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Lesson Transcript


Maria: Hello everyone! Welcome back to GreekPod101.com. I'm Maria.
Iro: Geia sas, eímai i Iro.
Maria: In this lesson, you will learn five of the most common mistakes people make when learning Greek.
Iro: Let's cut to the chase… We'll give you the top five mistakes not to make, and then go into more detail a little later.
Maria: The top five mistakes you don't want to make are…
Five Phrases with English
Iro: Mixing up singular and plural.
Maria: Mixing up tense and gender during verb conjunction.
Iro: Mixing up the digraphs.
Maria: Mixing up the diphthongs.
Iro: Wrong pronunciation.
Post banter
Maria: There's a lot of mixing up in Greek, but don't be scared, we don't want you guys to get all gun-shy or anything.
Iro: Of course not, these mistakes are not the biggest deal.
Maria: Today, we'll just give you a heads-up so you can be aware, and it will make things a lot easier for you to know these few tips.
Vocabulary and usage
Iro: Mistake One - Mixing up tense and gender. "Έχει τέσσερα μολύβια" is said incorrectly as "Έχει τέσσερα μολύβι."
Maria: So this mistake probably arises from not being used to using both tense and gender. Everything is gendered in Greek…and I mean EVERYTHING!
Iro: Yes, and forgetting to change the verb tense and gender is the most common mistake to make.
Maria: Everyone makes this mistake, no biggie.
Iro: People still understand what you want to say.
Maria: So let's look at our example again.
Iro: The correct pronunciation is "Échei téssera molývia."
Maria: So in English, that means, "She has four pencils."
Iro: Yes, " Échei téssera molývia."
Maria: So what does the wrong sample sound like?
Iro: Here, we have to make pencils plural. So if we just keep it in singular, it would sound like "Échei téssera molývi."
Maria: She has four pencil… Yeah, sounds strange in English, too, right?
Iro: Yes.
Maria: The hard thing about Greek is that plural endings are also gendered, so you need to learn the gendered endings.
Iro: The good thing is that there aren't too many, and that we went through them in Lesson 3, so you can always go back and double check!
Maria: Great, now what's the second most common mistake not to make?
Iro: Mistake Two - Mixing up the tense when conjugating verbs.
Maria: This is quite similar to the first mistake, but this time it's verbs not being the right tense and gender.
Iro: Yes! So a correct sentence would sound like this – "To fagitó eínai nóstimo."
Maria: "The food is tasty!"
Iro: Exactly. But when said incorrectly, "To fagitó eínai nóstim(o)i."
Maria: Haha, I'm not even sure how to translate that! "She food is tasty?"
Iro: Something like that. The verb for "tasty" (nóstimo) has been made into not only feminine, but also plural.
Maria: Wow, it can be a challenge to get all these right at first, but once you get the hang of it, it'll come naturally!
Iro: Yes. Even Greeks have problems with this.
Mistake Three - Mixing up the digraphs.
Maria: Okay, moving on to the third most common mistake, digraphs!
Iro: Yes, and for those of you who don't know what digraphs are, you will definitely know them after studying Greek.
Maria: Yeah, a digraph is a pair of letters used to write one distinct sound.
Iro: Yes, so they are these…
This digraph is correctly pronounced as -i (information), but is often mistaken as o-i.
This digraph is correctly pronounced as -ev/-ef (everything), but is often mistaken as e-i.
This digraph is correctly pronounced as -e (end), but is often mistaken as a-i.
This digraph is correctly pronounced as -i (information), but is often mistaken as e-i.
Maria: Yes. And it's really common for people to get these mixed up.
Iro: Yes, and when two dots are above the -i, it means that they should be pronounced separately.
Maria: Yeah, it can be quite funny to hear though.
Iro: Yes! But just laugh it off, and try again!
Maria: Indeed. I stopped counting how many times I mistook the digraphs, it's just too easy a mistake to make, and Greek people are used to learners making this mistake.
Mistake Four - Mixing the diphthongs.
Iro: Yes, and kind of on the same track, mistake number four is quite similar to three.
Maria: Yes, this time it's about the diphthongs!
Iro: And for those of you who don't know what they are, they are gliding vowels. They are supposed to be pronounced as two sounds, but are often mistaken for digraphs and pronounced as one.
Maria: Yeah, this is one of the most confusing bits of Greek so please give us an example!
Iro: Right. The Greek word for "fairy," you know the cute little winged fairytale figure, is in Greek νεράιδα – "neráida." But as this is often mistaken for a digraph, it is pronounced [ne-re-da], instead of [ne-ra-i-da].
Maria: In words such as these, the accent plays a big role.
Iro: Yes, were the accent to be placed above the –i, the sound would be pronounced as -e. However the accent is on top of the -a, so the correct pronunciation is a-i.
Maria: Yes, we're not giving you every possible exception or situation here; however, if you keep that in mind, it will get you on the right track and help you avoid this mistake.
Iro: Mistake Five - Wrong pronunciation.
Maria: Pronunciation can be the hardest thing with learning a language, and Greek is no different.
Iro: Yes, the Greek language has many sounds English doesn't have, and vice-versa, so getting used to them is the best way of getting them down.
Maria: Talking to as many people as you can, and listening to every day conversation, (e.g., radio, TV) is the best tools to get pronunciation right.
Iro: Now, in Greek, we use accents to indicate where the emphasis needs to be in pronunciation.
Maria: Yes, and this can be quite difficult if you don't see the word written down on paper.
Iro: Yes, so for example, Ευχαριστώ (Efcharistó) "Thank you" has the accent on the last -o, but is often incorrectly pronounced as "Ευχαρίστω – Efcharísto".
Maria: In a way, Greek might be easier than English, as Greek has the accents…a very helpful way of understanding where the emphasis goes.
Iro: I agree. English pronunciation can be very confusing, especially with words pronounced the same but spelled differently.
Maria: Sure. So the best way to get these down, is to get as much vocabulary as you possibly can fit into your head by reading and then listening to it in real life!
Iro: Well said!
Maria: There was a lot of mixing today, and our mistake cake is finally baked! Remember, unlike cake, learning a language is good for you. And you should never give up. So there you go. Mistake free now…hopefully!
Iro: Yes, those are the top five mistakes to avoid. That should get you on the right track!


