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Lesson Transcript

Intro

Hi, everybody! Stefania here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Greek questions.
The Question
The question for this lesson is “Why does the word λίγο sometimes have different forms?”
Explanation
Just like with the word πολύ (polí) that we saw in the previous lesson, λίγο (lígo) has two types as well.
First, there's the adverb λίγο (lígo), meaning "(a) little" or "a bit."
And second, there's the declinable adjective ο λίγος, η λίγη, το λίγο (o lígos, i líyi, to lígo) in the masculine, feminine, and neuter gender respectively, meaning "(a) little (bit)/some" for non measurable things, like the noun "love" for example, and "(a) few" for countable things.
Let's go into more detail. First, let's see the first type, where λίγο (lígo) is an adverb.
In this case it is not declined and it can be used in combination with verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and participles.
Some examples are,
Βρέχει λίγο. (Vréhi lígo.) (verb + λίγο) "It's raining a little."
Περπατάς λίγο γρήγορα. (Perpatás lígo grígora.) (λίγο + adverb) "You walk a bit fast."
Το φαγητό είναι λίγο πικάντικο. (To fayitó íne lígo pikándiko.) (λίγο + adjective) "The food is a bit spicy."
Ήταν λίγο λυπημένος. (Ítan lígo lipiménos.) (λίγο + participle) "He was a bit sad."
This adverb can also be expressed in the diminutive form λιγάκι (ligáki) to mean "a little bit." For example, Η θάλασσα είναι λιγάκι κρύα. (I thálasa íne ligáki kría.) (λιγάκι + adjective) "The sea is a little bit cold."
Here are some more sample sentences.
Περίμενέ με λίγο. (Perímené me lígo.)
"Wait for me a little."
And,
Δεν είναι λίγο ακριβό; (Den íne lígo akrivó?)
"Isn't it a bit expensive?"
In the second case, where λίγο (lígo) is an adjective, it is declined in all 3 genders, masculine, feminine, and neuter, and it is always used to define a noun, so it always needs to "agree" with the noun's gender, number and case.
Let's see some examples.
Υπάρχει λίγος κόσμος εδώ. (Ipárhi lígos kózmos edó.) (masculine) "There are a few people here."
Πέφτει λίγη βροχή. (Péfti líyi vrohí.) (feminine) "It's raining a little."
Τρώμε λίγο φαγητό. (Tróme lígo fayitó.) (neuter) "We are having some food."
Η εταιρεία αυτή έχει λίγους υπαλλήλους. (I etería aftí éhi lígus ipalílus.) (masculine) "This company has a few employees."
Έχω λίγες φούστες στην γκαρνταρόμπα μου. (Ého líges fústes stin gardaróba mu.) (feminine) "I have a few skirts in my wardrobe."
Καταλαβαίνω λίγα ελληνικά. (Katalavéno líga eliniká.) (neuter) "I understand a little Greek."
Here are some more sample sentences.
Ρίξε λίγο αλάτι παραπάνω στη σούπα. (Ríxe lígo aláti parapáno sti súpa.)
"Add a little bit more salt to the soup."
And:
Πάρε λίγες κόλλες χαρτί και μοίρασέ τες. (Páre líyes kóles hartí ke mírasé tes.)
"Take a few sheets of paper and pass them around."
Basically, if you are not sure which type of λίγο (lígo) to use, just think of the word that it will be defining. If it is a noun, then you need to use the adjective type in the correct form. If it will be used to define any other word, then you need to use the indeclinable adverb.

Outro

How was the lesson? Pretty interesting, right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!
Γεια χαρά! (Ya hará!)

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