Picture of Matteo Ballarano
Verb conjugations?
by Matteo Ballarano - Saturday, 29 May 2010, 04:25 PM
  Γειά σας!

I've been taking the LGO courses for about a month, but I've been taking my dear sweet time, and I just arrived at Lesson 5. I went through the Lesson Notes and wrote down all the verbs I could find and their conjugations, and with the exception of είμαι, most of the verbs have followed the same endings:

-ω -ουμε
-εις -ετε
-ει -ουν.

There are few exceptions I've come across so far, those being: ακούω, μιλάω, & μετρώ, which all seem to have their own endings.

So, I guess what I'm trying to ask (and having trouble finding the words for) is: are all there verb conjugations in Greek like in, say Italian, with -are, -ere, -ire etc. conjugations? Or Latin with the 4 conjugations?

My learning of Greek has been going smoothly so far, but this completely stumped me, and searching the web hasn't helped much, even Harry Foundalis' website couldn't help :O!

Picture of Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
Re: Verb conjugations?
by Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets - Monday, 31 May 2010, 12:45 AM
  To answer your question: yes, Greek has verbal groups like Italian -are, -ere, -ire, although they are nowhere as complicated. If you carry on with the lessons, you will get introduced to them all.

But if you really want a primer, here's a simple summary:

There are basically two verbal groups in Greek: verbs accented on the next-to-last syllable, and verbs accented on the last syllable.

Verbs accented on the next-to-last syllable have the endings you listed already:
-ω -ουμε
-εις -ετε
-ει -ουν(ε)
(the part in parentheses is optional and appears mostly in informal speech)

Verbs like ακούω are just considered a special case of this group: the ending partially blends with the stem of the verb, so you get:
ακούω ακούμε
ακούς ακούτε
ακούει ακούν(ε)
(in red is the ending) Only a few verbs whose stem ends in a vowel have this behaviour (the other two most used ones are λέω: to say and πάω: to go).

Verbs accented on the last syllable have a slightly different set of endings. Actually, it's slightly more complicated than that: among verbs accented on the last syllable, there are two subgroups:
- verbs with a second person singular in -άς,
- verbs with a second person singular in -είς.

The second subgroup is the most simple, and its commonest example is μπορώ: I can, I am able to. The endings for this subgroup are:
-ώ -ούμε
-είς -είτε
-εί -ούν(ε)

The first subgroup is slightly more complicated in that it has alternative endings for some of its persons. μιλάω and μετρώ are actually both examples of this same group (they could also be μιλώ and μετράω). The endings for this subgroup are:
-ώ/-άω -ούμε/-άμε
-άς -άτε
-ά/-άει -ούν(ε)/-άν(ε)
Where there are alternative endings, both alternatives can freely be used by all verbs of this subgroup. The only difference is that the first alternative is more formal and the second one more colloquial.

That's about it for the active present endings. I won't go into the passive endings as those are another can of worms entirely!
Picture of Matteo Ballarano
Re: Verb conjugations?
by Matteo Ballarano - Monday, 31 May 2010, 09:27 AM
  Not as complicated as Italian? That's a relief =)! And yes, I figured that later in the lessons it would be explained better.

Just one more question; you said to go is πάω, but in the lessons I learned that it was πηγαίνω. Are they interchangeable? Do they even mean the same thing?

And thank you for clearing that up so well. Your help is very much appreciated!
Picture of Greg Brush
Re: Verb conjugations?
by Greg Brush - Monday, 31 May 2010, 10:47 AM
  Yes, the various verbforms will be systematically introduced in later Lessons.

As to πάω, it is a colloquial alternative in the present tense to πηγαίνω.

Greg Brush
Picture of Matteo Ballarano
Re: Verb conjugations?
by Matteo Ballarano - Monday, 31 May 2010, 11:10 AM
  Ευχαριστώ for clearing that up