Dialogue

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Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
Michael: Hi everyone, I'm Michael.
Chrissi: And I'm Chrissi.
Michael: And welcome to Must-Know Greek Sentence Structures, Season 1, Lesson 21. Making Negative Commands.
Michael: In this lesson, you'll learn how to use a sentence pattern for requesting someone to refrain from doing something.
PATTERN
Michael: For example,
Michael: "Don't make noise, please!"
Chrissi: Μην κάνεις φασαρία, παρακαλώ! (Min kánis fasaría, parakaló!)
Chrissi: [slow] Μην κάνεις φασαρία, παρακαλώ! (Min kánis fasaría, parakaló!)
Michael: The pattern for requesting someone to refrain from doing something has three elements. First, the negation particle meaning "Don't".
Chrissi: Μην (Min).
Michael: Second, the verb "to make" in the 2nd person singular of the subjunctive mood present tense meaning "make".
Chrissi: κάνεις (kánis).
Michael: Third, a complement that consists of a feminine noun in the accusative as an object, and the verb "to plead," all together meaning "noise, please".
Chrissi: φασαρία, παρακαλώ (fasaría, parakaló).
Michael: Altogether, we have... "Don't make noise, please!"
Chrissi: Μην κάνεις φασαρία, παρακαλώ! (Min kánis fasaría, parakaló!) [slow] Μην κάνεις φασαρία, παρακαλώ! (Min kánis fasaría, parakaló!) [normal] Μην κάνεις φασαρία, παρακαλώ! (Min kánis fasaría, parakaló!)
Michael: The simplest way to request someone not to do something is to use the negation particle…
Chrissi: μη(ν) (mi(n))...
Michael: meaning "don't" followed by a verb in the subjunctive.
Chrissi: Sometimes this could be enough for simple commands such as "Don't speak." Μη μιλάς. (Mi milás.)
Michael: However, you can always add a complement after the subjunctive if you need to include more information, such as the object or the expression "please"...
Chrissi: which in Greek is παρακαλώ (parakaló), if you want to make your command or request sound more polite.
Chrissi: Μην κάνεις φασαρία, παρακαλώ! (Min kánis fasaría, parakaló!)
Michael: So remember, the simplest way to request someone to refrain from doing something is to use the negation particle "don't,"...
Chrissi: μη(ν) (mi(n))...
Michael: followed by a verb in the subjunctive and add a complement, if needed, to include more information or say "please,"...
Chrissi: παρακαλώ (parakaló,)...
Michael: ...if you want to make your command or request sound more polite.
Michael: Here is another example meaning, "Don't worry about this." First, we have the negation particle meaning "Don't".
Chrissi: Μην (Min).
Michael: Second, we have the verb "to worry" in the 2nd person plural of the subjunctive mood present tense meaning "worry".
Chrissi: ανησυχείτε (anisihíte).
Michael: Third, we have a complement that is a neuter prepositional phrase in the accusative meaning "about this".
Chrissi: για αυτό (ya aftó).
Michael: Altogether we have...
Chrissi: Μην ανησυχείτε για αυτό. (Min anisihíte ya aftó.) [slow] Μην ανησυχείτε για αυτό. (Min anisihíte ya aftó.) [normal] Μην ανησυχείτε για αυτό. (Min anisihíte ya aftó.)
Michael: "Don't worry about this."
[pause]
Chrissi: Μην ανησυχείτε για αυτό. (Min anisihíte ya aftó.)
Michael: How do you say — "Don't feed the animals."? To give you a hint, "feed" here is...
Chrissi: ταΐζετε (taízete). [slow] ταΐζετε (taízete). [normal] ταΐζετε (taízete).
Michael: "Don't feed the animals."
[pause]
Chrissi: Μην ταΐζετε τα ζώα. (Min taízete ta zóa.) [slow] Μην ταΐζετε τα ζώα. (Min taízete ta zóa.) [normal] Μην ταΐζετε τα ζώα. (Min taízete ta zóa.)
[pause]
Chrissi: Μην ταΐζετε τα ζώα. (Min taízete ta zóa.)
REVIEW
Michael: Let's review the sentences from this lesson. I will tell you the English equivalent of the phrase and you are responsible for shouting it out loud in Greek. Here we go.
Michael: "Don't make noise, please!"
[pause]
Chrissi: Μην κάνεις φασαρία, παρακαλώ! (Min kánis fasaría, parakaló!)
[pause]
Chrissi: Μην κάνεις φασαρία, παρακαλώ! (Min kánis fasaría, parakaló!)
Michael: "Don't worry about this."
[pause]
Chrissi: Μην ανησυχείτε για αυτό. (Min anisihíte ya aftó.)
[pause]
Chrissi: Μην ανησυχείτε για αυτό. (Min anisihíte ya aftó.)
Michael: "Don't feed the animals."
[pause]
Chrissi: Μην ταΐζετε τα ζώα. (Min taízete ta zóa.)
[pause]
Chrissi: Μην ταΐζετε τα ζώα. (Min taízete ta zóa.)

