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  5. "Ποια είναι η απάντηση;"

"Ποια είναι η απάντηση;"

Translation:What is the answer?

September 1, 2016



English distinguishes between which is...? and what is...? (even if many confuse them!)

Does Greek make this distinction?


what is...? when there are many many options eg what is the time, what is your name?

which is...? when there is a limited number of options. eg which cup is mine?


We don't really have such a distinction. Both "What is the answer?" and "Which is the answer?" would be "Ποια είναι η απάντηση;".


Thank you, Papageorge.


So...is there a difference between "what" and "who" in Greek? I have seen the same interrogative- "ποια"- used for both people and objects...

  • what is called τι in Greek
  • ποιος, ποια, ποιο (masc, fem, neuter) means both who and which. Therefore, it describes both people and objects


Ok...so let me make sure I understand this correctly: "τι" asks "what" in the sense of a definition (e.g. Τι είναι η απάντηση;= What is the answer? (It is the response to the question)) and "ποιος/ποια/ποιο" asks "what" in the sense of a specific choice (e.g. "Ποια είναι η απάντηση;= What is the answer? (It is yes)). Also, with the usage "ποιος/ποια/ποιο" one must agree the interrogative with the replaced subject? E.g. Ποια πίνει η μπύρα;= Who is drinking the beer? (the usage of "ποια" implies that the subject must be a woman?)


Yes, you are right!

As a pronoun it must agree with the subject, which can be either implied or not. In your example if the implied person is a woman the sentence would be Ποια πίνει την μπύρα;. It is την μπύρα because it is the object of the sentence and objects are usually in accusative ;)

P.S. A synonym of ποιος/ποια/ποιο is also ο οποίος/η οποία/το οποίο. It has the same use ;)


Ο οποίος/η οποία/το οποίο are relative pronouns and ποιος/ποια/ποιο are interrogative pronouns. They are not used interchangeably.


Καταλαβαίνω. Ευχαριστώ!


Thanks for the responses about "what" and "which" questions, because in modern Gk "what?" is often τί, as in τί λέει ο άντρας; "What does the man say?" So it's helpful to know that Gk says "Which is the answer?" as much as "What is the answer?" in this situation. But I think one has to use Ποια (since the noun is fem.) here and not τί. However, I don't have a feel for when to use one or the other. τί seems to be for something more abstract that could have multiple responses such as τι είναι η ζωή; "what is life?" In a blog I found an overview: https://blogs.transparent.com/greek/question-words-in-modern-greek/ The example given there for τί is Τι θέλεις να πιεις; "What would you like to drink?" which is not abstract but exactly what the person wants to drink is not clear, it could be any number of drinks (not specific). I'll try to get a feel for the notion that τί asks "what" in the sense of a definition in response to a question while "ποιος/ποια/ποιο" asks "what" in the sense of a specific choice. It will take time since we don't have this in English. In ancient Gk the interrogative τίς / τί ("who? what?") could be used to refer to an unknown object, e.g., τί ἐστιν; "what is it?" that is, "what is the matter?" (Gen 21:17) or indirect question τί ἐβουλεύσατο; "what was decided?" (Mic 6:5) -- both examples taken from the Septuagint (Muraoka, A Gk-Engl. Lexicon, 681), while ποῖος was used to obtain the nature or identity of an entity, "of what kind? which? according to Muraoka (p. 572). In the modern Gk examples τί refers to unknown objects--it's unclear what the person wants to drink or what the man says. Maybe if the question referred to which of many possible answers then τί would work here. If it's specific such as one answer, e.g., a telephone number, then ποῖος works, e.g., ποιὀς είναι ο αριθμός του τηλεφώνου σας; "What is your phone number?"


Why is it ''ποια είναι'' and not Τί είναι, because according to the 'tips list' ποια who (f) and what is Τι ??


I hear abandisi. Shouldn't it be apadisi?


I don't know if this answers your question adequately but the pronunciation of π can vary from a weak P to a clear B, at least here in sunny Cyprus. So Pafos is pronounced Pafos by the Brits who live here, and Bafos by local Cypriots, with a very strong B sound from the many London Cypriots here. So half way between the two is probably a good compromise—I don't include the Brit pronunciation in this as their contribution is largely irrelevant. -)

As for the d vs nd — can I just mention the word αντιο (goodbye)? You'll hear adio, just like the Spanish, to andio which is, of course, how it is spelt. It doesn't seem to depend on how familiar the speaker is with word origins, or Spanish, but the spelling is andio so that is how it is pronounced by, perhaps, the majority.

As for your question, please let me allow a Greek speaker to answer that.


I personally don't hear any B in απάντηση, and I don't think that π commonly pronounced as μπ in Greece. However, I have indeed noticed that in some cases, where π is in the beginning of the word and is preceeded by an article in accusative, it sounds a bit more strong, almost like a b (την πόρτα, τον παππού, την παραλία κτλ.)

(P.S. A friendly advice: Don't use the word bafos. It usually does not refer to an island, at least not in Greece. XP)


Thank you for that, Dimitra. Can you tell me what the word bafos means, then? Quietly, while no-one is listening. :-)

But tell me, when I learned my first six or so words of Greek, in Athens many decades ago, when I knew nothing about Greek writing, or grammar, or anything other than those six words, I learned the word barmay (πάρμε) and that is how I remembered it for the next half a lifetime. I still hear barmay as in barmaid or barmy.

That said, I also learned, from a Frenchman, that wonderful expression μεθ αύριο, or as he said it: mess avrio. He was French and had difficulty with θ. So for that following half a lifetime, when I had no contact with Greece or Greek I remembered barmay and mess avrio, and a few others.

Perhaps the best one I remembered was που είσαι; This was thirty years before the invention of mobile telephones. I was working at the mental hospital at Dafni in Athens and this sad little voice could be heard at all hours coming from a window high up in the long high wall of the hospital building: Hermann, Hermann, που είσαι;

He had met our colleague Hermann a few days before and obviously missed his company. Nowadays, we hear all day long: Ναι, ναι. Που είσαι;

Good memories.


ευχαριστώ Philip and Dimitra :)


I don't think I'v ever heard the word πάρμε in Greek, or barmay/barmaid in English. I think that nowadays, in most bars, the bartenders are called barman and barwoman accordingly. That was one strange piece of info. :P

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