Picture of Szabolcs Horvát
HAU podcast 7 queries
by Szabolcs Horvát - Monday, 3 August 2009, 06:08 AM
  These podcasts have been mentioned a few times on these forums, but in case there's someone who hasn't heard of them yet, here is the link. They're useful, though, being at level 202, I find them quite difficult to follow, even with the transcripts ...

I have a few questions about podcast no 7 [ transcript ].

For me, the most difficult part of deciphering Greek texts is finding the "dictionary form" of verbs, especially figuring out the imperfective stem from the perfective one ... Any suggestions about this would me most welcome. (Neurolingo's Lexiscope has a daily limit of 10 queries)

1. At the very beginning Xenophon uses the sentence "Για να δούμε τι θα γίνει...". I am guessing this means "Let's see what will happen", but I am not sure about it. I was not able to find the verb γίνει in the dictionary, though I think that it is the same verb that was introduced in L3 in the phrase "Τι γίνεσαι".

2. Of all the characters, Xenophon is the most difficult to understand. I was unable to decode this sentence: "Πώς το 'πάθε και κάνει δουλειές...!"

3. Another sentence from Xenophon that I have no clue about: "Ωωω! Να τα εκατοστήσεις!"

4. Yet another sentence from Xenophon: "Αν δε χαθούν, να μη με λένε Ξενοφώντα!" I think this means something like "My name isn't Xenophon if they don't get lost!". There is a very similar expression in my language, but I am not sure if English has an equivalent (let me know if it does!) Also, why is "-τα" attached to his name here?

5. Ελένη uses the phrase "Εντάξει, λοιπόν, τα λέμε στις 9...". Is it correct to translate this as "Okay, then we agreed [to meet] at 9". It is the second part I am not confident about, "τα λέμε στις 9".

6. Finally, I am a bit confused about the term of address βρε, which according to the in.gr dictionary should be something terribly rude. But in this podcast it's used among friends. The dictionary gives "βρε άθλιο τομάρι!" = "you miserable hound!", "βρε βλάκα!" = "you imbecile!", "βρε συ!" = "sirrah" = "used as a form of address implying inferiority in the person addressed (according to Websters)". None of these uses are particularly flattering smile

Could someone please explain these words/phrases/sentences?

If there are other interested students, we can try producing English translations of the transcripts. I started doing this as an exercise, but I am sure my translations are full of mistakes... Let me know if you are interested!
Picture of Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
Re: HAU podcast 7 queries
by Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets - Monday, 3 August 2009, 08:26 AM
  I haven't listened to the podcasts, but I'll try to help to the best of my abilities.

1. As it stands, and without context, it looks like it means "For us to see what will happen" (maybe in context it does mean "Let's see what will happen", but I'd find it strange. You wouldn't use για να for "let's", just να). As for the verb, you guessed correctly. It's the verb γίνομαι: "I become", which can also mean "to happen". Γίνω is the perfective (non-continuous) form.

2. It looks weird indeed. I can't help here, without context.

3. It means "May you live to be 100!" It's a common expression used when wishing a happy birthday to someone: Χρόνια πολλά και να τα εκατοστήσεις! Happy birthday, and live to be 100!

4. The "-τα" is just part of the accusative ending of the name Ξενοφών. That name is from the same declension type as the adjective ενδιαφέρων: "interesting". There's a discussion in one of the lesson forums that mentions those different adjective types, but I can't find it right now. Greg will know big grin.

5. Google Translate translates that expression as "See you at 9", so your guess was close.

6. My experience among Greek people is that there is a segment of the population that uses insults as terms of endearment among themselves. It happens also in other languages and communities (in Japanese, most terms that are completely OK to use among close friends would be terribly rude to use with strangers. See also things like the gangsta scene, where men routinely call each other names as a way of bonding). Dictionaries usually only describe the nominally accepted use of words, and most often completely fail to mention such phenomena.

I'll have to try those podcasts. It seems they could be a good resource to learn the actual Greek language as spoken on the street. As good as the LGO lessons are (and they are very good), the language register they teach is rather high. It's OK for us, since as foreigners we should try and stay on the safe side of the politeness line, but it does mean that even after finishing all the lessons we still have a lot to learn before we can understand familiar Greek speech.
Picture of Szabolcs Horvát
Re: HAU podcast 7 queries
by Szabolcs Horvát - Monday, 3 August 2009, 09:43 AM
  Thanks for the explanations, Christophe! They are very helpful. At point 4, was my translation correct? I guess Xenophon just means that someone will surely get lost.

