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Lesson Transcript

Becky: Hello everyone and welcome back to GreekPod101.com. This is Lower Intermediate, Season 1, lesson 22, There’s Trouble At This Greek School. I’m Becky.
Stefania: And I’m Stefania. In this lesson, you will learn some of the difficulties in the genitive case of Greek nouns.
Becky: The conversation takes place at the office of the daily newspaper.
Stefania: It is between Antonia Georgiadi and the politics editor Eleni Kalogirou.
Becky: The characters know each other well so they are using informal Greek.
Αντωνία:Ώρες ώρες δεν καταλαβαίνω πώς σκέφτονται μερικοί!
Ελένη:Τι έπαθες καλέ;
Αντωνία:Εγώ τίποτα, αλλά ορισμένοι άνθρωποι είναι τρελοί!
Ελένη:Καλά, αυτό δεν είναι καινούριο. (γέλια)
Αντωνία:Πω πω έχω κάτι νεύρα...
Ελένη:Εσύ τώρα με ποιον τα 'χεις βάλει;
Αντωνία:Με τη δασκάλα του ανιψιού μου!
Ελένη:Γιατί, τι του 'κανε;
Αντωνία:Η γυναίκα δεν καταλαβαίνει, ότι ένα παιδάκι δεν μπορεί να είναι το ίδιο με έναν ενήλικα!
Ελένη:Έγινε κάτι συγκεκριμένο;
Αντωνία:Μόλις τώρα μιλούσα στο τηλέφωνο με την αδερφή μου, και άκουσα το ανιψάκι μου να κλαίει ότι δεν θέλει να ξαναπάει σχολείο πια... ε μη στα πολυλογώ τώρα...
Ελένη:Α, εδώ υπάρχει πρόβλημα.
Αντωνία:Μεγάλο πρόβλημα και σοβαρό!
Antonia: Sometimes I can't understand how some people think!
Eleni: What happened to you?
Antonia: To me, nothing, but some people are crazy!
Eleni: Well, that's nothing new. (laughs)
Antonia: Oh, I am so irritated...
Eleni: So who are you turning against now?
Antonia: My nephew's teacher!
Eleni: Why, what did she do to him?
Antonia: The woman doesn't understand that a young child cannot be the same as an adult!
Eleni: Did something specific happen?
Antonia: I was just talking on the phone with my sister, and I heard my little nephew crying, saying that he doesn't want to go back to school anymore... I don't want to prattle about it now...
Eleni: Oh, so there's a problem here.
Antonia: A big problem, and a serious one!
Becky: Can you talk a bit about the educational system in Greece?
Stefania: Sure! Education in Greece starts with 1 year of kindergarten called νηπιαγωγείο. Then we have 6 years of elementary school, δημοτικό, and 3 years of middle school, γυμνάσιο, both mandatory. Then we have high school, which is called λύκειο, that lasts 3 years and is optional.
Becky: Do many people choose to go to high school?
Stefania: Actually yes! Most people finish high school and continue then to higher education.
Becky: And how is the university field in Greece?
Stefania: There are two tiers of university education: the Technological Educational Institutions called T.E.I. and the Higher Educational Institutions called A.E.I. Both T.E.I. and A.E.I. are public and students don’t pay any tuition fees!
Becky: Wow, so basically free education!
Stefania: Exactly! Other not-so-free options are private 2-4 year vocational schools. And studying abroad, which is very popular.
Becky: Studying abroad must cost a lot. How can it be popular when tertiary education is… free?!
Stefania: I think it’s because it makes a better impression on your resume, and also because most people complain about the quality of education in all tiers of the system.
Becky: Would you say that the quality is bad?
Stefania: Well, I don’t think it’s that bad, compared to in other countries.
Becky: I see.
Becky: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Stefania: ώρες ώρες [natural native speed]
Becky: sometimes
Stefania: ώρες ώρες [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: ώρες ώρες [natural native speed]
Stefania: παθαίνω [natural native speed]
Becky: to happen (something negative to me)
Stefania: παθαίνω [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: παθαίνω [natural native speed]
Stefania: τρελός [natural native speed]
Becky: crazy, mad
Stefania: τρελός [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: τρελός [natural native speed]
Stefania: βρε / ρε [natural native speed]
Becky: interjection used to address someone informally or express emotions