Maria: That's all for this lesson. Thanks for listening!
Iro: Geia sas!
Maria: Bye!


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

GreekPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 10:42 AM
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Hi Bibiana,

I see. I didn't know that. That's weird to me, but I guess to a Hungarian it makes sense:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:!


Team GreekPod101.com

Thursday at 03:10 AM
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Its not that we dont use plural in Hungarian... it exists... we say "cat" and "cats"... just when counting we use singular... for example you say "There are 5 cat in the garden" :wink:

GreekPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 11:01 AM
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Hi Bibiana,

I know nothing about Hungarian but what you describe is what happens to many Asian languages. Like Japanese, for example. They don't say cat/cats. Just cat.

...,isn't it? = ..., έτσι δεν είναι; /..., ε;


Team GreekPod101.com

Monday at 01:00 AM
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For me the most difficult was to learn to read the double letters... especially "αι".. I always forget that its "e"... and accent in the pronunciation. This is something to what I dont pay much attention in general... but in Greek its really important, because putting the accent on a different place on the same word has a different meaning... (like πότε and ποτέ) and the only way to learn this correctly is by listening to Greek (music, radio, television, learning materials, people speaking in reality)!

Other grammar things are not so difficult for me, as I speak a variety of languages... number, gender, conjugation of verbs, cases of the nouns, adjectives etc... (we have it in Slovak and Hungarian too, some in Spanish).. I still find German more difficult than Greek ;)

Stefania, just for curiosity... did you know that in Hungarian (as the only language from the ones I know) we dont put nouns in plural when counting...? We say 1 cat, 5 cat, 20 cat... ενδιαφέρον, isnt it? (please tell me how can say it in Greek - "δεν ειναι" ?

GreekPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 10:16 AM
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Hi Jim,

Thank you for your question.

If you are addressing him, like by saying "Happy birthday, my friend", you need to use "φίλε μου" which is in vocative case. Φίλος μου is in nominative case and it should be used when it is the subject of a sentence, for example "My friend is there", Ο φίλος μου είναι εκεί.

What you can say to him is "Χρόνια πολλά, φίλε μου!"

So happy birthday to him!

Kind regards,


Team GreekPod101.com

Jim Petres
Sunday at 02:26 AM
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I have a question related to gender. I want to wish a distant male cousin happy birthday. If I want to add "my friend" to the wish, which is appropriate for the gender and relationship? φίλε μου. Or φίλος μου.