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Ταβάνι ή νταβάνι

September 4, 2010

Senate ceiling, Wikimedia Commons

This is a  Modern Greek word for ceiling. Actually this is a Turkish word, since Turks use the same word for the same thing (Greek: ταβάνι ή νταβάνι , Turkish: tavan or davan). In Modern Greek language  there are quite many remnants of Turkish words and even expressions , due the Ottoman occupation of Greece for almost 400 years – p.e.  μποστάνι, βιλαέτι, αγάς, μπέης, φιρμάνι, μπαχτσές, ναργιλές  etc… Τhere is a strong possibility some of them  to be of real  Persian or Arabic origin and loan words both in Greek and Turkish languages.

One can find the same word also in Bulgarian and Serbian languages with exactly the same meanings. No much imagination is needed here  to understand that it is also a remnant in these languages due to the Ottoman occupation.

In the entire area of the ex-Ottoman empire existed a strong tradition  in the art of ceiling decoration. These ceilings where decorated by very capable art workers and you may take a look of some of  them here.

A pure Greek word to  say the same thing is  η οροφή.  But in most of the cases we use the noun  το ταβάνι. Although this is a foreign word it is declined as usual Greek nouns

το ταβάνι                                   τα ταβάνια

του ταβανιού                            των ταβανιών

το ταβάνι                                   τα ταβάνια

ταβάνι                                          ταβάνια

Some interesting expressions with that word are:

  • Είναι ψηλός ίσαμε το ταβάνι  ( He is tall like the ceiling )
  • Με πλάκωσε το ταβάνι ( The ceiling fell on me or  weighed  me down)

If anyone have a better translation for these original Greek expressions or you find them  unusual as English expressions , please write it down in the comments. And if you speak a language, other than English, let us know which is the original word for ceiling in your language 😀


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