Stefania: βρε / ρε [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: βρε / ρε [natural native speed]
Stefania: βάζω [natural native speed]
Becky: to put (on or in) / to turn against something /to mess with someone
Stefania: βάζω [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: βάζω [natural native speed]
Stefania: ανιψιός [natural native speed]
Becky: nephew
Stefania: ανιψιός [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: ανιψιός [natural native speed]
Stefania: παιδάκι [natural native speed]
Becky: (young) child
Stefania: παιδάκι [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: παιδάκι [natural native speed]
Stefania: ενήλικας [natural native speed]
Becky: adult
Stefania: ενήλικας [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: ενήλικας [natural native speed]
Stefania: ξαναπάω / ξαναπηγαίνω [natural native speed]
Becky: to go again, to go back
Stefania: ξαναπάω / ξαναπηγαίνω [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: ξαναπάω / ξαναπηγαίνω [natural native speed]
Stefania: πολυλογώ [natural native speed]
Becky: to prattle / to talk a lot
Stefania: πολυλογώ [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Stefania: πολυλογώ [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: It is “παθαίνω” a verb that, although it is in active voice, its notion is always passive, because it denotes that something bad, harmful or unpleasant is happening to the speaker.
Becky: So it means “to happen” right?
Stefania: Yes. Like in our dialogue: “Τι έπαθες καλέ;” meaning “What happened to you?”.
Becky: However that’s not the only meaning! It also has rather idiomatic ones that cannot be translated in English actually.
Stefania: For example Είδα κι έπαθα μέχρι να βρω το σωστό σπίτι. That means “I tried very hard to find the house”.
Becky: Can you explain this a bit more? It doesn’t make sense to me!
Stefania: Right! This, if literally translated, makes absolutely no sense, but what the expression “είδα κι έπαθα” really means is “I tried very hard” or “I labored”.
Becky: OK, got it now.
Stefania: Some other common idiomatic expressions with “παθαίνω” would be “έπαθα πλάκα”, roughly meaning “I was surprised”, in a good or bad way, and “καλά να πάθεις” meaning again roughly “you had it coming”.
Becky: So I guess this is what you would say when something happens to someone that they deserved, right?
Stefania: Exactly. These are very common expressions. But let’s move to the next word which is βρε or ρε.
Becky: Yeah, I was wondering about that weird little word...
Stefania: Just like καλέ and μωρέ, which we saw in a previous lesson, here too we have another interjection that cannot be translated into English at all. However, it is used in exactly the same way as those words we saw.
Becky: So in sentences that express various feelings, in order to address someone informally without the need to mention his or her name.
Stefania: I see someone’s been doing some homework!
Becky: As a matter of fact I have!
Stefania: Listeners, make sure you go through the lesson notes to see many examples of the various uses of “βρε”. For now, let’s move to our last word for this lesson which is “βάζω “.
Becky: What does that mean?
Stefania: Well, “βάζω” mainly means “to put” as in our sample sentence “Ο υπάλληλος συμφώνησε και έβαλε την υπογραφή του στο συμβόλαιο”, meaning “The employee agreed and put his signature on the contract”.
Becky: But there’s more right?
Stefania: Yes. There is another meaning and that happens when we combine the word “τα” with “βάζω” and “με”. “Τα βάζω με”
Becky: That means “I’m turning against someone or something” or “I mess with someone”.
Stefania: Like in our dialogue: “Εσύ τώρα με ποιον τα ‘χεις βάλει;”
Becky: Meaning “So whom are you turning against now?”
Stefania: That’s right, but always watch for the context. Don’t confuse that concept with the following one: “Πού βάζεις τα πιάτα; Τα βάζω με τα υπόλοιπα.”, meaning “Where do you put the dishes? I put them with the rest.”
Becky: Oh... I see. We have the same “ta” + verb + “me” structure, but the meaning here is literal.
Stefania: Exactly!
