Dialogue - Greek

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Vocabulary

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νιάου-νιάου niáu-niáu meow
θέλω thélo to want
κομμάτι komáti piece, part, article, copy
γίνομαι yínome to become, to happen
γκαρίζω garízo to yell, to bray
χαχανίζω hahanízo to giggle
αφεντικό afendikó boss
κεραμίδι keramídi roof tile
κάνω káno to do
στήσιμο stísimo setup, layout, setting

Lesson Notes

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Grammar

The Focus of this Lesson is Onomatopoeic Words in Greek (ονοματοποιία).
Γιατί χαχανίζεις;
Yatí hahanízis?

"Why are you giggling?"


As we will see in this series, words in Greek are created in many ways. This is true of all languages but because of its long history, Greek has a vast vocabulary, so understanding how words are created, instead of just memorizing endless lists of words, will really help you improve your language skills and make great strides with this approach!

One of the ways to create words in Greek is through onomatopoeia. Onomatopoeia is the process of imitating the sound they express. This construction is artificial, but the words are used as normal Greek words, either in the form of nouns, or in the form of verbs. And even though Greek doesn't make such an extensive use of onomatopoeic words, as languages such as Japanese do, there are many words of this kind used both literally and metaphorically.

In our dialogue there were three such examples:

χαχανίζεις ("you are giggling")
νιάου-νιάου ("meow")
γκάριζε ("he/she/it brayed")

The verb χαχανίζω comes from the sound χα χα ("ha ha"), which is the sound of someone laughing. The noun νιάου-νιάου, or the verb νιαουρίζω comes from the sound cats make (meow) and the verb γκαρίζω comes from the sound donkeys make, which Greeks hear as γκα, γκα ("gah, gah"). Most of the time, onomatopoeic verbs end in -ίζω. Υou can find some more examples of onomatopoeic words in the following table:

Greek

Romanization

English

Class

Gender

νιαουρίζω

niaurízo

to meow

Verb

γαυγίζω

gavgízo

to bark

Verb

γκαρίζω

garízo

to yell /to bray

Verb

χαχανίζω

hahanízo

to giggle

Verb

μπουμπουνητό

bubunitó

thunder

Noun

Neuter

βροντή

vrondí

thunder

Noun

Feminine

τζιτζίκι

jijíki

cicada

Noun

Neuter

τριζόνι

trizóni

cricket

Noun

Neuter

γρύλος

grílos

cricket

Noun

Masculine

καρακάξα

karakáxa

magpie

Noun

Feminine

φάπα

fápa

slap

Noun

Feminine

γαργάρα

gargára

gurgle

Noun

Feminine

ζουζούνι

zuzúni

insect/bug

Noun

Neuter

κακαρίζω

kakarízo

to cluck

Verb

τουρτουρίζω

turturízo

to shiver from cold

Verb

τσιρίζω

tsirízo

to shriek

Verb

Cultural Insights

Greek Newspapers


It is often said that Greece has too many newspapers for its size and a glance at any περίπτερο (kiosk-newsstand) in any Greek city will confirm this. For a population of nearly eleven million people, twenty political dailies are being published in Athens and at least two are being published in each of the country's 51 prefectures. Five financial dailies and fourteen sports dailies add up to a huge number of copies each day and one would think it is absolutely impossible for all of them to be viable! Especially after 1989, when private TV was allowed in Greece and at least six major national channels started operating alongside the three state-owned ones, it seemed that this would be the end of newspapers—or at least some of them. Still, newspapers have managed to survive and continue to play an important role in the lives of many Greeks. Especially on weekends when people have enough leisure time to drink their coffee, they enjoy reading their favorite publications.