Outro

Michael: Okay. That's all for this lesson. You learned a pattern for requesting someone to refrain from doing something, as in...
Chrissi: Μην κάνεις φασαρία, παρακαλώ! (Min kánis fasaría, parakaló!)
Michael: meaning "Don't make noise, please!"
Michael: You can find more vocab or phrases that go with this sentence pattern in the lesson notes. So please be sure to check them out on GreekPod101.com. Thanks everyone, see you next time!
Chrissi: Γεια χαρά!

7 Comments

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GreekPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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How would you tell someone "don't run in the hallway"?

GreekPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 02:20 AM
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Γεια σου Alain,


It is tricky, you are right. It would take time to not make small mistakes here and there regarding what stem to use in what situation.


Glad I answered your question though :)


About the Spanish-related question, I never really thought about it but yeah, I can definitely tell that although the Spanish negative commands are categorized as "negative imperative", in reality, those are identical to the subjunctive with a negation.


https://www.screencast.com/t/PdjkPalIpj


So it's the same structure as in Greek, both being part of the Indoeuropean languages. The Spanish just categorize it as "negative imperative" whereas Greeks look the negative commands in the eye and say "Hey, you! You can't fool us! You are not a negative imperative, you are just a subjunctive using the negation as a disguise! Go back to where you belong... the subjunctive!" And that's how Greeks categorize it, haha 😄!


Another similarity is that in the Spanish negative commands and in Greek too, we always imply "que" or "να".


Μη μιλάς! > (Να) μη μιλάς!

¡No hables! > ¡(Que) no hables!


Cheers,


Stefania

Team GreekPod101.com

Alain Côté
Wednesday at 06:23 AM
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Εχαριστώ Στεφανία,


Lots of subtle differences there! Maybe after ten years of spending at least half the year in Greece...


I did get the answer to my main question, though, which is that you can use both μη μήλας and μη μιλήσεις, depending on the context, and that is what I was mainly wondering. I guess, based on your explanation, that use of the regular stem will be more frequent than the aorist stem in negative commands, and I'll stick to that for now!


One more thing, as I understand that you also speak Spanish. Do you know if there is a relationship between the fact that there is no negative imperative in Greek and the fact that the negative imperative in Spanish (at least in the singular form) look a lot like the subjunctive, e.g. Habla/no hables?


Alain

GreekPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 08:57 PM
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Γεια σου Alain,


Καλή ερώτηση.


Μη μιλάς is a command to ask someone to stop talking. So the other person is already talking, which is interpreted as an ongoing action of the present and we are asking him to cease doing it. Μη μιλάς has a nuance that would be more accurately translated as "stop talkING", although it's translated as "don't speak" because we are not using the verb "to stop" anywhere.


The command Μη μιλήσεις, using the momentary μιλήσ- stem, cannot be interpreted as an ongoing action, something that is happening now because it uses the momentary stem. Also, as a COMMAND it cannot refer to the past because, well, what's done is done, so that leaves us with the future only. So μη μιλήσεις is a command where we are asking someone to not speak at a specific moment in the future. For example, two kids are playing, their mom is coming, and one of them wants to hide because they broke something earlier. One kid can say to the other κρύψου και μη μιλήσεις! As in "hide and when she comes, don't say anything".


One important thing to mention is that while the command μη μιλήσεις is more appropriate for the future only due to its essence, the aorist stem, μη μιλάς can be used not only for the present (the present expressing by default an ongoing action) but also for the future when we want to command someone not to be speaking continuously in the future. For example,


Όταν πάμε στη μαμά μου, εσύ μη μιλάς. Θα μιλάω εγώ.


The most natural way to translate this into English would be:

"When we go to my mom's, don't talk. I'll talk."


However, those subtle nuances of continuity from the present stem μιλ- get... well, lost in translation. Because in Greek what we are actually saying is:

When we go to my mom's, don't be talking (all the time). I will be (the one) talking.

... which doesn't sound natural in English.


Now, one last thing to be careful of so you don't get confused with what I said above about μιλήσεις being applicable for the future only.


In indirect speech, for example, when we are describing something that we said in the past, it's ok to use μιλήσεις. For example, that child that said κρύψου και μη μιλήσεις! can later go to their school and say:


...και τότε του είπα να κρυφτεί και να μη μιλήσει!

...and then I told him to hide and not speak!


That να μη μιλήσει part still describes the child's command in the past for an action that would happen in the future back then.


In direct speech, referring to the past, that sentence would be:


...και τότε του είπα: «Κρύψου και μη μιλήσεις!».


I hope this is not confusing!


Cheers,


Stefania

Team GreekPod101.com

Alain Cote
Tuesday at 10:54 AM
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Γεία σου και πάλι, Στεφανία.


Έχω ακόμα μια ερώτηση για αυτό το μάθημα.


Why dont we use the aorist stem when making a negative command like “don’t speak”, as this is a momentary action, i.e. Μη μιλήσεις rather than μη μηλάς.


Εχαριστφώ

GreekPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:12 PM
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Hi John!


Almost nailed it!


τρέχε > τρέχεις/τρέχετε


In Greek, the imperative does not have a negation. Instead, it uses the subjunctive mood with negation, hence μην + τρέχεις instead of μην + τρέχα (imperative).


So for affirmative commands, we use the imperative.

For negative commands, we use the subjunctive with the negation μη(ν)


I hope this helps!


Stefania

Team GreekPod101.com

John
Thursday at 11:43 PM
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Μην τρέχε στο χολ!