Is it "the wine of the (these/those) men" = "το κρασί (αυτών/εκείνων) των ανδρών" or "the wine for men" = "το αντρικό κρασί", "το κρασί για άνδρες" or "the wine for the (these/those) men" = "το κρασί για (αυτούς/εκείνους) τους άνδρες"? In English the difference is very significant and critical in a lot of situations. But as Google search results show, the modern Greeks use confusing constructions like "το κρασί των αντρών" most frequently. In some cases exist special nouns, adjectives and relatively stable collocations with certain meaning: "γυναικεία ρούχα" and "αντρικά ρούχα" are more frequent than "ρούχα (των) γυναικών" and "ρούχα (των) ανδρών" (but all the cases are frequent!). "Το ποτήρι (του) νερό" is usually "the glass of/with water" and "νεροπότηρο" is "the glass for water" (by the way, as Google search results show, the Greeks use "το ποτήρι νερό" most frequently with different meanings, not only "the glass containing water") etc. So without a strong context there is much potential confusion in the majority of cases. Are there any clearly defined rules in Greek that helps in such cases? Why do the Greeks completely ignore such rules and did not notice the glaring ambiguity of such structures?
Okay. As a native greek speaker, I can give my opinion on a couple of things:
Each language has it's own unique grammar characteristics, and one obviously cannot compare each and every one of them with the ones of their native language. In this case, one can't compare each and every English grammar rule with every Greek one.
There might be a slight confusion in written Greek, in a few cases, but absolutely none in spoken, as long as the learner knows a proper and basic sentence structure.
In your examples, there could be confusion only in written Greek, because in spoken Greek, the context depends on numerous things, such as
possibly another sentence following
The subject of your conversation
and possibly more. I think you'll get the idea in the examples I'll give below.
- Greek is a language strictly based on some vital rules. Yes, some sentence structures do get altered, and yes, some words are interchangeable in many cases, but they are commonly and daily used. Basic Greek rules do not get ignored, just altered to a logic extent.
So, let's see a couple of examples.
Let's say you're at a bar. Your friend points at a group of men sitting across the bar, saying "Το κρασί των αντρών είναι κόκκινο." Ιf you looked at where she's pointing at, and see a group of men all drinking red wine, you'd be sure that she's talking about that specifc group of men, not men's wine in general. (even if she doesn't use αυτών or εκείνων. If they were the only men in the room, it would be perfectly logical.)
Let's say you're at a perfume store. Your female friend wants to buy a perfume, you pick one for her and she says "Οχι, αυτό το άρωμα είναι για άντρες/ είναι αντρικό" (article τους ommited, since you're talking about men in general. This is a general rule, and I'm mentioning it since I'm not sure if you're aware of it or not ^.^). You couldn't possibly be confused about this one, even if you're friend doesn't say αντρικό.
So as you see, it purely depends on the occasion, due to some words being interchangeable (αντρικό/για άντρες, των αντρών/εκείνων-αυτών των αντρών).
Lastly, about the glass of water:
Θέλω ένα ποτήρι (με) νερό - I want a glass of water.
(I noticed you mentioned that it has other meanings, but it doesn't. Το ποτήρι νερό means the glass containing water, nothing else.)
Θέλω ένα ποτήρι του νερού/νεροπότηρο - I want a water glass.
Το ποτήρι του νερό is wrong.
I hope this is a bit helpful. ^.^
WRITTEN literary Greek language does have a STRICT AND EVIDENT RULE: a noun in genitive case WITHOUT an article SHOULD correspond to GENERIC (substance or idea of) meaning and thus strictly separates the potentially confusing cases.
SPOKEN and informal Greek often does not follow this rule almost entirely relying on the context. To the Greeks it looks like "just a natural and logic extent of the rule".
Is it correct?
No, spoken language is the same as the written one. No rule applies to one that does not apply to the other. Without the article , genitive case corresponds to generic meaning both in written or spoken Greek. I am going to give some examples about how that works with a noun that is specifically gender-related (ρούχα=clothes) nad not wine for example becuase there is no such thing as men's wine: ρούχα αντρών=(some) men's clothes, τα ρούχα των αντρών=the men's clothes (a group of men you and your interlocutor talk about at the moment, this meaning exclusively if αυτών/εκείνων is used) or men's clothes generally ie made for men, αντρικά ρούχα=men's clothes (clothes made for men).
For example: Those clothes are dirty!-What did you expected? They are men's clothes (ie some men owe them)...=Αυτά τα ρούχα είναι βρώμικα!-Τι περίμενες;Ρούχα αντρών είναι...
Τα ρούχα των αντρών είναι πολύ βολικά=Men's clothes are very comfortable.
Σου αρέσουν τα ρούχα εκείνων των αντρών;=Do you like the clothes of those men?
Πάρε αντρικά ρούχα=Buy some men's clothes (ie made for men)
Ρούχα για άντρες=Clothes for men (this one sounds emphatic, and probably cocky and funny, really, like "I am too much of a man, I need clothes for men", at least to me)
Also, take with you the clothes of the kids=Πάρε μαζί σου τα ρούχα των παιδιών.
I believe that I covered every possible case... Hope this helps!
Almost. Just a couple of notes
- A noun in accusative without a definite article (τον, της, το, τους, τις, τα).
(And a personal note of mine : The indefinite article Ένας, μια, ένα is also ommited in general cases, or cases that you're talking about something that can only be one. For example, These two are a couple - Αυτοι οι δύο είναι ζευγάρι. Not ένα ζευγάρι. They could only be one couple, not two, so the article is implied and ommited.)
Exp. Βιβλία για παιδιά, δώρα για γυναίκες, Περιοδικό για άντρες etc
2 The (if I could call it that) rule of "relying on context" is something that someone could encounter both in spoken and written greek, formal and informal. It's just that sometimes, it's less confusing in spoken than in written (since you don't know what's following your sentence, if it does.)
Also, here on duo, when a sentence seems way too ambiguous,we make sure to add quite a few alternative translations -if there is no context issue-, for the learners ^.^
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In general, plural genitives have accent no further than the penult, because the omega in the final syllable used to be a long vowel and the accent couldn't fall on the antepenult in Ancient Greek if the final syllable was long.
The exact rules are tricky and depend partly on the form that the word had in Ancient Greek.
Easiest are probably words in -ος -ο -ι: the first two are accented on the ultima if the basic form is or on the penult otherwise; the last one is always on the ultima.
Neuter nouns in -μα are also easy: gen.pl. is -μάτων.
Words in -α -η -ας -ης depend on the form they had in Ancient Greek, in general.
τον αντρον is not Greek.
το άντρον is Ancient Greek for "the cave"
τον άντρα is Modern Greek for "the man" *
Neither of them has a meaning of "for" in it.
* Ancient Greek had ο ανήρ, του ανδρός, τον άνδρα; Modern Greek has ο άντρας, του άντρα, τον άντρα. It's never been ο άντρος, του άντρου, τον άντρον.
"the wine of the men" is one of the accepted translations. So, if your sentence was rejected it was due to some other mistake.
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