Lesson Transcript

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INTRODUCTION
Becky: Hello everyone and welcome to GreekPod101.com. This is Lower Intermediate, Season 1, lesson 1, Have You Done Something Wrong At Your Greek Job? I’m Becky.
Stefania: And I’m Stefania. And together we are going to explain to you some of the most basic and useful elements of my language, Greek. Join us and see how Greek is not that hard after all!
Becky: In this lesson, you’ll learn about onomatopoeic words in Greek. The conversation takes place at the office of the daily newspaper “Εliniká Néa” published in Athens, Greece.
Stefania: It is between the main character, the 26-year-old trainee reporter Antonia Georgiadi, and the editor Eleni Kalogirou.
Becky: The characters know each other well, so they will use informal Greek.
Stefania: Okay, let's listen to the conversation.
DIALOGUE
Αντωνία: Καλημέρα!
Ελένη: Καλημέρα Αντωνία. Πώς και έτσι νωρίς σήμερα;
Αντωνία: Ήθελα να δω τι έγινε με το κομμάτι που έδωσα εχτές.
Ελένη: Ο Γιάννης το διόρθωσε και τώρα έχει πάει στη Σοφία για στήσιμο.
Αντωνία: Καλά, θα πάω να δω. Επάνω δεν είναι η Σοφία;
Ελένη: Τώρα; Από τις εννιά! (γέλια)
Αντωνία: Τι έγινε καλέ; Γιατί χαχανίζεις;
Ελένη: Γιατί σκέφτομαι τι μούτρα θα κάνεις όταν το δεις!
Αντωνία: Ε! Γιατί; Τι έγινε;
Ελένη: Τι κάνει νιάου-νιάου στα κεραμίδια βρε Αντωνία; Το αφεντικό έγινε.
Αντωνία: Μη μου πεις! Πάλι;
Ελένη: Εχτές το βράδυ γκάριζε μια ώρα για το κομμάτι σου. Και είπε στον Γιάννη να το «φτιάξει».
Αντωνία: Ωχ! Πάω!
Ελένη: Καλή τύχη! (γέλια)
Antonia: Good morning!
Eleni: Good morning, Antonia. How come you're so early today?
Antonia: I wanted to see what happened with the article I handed in yesterday.
Eleni: Giannis corrected it and now it has gone to Sofia for the layout.
Antonia: OK, I'll go and have a look. Sofia is upstairs, isn't she?
Eleni: Now? Since nine o'clock! (laughs).
Antonia: What's up? Why are you giggling?
Eleni: Because I'm thinking of the look on your face when you see it!
Antonia: Eh? Why? What happened?
Eleni: Oh, come on Antonia! What did you expect? The boss happened.
Antonia: Don't tell me! Again?
Eleni: Last night he was yelling for an hour about your article. And he told Giannis to "fix it."
Antonia: Ouch! I'm going!
Eleni: Good luck!
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Becky: So, the conversation took place in a newspaper office, right?
Stefania: Yes. An Athenian daily.
Becky: Do people still read newspapers in Greece? Don’t people get their news from the TV or the Internet nowadays?
Stefania: Younger people do. But for people over 50, reading newspapers is a habit that is hard to kick.
Becky: But I didn’t notice many people reading in buses or the metro.
Stefania: You know, for Greeks who love newspapers, reading them is like a ceremony. First, you make your morning coffee, and then you spread your newspaper out on the table and read it.
Becky: And usually, they’re also smoking a cigarette!
Stefania: Yes, I’m afraid there are still many smokers in Greece. But things are getting better.
Becky: Anyway, a newspaper office seems like a good place to hear some good everyday Greek, doesn’t it?
Stefania: It certainly does!
Becky: Okay, now let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
VOCAB LIST
Stefania: θέλω [natural native speed]
Becky: to want
Stefania: θέλω [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: θέλω [natural native speed]
Stefania: γίνομαι [natural native speed]
Becky: to become, to happen
Stefania: γίνομαι [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: γίνομαι [natural native speed]
Stefania: κομμάτι [natural native speed]
Becky: piece, part, article, copy
Stefania: κομμάτι [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: κομμάτι [natural native speed]
Stefania: στήσιμο [natural native speed]
Becky: setup, layout, setting
Stefania: στήσιμο [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: στήσιμο [natural native speed]
Stefania: χαχανίζω [natural native speed]
Becky: to giggle
Stefania: χαχανίζω [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: χαχανίζω [natural native speed]
Stefania: κάνω [natural native speed]
Becky: to do
Stefania: κάνω [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: κάνω [natural native speed]
Stefania: νιάου-νιάου [natural native speed]
Becky: meow
Stefania: νιάου-νιάου [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: νιάου-νιάου [natural native speed]
Stefania: κεραμίδι [natural native speed]
Becky: roof tile
Stefania: κεραμίδι [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: κεραμίδι [natural native speed]
Stefania: αφεντικό [natural native speed]
Becky: boss
Stefania: αφεντικό [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: αφεντικό [natural native speed]
Stefania: γκαρίζω [natural native speed]
Becky: to yell, to bray
Stefania: γκαρίζω [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: γκαρίζω [natural native speed]
KEY VOCAB AND PHRASES
Becky: Let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson. So what do we have first?
Stefania: We have the word “κομμάτι” literally meaning “piece”, as in “I’ll have a piece of cake”.