Becky: Well, I think this makes things clear! Okay, now on to the grammar.
Becky: In this lesson, you will learn about some difficulties with the genitive case of Greek nouns. First of all, remember that nouns have four cases in both singular and plural numbers.
Stefania: Nominative, genitive, accusative and vocative...
Becky: Yes, I remember. But what is this with the difficulties in genitive now? Should I be afraid?
Stefania: Actually yeah...
Becky: That bad, huh?
Stefania: Well, even most Greeks at some point will mess up the genitive case of some peculiar noun. Let me explain immediately.
Becky: Oh please do!
Stefania: The problem is that some nouns just break the rules and don’t have genitive in either singular, plural or both. This means that it is perfectly normal to not know that missing genitive. Still, many people try to force it, so you end up with some results that sound wrong, unscholarly and sometimes perhaps even too scholarly, so almost old-fashioned, snobby and even mocking.
Becky: So are there any special categories for these nouns?
Stefania: Although there is no general rule about which nouns have this problem, it appears most often in the following cases: ...
Becky: ...Listen closely, everyone!
Stefania: No 1: Some masculine nouns ending in -ας don’t have genitive in plural, for example, “ο μπασίστας” “bass player”.
No 2: Some feminine nouns ending in -η, for example, “η ζάχαρη”, “sugar”, also don’t have genitive in plural.
Becky: I see. Keep going!
Stefania: No 3: Some feminine nouns ending in -α don’t have genitive in plural, for example, η “πείνα” “hunger”.
No 4: Now this is easy to remember: All the feminine diminutives ending in -α do not have a genitive in plural, for example, “η καμαρούλα”, “small room”.
Becky: Now that’s more like it. When you say “all” it just makes it easier. The next two categories are also universal. So we have:
Stefania: No 5: All the neuter diminutives ending in -ι don’t have genitive at all. For example το παιδάκι, meaning “young child” or “το ανηψάκι”, meaning “young nephew”, which we saw in our dialogue. And finally:
No 6: All the masculine diminutives ending in -κος, -κης and -κας, for example, “ο δρομάκος” meaning “alley” or “ little street” and “ο μπαμπάκας” meaning “daddy”, cannot be formed in plural at all.
Becky: So we are not just missing genitive here, but the whole plural?
Stefania: That’s right, you spotted it! The whole plural! So now that I mentioned some of these peculiar nouns, should we see some examples of how to express the missing genitive in an alternative way?
Becky: This will definitely come in handy in case someone gets stuck and needs, as you said, an alternative.
Stefania: At this point, we need to make clear that there will be no rules about how to do this.
Becky: In most situations, we have to deal with these nouns on a case-by-case basis and as a result, those nouns either change, get replaced by other words, or the genitive gets substituted by a different declension case, such as the accusative, thus resulting sometimes in circumlocutions. Let’s start with our first example, from our dialogue.
Stefania: Sure. We have “το παιδάκι”, meaning “young child”. In order to say for example “the young child’s toy”, we would have to replace the diminutive word “παιδάκι” with the original noun “παιδί”, “child” and say “το παιχνίδι του παιδιού”, “The child’s toy” and not “του παιδακιού”.
Becky: Oh… I see how this works. What’s our next one?
Stefania: Again from our dialogue, “το ανιψάκι” meaning “young nephew”. If I were to say “This is my young nephew’s”, I would have to use the original noun “ανίψι” in genitive, instead of the diminutive and say “This is my nephew’s”, “Αυτό είναι του ανιψιού μου” and not “του ανιψακιού μου”.
Becky: Actually you are right. That last one does sound wrong to me…
Stefania: Nice! It’s good to have that language instinct!
Becky: For more examples for each noun category, check the lesson notes.
Stefania: Feel free to also review the diminutives we have seen in one of our early lessons, in order to get a better picture of these nouns.


