Dialogue

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Vocabulary

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όχι óhi no
τώρα tóra now
δεν den not, don't
στο sto at, in
είμαι íme I am
μαμά mamá mom
εδώ edó here
ξενοδοχείο Xenodohío hotel
όλα óla everything
ναι ne yes
εντάξει entáxei OK
ακόμα akóma still, yet
γεια ya hi, bye
ευχαριστώ efharistó thank you

Lesson Notes

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Grammar

The focus of this lesson is pronunciation
Δεν είμαι ακόμα στο ξενοδοχείο.
"I'm not at the hotel yet."


Greek pronunciation is pretty straightforward and the spelling is almost phonetic. Even the word stress is easy, since it is indicated with a little accent mark above the vowel. Still, there are a few difficulties in the form of letters that don't sound as you'd expect.

  • Beta (βήτα) does not sound like B but like V. In fact, there is no /b/ sound in Greek except as /mb/, and even then it's mostly used for foreign words. The /mb/ sound is spelled MP (μι πι).
  • By the same token, Delta (δέλτα) does not sound like D; it sounds like the TH in "that". The /d/ sound pretty much only appears in the combination /nd/, spelled as NT (νι ταυ).
  • Gamma (γάμα), the Greek equivalent of G, has two pronunciations. If Gamma is followed by a front vowel like /e/ or /i/, it sounds approximately like Y in "year". If Gamma is followed by an /a/, /o/ or /u/ sound however, it sounds like a throaty R. By contrast, the actual Greek R (ρο) is rolled at the front of the mouth.
  • Chi (χι) also has two pronunciations. If you studied German, this will be easy for you, because the two pronunciations are exactly the same as the German CH sound. When combined with a back vowel like /a/, /o/ or /u/, Chi is throaty, as in the name of the composer "Bach". When combined with a front vowel like /e/ or /i/, Chi is pronounced as in the German word for I, "ich". If you can't produce this sound yet, try saying Y as in "year", draw it out "yyyyyy" and then keep this mouth position and exhale instead.
  • Finally, I should warn you about the Greek letter Ypsilon. Most of the time, it is just another way of writing the "eee" sound, just like the letters Ita and Iota. However, in the combination with Omikron it sounds like "oo", and in combination with Alpha or Epsilon it sounds like /f/ or /v/ ... as in Ευχαριστώ!

Cultural Insights

• Family is very important for the Greeks, as for most Southern Europeans. There is a very special bond between family members, which sometimes seems strange to people from other cultures.
• Young people usually live with their parents until they get married. Even if they go to another city or country for their studies, they go back to live with their parents when they finish their studies.
• Greek parents are very supportive of their children. Because the benefits provided by the Greek government are not sufficient to cover people’s essential expenses, they get financial support from their parents when they study in another city or country, or if they are unemployed. Parents don’t give loans to their children because for them it is an obligation to support their children.
• Sometimes, Greek parents financially support their children even if they work because salaries are low compared to those in the US.
• However, they can also be very intrusive sometimes, and have constant arguments with their children if they don’t approve of their lifestyle or of the way they raise their children. Some issues like homosexuality are still taboo in Greek families, even in big cities.
• Even when the parents are not wealthy, they support their children and their children’s family in other ways, such as by babysitting their grandchildren or cooking for them.
• Family members are very close to even more distant relations (grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins, and so forth). They spend Easter and Christmas together, and in the past it was very common to spend Sundays together as well, but nowadays this tradition is becoming less widespread.
• Greek women are usually overprotective and proud of their sons. They often show favoritism by preparing special meals for them or by boasting about their scores at school.

