Dialogue - Greek

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Vocabulary

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μια ώρα mia ora one hour
εδώ edó here
Αυτό δεν είναι Auto den einai this is not
κέντρο kentro downtown (literally, “center”)
κοπέλα kopéla girl, girlfriend, young woman
τώρα tóra now
είναι íne is/are (he is, she is, it is, they are)
μακριά makriá far
από apó from
περισσότερο perissotero more

Lesson Notes

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Grammar

The Focus of This Lesson Is the Verb "to Be" in Modern Greek.

Αυτόείναιτοαεροδρόμιο

Aftó íne to aerodrómio.

"This is the airport."


In this lesson, we will focus on the use of the verb "to be" in Modern Greek. As is the case with most languages, the verb "to be" is one of the most commonly used verbs in Modern Greek. Contrary to English, though, we do not use the verb "to be" as an auxiliary verb (i.e., to form different types of verbs); we mostly use it in its "official capacity" to show the existence or the presence of a thing or a situation.

Since the conjugation of verbs can be quite tricky in Greek, in this lesson we will present only the first person singular of the verb "to be" in the present affirmative, negative, and interrogative form.

Present - Affirmative (Singular)

Greek

Romanization

"English"

Εγώ είμαι.

Egó íme.

"I am."

Present - Negative (Singular)

Greek

Romanization

"English"

Εγώ δεν είμαι.

Egó den íme.

"I am not."

Present - Interrogative (Singular)

Greek

Romanization

"English"

Εγώ είμαι;

Egó den íme?

"Am I?"

Sample Sentences


Greek

Romanization

"English"

Εγώ είμαι άντρας.

Egó íme ándras.

"I am a man."

Εγώ είμαι γιατρός.

Egó íme yatrós.

"I am a doctor."

Εγώ είμαι Έλληνας.

Egó íme Élinas.

"I am Greek."

Εγώ είμαι πεινασμένος.

Egó íme pinazménos.

"I am hungry."

Εγώ δεν είμαι κουρασμένος.

Egó den íme kurazménos.

"I am not tired."

Εγώ είμαι μόνος στο σπίτι.

Egó íme mónos sto spíti.

"I am home alone."

Εγώ δεν είμαι στην Αμερική.

Egó den íme stin Amerikí.

"I am not in America."

Εγώ είμαι στην Αθήνα.

Egó íme stin Athína.

"I am in Athens."

Εγώ είμαι μακριά από το σπίτι μου.

Egó íme makriá apó to spíti mu.

"I am far from home."

Εγώ είμαι στο γραφείο.

Egó íme sto grafío.

"I am at the office."

Cultural Insights

Speaking English in Greece


While Greek is one of the oldest languages in the world and has been the basis of all European languages, the small size of Greece and its eventful history haven't allowed for the use of Greek much outside the borders of the country. This means that most Greeks need to learn at least one more language. For the last forty years or so, this language has been almost exclusively English. Depending on where you are in Greece or whom you are talking to, the level of English will vary from basic understanding to almost native-level proficiency. (Many Greeks study in English-speaking countries, so their English can surprise you!) So chances are that if you get stranded anywhere in the country with no knowledge of Greek whatsoever, you will manage to get by with your English. Having said that, Greeks generally have a tremendous respect for foreigners who know even a little bit of their language, and they will do their best to understand even the most broken and mispronounced Greek.

Lesson Transcript

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INTRODUCTION
Fay: Hello and welcome to GreekPod101.com, the fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn Greek. This is Beginner Season 1, Lesson 1. This is Greek Athens—Or Is It? I'm Fay and I'm joined in the studio by…
Chrissi: I'm Chrissi. Hello everyone!
Fay: Thanks for being here with us for this beginner series.
Chrissi: In this first lesson, we will see how the verb “to be” works in modern Greek.
Fay: The conversation takes place at the Athens' airport.
Chrissi: It's between the main character, Peter Gordon and a girl at the airport’s information center.
Fay: Since the characters don’t know each other, the conversation is in formal language.
Chrissi: Let's listen.

