Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Notes

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Lesson Transcript

Intro

Michael: How are sentences structured in Greek?
Chrissi: And are the rules rigid?
Michael: At GreekPod101.com, we hear these questions often. In the following dialogue, Mark Lee is at home with his wife, Karen Lee. Mark asks Karen about the movie she watched the night before,
"What did you see?"
Μαρκ Λι: Τι είδες; (Ti ídes?)
Dialogue
Μαρκ Λι: Τι είδες; (Ti ídes?)
Κάρεν Λι: Είδα μια ελληνική ταινία με υπότιτλους. (Ída mia elinikí tenía me ipótitlus.)
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Μαρκ Λι: Τι είδες; (Ti ídes?)
Michael: "What did you see?"
Κάρεν Λι: Είδα μια ελληνική ταινία με υπότιτλους. (Ída mia elinikí tenía me ipótitlus.)
Michael: "I saw a Greek film with subtitles."

Lesson focus

Michael: Did you notice how the structure of the sentence,
Chrissi: Είδα μια ελληνική ταινία με υπότιτλους (Ída mia elinikí tenía me ipótitlus)
Michael: is the same as that of the English sentence "I saw a Greek film with subtitles"? While Greek is classified as an S-V-O language, meaning it tends to follow the subject-verb-object structure just as the English language does, this structure is not as strict as it is in English. In other words, while the meaning of a sentence depends almost entirely on word order in English, the word order is relatively flexible in Greek. In other wordsSo, it’s not the same to say "the man eats the burger" as it is to say "the burger eats the man" in English. The meaning changes completely if we swap "the man" and "the burger." In Greek, however, the forms that are used for each of the words carry a lot of grammatical information. If you want to convey in Greek that a word is the subject or the object of a sentence, you have to make changes to the ending of that word. For example, "the man" in Greek is...
Chrissi: ο άντρας (o ántras)
Michael: when it is used as the subject of a sentence, but it becomes...
Chrissi: τον άντρα (ton ántra)
Michael: when used as the object of a sentence. Hence, the word itself shows us whether it’s a subject or an object, and as a result, the S-V-O structure in Greek is flexible as the elements can swap around without any changes in the meaning.
Practice Section
Michael: Let’s review the sentences we heard in this lesson. I will say the English translation, and then you will have a few seconds to say the Greek out loud. Chrissi will then model the correct answer. Listen to her and repeat, with the focus on your pronunciation.
Do you remember how to say "What did you see?"
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Chrissi: Τι είδες; (Ti ídes?)
Michael: Did you get it right? Listen to Chrissi again and repeat.
Chrissi: Τι είδες; (Ti ídes?)
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Chrissi: Τι είδες; (Ti ídes?)
Michael: Let’s move on to our second sentence. Do you remember how to say, "I saw a Greek film with subtitles."
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Chrissi: Είδα μια ελληνική ταινία με υπότιτλους. (Ída mia elinikí tenía me ipótitlus.)
Michael: Did you get it right this time? Listen to Chrissi and repeat.
Chrissi: Είδα μια ελληνική ταινία με υπότιτλους. (Ída mia elinikí tenía me ipótitlus.)
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Chrissi: Είδα μια ελληνική ταινία με υπότιτλους. (Ída mia elinikí tenía me ipótitlus.)
Cultural Expansion
Michael: Please keep in mind that when using sentence structures other than S-V-O in Greek, it will be the first element of a sentence that will get the most attention and emphasis. This is often enhanced by a higher vocal pitch at the beginning of a sentence which then lowers later on. For example, the sentence
Chrissi: Μια ελληνική ταινία με υπότιτλους είδα (Mia elinikí tenía me ipótitlus ída)
Michael: roughly means, "It was a Greek film with subtitles that I saw," rather than the usual "I saw a Greek film with subtitles."

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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