This sentence is actually pretty tricky. It could mean two distinct things:
- (Ο άντρας) (της διαβάζει) (ένα βιβλίο) = (The man) (reads to her) (a book)
- (Ο άντρας της) (διαβάζει) (ένα βιβλίο) = (Her man/husband) (reads) (a book) !!not to her!!
Depending on the meaning, each parenthesis is pronounced as a whole. So in case (1) της is pronounced close to διαβάζει, with similar intensity, whereas in case (2) της is pronounced together with άντρας, as if the two were one single word with the accent in the third syllable from the end: *άντραστης.
So, to distinguish between the two cases in written, if the meaning is (1) an accent is put on της. We have then:
- Ο άντρας τής διαβάζει ένα βιβλίο = The man reads a book to her
- Ο άντρας της διαβάζει ένα βιβλίο = Her man reads a book
and the ambiguity is dealt with. The same stands with other words that could be either possessive or object pronouns, i.e. μου, σου, του, μας, σας, τους.
Note that when there is no possibility of misunderstanding, no accent is put on these words, following the general rule that on (most) one-syllable words there is no accent:
Ο άντρας της της διαβάζει ένα βιβλίο = Her man reads a book to her
Τα παιδιά μας τους διαβάζουν ένα γράμμα = Our children read a letter to them
How would you say "Her man reads her a book"? Or if he's reading to their children, "Her man reads them a book"?
(It's already in the first comment) "Ο άντρας της, της διαβάζει ένα βιβλίο", "Ο άντρας της τους διαβάζει ένα βιβλίο"
Because when used with a possessive, "άντρας" means "husband". "Man" does not mean "husband" very often in (modern) English; it is usually only used that way informally or within certain phrases, such as "man and wife".
- άντρας = man
- ο άντρας = the man
ο άντρας μου = my husband (informal)
γυναίκα = woman
- η γυναίκα = the woman
η γυναίκα μου = my wife (informal)
σύζυγος = husband/wife
- ο σύζυγος = the husband
- η σύζυγος = the wife
- ο σύζυγός μου = my husband (formal)
- η σύζυγός μου = my wife (formal)
You can replace μου with any other possessive (σου, του, της, μας, σας, τους).
You can see that "the husband" corresponds only to "ο σύζυγος", but not to "ο άντρας".
Thanks for that. But... I wonder why in case of word σύζυγος, "my husband/wife" in formal form is double-stressed - σύζυγός.
σύζυγός gets the second accent from the following possessive μου, which is not stressed.
I tried "Ο άντρας τις διαβάζει ένα βιβλίο", which was wrong. Couldn't what I have written meant "The man reads to them (f) a book" ?
No. That would be τους and not τις. Τις doesn't work for indirect objects. It's for direct objects. ^.^
Τις είδε και τους μίλησε. - He saw them and talked to them.
When it comes to indirect objects, τους is for all three genders in plural. Note that even when the direct and indirect object are the same person (like in the example above) you still have to use the correct form.
I wonder if grammatical ambiguities were responsible for some wars in the ancient world.
There is this issue: "the whole discussion which split the Christian world was over one iota." See here http://wolf.mind.net/library/eastern/Christian/p225.html for how the single tiny letter "iota" (ι) was involved.
I don't know of any wars but anything is possible. I have heard of translation errors which caused huge problems.
I'd heard this expression but had no idea of its origins. Thanks! On the other hand, there's also the expression: "I don't give one iota." = I don't care at all. Go figure.
Is there any way to say 'her man'? For a boyfriend or otherwise together but not married?
It's the same "ο άντρας της". But be prepared to hear "I didn't know they were married" next ;)
I have used a man instead of a husband, and it was rejected. I doubt that it was a mistake
If you wrote..."a man" the problem would be with "a" not "man" because the sentence says "Ο άντρας" which is ''the man (or the husband)''. It's always best to send a screenshot when you're in doubt about why something was rejected.
That's what I mean, there. At least "man" should be accepted. There is a σύζυγος for spouses in particular, isn't it?