"Her red hair is very special."
Translation:Το κόκκινο μαλλί της είναι πολύ ιδιαίτερο.
Special is translated as "ειδικός" when special is used with the meaning of "specific, in particular". Here, special has the meaning of "exceptional". Her hair is very specific would not really make any sense.
Why does it have to be "Το κόκκινο μαλλί της είναι πολύ ιδιαίτερο", and why is "Το κόκκινο της μαλλί είναι πολύ ιδιαίτερο" wrong?
I know why you brought it up, like αγαπημένο μου φαγητό etc.
Το κόκκινο της μαλλί είναι πολύ ιδιαίτερο potentially suggests that she has other hair too, in another colour! You see the emphasis in this phrase is put in κόκκινο, i.e. not some other color, while το κόκκινο μαλλί της puts the emphasis on μαλλί, not something else that is red.
Of course, all kinds of emphasis can be switched around with the right intonation, but as it is, there is 'unnecessary attention' drawn to an issue that should not exist - if that makes any sense. In short, it's not really wrong, but it sounds a bit weird in this case at least.
Very interesting - I love these subtleties of language. Thanks for the informative answer!
in Greek the word "hair" is used in its plural form 90% of the time. A Greek would say: "τα μαλλιά σου είναι αχτένιστα" (your hair is uncombed) and if you say "το μαλλί σου είναι αχτένιστο" you would sound as if you translate from English literally. If you want to refer to a single hair you should use the word "τρίχα". In the Greek to English translation "κόκκινο μαλλί" can also be translated as "red yarn" depending on the context.
I am sorry, but I think you are wrong, in everyday speech (not "book Greek") we often use: "τι χάλια μαλλί είναι αυτό" (referring to a bad hair day) or "με γειά το μαλλί" (compliments for your new haircut/hairstyle). Of course "Τα κόκκινα μαλλιά της είναι πολύ ιδιαίτερα" is definitely a correct answer also.
I agree and maybe my estimate of 90% is an overstatement. On the other hand DL's translation does not sound natural to me. Key message to those who learn Greek: the word "hair" translates into Greek (more often) in its plural form... let the Greeks split hairs when to use singular or plural
"On the other hand DL's translation does not sound natural to me. "
I would not want to turn our discussion into a linguistic debate and go completely off topic, but I must note that DL does not, and should not, deal with personal preferences. Each language exists in many forms, there is the "book version" and the everyday version which does not adhere with the official rules of grammar,syntax etc.
DL has chosen to enrich its courses with everyday language, however the "book version" and the the official rules are still predominant. Obviously this choice will always lead to criticism, users' opinions such as yours are duly noted, but please bear in mind that DL is not a school or a university so knowledge is supposed to be fun (grin).
In my opinion, idiomatic and everyday language are the gems of every language/culture so I would not want to learn the "book version"only, but that's just me, the real deciders are DL, its user community and contributors.
:-}} That's a cringe. Thanks for catching that and your clear and comprehensive explanation. Now, if only... At this point, we can't edit the original sentences nor even delete them. I've sent a report so that when the sentences are reviewed we can get those "hairs" in order.
or "red wool", I think.
Perhaps the sentence is talking about a sheep :)