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  5. "The cow and the milk."

"The cow and the milk."

Translation:Η αγελάδα και το γάλα.

September 5, 2016



How do you know when to use Η, when to use το, when to use ι, etc etc!!!!!!!!! This is so confusing to me!! I can't find an answer on the internet either. Can anyone explain?


There are three genders in Greek, masculine, feminine and neuter.

The definite articles (the equivalent of "the" in English) in singular number are:

  • ο for masc. nouns
  • η for fem. nouns
  • το for neuter nouns

So when a word is masculine, you use "ο", when it is feminine you use "η" and when it is neuter you use "το".

Unfortunately there are no rules about the gender of the words, so you have to learn the genders of the words by heart.

However, there are some endings that can indicate the gender of a noun. Here are some examples:

  • Nouns ending in -οίηση are feminine.
  • Nouns ending in -ισσα are feminine.
  • Nouns ending in -ακι are neuter.

But not all nouns end in "οίηση", "ίσσα" or "ακι"...

I hope that this helps. :-)


Some rules of thumb:

  • Nouns ending in -ος -ας -ης are usually masculine
  • Nouns ending in -α -η are usually feminine (except for ones in -μα)
  • Nouns ending in -ι -ο -μα are usually neuter.

The biggest source of exceptions might be -ος which can also be feminine or neuter; the other endings are more reliable.


But also γάλα is neuter, which h I don't get :(


Blame the Ancient Greeks and their inability to pronounce most consonants or clusters at the end of words.

The root of γάλα is γαλακτ- (compare "galactic", related to the Milky Way or other galaxies).

But while the genitive γάλακτος was easy for them to pronounce with the -κτ- in the middle of a word like that, the hypothetical nominative γάλακτ ended in a consonant cluster that they "couldn't pronounce", so it ended up as γάλα.

A bit like how English speakers are just fine with pronouncing the sequence /ps/ in the middle or at the end of a word (sepsis, cops), they don't like it at the beginning and so "psychology" turns into "sycology".

Similarly with το κρέας "meat" -- that's neuter, but then it's not "really" a word ending in -ας: the root is κρεατ- as can still be seen in the genitive του κρέατος. But Ancient Greeks didn't like the final consonant cluster in το κρεατς and simplified it into το κρέας. (Compare English "pancreas" but "pancreatic".)



It seems like there's no immediate connection between these two words, but according to wiktionary, both words seem to have Proto-Indo-European roots. (Κρέας comes from kréwh₂s, which means blood) ^.^


Very interesting, thank you! I wonder if κρέας is then related to 'creature'?


It's so helpful..thank you so much @panagiotis_ts ...now I was more understand about greek language..


Interesting. Do "cow" and "milk" have the same root? Looks like they do


Seems to be a coincidence.

αγελάδα "cow" is from αγέλη "herd" according to Wiktionary, which in turn is from άγω "to lead" -- so a cow is a "herd animal" which is "an animal that's led". (Sort of.)

The fact that it looks a bit like γάλα is a coincidence.


Thank you! I saw γ and λ and the unusually long word for "cow" and thought, hmmm could cow be a "milk producer" or something lol


What is that sound she makes for the "γ" in "γαλα"?


cow ends in a so is feminine so I correctly used H but milk also ends in a - so is that not feminine? and if so, why To instead of H


Not all words ending in α are feminine. (Nor are all words ending in ος masculine.)

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