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Lesson Transcript

Iro: Γεια σας!Είμαι η Ηρώ.
Maria: Maria here! Pronunciation Series, Lesson 5 – Accents Part Two.
Maria: Hello, and welcome to the GreekPod101.com, the fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn Greek!
Iro: And thanks again for being here with us for this Pronunciation lesson.
Maria: What is our focus today, Iro ?
Iro: ...today we will continue talking accents in Greek.
Maria: There are many difficult parts about the Greek language, but I've found that accents are one of the trickiest.
Iro: Yes. Especially what we are looking at in this lesson.
Maria: What are we focusing on then?
Iro: This lesson is all about exceptions.
Maria: Aah, the wretched exceptions of speech versus writing.
Iro: Yeah. We have a lot to explain, so let's jump right into it!
Maria: Okay, hit me!
Iro: First, we will look at placing accents on words that look polysyllabic when they in fact are monosyllabic.
Maria: A polysyllabic word means that it's a word with more than one syllable, and monosyllabic, as you may have guessed, means it has only one syllable.
Iro: Yes, and like we mentioned last lesson, accents in Greek only go on polysyllabic words.
Maria: Except for the exceptions.
Iro: And now we will look at words that appear polysyllabic but in fact consist only of a single syllable. These are quite common in Greek.
Maria: Can you give us an example?
Iro: Yes. Let's start with a word we are all familiar with "γεια".
Maria: As in "γεια σας"! We say it at the start of every lesson!
Iro: Yeah, it means "hello", "to your health", "good-bye" and even "cheers!"
Maria: Multifunctional.
Iro: Indeed. Words like this are stressed on the last vowel in speech but not marked with an accent in writing.
Maria: Another example is "ποιος", "ποια", "ποιο".
Iro: "Who" (masculine), "who" (feminine), and "which" (neutral).
Maria: Yeah, this word is not accented in all its forms.
Iro: Yes, they are all monosyllabic and stressed on the last and only vowel.
Maria: But what about "μια", the feminine word for "one"? I've seen it with and without an accent mark.
Iro: Some words, like "μια" or "δυο", have alternative disyllabic (two syllable) forms.
Maria: What does that mean?
Iro: They could be pronounced as a disyllabic word where the stress is "μί" – "α" and "δύ" – "ο." There is no difference in meaning.
Maria: Wow, what a brainteaser.
Iro: You think that sounds confusing? There are also exceptions where some words seem monosyllabic when they aren't and still do receive an accent.
Maria: Wha-what!?
Iro: Yes, when written, some words like "φέρ' το", meaning "bring it" in English, seem to be monosyllabic, but it in this case the word is a short version of "φέρε το" and has two syllables.
Maria: Hmm…like it's two words combined, kind of?
Iro: Exactly. There are words that allow this kind of omission, where they appear monosyllabic but are polysyllabic. And when written, the abbreviation is shown by an apostrophe.
Maria: Any more examples?
Iro: Yeah, "άσ' το," which is shortened from "άσε το" and means "leave it" in English. Ασ’-το, ασ’ το.
Maria: And that is why the accent isn't omitted just because the word appears monosyllabic.
Iro: Indeed. But it doesn't end there! There are also exceptions where polysyllabic words don't take an accent mark!
Maria: Now you're pulling my leg…
Iro: There is no leg pullin' here, my friend.
Maria: Aaaw... Go on.
Iro: These words arise from a different kind of vowel omission that happens at the beginning of a word.
Maria: Examples, please.
Iro: Of course! "θα 'θελα," which is short for "θα ήθελα," meaning "I would like" in English. Or "να 'ρθετε", which is short for "να έρθετε", meaning "you come." Θα-‘θε-λα, να-‘ρθε-τε. Θα’ θελα, να ‘ρθετε.
Maria: And what exactly happens here?
Iro: The collision of the two vowels, in "θα ήθελα", "A (άλφα)" and "H (ήτα)," results in the omission of the second vowel, which is the stressed syllable of the second word.
Maria: Hmm…
