Greek Verb Endings: -σανε, -παω, etc.

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BouzoukiJoe

New Member
English
Hi there. First post here. Apologies if I'm not doing this right. And apologies that my keyboard has no accent marks. :(

Maybe this is obvious or just slang, but: nonstandard verb endings in Greek music and everyday speech that you don't see in textbooks (or on Cooljugator or anywhere online). Example:

Ενα χωριο σε διαλυσανε. (I assume, means something like "they've taken the town apart")

Or the Markos song, "Σε Υελασανε" (translated to English as "They Laughed at You")

Question is, why -σανε? Why "Σε Υελασανε", and not "Σε Υελασαν"? Is the latter incorrect? Does the verb ending change when it's directed toward a person, or is the extra vowel just for emphasis? Similarly, the -αω ending, instead of just -ω for first-person verbs: is this poetic/slang? Why αγαπαω, rather than αγαπω? You hear both of the above constantly in Greek music, and everyday speech, but I've never asked anyone why until now. I'm trying to translate a history of the small town in Greece where my dad's family come from, and their everyday speech is full of interesting abbreviations and nonstandard forms. It's difficult to translate, and extremely time-consuming for an amateur like me. There are a hundred others, but these are common.

Thank you for any help!
 
  • larshgf

    Senior Member
    Danish
    Hello BouzoukiJoe! And weelcome to this forum where competent people can answer your questions concerning the greek language.
    Allthough I am not one of the competent people on this forum I think I happen to know the answer of your question.
    I have checked Cool Conjugator and apparently this website does not show you the variations in conjugation of the verbs.
    If you take a look at the website Lexiscope you can see the variations. If you register on this website you are allowed for free to check 30 words per day. One big advantage with Lexiscope is that you can enter any instance of the conjugation of the verb and the site will find and show you the total conjugation paradigm.
     
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    διαφορετικός

    Senior Member
    Swiss German - Switzerland
    Is the latter incorrect?
    No, these are normal variations of conjugation. From my collection of regular conjugation patterns:
    • κοιμόνταν(ε)
    • ξέρουν, ξέρουνε
    • έκαναν, κάναν(ε)
    • μιλούσαν(ε)
    • φορέθηκαν, φορεθήκαν(ε)
    • να νομίσουν(ε)
    • αγαπιόταν(ε)
    • αγαπιόνταν(ε)
    • να κοιμηθούν(ε)
    • αγαπούν(ε) (αγαπάν(ε))
    • έγραψαν, γράψαν(ε)
    • μπορούν, μπορούνε
    • σκέφτονταν, σκεφτόντανε
    The variation -άω / -ώ is also correct.

    But one question remains: What is the purpose or the cause of these variations?
     

    Perseas

    Senior Member
    But one question remains: What is the purpose or the cause of these variations?
    It's due to a phonetic tendency of Demotic Greek that the last letter be a vowel. E.g. γράφουν > γράφουνε, έγραφαν > γράφανε, γράφτηκαν > γραφτήκανε, γραφόμουν > γραφόμουνα, γράφονταν > γραφόντανε. However, the second forms are more colloquial yet.
    Exception: verbs ending in -ς , i.e. "γράφεις" or "έγραφες" have no forms ending in a vowel.
     

    διαφορετικός

    Senior Member
    Swiss German - Switzerland
    It's due to a phonetic tendency of Demotic Greek that the last letter be a vowel. E.g. γράφουν > γράφουνε, έγραφαν > γράφανε, γράφτηκαν > γραφτήκανε, γραφόμουν > γραφόμουνα, γράφονταν > γραφόντανε. However, the second forms are more colloquial yet.
    Exception: verbs ending in -ς , i.e. "γράφεις" or "έγραφες" have no forms ending in a vowel.
    So is it true that ...
    • γράφουν (for example) is inherited from Katharevousa and γράφουνε is inherited from Demotic Greek
    • Colloquial Greek prefers the ("Demotic") form with the final vowel, if it exists (γράφουνε)
    • Official or written Greek prefers the ("Katharevousa") form without the final vowel, if it exists (γράφουν)
    ?
     

    Perseas

    Senior Member
    So is it true that ...
    • γράφουν (for example) is inherited from Katharevousa and γράφουνε is inherited from Demotic Greek
    • Colloquial Greek prefers the ("Demotic") form with the final vowel, if it exists (γράφουνε)
    • Official or written Greek prefers the ("Katharevousa") form without the final vowel, if it exists (γράφουν)
    ?
    • No, γράφουνε has evolved from γράφουν which is Demotic. Archaic/Katharevousa is γράφουσι.
    • usually yes
    • usually yes
     

    BouzoukiJoe

    New Member
    English
    To everyone who replied here: thanks so much! I will read all the posts here tonight and follow the links above. I really appreciate the help! I have a big translation project going right now, and am helping with a genealogy project/book about the small town where my family comes from in southern Greece/Arcadia, so this is a huge help. Thank you all again!
     

