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  5. "What does the man say?"

"What does the man say?"

Translation:Τι λέει ο άντρας;

September 1, 2016



Does the Ti really need an accent on the iota?


It's actually the first time that I've seen "τι" with an accent, and I am a native speaker of Greek... However, after looking for it on a philological forum, I read that the accent is optional when "τι" is used as an interrogative pronoun and introduces a question. However it is always written without an accent when it is used as a relative pronoun. For example:

  • "Τι κάνεις;" and "Τί κάνεις;" (= How are you?) are both accepted.
  • "Θέλω να ξέρω τι κάνεις" (= I want to know what you are doing) --> here "τι" is written without an accent.

However, this needs verification because I've read it on a forum and not on an official page. But keep in mind that even if the accent is optional, I have never seen "τι" written with an accent in modern Greek. And although I'm young, I have read a lot of literature in my life. I never write it with an accent (even in official essays) and it has never been corrected by any of my teachers. :-)


Hi panagiotists13 , can you tell me which forum it was? You read that the accent is optional when "τι" is used as an interrogative pronoun and introduces a question?! As opposed to what?! "Τι" is just an interrogative pronoun [in some rare cases it's found as an interrogative particle which is actually a shortened form of "γιατί" in those instances, e.g. "Τι ρωτάς, αφού ξέρεις; (=Why do you ask since you already know?)], it doesn't exist as anything else! How on earth can "τι" be a relative pronoun? SMH Are the examples you are giving from the said forum? In both those cases, "τι" is an interrogative pronoun, only difference is that the first sentence is a direct question whereas the second is an indirect one. Are these people seriously claim to be philologists? OMG!

Anyway, you were right of course, "τι" never gets an accent, and that's the rule it's not optional. There are only three one-syllable words that get an accent, "ή", "πού" and "πώς", only to avoid confusion with the identically written "η", "που", "πως" that don't get one.


No, τι doesn't have accent! We added accent by mistake and we can't change it, because the tree is locked.

Some claim that you can add accent when there is a question, but usually Modern Greek words with one syllable are not accented!


in greece we still use accents on occasion


I always use an accent in words like τί, πώς and πού when there are in their interrogative mode like here.


"Πώς" and "πού" are interrogative adverbs and only take accents so that they're not confused with the conjunctions "πως" and "που". "Τι" can only be found as an interrogative pronoun, so there's no need for an accent, it follows the rule that one-syllable words don't take an accent.


I stand corrected. Did my own research and, to my surprise, I found out that actually only a handful of linguists accept what I wrote. I am surprised because I always thought it as logical. For example look at this demotic poem verse: Τι εγώ είμαι το τριαντάφυλλο της άνοιξης στολίδι , where τι is obviously not interrogative but causal, so it should not get an accent. Anyway, I should probably get used to writing it the way most ppl do.


In this case "τι" is an idiomatic short form of "γιατί", but as far as I know the accent was never used as a distinction. When polytonic was used, "τι" always had an accent, and now in monotonic it never takes one. But I understand the confusion, many people think that it's the same as "πως" and "που". As about getting used to writting it a different way, well, good luck! I still spell "σιντριβάνι" as "συντριβάνι" and correct it afterwards when I think about it - even though I know it's wrong, and I don't think that I will ever see "αβγό" and "αφτί" written like that and not think that it's weird! :)


"Τι" is not found only as an interrogative pronoun. For example, "Άκουσα τι είπες", or "Έμαθα τι έγινε στον αγώνα". In these cases "τι" does not take an accent. Whereas if I asked "Τί είπες;" or "Τί έγινε στον αγώνα", I would put an accent. In the first case "τι" is a relative pronoun and not an interrogative one. At least, that's how I see it when I'm writing in greek.


Well, the thing is though that grammar is not a matter of opinion. In most cases at least, since in a language that is alive and evolving, it’s natural for new rules to emerge. But that’s not the case here. The rule, as I mentioned before, is that one-syllable words don’t take an accent. There are few exceptions to this rule (ή, πού, πώς) but “τι” is not one of these exceptions. In the examples you are giving, the sentences contain indirect interrogative clauses, not relative clauses, and “τι” is again an interrogative pronoun, not a relative one. I have never seen “τι” being categorised as any other kind of pronoun, only as an interrogative one. I’ve checked two major modern Greek dictionaries (Λεξικό Μπαμπινιώτη, Λεξικό Ιδρύματος Τριανταφυλλίδη – this can also be found online http://www.greek-language.gr/greekLang/modern_greek/tools/lexica/triantafyllides/index.html ), the school books ( http://ebooks.edu.gr/new/allcourses.php ), and two of the formerly taught in school grammars, the reviewed Triantafyllides grammar ( http://www.greek-language.gr/greekLang/files/document/modern_greek/grammatiki.triantafyllidi.pdf ) and the Tsolakis grammar ( http://www.greek-language.gr/greekLang/files/document/modern_greek/grammatiki.tsolaki.pdf ). All of the above sources categorise “τι” as an interrogative pronoun and none of them has it with an accent. If you’re aware of a credible source that states something different, please share it.

P.S. I hope I’m not coming off as a know-it-all, and if I’m wrong I’ll be happy to admit it. My intention is not to prove I’m right, but I want to set things straight for those who are in the process of learning Greek since I believe that when you learn something wrong from the start, you need to work twice as hard to “unlearn” it and correct it, don’t you agree? :)


Is the word order important in greek? Or i can say Τι ο αντρας λεει? Is it correct?

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Syntax is generally very fluid in Greek, but this one (τι ο άντρας λέει) sonuds really really weird and incorrect.


Is ανδρας correct? I am a little bit confused.

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yes, it is. It's a different spelling, only.. ;)


i knoooow i've seen man spelled with a τ instead of a δ .. what's the deal? which is "right" ?

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Both are right. They are pronounced a bit differently, though. Άντρας is andras and άνδρας is anthras with "th" as in "the".


colour - color, aluminium - aluminum: which is right? :)

It's simply a case where two variants live happily alongside each other.


I wrote "λέγει", which was accepted. But the translation above reads "λέει". Is λέγει archaic? Is λέει preferred? Ευχαριστώ πολλή!

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Yes, λέγει is more archaic and is rarely used. ;) The first person (λέγω) is used for emphasis more commonly though, but it is still archaic.


Yes, the preferred forms are contracted: λέω λες λέει λέμε λέτε λένε, rather than λέγω λέγεις λέγει λέγουμε λέγετε λέγουν.

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Is λέγει archaic?

Archaic and/or regional. Therefore you may get to hear it a lot depending on where you are and who you're speaking with. :)


Why is it 'ο' instead of 'το'? Is there a difference between them or are there incidences where one should be used instead of the other?

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All this is explained in the Tips & notes see here for those and other helpful ideas.



And there are more here


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