Lesson Transcript

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INTRODUCTION
Iro:I’m Iro.
Judith: Judith here, Absolute Beginner Season, 1 Lesson 1, Your Greek Family is Calling. Hello and welcome to GreekPod101.com where we study modern Greek in a fun education format.
Iro: So brush up on the Greek that you started learning long ago or start learning today.
Judith: Thanks again for being here with us. What are we looking at in this lesson?
Judith: In this lesson, you will learn how to pronounce Greek.
Iro: This conversation takes place on the phone.
Iro: Ellie and her boyfriend have just arrived in Athens and they're just heading to their hotel when Ellie already gets a phone call.
Judith: The conversation is between Ellie and her mom, but we're only hearing Ellie's side of the conversation.
Iro: Ellie is talking to family, so she will be speaking informal Greek.
Judith: Let's listen to the conversation.
DIALOGUES
Έλλη: Ναι;
Έλλη: Α μαμά, ναι...
Έλλη: Ναι, εδώ είμαι...
Έλλη: Ναι, όλα είναι εντάξει.
Έλλη: Μαμά, όχι τώρα. Δεν είμαι ακόμα στο ξενοδοχείο.
Έλλη: Ευχαριστώ. Γεια!
English Host: Let’s hear the conversation one time slowly.
Έλλη: Ναι;
Έλλη: Α μαμά, ναι...
Έλλη: Ναι, εδώ είμαι...
Έλλη: Ναι, όλα είναι εντάξει.
Έλλη: Μαμά, όχι τώρα. Δεν είμαι ακόμα στο ξενοδοχείο.
Έλλη: Ευχαριστώ. Γεια!
English Host: Now let’s hear it with the English translation.
Έλλη: Ναι;
Judith: Hello?
Έλλη: Α μαμά, ναι...
Judith: Ah, mom! Yes...
Έλλη: Ναι, εδώ είμαι...
Judith: Yes, I'm here...
Έλλη: Ναι, όλα είναι εντάξει.
Judith: Yes, everything is alright...
Έλλη: Μαμά, όχι τώρα. Δεν είμαι ακόμα στο ξενοδοχείο.
Judith: Mom, not now. I'm not at the hotel yet...
Έλλη: Ευχαριστώ. Γεια!
Judith: Thank you. Bye!
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Judith: Okay. For our cultural point today, how about we talk about family. Iro, can you tell me a bit about family in Greece?
Iro: Well, Judith, family is actually very important for the Greeks as for most of the Europeans. There's a very special bone between family members which sometimes might seem strange to people from other cultures.
Judith: How's it strange or how's it different from how things are in America?
Iro: Well, for example, young children, after they finished the school, they go to the university and after finished their studies, they just go back to live with their parents.
Judith: They live with their parents until they're married?
Iro: Sometimes yes, that is true, but it's mostly because of the state cannot support them to live on their own. So even if they find a job, they just can't have enough money to pay the rent.
Judith: I see. So families financially support their children.
Iro: Yes, I'm afraid they have to do that for some years after they finish their studies.
Judith: Are the families also more involved in their children's lives?
Iro: Well, if a family supports financially their children, then sometimes they become a little bit intrusive which can cause some conflicts in the family.
Judith: What are the conflicts about?
Iro: For example, if they don't approve their children's lifestyle, for example, young people would like to come back at home late at night, some parents just find this inappropriate and they're just trying to change their children's way of life.
Judith: Would you say that grandparents or uncles, aunts are also closer to the family?
Iro: Yes, I would say that in Greece, even distant relatives are very close to the family. I mean, sometimes, they spend Easter and Christmas together although the last year's that is not always the case.
Judith: Okay, anything else you want to share about Greek families?
Iro: I would also like to say that sometimes mothers are overprotective and proud of the sons.
Judith: Can you give me example?
Iro: For example, sometimes, they show favoritism by preparing special meals for them or by boasting about their scores at school.
VOCAB LIST
Judith: Oh, wow. Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson. The first word we will see is…
Iro: ναι
Judith: Yes.
Iro: ναι
Judith: Next.
Iro: μαμά
Judith: Mom.
Iro: μαμά
Judith: Next.
Iro: εδώ
Judith: Here.
Iro: εδώ
Judith: Next.
Iro: είμαι
Judith: I am.
Iro: είμαι
Judith: Next.
Iro: όλα
Judith: Everything.
