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Noun declension – Masculines Ι

June 9, 2010
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In the most cases we recognise the Greek masculine nouns from the ending (final Greek s ) and as I wrote in my previous post they are divided in two categories:

  • Ισοσύλλαβα : they form the nominative, accusative and vocative case of the plural in -ες. Par example the noun ο αγώνας (the battle, fight)  is declined as following,
  • Nominative Genitive Accusative Vocative
    ο αγώνας του αγώνα τον αγώνα αγώνα
    οι αγώνες των αγώνων τους αγώνες αγώνες
  • Ανισοσύλλαβα: they form the relevant cases in -δες. Α typical example is the masculine noun ο βοριάς (the north wind),
  • Nominative Genitive Accusative Vocative
    ο βοριάς του βοριά τον βοριά βοριά
    οι βοριάδες των βοριάδων τους βοριάδες βοριάδες

We also have masculine ισοσύλλαβα nouns ending in -ης and -ος (these one ‘s are all ισοσύλλαβα , like ήλιος, δρόμος , ουρανός et c).  A typical noun in -ης is the word εργάτης (the worker) ,

Nominative Genitive Accusative Vocative
ο εργάτης του εργάτη τον εργάτη εργάτη
οι εργάτες των εργατών τους εργάτες εργάτες

Α typical example of masculine Greek noun ending in -ος is the word λαός(the people) , declined as

Nominative Genitive Accusative Vocative
ο λαός του λαού τον λαό λαέ
οι λαοί των λαών τους λαούς λαοί

In my next post I will examine the rest  categories of declension of masculine ανισοσύλλαβα nouns ending in -ας, -ης, -της (with double plural endings), -ες and -ους . I hope that you have a first idea about how it works. For questions or remarks, please leave your comments.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 10, 2010 9:04 am

    I wanna try to simplify this as much as possible. I’ll do this here (and let you follow the process).

    Alright, it seems to me that oς is the odd one out so it would make sense to learn it separately. Apart from that, the patterns are like this:

    Singular: always the “word – ς” (that’s useful to know)
    Plural: always the plural nominative
    always same as accusative

    Alright, so we have 2 down.
    Singular: always the “word – ς” again
    Plural: “ες” always changes to “ων” (in fact, you could say the plural ending changes to “ων” – so that also works for oς… also the accent shifts for ης words towards τών εργατών… unlike anywhere else)

    Then only the nonimative is left.
    Singular: given
    Plural: whatever the ending plus + ες and sometimes δες

    Now when is it ες and when δες? Are you supposed to learn the δες words by rote? If so, how many are there? How do I know?
    Perhaps you could say that most words that end in ιάς are δες? Or perhaps it is ά being stressed in the ending that makes it δες? Is there a rule?

    Now let’s get to the most important part, the GENERAL CONCLUSIONS:
    Singular anything is ALWAYS word – ς (that is very easy to remember).
    Plural anything is always the same as plural NOMINATIVE (which in turn is always ες) except for genitive where this ες always changes to ων)

    These are the two most important ones. If I did a course on this, I would only mention these two. And they are indeed not hard to remember.

    Now ός screws things up a little bit. Luckily, if you look at it, both its genitive and accusative and plural vocative are the same as the articles that preceed them! Phew. Then you only have to remember the vocative singular is έ.

    Thus the third conclusion is:
    Follow the articles for ός nouns. Vocative is έ.

    Right, let’s get to the final conclusions.
    Singular anything is word – ς.
    Plural genitive is ες -> ων.
    Plural everything else is the same as plural nominative.
    The ός vocative is έ.
    The ός everything else always follow the article.

    Thus I could say it in one sentence:

    Singular forms are always without the ς, plural always same, just remember the plural genitive is ων; this is not true for ός nouns which follow the article instead, plus the vocative is έ.

    It doesn’t look so hard now does it. Now if only there was a way to tell when it’s ες and when δες…

    • June 10, 2010 7:39 pm

      1.I think you are in the right way so far. Masculine nouns in -ος are the regular ones …nothing odd about them. They are ισοσύλλαβα (same number of syllables in genitive and in the plural) and a standard way to decline them.
      2. Yes, vocative is in the most of the cases same with the accusative.
      3. Indeed the genitive of the plural always ends to -ων, as you correctly guessed. And the best tip is that this rule stands also for feminines and neutrals.
      4. When is it -ες and when -δες? This is the subject of my next post. So just be patient (this is the case of double plural and I will explain sufficiently).
      All your rest remarks I think are just in the right direction…I think I will use your classification myself 🙂

      • June 10, 2010 9:10 pm

        Alright, your next post better be sooner. I still have not learned the nouns (I was too busy learning vocabulary, Greek mythology and history and the constellations). Oh, and a bit lazy too.


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