακαλώ.
Δεν μπορώ να ----- πηδήσω (?)
--------- να γυρίσω.
--------- και λουλουδάκια.
Δεν ------------------------
(repeat 1st verse)

--Bcrowell 23:42, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

It's the first time I hear this song. The sound quality is not that good and I'm having great difficulty figuring out what the girl is saying. Sorry it doesn't make much sense.

Ποταμάκι μου καλό στάσου σε παρακαλώ

(the only verse I'm 100% positive)

δεν μπορώ να ________(?) απ' το μύλο να γυρίσω

(I really can't think of any word there, although it seems it ends in "κλείσω" or it might be something like "μείνω πίσω")

(μπουμ και μπουμ) (?) και πετραδάκια (αλλού κεντούν) (?) και λουλουδάκια

(hopefully it's just a sound game and not some words I cannot distinguish)

Το δικό σου το σκοπό(?) δεν θα βρω άσκοπο(?) (or να στον πω(?))

I've listened to it over 10 times I really can't do better than that!

The only remotely similar children's poem I've found is this one

-- 09:16, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for trying! If it's that hard for a native speaker to make out, then I'm proud that I was able to puzzle out any of it at all :-) --Bcrowell 21:14, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

notes about templates[edit]

Here are some templates used in the book:


The most popular folks dance is Kalamatianos/syrtos, and the most popular song is Γερακίνα: Thes are traditional lyrics and therefore there is no copyright.

Κίνησε η Γερακίνα
για νερό κρύο να φέρει
τα βραχιόλια της βροντούν

Κι έπεσε μες στο πηγάδι
κι έβγαλε φωνή μεγάλη

Κι έτρεξε ο κόσμος όλος
κι έτρεξα κι εγώ καημένος.

Έριξα χρυσό κορδόνη
και την έπιασα απ τη ζώνη

Γερακίνα θα σε βγάλω
και γυναίκα θα σε πάρω

Andreas 03:32, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Cool, thanks! Let's see if I can translate this correctly:

Yerakina moved went to the well* to fetch cold water...her bracelets thundered.
She fell in the well, and out came her big voice.
And everyone came running, and I came running (doing something ... καημένος=?)
Threw down a golden rope, and hitched it to her belt.
Yerakina, I'll pull you out, and take you for my wife.

vocab: πέφτω=fall, πιάνω=hitched?

--Bcrowell 06:33, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Yerakina moved went to the well* to fetch cold water...her bracelets thunder (present).
She fell into the well, and she shouted with a big voice. (lit. brought a big voice out of her mouth
And everyone came running, and I came running, too, poor me
Threw down a golden rope, and grabbed her by her belt.
Yerakina, I'll pull you out, and take you for my wife.

vocab: πέφτω=fall, πιάνω=grab, καημός=sorrow, καημένος=poor me, poor you, etc. In medieval Greek, καημένος meant burnt, the modern word for burnt is καμένος from καίω, burn βγάζω=take out, the opposite of βάζω Also used in a general sense: Έλα, καημένε = come on, fellow. και = and, too Θέλω κι εγώ ένα γλυκό = I want a sweet, too κι έτρεξα κι εγώ καημένος: The first "και" means "and" and the second means "too"

midi files:



--Bcrowell 17:02, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Listen to the second verse: [1]

translation of Κίνησε[edit]

Κίνησε should be translated as "went", not "moved". Generally when we say that somebody moved, we mean they moved residence: packed up their possessions wherever it was they were living, transported them to another location, unpacked, and settled in there at their new home. Certainly Yerakina did not "move" to the well!

And she Κίνησε ... για νερό, "to the well", so that should be in the translation as well, even though the word order puts it in the second line of the original.

--Thnidu (discusscontribs) 14:17, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

Τα κλεφτόπουλα[edit]

The song that exists in the link "oi vounisioi" is NOT called "oi vounisioi" but it is actually a very well known Greek folk song called "τα κλεφτόπουλα" (ta kleftopoula). Below it's how the kid is singing it in the audio file (although I've found it elsewhere slightly different)

Μάνα μου τα, μάνα μου τα κλεφτόπουλα (2)

τρώνε και τραγουδάνε, άιντε πίνουν και γλεντάνε (2)

Μα ένα μικρό, μα ένα μικρό κλεφτόπουλο

δεν τρώει, δεν τραγουδάει, βάι δεν πίνει, δεν γλεντάει (2)

Μόν' τ' άρμαντα, μόν' τ' άρμαντά του κοίταζε

Του ντουφεκιού του λέει: «Γεια σου Κίτσο μου λεβέντη!» (2)

Ντουφέκι μου, ντουφέκι μου περήφανο

σπαθί ξεγυμνωμένο, μια χαρά είσαι το καημένο (2)

Πολλές φορές, πολλές φορές με γλύτωσες

απ' του εχθρού τα χέρια με κυνήγαν νύχτα μέρα (2)

(note, the actual verse is "απ' του εχθρού τα χέρια κι απ' των Τούρκων τα μαχαίρια" but I guess this is a politically correct rendition)

Και τώρα με, και τώρα με λησμόνησες

σαν καλαμιά στον κάμπο. Δεν μου λέεις τι να κάνω (2)

-- 15:02, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Cool! I'll start a translation. The main words I'm unclear about are κλεφτόπουλα=soldiers, guerrillas? and ντουφέκι=a kind of sword?

