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Lesson Transcript


Michael: What are the augmentatives and how are they formed in Greek?
Chrissi: And are they commonly used?
Michael: At GreekPod101.com, we hear these questions often. The following situation is typical. In the following situation, Katerina Kefalogianni has recently bought a new house. She's showing it off to her friend, saying,
"Look! My new house!"
Κατερίνα Κεφαλογιάννη: Κοίτα! Το νέο μου σπίτι! (Kíta! To néo mu spíti!)
Κατερίνα Κεφαλογιάννη: Κοίτα! Το νέο μου σπίτι! (Kíta! To néo mu spíti!)
Κάρεν Λι: Σπιταρόνα! (Spitaróna!)
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Κατερίνα Κεφαλογιάννη: Κοίτα! Το νέο μου σπίτι! (Kíta! To néo mu spíti!)
Michael: "Look! My new house!"
Κάρεν Λι: Σπιταρόνα! (Spitaróna!)
Michael: "What a house!"

Lesson focus

Michael: In Greek, words can change shape in order to convey extra information about the size or the appearance of something, or even the way the speaker feels. This can be achieved by adding certain suffixes to words. In this lesson, we will focus on augmentatives, or
Chrissi: Μεγεθυντικά (meyethindiká)
Michael: in Greek. In grammar, an augmentative is a form of word that expresses greater intensity. In English, for instance, we often attach the word “grand” or “super” to a noun to emphasize that the object we are describing is of great size or importance. Augmentatives are common in Greek but not as common as diminutives. Nevertheless, studying them is just as important since encountering them in daily conversations is probable. As a matter of fact, there are a few common augmentative endings you need to be familiar with when studying modern Greek.
Michael: Let’s take a closer look at the dialogue. Do you remember how Karen Lee says, "What a house?"
(pause 4 seconds)
Chrissi as Karen Lee: Σπιταρόνα! (Spitaróna!)
Michael: In this situation, Katerina shows her friend Karen her new house. Out of amazement, Karen exclaims how large the house is. The Greek word for “house” is
Chrissi: σπίτι (spíti)
Michael: Karen uses the feminine augmentative ending
Chrissi: -αρόνα (aróna)
Michael: implying that the house is large. The suffix she used is just one of the many Greek suffixes attached to nouns to form augmentatives. In this example, we can see that forming the augmentative means dropping the ending of the word, i.e., the final letter which is
Chrissi: ι (iota)
Michael: and then adding the said suffix. Another common masculine suffix used to form Greek augmentatives is
Chrissi: -αρος (áros)
Michael: Let’s take the word “dog,” for instance, or in Greek,
Chrissi: σκύλος (skílos)
Michael: To form the augmentative for “dog,” we add the suffix in question to come up with
Chrissi: σκύλαρος (skílaros)
Michael: which could refer to a “big dog” or a “fat dog.” This time too we dropped the ending of the word, i.e., the two final letters of the word for “dog” and added the augmentative ending.
Michael: In this lesson, we have learned that the augmentatives are expressive words that emphasize size or importance. So far, we’ve covered some of the common endings used to form Greek augmentatives. These are,
Chrissi: -αρόνα (aróna)
Michael: such as in the word
Chrissi: Σπιταρόνα (Spitaróna)
Michael: which refers to a large house. Another suffix is
Chrissi: -άρος (áros)
Michael: such as in the word
Chrissi: σκύλαρος (skílaros)
Michael: which refers to a large or fat dog.
Michael: Augmentatives can also express intensity in other attributes and not just size. For instance, a “player,” or,
Chrissi: παίχτης (péhtis)
Michael: can become a “great player,” or,
Chrissi: παιχταράς (pehtarás)
Michael: in this case, the augmentative suffix used is the masculine
Chrissi: -αράς (arás)
Michael: Another example would be for the expression “beautiful woman,” or,
Chrissi: κούκλα (kúkla)
Michael: Using the feminine augmentative ending
Chrissi: -άρα (ára),
Michael: we can transform that expression to “very beautiful woman,” or,
Chrissi: κουκλάρα (kuklára)
Cultural Insight/Expansion (Optional)
Michael: Augmentative endings in Greek are also used in names. For instance, the name “George,” or
Chrissi: Γιώργος (Yórgos)
Michael: can take the suffix
Chrissi: -άρας (áras)
Michael: and become
Chrissi: Γιωργάρας (Yorgáras)
Michael: which translates to “Big George.” This is in contrast to the diminutive,
Chrissi: Γιωργάκης (Yórgákis)
Michael: or “Little George.”


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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