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Noun declension – First approach

June 2, 2010
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In  Modern Greek , as you may already noticed, we use three genders in the speech, like in German and Russian language. But whatever the gender of the noun is , we divide all the nouns in Modern Greek in 2 categories.

Ισοσύλλαβα

These nouns have the same number of syllables in both grammatical  numbers and  its inflections, p.e. :

μήνας , μήνα, μήνες , μηνών

μύτη, μύτη, μύτες, μυτών

λύπη, λύπη, λύπες , λυπών

Ανισοσύλλαβα

In this category the number of syllables may change , mostly  from singular to plural, or in different inflections of the singular number  p.e.:

χρήμα , χρήματος , χρήματα , χρημάτων

σώμα , σώματος , σώματα , σωμάτων

Note that the masculine and feminine nouns of this category have on the plural number always one more syllable , p.e.:

ψωμάς (singular ) ,   ψωμάδες, ψωμάδων (plural)

On the other hand the respective  neuter nouns of this category take in one more syllable in the genitive of the singular and on the plural, p.e.:

πτώμα , πτώματος (genitive singular),  τα πτώματα , των πτωμάτων (plural)

The distinction above is crucial if someone wants to learn how to inflect  Greek nouns correctly.

There are only four cases in Modern Greek (nominative, genitive , accusative and vocative), which is quite simpler  than the Ancient Greek, or the modern Russian or German where encounters  also dative or instrumental case.

I may need to explain how it  works to dedicate my next posts. Hope I will not need more than 3 posts (one for each gender of nouns)  to give you the whole picture. Probably I will need to post much more than three, so I should increase the frequency of my posts. I ‘ll try to do my best.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 4, 2010 7:03 am

    This post is comming at absolutely the right time. I was about to start covering nouns just today!

    It seems I have a basic understanding for it from my previous studying but I find that I still can’t find the right form when I need to thus I’ll have to review this again for sure.

  2. June 4, 2010 8:59 am

    My next post on the subject will come up next week. Probably next Wednesday, when I come back from a trip on Greek mountains. I will examine all cases of noun declension. So stay tuned if you liked this one.
    I hope you have a good time in Greece …I would like to hear your first impressions.

  3. June 4, 2010 9:35 am

    I’m not sure if I will be able to wait that long. I will try to tackle nouns now but I will definitely be seeing your summary.

    I am staying away from big cities in weekdays and will only be in there during the weekends. Thus I assume there is not much to tell except I really like the coast. I also like the language very much. I understudied it during the first months but I do learn a lot of the language every day (mostly from resources online but I do tend to ask the Greeks too if I get the chance…). I wind up usually thinking about something and then looking up the word for it. Thus I have learned a lot of words such as σκύλος (think: that dog is pretty skilled), πάγκος (similar to bank which is a bench in some other language although I can’t tell which now), άμμος, ήδη, παράθυρο (this window has paraphine on it doesn’t it) and so on. I know some random vocabulary but I still lack a lot and still need to make a lot of links. That’s what I will do.

    Yesterday I also downloaded Anki and did a couple hundred words. I plan to do a hundred every day or so perhaps I will try putting it on my iPod as well. It will help me learn the essential vocabulary fast.

    I am also focusing on the grammar now thus you also saw that link on twitter I reposted. I find the verbs to be pretty manageable once you get the basics. For example, you only need to know τελειώνω, and that ν changes to σ and then I can get to να τελειώσω, τελειώσα and all the other forms. Thus it takes mostly just one or two words to get most verbs correct (or at least understandable in my case).

    I thought I had studied the nouns but I still don’t get them so I will have to do that again. The good thing is that my native language has all these cases and more and I know how to use them mostly (save for some tiny differences). Getting them right is still a problem and I will have to do it somehow. Your system will hopefully help me with that but I can’t wait till Wednesday so I will start now too.🙂

    Σύντομα θα μπορέσω να μιλήσω ελληνικά!

  4. June 4, 2010 11:00 am

    Studying and travelling seems to be a very good combination. I see that you already have quite a progress and it have to be encouraging for your next steps. After all I am sure that you can study Greek nouns without my help…Just try to speak more every day you are in Greece and the rest will come with a little study.
    By the way, which is your native language?

  5. June 4, 2010 11:19 am

    Well, I am working (well, actually it’s an internship but still is almost a real work) and traveling and learning Greek (not sure if you called learning – studying). Traveling is indeed awesome. :> My native language is Lithuanian (I thought you knew that). Oh, and I also understand Russian well and speak enough of it so that also gives me an edge at learning Greek. I will try to speak more with people but it is kind of hard since I spend most of my day in the office and that is a major disadvantage. Afterwards I usually hang out with people who are non native speakers and I usually speak English or other languages with them. The good thing is that at least some of them speak some Greek so I can ask questions. I will still try practicing more of course.

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