Becky: And that’s all for this lesson, everyone! See you next time.
Stefania: Γεια χαρά!


Please to leave a comment.
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GreekPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Hello Listeners, how do you say "the child's toy" in Greek? Let's practice here!

GreekPod101.com Verified
Monday at 04:31 PM
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Hi Kati,

Thank you for reporting the missing information. It has been added now.

Kind regards,


Team GreekPod101.com

Monday at 03:18 AM
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Oh dear how the copy-pasting turned out! Well never mind...

Monday at 03:16 AM
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There is something missing from the lesson notes in the end of grammar section.

● Ο δρομάκος ("alley, little street") and ο μπαμπάκας ("daddy"): Both belong to

category #6. They have a normal singular (ο δρομάκος

Just to let you know.

- Kati

GreekPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 12:23 PM
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Hi Glenn,

I'm glad this was helpful! Slowly slowly you will tackle the Greek declension system. You can do this!


Team GreekPod101.com

Monday at 09:59 PM
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Very helpful. Thanks.

GreekPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 12:59 PM
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Hi Glenn,

It's a contraction of σου (pronoun) + τα (pronoun): Μη σου τα πολυλογώ τώρα. Literally: "Let me not talk too much to YOU about THEM ("them as in "the facts") now." It's a common expression used always as it is.



Team GreekPod101.com

Wednesday at 09:18 PM
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The dialogue says: μη στα πολυλογώ τώρα... what is the role of στα?

GreekPod101.com Verified
Friday at 02:04 PM
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Hi Glenn,

Εσύ τώρα με ποιον τα ‘χεις βάλει; > εσύ.... έχεις βάλει...

I understand your question and it's a good one.

So, you have εσύ which is the 2nd person but later you have the verb βάζω in what looks like the 3rd person (βάλει) but it is not. The verb is in the 2nd person BUT it's in the perfect tense. The perfect tense is formed by the verb έχω and its conjugated forms (έχω, έχεις, έχει etc.) + what we call in Greek the 'infinitive' (το απαρέμφατο). The Greek infinitive is not like an English infinitive. It is simply a NON conjugated verb form (it remains the same for all persons and numbers) and it's only used for the formation of the 3 perfective tenses: the perfect, past perfect, and future perfect tense. So basically the conjugation of βάζω in the perfect tense is:

έχω βάλει

έχεις βάλει

έχει βάλει

έχουμε βάλει

έχετε βάλει

έχουν(ε) βάλει

In the past perfect tense, for example, you just need to use the conjugated forms of έχω in their past form (είχα, είχες, είχε etc.) and in the future tense the future forms (θα έχω, θα έχεις, θα έχει etc.) The infinitive βάλει would remain the same in all three perfective tenses. For example:

είχα βάλει, θα έχω βάλει

In the next level (Intermediate) we teach these perfective tenses. Although they look simple in the formation process, they require to have a good knowledge of the aorist stem of verbs which is presented in full detail in the next level as well.

You will get the hang of them soon:wink:!

As for ίδιος σαν... it wouldn't be quite correct. Ίδιος is expressed with με + the accusative case or ίδιος + nominative:

ίδιος με εκείνον

ίδιος με μένα

ίδιος με τον πατέρα σου

ίδιος ο πατέρας σου

The only case I could see the adjective ίδιος next to σαν, is when a simile would follow that is independent and not attached to ίδιος, i.e. it could even be omitted:

Είστε ίδιοι, σαν δύο σταγόνες νερού. = You look the same/look similar, like two drops of water.

Keep studying hard and questioning things the way you do. This means that you are having a better understanding of how the language works, so you are in a good path!


Team GreekPod101.com

Thursday at 10:31 PM
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In the dialog "Η γυναίκα δεν καταλαβαίνει, ότι ένα παιδάκι δεν μπορεί να είναι το

ίδιο με έναν ενήλικα!". "ίδιο με έναν ενήλικα", I would have thought it would be "ίδιο σαν έναν ενήλικα". would that be wrong to say it that way?

Thursday at 09:13 PM
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The dialogue says; Εσύ τώρα με ποιον τα 'χεις βάλει;

I don't get why βάλει is in 3rd person