"A cup of coffee"
Translation:Ένα φλιτζάνι καφέ
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This is the accusative case. A preposition is implied before καφέ, like "a cup (with) coffee", therefore the accusative is used. (It would take a really long post on how the nominative could fit here and all the possible meanings attached to either case, that I decided to scrap my draft and post this instead.) (Edit: And while I was going on and on about cases and meanings in my draft, a more decisive Theo gave the answer! Good job!)
It's actually pretty interesting. I would never expect the accusative in such a structure and I'm not sure I understand this implied preposition. Does it come from some other form of this structure? How do you say with in Greek? With the accusative? Also, how would you say things like a slice of pizza or a piece of cake?
I don't know if this can help you, but you can visit both the English and Greek Wiktionary and search for the word (e.g., "καφές"). Both sites usually have a declension table, along with etymology and definition of the word.
Also, the Greek translation of the word "with" is "με" (in general; I don't know if there are any exceptions that "with" could be translated as something else than "με" in Greek). However: "With" can also be translated as "μαζί" ("μαζί" usually means "together"), and is used if you want to translate, for example, this sentence: "Do you want to come with me?" = "Θέλεις (do you want) να (to) έρθεις (come) μαζί (with) μου (me);" Another translation of the same phrase with "με" would be: "Θέλεις να έρθεις [μαζί, optional] με (with) εμένα (me);" In my opinion, considering that you are on Level 5, I think that this is far advanced for now. (In everyday speech, I think we generally use the first phrase: "Θέλεις να έρθεις μαζί μου;") Nevertheless, I suggest that you read this article (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%CE%B5%CE%B3%CF%8E), which is about the word "I" (εγώ), in case you're interested.
If you want to say "a slice of pizza", you can say: "ένα (a) κομμάτι (slice) πίτσα (pizza)", and "a piece of cake": "ένα κομμάτι κέικ". Note that the phrase "ένα κομμάτι κέικ" doesn't have the meaning of the idiom "that's a piece of cake" = "that's easy" (we usually say: "πανεύκολο", from παν + εύκολο=easy).
Edit: in the sentence " a cup of coffee", the "of" word is usually translated as "του" or "της", depending on the gender, but we generally omit this, since it is obvious from the whole context (that you want a cup FILLED with coffee). Using "του" (or "της") in this sentence or every other similar sentences could also be problematic: for example, say you are at a Greek taverna, you have a glass of water on the table, and the glass falls and brokes into pieces. Then maybe you'll say: "Χρειάζομαι ένα [νέο] ποτήρι του νερού επειδή [or γιατί] έσπασα το άλλο [or you could say, το προηγούμενο, instead of το άλλο]": "I need a [new] glass of water because I broke the other one". Here, the word "του" specifies the type of glass you need. And especially if you have a big bottle of water already on your table, then he or she will bring you just an empty glass OF water (not of, say, wine).
To sum up, in Greek we usually change the meaning of the word "of" (which means "του/της", generally), in favor of the meaning of the word "with" (με or μαζί in Greek semantics), on such occasions. Therefore, I think there isn't a 1-1 relationship between those two languages...
I hope that I made myself understood. And, of course, keep up learning Greek! These obstacles aren't very important on the level you are now (but of course it's very nice to ask questions when you have trouble)!
What I was especially curious about was that accusative in this structure.
in the sentence " a cup of coffee", the "of" word is usually translated as "του" or "της", depending on the gender, but we generally omit this, since it is obvious from the whole context
So does του/της require the accusative after it?
With those "slice of pizza" and "piece of cake" I was wondering about what structure is used in that case, if it's also accusative or nominative. I guess those things don't really matter because those forms seem to be usually the same anyway. I just though it was interesting.
Thank you very much for the detailed comment :)
If it was in nominative it would be ένα φλιτζάνι καφές. I think it is in accusative case, but I am not very sure!
Yes, it can be the same. For example: ένα μπουκάλι γάλα (a bottle of milk), ένα ποτήρι νερό (a glass of water), μία κουταλιά μέλι (a tablespoon of honey).
I'm struggling to understand how the grammar works - is the nominative "a coffee cup" (i.e the actual type of cup) and the accusative is "a cup of coffee" (i.e. the coffee, server in a cup)? I'm British and don't really speak any languages that have inflected nouns so the concepts are new to me.
In this case it's impossible to determine whether it's in the nominative (i.e. the noun is the subject of the sentence) or the accusative (i.e. the noun is the object of the sentence) without further context. Don't worry too much, you'll get the hang of it, eventually ;)
I speak German and the difference in how Nominative and Accusative cases are treated confuses me a little. In Greek, the noun goes through a change, whereas in German only the gender goes through the change. Because of this tiny little difference, I actually couldn't tell what case this is since in German this would be "Eine Tasse Kaffee", but the case isn't shown. Very interesting question here for me
"κούπα" is one of the accepted translations. Did you use the right article? If your sentence was not accepted you should have made a report.
TIPS TO MAKE LEARNING EASIER + HOW TO REPORT A PROBLEM https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/22424028
And check out the Greek Forum here with more links. https://forum.duolingo.com/topic/936