Iro: όλα
Judith: Next.
Iro: εντάξει
Judith: Okay.
Iro: εντάξει
Judith: Next.
Iro: όχι
Judith: No.
Iro: όχι
Judith: Next.
Iro: τώρα
Judith: Now.
Iro: τώρα
Judith: Next.
Iro: δεν
Judith: Not, don't.
Iro: δεν
Judith: Next.
Iro: ακόμα
Judith: Still or yet.
Iro: ακόμα
Judith: Next.
Iro: στο
Judith: At or in.
Iro: στο
Judith: This was actually a combination of σ and το / “to the”. Next.
Iro: ξενοδοχείο
Judith: Hotel.
Iro: ξενοδοχείο
Judith: Next.
Iro: ευχαριστώ
Judith: Thank you.
Iro: ευχαριστώ
Judith: Next.
Iro: γεια
Judith: Hi or bye.
Iro: γεια
KEY VOCAB AND PHRASES
Judith: Now, let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson. First, we shall look at Greek verbs. When learning a Greek verb something like to go, to be, to have or the like, you will always learn the I form instead, I go, I am, I have. This is also the form that you will find in dictionaries. The reason for this is that there is no direct equivalent for the infinitive in Greek.
Iro: In this lesson, we've seen "είμαι".
Judith: I am…
Iro: …is the base form of the irregular verb, to be, which we'll study in the next lesson. For now, all we've seen is "είμαι".
Judith: I am.
Iro: And "είναι".
Judith: He is or she is, it is. Note that Greek verbs do not require a pronoun. That is Ellie can say, "εδώ είμαι" literally, here am and the, I, is understood. The pronouns are only use when we want to emphasize something. This is the same as in Italian or Spanish.
GRAMMAR POINT
The focus of this lesson is pronunciation. Greek pronunciation is pretty straightforward and the spelling is almost phonetic. Even the word stress is easy since it is indicated with a little accent mark above the vowel. Still, there are few difficulties in the form of letters that don't sound as you'd expect.
Iro: βήτα does not sound like B but like V.
Judith: In fact, there is no B sound in Greek except as MB and even then, it's mostly used for foreign words. The MB sound is spelled MP μι πι.
Iro: By the same token, Delta δέλτα does not sound like D, it's sounds like the TH in that.
Judith: The D sound pretty much only appears in the combination ND spelled as NT νι ταυ
Iro: γάμα, the Greek equivalent of G, the Greek equivalent of G has two pronunciations.
Judith: If Gamma is followed by a front vowel like E or I, it sounds approximately like the Y in year.
Iro: You heard this sound in the word "γεια" for, bye.
Judith: If Gamma is followed by an A, O or U sound however, it sounds like a throaty R.
Iro: As in the letter name Ramma. By contrast, the actual Greek R, ρο, is rolled in the front of the mouth.
Judith: Can you say Gamma and Rho for us so we can compare?
Iro: Yes, γα - ρα, first Gamma then Rho. γα - ρα. γα - ρα.
Judith: Next, the letter CH also has two pronunciations. If you studied German, this will be easy for you because the two pronunciations are exactly the same as the German CH sound.
Iro: When combined with the back vowel like A, O or U, CH is throaty as in the name of the composer Bach. When combined with a front vowel like E or I, CH is pronounced as in the German word for I, "ich".
Judith: If you can't pronounced the sound yet, try saying Y as in year and draw it out "yyyyyy" and then keep this mouth position and exhale instead chhhh. Finally, I should warn you about the Greek letter Ypsilon. Most of the time, it is just another way of writing the E sound just like the letter Ita and Iota. However, in the combination with Omicron, is sounds like U and in combination with Alpha or Epsilon, it sounds like F or V…
Iro: As in Ευχαριστώ! The second letter is an Ypsilon, Ευ...Ευχαριστώ!

Outro

Judith: That just about does it for today. Attention perfectionists, you're about to learn how to perfect your pronunciation.
Iro: Lesson review audio tracks.
Judith: Increase fluency and vocabulary fast with these short effective audio tracks.
Iro: Super simple to use, listen to the Greek word or phrase…
Judith: Then repeat it out loud in a loud clear voice.
Iro: You'll speak with confidence knowing that you're speaking Greek like the locals.
Judith: Go to GreekPod101.com and download the review audio tracks right on the lesson's page today.
Judith: We hope you enjoyed this lesson. See you next week!
Iro: Γεια σας!
Iro: Ναι;