Why Duolingo? Why are you trying to tell me that I don't know greek when I am a native speaker?
Γιατί χρυσό μου Duolingo; Γιατί προσπαθείς να με βγάλεις αμόρφοτη, λες και δεν ξέρω αγγλικά ενώ τα ελληνικά είναι η μητρική μου γλώσσα;
@ Sophia_Ackermann What is Duolingo telling you is not correct? Perhaps we can clarify it. Or perhaps there is an error and you would be helping if you told us so we could correct it. The course was created and is maintained by native Greek speakers who want it to be correct.
Hello Sophia! Since you are a native Greek speaker I would like to ask you something considering the Greek language, if you don't mind? Well, I took a Greek course on Duolingo, I am at the beginning of it, and there appeared one thing that keeps bothering me. It seems to me that there is no difference between these two sentences when you translate them in Greek: 1. Her boy is reading a book. 2. The boy is reading her a book. It seems that for the both sentences the translation is the same: Το αγορι της διαβαζει ενα βιβλιο. If this is correct, then how would you point out to some of your fellow Greeks that you meant, for example, the first sentence and not the second?
Thank you, Dusan.
Her boy is reading a book = Το αγόρι της διαβάζει ένα βιβλίο
The boy is reading her a book = Το αγόρι τής διαβάζει ένα βιβλίο
In such a case where there could be confusion, the "to him/her/etc." version is marked with an accent even though the word is just one syllable.
(In your example, they would be the same, since you left off all accents entirely. But that's not Greek spelling. its perhaps a bit like writing english with no capital letters and no apostrophes - not standard.)
Her husband reads a book = Ο σύζυγός της διαβάζει ένα βιβλίο
The husband reads her a book = Ο σύζογος της διαβάζει ένα βιβλίο / Ο σύζυγος τής διαβάζει ένα βιβλίο
Her husband reads her a book = Ο σύζυγός της της διαβάζει ένα βιβλίο
In the last sentence, the second της does not need an accent, because it's clear that it can't be a second possessive -- it has to be an indirect object.
In the middle sentence, I suppose one could leave out the accent on τής as well, as σύζυγος is a proparoxytone word (stressed on the third-to-last syllable), and so there's a difference between ο σύζυγός της "her husband" and ο σύζυγος της "the husband, to her", since the second does not have a second accent on σύζυγος. But it may be clearer to add it anyway.
Thank you Mizinamo! But you must admit it is all very tricky - only one little accent changes the meaning of the whole sentence!
Like in English, a comma can make all the difference between Let's eat Grandma! and Let's eat, Grandma!
Well, this was an amusing example! But, I've still got an impression that accents in Greek play a much bigger role than commas in English. Otherwise, the Greeks wouldn't be obliged to put accent on every word they write. I don't know of any other language where writing words go necessarily with accents. But again, the Greeks don't put accents when words are written in capital letters! How then do they know to properly read the words when they are capitalized?
Eh - I don't think accents are necessary in Greek writing to keep people from getting confused; they're mostly there by tradition, I think.
In practise, you can read unaccented Greek text fairly well, I think, if you're a native (or fluent) reader.
There aren't all that many words that are distinguished by accent alone (the only one I can think of off the top of my head is νομός - νόμος, and nomes have been defunct since 2010).
Mandatory accents in writing is great for foreigners and learners, but not really necessary for natives. (I believe that this, "teaching foreigners and learners how to pronounce words correctly", is where the accents came from in the first place. They weren't written in the very beginning but were a later invention.)
So it's a bit like "I TALKED TO THE POLISH SALESMAN" -- sure, you don't know whether it was a Polish salesman or a polish salesman in that contrived example, but in real life, things tend not to be that ambiguous, and you will have some sort of context.
For example, I WANTED TO BUY SOME KIELBASA BUT THE POLISH SALESMAN WAS ILL and I WANTED TO BUY SOME SHOE POLISH BUT THE POLISH SALESMAN WAS ILL make it pretty clear what's intended even though the all-caps erases the difference. Similarly in Greek.
Η ΓΥΝΑΙΚΑ ΜΑΓΕΙΡΕΨΕ ΕΝΩ Ο ΣΥΖΥΓΟΣ ΤΗΣ ΔΙΑΒΑΣΕ ΕΝΑ ΒΙΒΛΙΟ probably means that her husband read a book rather than "the husband" read her a book (who would "the husband" even be, since we haven't spoken about a husband before this?).