Lesson conversation

Πέτρα Γκόρντον: Δηλαδή, αυτό δεν είναι το Αεροδρόμιο της Αθήνας;
Κοπέλα στο γκισέ πληροφοριών: Αυτό είναι το αεροδρόμιο της Αθήνας, όμως η περιοχή αυτή δεν είναι Αθήνα!
Πέτρα Γκόρντον: Και το κέντρο είναι πολύ μακριά από εδώ;
Κοπέλα στο γκισέ πληροφοριών: Περισσότερο από μια ώρα. Εδώ είναι Ελλάδα!
Fay: Now, let’s listen to the conversation one time slowly.
Πέτρα Γκόρντον: Δηλαδή, αυτό δεν είναι το Αεροδρόμιο της Αθήνας;
Κοπέλα στο γκισέ πληροφοριών: Αυτό είναι το αεροδρόμιο της Αθήνας, όμως η περιοχή αυτή δεν είναι Αθήνα!
Πέτρα Γκόρντον: Και το κέντρο είναι πολύ μακριά από εδώ;
Κοπέλα στο γκισέ πληροφοριών: Περισσότερο από μια ώρα. Εδώ είναι Ελλάδα!
Fay: Now, let’s listen to the conversation with English translation.
Πέτρα Γκόρντον: Δηλαδή, αυτό δεν είναι το Αεροδρόμιο της Αθήνας;
Fay: So this is not Athens’ airport?
Κοπέλα στο γκισέ πληροφοριών: Αυτό είναι το αεροδρόμιο της Αθήνας, όμως η περιοχή αυτή δεν είναι Αθήνα!
Fay: This is Athens’ airport, but this area is not Athens.
Πέτρα Γκόρντον: Και το κέντρο είναι πολύ μακριά από εδώ;
Fay: So downtown is very far from here?
Κοπέλα στο γκισέ πληροφοριών: Περισσότερο από μια ώρα. Εδώ είναι Ελλάδα!
Fay: More than an hour. This is Greece!
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Fay: What does that “This is Greece” actually mean?
Chrissi: Well, things are done in a somewhat unique way in Greece; especially when we deal with time.
Fay: Meaning?
Chrissi: Meaning that you can’t really calculate times or distances in Greece—you have to be a little, shall we say, lax.
Fay: Any other challenges for people who just arrive in Greece?
Chrissi: There are a few, but one thing that most English speakers won’t have trouble with is communicating. Most Greeks understand and speak enough English to help you get around.
Fay: So Greeks are bilingual?
Chrissi: I wouldn't call it “bilingual”; it’s just that we understand very early that Greek isn't enough, so we learn at least some English.
Fay: But it’s always better to speak the local language…
Chrissi: …and that’s why we're here! So let’s go on to our vocabulary.
Fay: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
VOCAB LIST
Fay: First:
Chrissi: Αυτό δεν είναι [natural native speed]
Fay: This is not
Chrissi: Αυτό δεν είναι [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Chrissi: Αυτό δεν είναι [natural native speed]
Fay: Next:
Chrissi κοπέλα [natural native speed]
Fay: Girl, girlfriend
Chrissi: κοπέλα [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Chrissi: κοπέλα [natural native speed]
Fay: Next:
Chrissi: κέντρο [natural native speed]
Fay: Center, downtown
Chrissi: κέντρο [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Chrissi: κέντρο [natural native speed]
Fay: Next:
Chrissi: είναι [natural native speed]
Fay: Is
Chrissi: είναι [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Chrissi: είναι [natural native speed]
Fay: Next:
Chrissi: μακριά [natural native speed]
Fay: Far
Chrissi: μακριά [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Chrissi: μακριά [natural native speed]
Fay: Next:
Chrissi: από [natural native speed]
Fay: From
Chrissi: από [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Chrissi: από [natural native speed]
Fay: Next:
Chrissi: εδώ [natural native speed]
Fay: Here
Chrissi: εδώ [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Chrissi: εδώ [natural native speed]
Fay: Next:
Chrissi: περισσότερο [natural native speed]
Fay: More
Chrissi: περισσότερο [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Chrissi: περισσότερο [natural native speed]
Fay: Next:
Chrissi: μια ώρα [natural native speed]
Fay: One hour
Chrissi: μια ώρα [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Chrissi: μια ώρα [natural native speed]
Fay: Next:
Chrissi: τώρα [natural native speed]
Fay: Now
Chrissi: τώρα [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Chrissi: τώρα [natural native speed]
KEY VOCABULARY AND PHRASES
Fay: The dialogue starts with the word δηλαδή (diladi), what does that mean? It sounds like “you mean” or something like that?
Chrissi: It is a word that comes from ancient Greek but is very widely used in modern Greek. It means something like “so” or “that is to say.”
Fay: You always use it to start a sentence like in our dialogue?
Chrissi: You can say Δηλαδή αυτό δεν είναι το αεροδροόμιο της Αθήνας; (Diladi auto den einai to aerodromio tis Athinas?)
Fay: …“So this is not Athens Aiport?”…
Chrissi: …or Αυτό δηλαδή δεν είναι το αεροδρόμιο της Αθήνας; (Auto diladi den einai to aerodromio tis Athinas?)
Fay: The meaning is the same?
Chrissi: Yes. Or Αυτό δεν είναι το αεροδρόμιο της Αθήνας δηλαδή; (Auto den einai to aerodromio tis Athinas diladi?)
Fay: Also the same meaning?
Chrissi: Yes!
Fay: This means we can put it anywhere in a sentence?
Chrissi: Not exactly—but it is quite flexible.
Fay: Is there something else we should say before we get to our grammar point?
Chrissi: It might not be immediately apparent, but one characteristic of the Greek language is that many parts of speech are gendered and numbered.
Fay: This sounds a little confusing…
Chrissi: It can be, but we will take it one case at a time—literally.
Fay: Meaning?
Chrissi: Well, for now we will focus on the masculine gender, the nominative case and the singular number; we will have plenty of opportunities to see the rest of them in our next lessons.
Fay: So in all our vocabulary sentences, all nouns are masculine, and they are in the nominative case and in the first-person plural, right?
Chrissi: Yes! Also, they all use the verb είμαι (eimai)
Fay: …which means “to be”…
Chrissi: …which is our main grammar point! So shall we move to that?
Fay: Sure!