I did link to the transcript of the podcast for context (I couldn't have transcribed the dialogue myself, I took the sentences from the transcript on their website). Here it is again:


I noticed only now that at point 2, I made a mistake: 'πάθε should be 'παθε, without a stress mark (unfortunately the transcript PDFs disallow copying text, so I had to re-type everything ...)
Picture of Guest User
Re: HAU podcast 7 queries
by Guest User - Monday, 3 August 2009, 12:34 PM


"Πώς το 'παθε και κάνει δουλειές;" could be translated as 'how come he's working?' in English.

"Για να δούμε" does mean "let's see".

Μωρέ, ωρέ, ρε, μπρε, βρε, all carry the sense of words like 'hey', 'hey you / hey mate' or just 'you' or 'mate' in English although how you would translate them is a different matter.   They all seem to derive from words for babies: μωρέ and ωρέ seem to derive from the word μωρόν but μπρε and βρε from the word βρέφος.  Μωρόν originally meant 'stupid' and saying μωρέ or μωρή to a stranger is like saying βλάκα, κουτέ, χαζέ, etc.

In English, they do use the same expression 'αν ... , να μη με λέμε' (if ..., then my name isn't).  They also have a number of phrases like "I'm a Dutchman", "the Queen of Sheba" or "a monkey's uncle".  The statement "I'm a monkey's uncle" is untrue and designed to match something else the speaker finds incredulous (originally the theory of evolution), so you could say, 'if this is a five star hotel, I'm a monkey's uncle / the Queen of Sheba / a Dutchman", meaning that you find it hard to believe that the hotel earned five stars.

Να ’στε καλά,



Picture of Greg Brush
Re: HAU podcast 7 queries
by Greg Brush - Monday, 3 August 2009, 04:31 PM
  a.) about NeuroLingo: if you create a (free) account there, you'll get 30 queries per day.

1.) Yes,
Για να δούμε τι θα γίνει = Let's see what will happen.

Your recent posting in Forum 48 suggested that you were somewhere around Lesson 53. At that point, you were only halfway through the LGO course. Thus, θα γίνει is an example of something that you will encounter in the second half of the course, since γινομαι and its non-continuous past έγινα (perfective stem γιν-) are introduced in Lesson 87.

2.) το 'παθε is an elision of το έπαθε, where έπαθα is the simple past of παθαίνω (I suffer, have happen to me), introduced in Lesson 100. So:
Πώς το 'παθε και κάνει δουλειές...!" = How he suffered and he's [still] working!

3.) εκατοστήσεις is a frequent misspelling of εκατοστίσεις (< εκατοστίζω). Να τα εκατοστίσεις is a popular expression used on someone's birthday and is equivalent to saying "Happy Birthday". So Xenophon is saying "Happy Birthday, (George)!"

4.) Right,
Αν δε χαθούν, να μη με λένε Ξενοφώντα! = If they don't get lost, my name isn't Xenophon!
(Meaning, they probably will get lost.)

Ξενοφών (genitive Ξενοφώντος) belongs to the ancient "consonant-stem" declension and is thus very similar to ενδιαφέρων, which is discussed in "FYI: other adjective types" in Discussion Forum 78.

5.) τα λέμε means "Talk to you later" or "See you later". So:
Εντάξει, λοιπόν, τα λέμε στις 9. = All right, I'll see you at 9 -or- OK, we'll talk to each other at 9.

6.) βρε is Greek slang and is somewhat equivalent to American English "Dude!" or "Man!", although it can also be used with females. It derives from μωρός ("idiot"), although βρε today doesn't really carry the connotation of "idiot" anymore. It's VERY common among young people, especially kids and teenagers, but foreigners should probably avoid using it until they have a very good sense of the spoken language and the level of social address of the people that they're talking to.

Greg Brush
Picture of Szabolcs Horvát
Re: HAU podcast 7 queries
by Szabolcs Horvát - Monday, 3 August 2009, 03:29 PM
  Thank you very much for the great reply, Greg!