On the other hand, ΤΟ ΖΕΥΓΑΡΙ ΠΗΓΕ ΣΤΟ ΚΡΕΒΒΑΤΙ ΤΟΥ ΑΡΡΩΣΤΟΥ ΚΟΡΙΤΣΙΟΥ ΣΤΟ ΝΟΣΟΚΟΜΕΙΟ· Η ΓΥΝΑΙΚΑ ΤΗΣ ΤΡΑΓΟΥΔΗΣΕ ΕΝΑ ΤΡΑΓΟΥΔΙ ΚΑΙ Ο ΣΥΖΥΓΟΣ ΤΗΣ ΔΙΑΒΑΣΕ ΕΝΑ ΒΙΒΛΙΟ is more likely to talk about "the woman and the husband singing/reading to her".
"...since you left off all accents entirely."
I don't have keyboard with accentuated Greek letters. Only Greek letters without accent. I don't know how get the real Greek keyboard.
If you're on a mobile device, try long-pressing the vowel keys.
If you're on a laptop/computer, try pressing the key to the right of the L key (where the semicolon is on a US keyboard), then a vowel key.
"If you're on a laptop/computer, try pressing the key to the right of the L key (where the semicolon is on a US keyboard), then a vowel key."
That's it! Ευχαριστώ πολύ!
Sorry, it's me again with another example: 1. Her husband reads a book. 2. Her husband reads her a book. For both sentences there seems to be only one translation: ο σύζυγός της διαβάζει ένα βιβλίο. How is this possible? Or am I mistaken?
Her husband reads a book - Ο σύζυγός της διαβάζει ένα βιβλίο.
Her husband reads her a book - Ο σύζυγός της τής διαβάζει ένα βιβλίο (You need a της with an accent as well, so that you indicate her husband is reading to her)
The husband reads her a book - Ο σύζυγος τής διαβάζει ένα βιβλίο.
I think I covered every case there is! ^.^
Thank you Dimitra! I think you basically said the same thing as "mizinamo", only your explanation is clearer and shorter :) These "tricks" Duolingo haven't taught me yet. Well, this is what the forums are for - to shed light on many details and nuances. Since I am at the beginning of Greek I am starting to face some problems which are probably neglected by more experienced learners. I find it confusing that Greek language have the same words for different classes of pronouns like: αυτός, αυτή, αυτό = he , she , it; but: αυτός ο άντρaς = this man; αυτή η γυναίκα = this woman; αυτό το παίδι = this child. So, sometimes I find it difficult to translate some sentences. Well, I guess I need to be persistent and one day everything will be clear as crystal. Thanks again, Dusan.
You're welcome ^.^ Don't worry. I think that Greek rules like this one always seem odd to new learners, especially native English speakers. With proper practice, you'll get used to it. This rule in particular isn't a hard one to keep up with. ^.^
Okay, I'm in a trouble again... Duolingo gave me a sentence to translate, it says "my sister loves purple", I translated it like "η αδελφή μου αρέσει το μοβ", but Duolingo says no, it should be like this: "Στην αδελφή μου αρέσει το μοβ". Now, I am totally devastated with this "στην" word, it confuses me, who is right here? Could it be that Duolingo was wrong?! Please help anyone, thanks.
No, Duolingo is right.
αρέσω does not mean "to like" -- it means something like "to be pleasing to, to appeal to".
So the subject is the likable thing -- in this case, the colour.
And you are the person whom the colour appeals to.
Thus, "To my sister appeals purple" if you want to be somewhat literal.
Spanish and German have similar verbs that often confuse English-speaking learners (gustar, gefallen).
thank you mizinamo!
Hi "Mizinamo", may I post another mind blowing problem? How would you translate "she is a strawberry" and "this is a strawberry"? It seems there is only one translation: Αυτή είναι μία φράουλα. Duolingo says the Greek sentence means "this is a strawberry", but Google Translate (which is not reliable translation tool but I couldn't find better) says the Greek sentence means "she is a strawberry" while the English sentence "this is a strawberry" translates like "αυτό είναι ένα φράουλα" which is, I think, wrong. Anyway, I don't know how the Greeks are solving this problem of having the same words for two different types of pronouns? How would they make a difference between "she is a strawberry" and "this is a strawberry" (the examples are silly, but let's imagine that some girl plays a strawberry in some theatrical play for children and so she is a strawberry"). Thank you.