Lesson focus

Fay: The focus of this lesson will be the verb είμαι (eimai) or “to be” in Greek.
Chrissi: Right! One good thing is that the verb “to be” is not an auxiliary verb in Greek; we just use for its main purpose: to express a state, existence or presence of a person, a thing or a situation.
Fay: That’s easy. So the verb is είμαι (eimai), right?
Chrissi: Right! είμαι (eimai) means “am”; we add the personal pronoun for “I,” which is εγώ (ego), so we have εγώ είμαι (ego eimai). OK, listeners, repeat. Ε-γώ εί-μαι (E-go ei-mai).
Fay: So if you want to say “I am Greek,” you would say...?
Chrissi: Εγώ είμαι Έλληνας (Ego eimai Ellinas). Έλληνας (Ellinas) means “Greek.” Repeat, Ε-γώ εί-μαι Έ-λλη-νας (E-go ei-mai E-lli-nas).
Fay: OK. But I am not Greek. How shall I say that?
Chrissi: That’s very easy. You just add the particle δεν (den), sounds like the English “then”, between the pronoun and the verb.
Fay: So we have Εγώ δεν είμαι Έλληνας (Ego den eimai Ellinas).
Chrissi: Exactly! Εγώ είμαι (Ego eimai) means “I am,” and Εγώ δεν είμαι (Ego den eimai) means “I am not.” Please repeat: Ε-γώ δεν εί-μαι Έ-λλη-νας (E-go den ei-mai E-lli-nas).
Fay: And the same goes for all persons, singular and plural?
Chrissi: Yes. Actually, it’s the same for all Greek verbs.
Fay: This sounds easy!
Chrissi: It is—Greek isn't always hard!
Fay: We haven’t yet mentioned the interrogative form. Don’t you ask questions in Greece?
Chrissi: Of course we do! But we left the interrogative form for last because it’s the easiest. It’s the same as the declarative, but we just add a question mark at the end!
Fay: Just that? That’s really easy. How about if we are speaking?
Chrissi: We just raise a little our pitch in the last syllable of the verb.
Fay: So the question “Am I Greek?” would be...?
Chrissi: Εγώ είμαι Έλληνας; (Ego eimai Ellinas?)
Fay: The order of the words doesn't change?
Chrissi: It depends. It can change if we want to convey a different meaning. But this might be a little too complicated for a first lesson, so let’s leave it for now.
Fay: OK. So the basic form of the interrogative is…
Chrissi: Εγώ είμαι; (Ego eimai?) Repeat. Ε-γώ εί-μαι; (E-go ei-mai?)
Fay: Right. Let’s do a little recap before we finish this lesson. The declarative “I am” is:
Chrissi: Εγώ είμαι (Ego eimai). Repeat after me. Ε-γώ εί-μαι (E-go ei-mai.)
Fay: And the negative "I am not" is:
Chrissi: Εγώ δεν είμαι (Ego den eimai). Repeat. Ε-γώ δεν εί-μαι (E-go den ei-mai.)
Fay: And finally, the interrogative is:
Chrissi: Εγώ είμαι; (Ego eimai?). Repeat, please. Ε-γώ εί-μαι; (E-go ei-mai?)
Fay: So let’s end this lesson here. Check the lesson notes for more applications of the verb “to be” and some very interesting details about Greek and Greece. Bye!
Chrissi: As we say in Greece, Γεια χαρά! (Geia chara!)