Dialogue

Vocabulary

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GreekPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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How would you say 78 in Greek?

GreekPod101.com Verified
Friday at 07:19 PM
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Hi Ingolf,


I get this question a lot, so below I will paste answers I've given in the past about the same question.


____________________


Both versions are correct and you can freely use either one. Εννέα is the version that in a way sounds more proper, so you would probably hear εννέα (and not εννιά) in the news, in the announcements of lottery numbers and other formal situations.


By the way, there are also more numbers that have two ways of writing and pronouncing them:


7 = επτά/εφτά

8 = οκτώ/οχτώ


Beyond numbers, we also some a few words that have a dual spelling. For example:

επισκέπτομαι/επισκέφτομαι

αδερφός/αδελφός

χτες/χθες

φτηνός/φθηνός

...etc.


For the above examples (except "nine"), there is sort of a phonological explanation:


You can divide Greek consonants into two types: continuous and momentary.


A continuous sound is one you could keep producing until you ran out of breath, if you wanted to: φφφφφφ, χχχχχχ, θθθθθθ, σσσσσσσ, etc.


With a momentary sound, once you say it it’s over; you can’t really extend it: π, κ, τ.


Now, in ancient Greek there could be two of the same sort of consonants together, i.e., two momentary ones as in επτά or οκτώ, or two continuous ones as in φθηνός or χθες. In modern Greek one of the two similar sounds could change into the opposite sometimes: εφτά, οχτώ, φτηνός, χτες.


So really what you end up with, I guess, is a sort of mish-mash of the two forms in Modern Greek. That is why both of these version of words are correct and being used!


With εννέα and εννιά, clearly the exact same phonological principle is not at work, but I’m pretty sure that it’s the same sort of coexistence of an ancient and a demotic form.


I personally switch between the two forms depending on the style and speed that I speak:


-If I speak fast for example εφτά might pop out of my mouth faster and easier, because pronouncing quickly 2 momentary consonants (πτ) might be harder.


-But if I am on the phone for example and someone asks me for my mobile number, I would probably choose to say επτά because I would be speaking slowly and clearly, so that the person can hear me better. It would definitely sound better to his ear than hearing me saying a long εφφφφφτάααα. That φφφφφφφ would sound like a hissing!

____________________________


I hope that helps! Keep in mind that a good Greek dictionary would include both forms for such words.


Enjoy our studying!


Stefania,

Team GreekPod101.com

Ingolf Kaldahl
Friday at 06:08 AM
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Hi,

can you tell me why the number "nine" is written in two different ways in the two following sentences found in the extended lesson materials


Πήγε στην Ελλάδα εννιά φορές.

Η γάτα έχει εννέα ζωές.

GreekPod101.com Verified
Friday at 11:58 AM
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Γεια σου Jacek!


Πολύ σωστά! Μπράβο!


Stefania,

Team GreekPod101.com

Jacek
Sunday at 07:15 PM
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εβδομήντα οχτώ