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"Her red hair is very special."

Translation:Το κόκκινο μαλλί της είναι πολύ ιδιαίτερο.

September 8, 2016

15 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/trezost

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GiorgioYianni

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/trezost

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GiorgioYianni

"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 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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

or "red wool", I think.

Perhaps the sentence is talking about a sheep :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jaye16

You mean they don't dye it?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Not this sheep. It's very special, you see :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jaye16

:-}} 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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ggc-k

I agree and I notice when Greeks speak English to me they often mistranslate and comment on 'their hairs'!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/spdl79
Mod
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  • 1536

τα κόκκινα μαλλιά της είναι πολύ είδικα?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/troll1995

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/spdl79
Mod
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  • 1536

Many thanks as always Troll; that's a nuance that I wasn't aware of.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bohuslav1

Why does it have to be "Το κόκκινο μαλλί της είναι πολύ ιδιαίτερο", and why is "Το κόκκινο της μαλλί είναι πολύ ιδιαίτερο" wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/D_..
Mod
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  • 110

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bohuslav1

Very interesting - I love these subtleties of language. Thanks for the informative answer!

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