'Ναί' for 'yes' is going to confuse me a lot, coming from a country where 'nei' means 'no'..
How about ochi (οχι) for no?
well I don't speak it yet but that's what duolingo is for and that's why I am here
We will still be learning to speak Greek at the end of the course, I think so... (and remember also to practice speaking with other mates) Καλὴ τύχη! =)
... αλλά όχι πολύ καλά. There is a lot more to learn; by that time, it will probably be good enough.
Sally speaks Spanish, but not very well. When she tries to speak Spanish, You really can't tell what language she's speaking or trying to speak. The first time I heard her, I thought it was Greek.
I love the word μιλάω it sounds like a cat meowing when I hear it and that is how a cat speaks so I remember what it means and how it sounds.
It took me five attempts before I noticed it said "yes". Ναι sounds so close to no...
I'm just curious, but how does ελληνικά translate as "Greek"? There is absoputly NOTHING similar in letter or sound!
The Greeks called and call their country Ελλάδα/ Hellas and themselves Έλληνες/Hellenes.
Ελληνικά, τα > ελληνικός adj. = greek, hellenic > Latin Graecus > Γραίκοι a small group of Greeks living in Boeotia. For some odd reason this is what most western countries call the now-living Hellenes
Μιλάω λίγα Ελληνικά. Λίγα, όχι καλά Ελληνικά. (I speak a little Greek. A little, not good Greek.) I wouldn't use this sentence yet. :p
In Greek, the verbs conjugate to every person:
- I speak: εγω μιλάω
- You speak: εσυ μιλάς
- He/she speaks: αυτ(ος/ή) μιλά
- We speak: εμείς μιλούμε
- You (plural) speak: εσείς μιλάτε
- They speak: αυτοί μιλούν
"(I) speak" has its own form, so the "I" isn't needed, because the conjugation already tells you what it is. It's like how you would know what I meant if I said "Am a person", because it can only be "(I) am a person". This isn't done in English a lot, but it's very common in most other European languages.
The Nαι is literally transcripted as "nay". Why is nay in Greek yea in English?
Are there rules when to use each "ee" sounding letter or is it just something to memorize?
When they're in the stem of the word, it's basically memorisation, like "ee" versus "ea" in English. (Or, as in English, knowing the etymology and history of the word in older stages of the language when they were still pronounced differently is a theoretical possibility.)
In endings, it's usually fixed by the grammar, e.g.
- -η: feminine singular nouns (η πόλη, την πόλη); neuter plural nouns where the singular has -ος (το τείχος, τα τείχη)
- -ι: neuter singular nouns (το αγόρι)
- -οι: masculine plural nouns (οι άνθρωποι), feminine plural nouns (οι οδοί)
- -υ: a few neuter singular nouns (το δόρυ, το άστυ) -- not that many so those can be learned as exceptions from "neuter singular -ee sound is -ι"
- -ει: verb ending (αυτός θέλει, εγώ θα έχω διαβάσει)
Sometimes if the Greek word was borrowed into English, that can be a clue -- οι, η usually turn into "e" while ι becomes "i" and υ becomes "y", e.g. ανάλυση "analysis" must have an upsilon in the third syllable because the English has a "y" there, and κοιμητήριον "cemetery" can't have iotas or upsilons in the first three syllables because English doesn't have an "i" or a "y" there. (The -y in the ending of "cemetery" is an English ending rather than indicating an upsilon in the original; it's not part of the word stem, I'd say.)
Can "Ναι" ever be translated into "Yeah" or is it only used to say "Yes"?
I'd say no. Ναι is as "formal" as yes. "Yeah" or "yep" are better translated as αμέ.
When you're not paying attention and say "Yes, I speak English," forgetting that the Greeks are also referred to as Hellenic.