    διαφορετικός

    Senior Member
    Swiss German - Switzerland

    διαφορετικός

    Senior Member
    Swiss German - Switzerland
    I have found many style-related remarks about verb conjugation in this document:
    6. Τα Ρήματα
    (Search it for "Μορφολογική ποικιλία", there are several sections with this title.)
    Some interesting parts:
    παρουσιάζονται οι τύποι σε -ουν και -ουνε, π.χ. λύνουν / λύνουνε, να λύσουν / να λύσουνε. Ο πρώτος συνηθίζεται στον γραπτό λόγο, κυρίως σε τυπικό και ουδέτερο ύφος, ενώ ο δεύτερος είναι πολύ συνηθισμένος στον προφορικό λόγο και στα κείμενα της παιδικής λογοτεχνίας.
    οι τύποι σε και -άω, π.χ. χτυπώ / χτυπάω. Οι δύο τύποι δεν παρουσιάζουν σημαντική υφολογική διαφορά.
     
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    Perseas

    Senior Member
    I have found many style-related remarks about verb conjugation in this document:
    6. Τα Ρήματα
    (Search it for "Μορφολογική ποικιλία", there are several sections with this title.)
    Exactly. That's the grammar book of the Greek Gymnasium.

    Moreover, the verbs that are accented on the ending άω/ώ (αγαπ-άω/-ώ) or just ώ (θεωρ-ώ) in the first person singular of the present active belong to the second conjugation and the verbs that end in an unaccented -ω (eg. γράφω) in the first person singular of the present active belong to the first conjugation.
    The second conjugation verbs were known in Ancient Greek as συνηρημένα ρήματα (contract verbs) .
     

    διαφορετικός

    Senior Member
    Swiss German - Switzerland
    Thanks, Perseas.

    I have read a little about vowel contraction in ancient Greek in the meantime. But I have not found out in which cases the contraction was done: Was it dependent on the dialect? Or did the individual speaker or writer vary?

    And what applies to modern Greek? Does the same Greek person always use the same variant, or does he / she vary? How is it decided (since it is not considered a question of style)? Does it vary with the social environment (parents, colleagues, ...), like a dialect?
     

    Perseas

    Senior Member
    As I can remember, in texts of ancient Attic, there were only the contracted forms.

    In general, the forms in -άω (1st person sing.) and -άει (3rd person sing.) are more common in contemporary Greek than those in -ώ and -ά. But, as I was told, in Cypriot Greek the contracted forms are more common. The same may also apply to some regions of Greece.

    Althought it doesn't make much difference in style (Οι δύο τύποι δεν παρουσιάζουν σημαντική υφολογική διαφορά), I feel generally speaking that the systematic usage of the contracted forms suggests a tendency of selective usage.
     

    Perseas

    Senior Member
    My influence was a meaning of "συστηματικός": "constant", which may not exist in "systematic". :)
    I meant the constant use of the contracted forms seems somewhat unusual, special to me.
     
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    διαφορετικός

    Senior Member
    Swiss German - Switzerland
    Does this mean that you meant the following? "The fact that some people constantly use the contracted forms suggests that their use is not distributed uniformly (but used selectively) in the population (because I myself don't use them constantly)."
     

    διαφορετικός

    Senior Member
    Swiss German - Switzerland
    Now I think I have got it: Some people select (often / always) the less common forms, which seems as if they wanted to say something by this, but the meaning of their selection is not (generally) known. (But you could call it a kind of style.)
     

    Αγγελος

    Senior Member
    Greek
    The contracted forms are preferred in serious prose writing. Some verbs, such as επιδρώ = influence, which belong to a more formal register, are only used in the contracted forms. With some verbs, such as οδηγώ, which belong to the 'second class' (i.e. form their secοnd and third persons in έί(ς)), the uncontracted forms (οδηγάω etc.) exist, but are considered vulgar. But for verbs of the 'first class' (αγαπώ, γελώ, μιλώ, φορώ...), the uncontracted forms are quite appropriate in the spoken language, and if anything more frequent than the contracted ones.
    Verbs that admit of uncontracted forms in the present also have uncontracted forms in the imperfect: γέλαγα, γέλαγες, γέλαγε, γελάγαμε, γελάγατε, γέλαγαν or γελάγανε. Those forms are very frequent in Athens, but less so in some other parts of the country, and the forms in -ούσα are preferred in serious prose writing.
     
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