Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Notes

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Lesson Transcript

Intro

Michael: How does formal Greek work?
Chrissi: And when is it used?
Michael: At GreekPod101.com, we hear these questions often. The following situation is typical. Giannis Nikiforou, a high-school student, meets the mom of his neighbor friend, Karen Lee. He says,
"Mrs. Lee, how are you?"
Γιάννης Νικηφόρου: Kυρία Λι, τι κάνετε; (Kiría Li, ti kánete?)
Dialogue
Γιάννης Νικηφόρου: Kυρία Λι, τι κάνετε; (Kiría Li, ti kánete?)
Κάρεν Λι: Καλά ευχαριστώ. Εσύ τι κάνεις; (Kalá efharistó. Esí ti kánis?)
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Γιάννης Νικηφόρου: Kυρία Λι, τι κάνετε; (Kiría Li, ti kánete?)
Michael: "Mrs. Lee, how are you?"
Κάρεν Λι: Καλά ευχαριστώ. Εσύ τι κάνεις; (Kalá efharistó. Esí ti kánis?)
Michael: "Fine, thanks. And you?"

Lesson focus

Chrissi: Knowing when to address someone formally in Greece is not as difficult as you think. If you know when to call someone "sir" or "ma'am" in English, then you know when to use formal speech in Greek.
Michael: So basically, if you are an adult, you should use formal speech…
With people you don't know that well, especially if you don't belong in the same peer group.
With a teacher that is old enough to be your mother or father.
With your boss.
With your partner's parents.
With people that are much, much older than you.
And with royalty or other people with an important title or a higher status.
Chrissi: And, if you are a child, the general rule is to use formal speech with any adult that is not a member of your family.
Michael: Now you know when and with whom to use formal speech. But let's see how it works.
Chrissi: To speak formally in Greek, we use the verb referring to the other person in the second person plural. For example: Τι κάνετε; (Ti kánete?) "How are you?" instead of Τι κάνεις; (Ti kánis?).
Michael: This will affect any pronouns related to that person as well.
Chrissi: For example, Εσείς τι κάνετε; (Esís ti kánete?) instead of Εσύ τι κάνεις; (Esí ti kánis?).
Michael: An honorific title may be used if necessary.
Chrissi: Yes, such as κύριε (kírie), "sir/gentleman/Mr", or κυρία (kiría), "ma'am/madam/Mrs". For example: Τι κάνετε, κύριε Νικηφόρου; (Ti kánete, kírie Nikifóru?) Or: Εσείς τι κάνετε, κύριε Νικηφόρου; (Esís ti kánete, kírie Nikifóru?)
Michael: Meaning "How are you, Mr Nikiforou?" Note that you can't use a person's first name in formal speech. You can only use the last name if necessary.
Chrissi: It's important to note as well that any adjectives related to that person must remain in the singular.
Michael: For example, "You look so elegant today!" in formal speech is
Chrissi: Τι κομψή που φαίνεστε σήμερα! (Ti kompsí pu féneste símera!); and not Τι κομψές που φαίνεστε σήμερα! (Ti kompsés pu féneste símera!)
Practice Section
Michael: Let's review. Respond to the prompts by speaking aloud. Then, repeat after Chrissi, focusing on pronunciation.
Do you remember how to say "Mrs. Lee, how are you?"
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Chrissi: Kυρία Λι, τι κάνετε; (Kiría Li, ti kánete?)
Michael: Listen again and repeat.
Chrissi: Kυρία Λι, τι κάνετε; (Kiría Li, ti kánete?)
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Chrissi: Kυρία Λι, τι κάνετε; (Kiría Li, ti kánete?)
Michael: And do you remember how to say "Fine, thanks. And you?"
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Chrissi: Καλά ευχαριστώ. Εσύ τι κάνεις; (Kalá efharistó. Esí ti kánis?)
Michael: Listen again and repeat.
Chrissi: Καλά ευχαριστώ. Εσύ τι κάνεις; (Kalá efharistó. Esí ti kánis?)
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Chrissi: Καλά ευχαριστώ. Εσύ τι κάνεις; (Kalá efharistó. Esí ti kánis?)
Cultural Insight
Chrissi: Do you wonder if you need to use formal speech when addressing God in a prayer?
Michael: If you think you need to use formal speech because you are addressing an entity of a higher status, you are wrong!
Chrissi: When addressing God in a prayer, adults and kids can use casual speech.

Outro

Michael: Do you have any more questions? We’re here to answer them!
Chrissi: Γεια χαρά! (Ya hará!)
Michael: See you soon!

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