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Lesson Transcript

Becky: Hello everyone and welcome back to GreekPod101.com. This is Lower Intermediate, Season 1, lesson 16, Don’t Believe Everything You See on Greek TV! I’m Becky.
Stefania: And I’m Stefania.
Becky: In this lesson, you will learn about collective nouns in Greek. The conversation takes place at the office of the daily Greek newspaper.
Stefania: It is between Antonia and her politics editor.
Becky: The characters know each other well so they’re using informal Greek.
Αντωνία:Τι είναι όλη αυτή η ιστορία με το λατομείο;
Ελένη:Έχει κυκλοφορήσει μια φήμη ότι κάποια οικογένεια που έχει σχέσεις με τον δήμαρχο αγόρασε κάτι οικόπεδα εκεί.
Αντωνία:Μα η περιοχή αυτή ανήκει στον στρατό...
Ελένη:Όντως. Όμως το θέμα είναι ανύπαρκτο και ο κόσμος πιστεύει ό,τι βλέπει στην τηλεόραση!
Αντωνία:Δηλαδή το θέμα το δημιούργησαν τα κανάλια;
Ελένη:Στην πραγματικότητα υπάρχει ένας σύλλογος στην περιοχή, που προσπαθεί από καιρό να πάρει ένα από αυτά τα οικόπεδα. Αλλά επειδή δεν μπορεί να τα αγοράσει από τον στρατό, θέλουν να δείξουν ότι ο στρατός τα δίνει σε άλλους και όχι σ' αυτούς.
Αντωνία:Α, κατάλαβα. Και ο στρατός πούλησε πράγματι τα οικόπεδα αυτά στην οικογένεια;
Ελένη:Η οικογένεια αυτή αγόρασε οικόπεδα που είναι κοντά μεν, αλλά δεν έχουν καμία σχέση με τα οικόπεδα του στρατού δε. Αυτή είναι η ουσία.
Ελένη:Οπότε θα δούμε. Υπάρχει μια πιθανότητα το θέμα αυτό να φτάσει ως τη Βουλή.
Αντωνία:Και σ' αυτήν την περίπτωση, θα επηρεάσει τις εκλογές;
Ελένη:Όχι απαραίτητα.
Antonia: What's this story with the quarry?
Eleni: There is a rumor going around that some family that has connections with the mayor bought some plots there.
Antonia: But that area belongs to the army...
Eleni: Indeed. But the story is non-existent, and people believe whatever they see on TV!
Antonia: So the TV channels made up the story?
Eleni: In reality, there is a local association there that has been trying for a while to take one of these plots. But since they cannot buy them from the army, they want to show that the army gives them to other people in general, but not to them.
Antonia: Oh, I get it. And did the army really sell those plots to the family?
Eleni: That family did buy some plots nearby; however, these plots have nothing to do with the army's plots. That's the point.
Antonia: So?
Eleni: So, we'll see. There is a possibility that this issue will reach the Parliament.
Antonia: And in this case, will it affect the elections?
Eleni: Not necessarily.
Becky: I see the army is mentioned in this dialogue.
Stefania: Yes. It is a very big and important organization in Greece.
Becky: But it is not a fighting army, is it?
Stefania: Thankfully, the Greeks haven’t gone to war since WWII.
Becky: Why is it such an important institution in Greece?
Stefania: Because of our geographical location and history. Greece had fought many wars with its neighbors before the early 20th century.
Becky: Relations are peaceful now, though, aren’t they?
Stefania: They are. But still, Greece maintains military bases all over the country.
Becky: In the islands too?
Stefania: Yes. Even in some very touristy ones!
Becky: Oh well. I guess it can’t be helped...
Stefania: It seems that way.
Becky: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Stefania: ιστορία [natural native speed]
Stefania: ιστορία [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: ιστορία [natural native speed]
Stefania: κυκλοφορώ [natural native speed]
Becky: to move around, to circulate
Stefania: κυκλοφορώ [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: κυκλοφορώ [natural native speed]
Stefania: φήμη [natural native speed]
Becky: rumor, fame
Stefania: φήμη [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: φήμη [natural native speed]
Stefania: οικογένεια [natural native speed]
Becky: family
Stefania: οικογένεια [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: οικογένεια [natural native speed]
Stefania: στρατός [natural native speed]
Becky: army
Stefania: στρατός [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: στρατός [natural native speed]
Stefania: θέμα [natural native speed]
Becky: subject, matter, issue
Stefania: θέμα [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: θέμα [natural native speed]
Stefania: ανύπαρκτος [natural native speed]
Becky: non-existent
Stefania: ανύπαρκτος [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: ανύπαρκτος [natural native speed]
Stefania: κανάλι [natural native speed]
Becky: channel
Stefania: κανάλι [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: κανάλι [natural native speed]
Stefania: οικόπεδο [natural native speed]
Becky: plot
Stefania: οικόπεδο [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: οικόπεδο [natural native speed]
Stefania: σχέση [natural native speed]
Becky: relationships, relation, connection
Stefania: σχέση [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: σχέση [natural native speed]
Becky: Let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson. What’s the first word?
Stefania: First, we have the verb “κυκλοφορώ” meaning “to move around” or “to circulate”. In our dialogue, however, we translated it as “going around” in order to make sense in the sentence “Έχει κυκλοφορήσει μια φήμη”.
Becky: That means “There is a rumor going around”.
Stefania: Yes. Next, we have the noun “θέμα” which can mean many things such as “subject”, “theme”, “matter”, “issue”, “newspaper or TV story” and “word stem”. Be sure to check the lesson notes for more information on these!
Becky: Copy that! [laughter] What’s our next word?
Stefania: The neuter noun “θέμα”.
Becky: This is widely used to express a variety of things such as “subject”, “theme”, “matter”, “issue”, “newspaper/TV story” or “word stem” in Greek grammar. Can we have an example?
Stefania: Yes. “Το θέμα είναι ότι εμείς θα έπρεπε να αποφασίζουμε και όχι οι άλλοι”
Becky: Which means “The point is that we should be the ones deciding, not the others”.