Iro: So, because originally the stress was on the omitted vowel, after the vowel deletion in speech, the stress moves on the first monosyllabic word, and the longer second word remains unstressed.
Maria: I see.
Iro: Don't breathe out quite yet, Maria.
Maria: Heh, now you're going to tell me that there is an exception to the exception, right?
Iro: Oh, you know?
Maria: NO!
Iro: What good would a rule be if it didn't include exceptions to the exceptions?
Maria: What is it?
Iro: Take "θα 'ρθω," for example. The two components here are "θα έρθω", meaning "I will come" in English. Here, the apostrophe after "θα" denotes the missing "E (έψιλον)" of the full form, "έρθω." So, θα- ‘ρθω, θα ‘ρθω.
Maria: As you mentioned earlier, to avoid vowel collision.
Iro: Yes, but there are two ways of stressing these words in speech.
Maria: Okay…
Iro: So in speech, the stress in this case can come both on the "A (άλφα)" – "θά ‘ρθω", but also on the "Ω (ωμέγα)" – "θα ’ρθω." When written, the latter takes no accent mark.
Maria: But the meaning is the same.
Iro: Yes. The difference here is when written.
Maria: I guess it's difficult to know which pronunciation you mean if there isn't an accent mark.
Iro: So to solve this we do place an accent mark if [θά ‘ρθω] is the intended pronunciation, whereas we don't place any accent mark if the pronunciation is like [θα ’ρθω].
Maria: Huh…will you look at that. Do you have any other mind-blowing examples for us?
Iro: Yes, " νά μπω" versus "να μπω," which is "to enter" in English. Or "νά βγω" [návgo] versus "να βγω", meaning "to exit".
Να-μπω, να μπω. Να-βγω, να βγω.
Maria: I'm having a mental breakdown.
Iro: Yeah, but we'll wrap it up here today.
Maria: Great! Siesta!
Iro: Ha ha, well that was the last exception of this lesson.
Maria: Really! I feel so much more enlightened…and yet so perplexed.
Iro: Well, that's Greek for you!
Maria: I guess there's a reason why the Greek language has lived on for so long.
Iro: What's that?
Maria: Well, the Greeks were too stubborn and proud to admit that the language was too complicated!
Iro: Maybe so, but it is also the foundation of many modern languages, you know.
Maria: Sure, and I'm glad the Greeks decided to simplify it!
Iro: Don't get me started on ancient Greek.
Maria: Oh, I wont!
Iro: Okay, that just about does it for this lesson.
Maria: I hope you enjoyed it and didn't suffer too much of brain damage.
Iro: Remember, practice makes perfect.
Maria: Good luck!
Maria: Don't forget that you can leave us a comment on this lesson.
Iro: So if you have a question or some feedback, please leave us comment!
Maria: It's very easy to do. Just stop by GreekPod101.com,
Iro: click on comments,
Maria: Enter your comment and name,
Iro: and that's it.
Maria: No excuses. We're looking forward to hearing from you!
Iro: Γεια σας!
Maria: Bye!


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GreekPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 05:46 PM
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Hello Betty,

Thank you for contacting us.

Through our website what you are suggesting is possible. The lesson transcript can be downloaded as a PDF file that you can open and view while you play the lesson audio in the background.

Are you using a computer or a mobile device? On a computer you can download the transcript by clicking here: http://screencast.com/t/18y2CUjYJj5

I couldn't recreate the problem on my system. Perhaps if you provide me some more details like which device you are using and where you click exactly to get the transcript, I could help you more.

Don't hesitate to contact us again should you still have trouble listening to the main audio while reading the lesson transcript. We're here to help.

Kind regards,


Team GreekPod101.com

Betty Haskin
Tuesday at 12:33 AM
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It would be helpful (for me at least) if you could listen and follow the lesson transcript at the same time. This would be especially helpful for Greek words that sound so similar. Currently when I click on the lesson transcript, the audio shuts off.