Becky: How would you say “I will eat a piece of chocolate cake”
Stefania: That would be “Θα φάω ένα κομμάτι κέικ σοκολάτα.” The word “κομμάτι” also means “part” as in “When he left he took a part of me”, but in our dialogue, it is used idiomatically by journalists to mean “article” or "copy".
Becky: In other words, a text or a video that is anywhere in the publication or broadcasting chain.
Stefania: We can also say “κομμάτι” to mean a piece of music –instead of saying “τραγούδι” meaning “song”.
Becky: Got it. What else?
Stefania: We have an idiomatic expression “Τι κάνει νιάου-νιάου στα κεραμίδια;”
Becky: Sounds a little weird!
Stefania: Actually it means “What is meowing up on the roof tiles?”
Becky: O…K… The answer is pretty obvious, isn’t it?
Stefania: Exactly. And this is how we use it in everyday conversation. When someone asks a question with a very obvious answer, we say “Τι κάνει νιάου-νιάου στα κεραμίδια;” as in “How can you possibly not know that?”
Becky: OK. This isn’t insulting in any way, is it?
Stefania: No, not really.
Becky: And last?
Stefania: The noun “στήσιμο” means “set up”, but when you are using it in a publication context like here, it also means “lay out”.
Becky: But in one of our sample sentences for this lesson, it means “set up”, right?
Stefania: Yes. “Το στήσιμο της σκηνής μου πήρε μια ώρα.”
Becky: “The set-up of the tent took me an hour.”
Stefania: Exactly!
Becky: Got it! Okay, now onto the grammar.
GRAMMAR POINT
Becky: In this lesson, you’ll learn some Greek onomatopoeia.
Stefania: Did you know that this word itself is actually a Greek word? Onomatopoeia means the “creation of names”. That is words that phonetically imitate the source of the sound that they describe.
Becky: We also have words like that in English!
Stefania: Right! For example, we say “a cat meows”, right?
Becky: And it really sounds like the meow of a cat.
Stefania: Exactly! That is the way it was created. Now, since Greek cats don’t go “meow” but “niaou”, the verb in Greek is “νιαουρίζω”.
Becky: Once again?
Stefania: Nια-ου-ρί-ζω.
Becky: What about a dog? It barks, right?
Stefania: Yes. In Greek “to bark” is “γαυγίζω”.
Becky: And these are onomatopoeic verbs. Any others? Are they all related to animals?
Stefania: Many are, but not all. And we also have onomatopoeic nouns. For example, we call the sound of thunder “μπουμπουνητό”.
Becky: That’s a funny word!
Stefania: It is, isn’t it? The double “μπου” in there supposedly imitates the roar of thunder “μπουυυυυ”...
Becky: Isn’t there another noun in Greek to refer to the sound of thunder?
Stefania: There sure is, it’s “βροντή”. Also, two of the most common summer insects take their names through onomatopoeia. The cicada and the cricket.
Becky: And they are?
Stefania: The cicada is “τζιτζίκι”. Ji-jí-ki.
Becky: Jijíki.
Stefania: Right! And the cricket is “τριζόνι”. Please repeat: “tri-zó-ni”
Becky: Trizóni. Hmm… there’s another word for the cricket, though isn’t there?
Stefania: Oh, you mean “γρύλος”!
Becky: Right! Grílos!
Stefania: This also comes from onomatopoeia. People think it sounds like “τρι-τρι-τρι” or “γρι-γρι-γρι” and this is where the names “τριζόνι” and “γρύλος” come from.
Becky: What about the “garízo” and “hahanízo” that are used in our dialogue?
Stefania: Well, “γκαρίζω” means “bray”.
Becky: Like a donkey?
Stefania: Right. Donkeys in Greek go “γκα-γκα”.
Becky: And this is used?
Stefania: When a donkey brays. Or when someone yells or speaks really loudly!
Becky: Doesn’t sound very polite!
Stefania: It isn’t! So, please don’t use it too freely!
Becky: And “hahanízo”?
Stefania: Well, the sound of laughter is “ha-ha”, isn’t it? So “χα-χα-νί-ζω”.
Becky: Means “to laugh”?
Stefania: Not really. It’s closer to “to giggle”, actually. It is more of a silly laugh. In our dialogue, it is used as a question: “Γιατί χαχανίζεις;”, “Why are you giggling?” Nothing funny has been said so the character isn’t really laughing.
Becky: OK. Do we have anything else?
Stefania: Yes we do! These are the nouns “καρακάξα” meaning “magpie”, “φάπα” meaning “slap” and coming from the sound of a slap which is “φαπ” in Greek, “γαργάρα” which means “gurgle” coming from the “γαρ-γαρ” sound of a gurgle, “ζουζούνι” which comes from the “ζζζζζζζ” that some insects make. The word itself means “insect” or “bug”. Then we have the verbs “κακαρίζω”, “τουρτουρίζω” and “τσιρίζω”. Can you guess what they mean?
Becky: Kakarízo… sounds like “chicken cluck” to me. But I’m not sure!
Stefania: Well, you’re right! It means “to cluck”. Although the sound of a chicken in Greek is “κο-κο-κο”, the verb contains the sound “κα”, “κακαρίζω”. I am not sure why... But hey you got it!
Becky: I don’t know what the rest are though!
Stefania: “τουρτουρίζω” means “to shiver from cold” and “τσιρίζω” means “to shriek”.
Becky: Well, I will be downloading the lesson notes to review these! And listeners, make sure you download them too!
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Outro

Becky: That’s all for this lesson, everyone! Please feel free to leave us a post on the lesson page if you have any questions or comments. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time.
Stefania: Γεια χαρά!
Becky: Bye!