Stefania: Saying “Το θέμα είναι…” in this context is very common in Greek, and it is used when a speaker starts expressing the conclusion or solution of a previously mentioned issue or problem.
Becky: I see. Anything else in our vocabulary?
Stefania: Yes. Last we have two words in our dialogue that can’t really be rendered in English. Those are “μεν” and “δε”. They are conjunctions and this “δε” shouldn’t be confused with the negative particle “δεν” that we use with verbs.
Becky: Where were those words exactly?
Stefania: In this long sentence: “Η οικογένεια αυτή αγόρασε οικόπεδα που είναι κοντά μεν, αλλά δεν έχουν καμία σχέση με τα οικόπεδα του στρατού δε”.
Becky: This whole thing means “That family did buy some plots nearby, however, these plots have nothing to do with the army’s plots”.
Stefania: Exactly. This construction of “μεν” and “δε” cannot be exactly translated, but we can express it with the words “however” and “but”.
Becky: Basically they are used to express a contrast or a difference between 2 things. So the concept is: “on one hand there’s A but on the other hand there’s B”.
Stefania: Precisely! I know this is a bit hard to understand at first, so we have included some more information about “μεν” and “δε” in the lesson notes.
Becky: Okay, now onto the grammar.
Becky: In this lesson you’ll learn about collective nouns. These are nouns that denote a group of people or things taken together and spoken of as a whole. Is there something special about those nouns? I mean, I thought that the plural of a noun pretty much does the same job.
Stefania: Actually, a collective noun represents a group as a whole, whereas the plural of a normal noun represents more than one similar item as separate things. Just think about the word “police”. You don’t have “one police”, “two polices”...
Becky: … no that sounds totally wrong!
Stefania: Exactly! “Police” or “αστυνομία” in Greek is a collective noun.
Becky: Oh now I see. Are collective nouns found only in singular or plural in Greek?
Stefania: Well, some may have singular and plural, and some may have only one number. Let’s take for example a collective noun from our dialogue. “στρατός”
Becky: Meaning “army”. So this is a collective noun because it defines a whole institution. An entity that includes soldiers, officers, and a whole infrastructure. It’s not just a bunch of “soldiers” in plural. Does this word have a plural version?
Stefania: Yes! “στρατοί”
Becky: Are there any other examples of collective nouns in our dialogue?
Stefania: Yes. We have “οικογένεια” which means “family”.
Becky: Right. What’s the plural here?
Stefania: “Οικογένειες”. Another example is “κόσμος”, which we have seen on a previous lesson. However, there is a trap here.
Becky: Uh oh! What’s the trap?
Stefania: When “κόσμος” is being used with the nuance of “people” as we have seen before, then it has no plural. But, when it is used to express “world” or “cosmos” instead, in that case, we have the plural word “κόσμοι”. For example “Πήγα σε κόσμους μακρινούς”.
Becky: I went to faraway... places?
Stefania: Exactly!
Becky: OK, got it! Are there any more words?
Stefania: Yes! Next we have “Σύλλογος”, meaning “association”.
Becky: For example a local association of people who gather and do particular activities?
Stefania: Yup! Here we do have a plural because it’s not something general. We have many associations all over the world!
Becky: And what’s the plural?
Stefania: “σύλλογοι”. Come to think about it, some soccer teams in Greece are basically “σύλλογοι”.
Becky: I see. What’s next?
Stefania: Our last word for this lesson, which is “Βουλή”
Becky: It means “parliament”, right?
Stefania: Exactly!
Becky: It’s either the building of a parliament, or the institution including the body of the members of a parliament. In this case we write this word with the first letter in uppercase. So this is a collective noun too.
Stefania: Yes. However, there is another meaning of the word “βουλή”, written always with lowercase and that is “will”
Becky: As in “people’s will”?
Stefania: Yes! This is mostly used in plural and especially in the expression “Οι βουλές του Θεού” meaning “God’s will”. We have included all of these examples in our lesson notes by the way.
Becky: Now here’s a final tip about collective nouns - It is important not to expect that one collective noun in English that does not have a plural, will also not have a plural in Greek. That is not always the case! For example “police” that we mentioned before, does have a plural in Greek.
Stefania It’s “αστυνομίες”, although it is used idiomatically and not very often.
Becky: OK. So, shall we close this lesson?
Stefania: Yes. And we’ll be back for more next time!


Becky: Alright! That’s it for this lesson, everyone! Thanks for listening, and see you next time.
Stefania: Γεια χαρά!


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GreekPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Hello Listeners! Let's practice here the Greek collective nouns (περιληπτικά ουσιαστικά).

GreekPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 08:01 AM
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Hi radi,

Thank you for your comment. Feedback is always welcome here!

I see your point and I agree, perhaps the choice of business-related topics for our Lower Intermediate series might seem a bit challenging right after Upper Beginner. Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do to change that at this point but I do hope you can make the most out of these conversations. And if you have any questions, I'm always here to answer those for you!

Kind regards,


Team GreekPod101.com

Saturday at 01:18 AM
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Hi thanks a lot for this useful site about greek language and also thank you for being so patient that i have seen you on comments which try your best to help and answer all questions.(about greek language) however don't you think the level of conversations in upper beginner and lower intermediate are much different?It supposed to be the lower intermediate just one step after upper beginner but.....