κλέβω = steal, κλέφτης = thief, guerrilla, κλεφτόπυλο = young guerilla
(ν)τουφέκι = long gun (rifle, musket, or shot gun)
Mama mama, the soldiers, they eat and sing, they drink and make merry.
But one little soldier, he dosn't eat, he dosn't sing, dosn't drink or make merry.
He only lookes at his weapons, and sais to his musket, "Hello Kitso, my good man!"
My musket, my proud musket, my sword unsheathed, a joy you are, little one.
Many times, many times you saved me from the hands of my enemies who sought me day and night.
And now, and now you forget me like a reed in the field. You don't tell me what to do.

Am I totally messing this up? What time period is this referring to? 1820?

1821-1827, the Greek War of Independence. Notice the change between historical present and preteritum. Andreas 04:37, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

--Bcrowell 20:45, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

Ο χορός της χελώνας ( Ιωάννης Πολέμης, 1862 - 1924)[edit]

Μια φορά κι έναν καιρό
έστησ’ ο λαγός χορό
και τα’αηδόνι κελαηδούσε
με φωνή μελωδική
κι ο λαγός χοροπηδούσε
κι όλοι εθαύμαζαν εκεί.

Μια χελώνα τον θωρεί
και ζηλεύει και θαρρεί
πως χορό κι εκείνη ξέρει
και φωνάζει στο λαγό
‘’έλα πιάσε με απ’το χέρι
να σ’ακολουθώ κι εγώ’’.

Ο λαγός καιρό δε χάνει
απ’το χέρι τηνε πιάνει
και χορεύοντας πηγαίνει
και τη σέρνει και γελά
μα η χελώνα φορτωμένη
πέφτει και κατρακυλά

Ι learned this from my Greek nanny when I was a child.

Here is his biography and more poems (put your browser to Greek (Windows)):

Notice that in modern Greek rime, the whole last syllable coincides. Andreas 15:44, 20 February 2006 (UTC)


I can find nowhere the meaning of the (quite common) word Άσε. It's clearly an imperative form. Can anyone give me its meaning? JorisvS

The word άσε is the short spoken form of the word άφησε. It is the 2nd singular person imperative of the verb αφήνω, to let. Common uses of this word are in phrases like: άσε με (let me), άσε το, merged usually into άσ' το (let it)

Similar example: κάθισε → κάτσε (sit) Christos 16:03, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Thanks, that already seemed the most probable meaning from what I had seen. Now I'm sure of it.
Are there many of these short imperatives? There are only 12 in my book: σκέψου το, ντύσου, μη ντυθείς, σήκω/σηκώσου, κοιμήσου, θυμήσου, στάσου, συλλογίσου, πλύσου, βιάσου, φαντάσου and πετάξου. Can you state others?
And while we're at it: are there other short forms like θες and ξες (short for θέλεις and ξέρεις)?

You set a very interesting topic. These short imperatives are neither active nor passive, but middle. These verbs follow the passive voice rules, while having also a middle voice imperative form. This imperative has the meaning of "let something done to yourself by yourself", while some of them cannot be done to yourself by someone else than yourself. Here are some more examples: κουρέψου, ξυρίσου, χτενίσου, βάψου, ξύσου, ετοιμάσου, στήσου, κοιτάξου, ασφαλίσου, ονειρέψου, εξηγήσου, αρνήσου, ρίξου, κρατήσου, αναπαύσου, συγκεντρώσου, περιποιήσου, κρεμάσου, χάσου

I can't guess right now if there are so many short forms of active verbs like θες (ξες is very rare, almost obsolete). The most often are: πηγαίνεις → πας, λέγεις → λες Christos 16:55, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

By the way, I just remembered a Greek saying: «ή μικρός-μικρός παντρέψου ή μικρός καλογερέψου» Christos 00:33, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

Breathing marks[edit]

I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask about the language itself, but I was learning from this book (it's very comprehensive, congratulations!) and noticed that there are no breathing marks in the vocabulary. Does Modern Greek not use them like Ancient Greek? Is there a way to show an 'h' sound in Modern Greek? Thanks in advance, Storeye (talk) 03:05, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

No, there are no breathing marks in modern Greek.-- (talk) 15:57, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
And that's because Modern Greek does not have an /h/ sound, so there's no need to show its presence (the "rough breathing" of Ancient Greek) or absence ("smooth breathing"). --Thnidu (discusscontribs) 14:01, 17 April 2015 (UTC)