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Greek Verbs...Help!
by Scott Wrigglesworth - Wednesday, 2 May 2012, 03:24 PM
  Hello everyone,

I'm Scottish and I've just started out learning Modern Greek. I should say that I already speak French, German (I actually have an MA in translation & interpreting in them!) and some Spanish, so I'm familiar with how to go about learning a language.

So I thought I'd learn Greek just for something to do, and I must say I'm quite enjoying the experience so far! But now I've come to the chapter in my grammar book about verbs, and it's a bit different from verbs in the other languages I speak. I've managed to write up three lists of regular verb endings for the active present tense which I plan on memorising; are they correct?

First-conjugation endings (present tense)

I: -ω
You: -εις
He/She/It: -ει
We: -ουμε
You (pl): -ετε
They: -ουν(ε)

Second-conjugation endings (type A) (present tense)

I: -ώ
You: -άς
He/She/It: -άει
We: -άμε
You (pl): -άτε
They: -ούν(ε)

Second-conjugation endings (type B) (present tense)

I: -ώ
You: -είς
He/She/It: -εί
We: -ούμε
You (pl): -είτε
They: -ούν(ε)
Picture of Greg Brush
Re: Greek Verbs...Help!
by Greg Brush - Wednesday, 2 May 2012, 05:30 PM
  Pretty much right. However, two points to keep in mind:

1) 2nd person singular
Like French, Spanish, and German, Greek distinguishes between an intimate and a polite form of address for the 2nd person singular (Fr. tu/vous, Sp. tú/usted, Ger. du/Sie, Grk. εσύ/εσείς). And just as in French, the 2nd person plural is used when politely speaking to someone in the singular. Thus,
Fr. tu veux (familiar), vous voulez (polite)
Sp. tú quieres (familiar), usted quiere (polite)
Ger. du willst (familiar), Sie wollen (polite)
Grk. εσύ θέλεις (familiar), εσείς θέλετε (polite)

2) Second conjugation (end-stressed) verbs
The type A verbs have both a "standard" (somewhat more formal) as well as a "colloquial" (quite demoticized) set of endings for the following persons:
I: -ώ (standard) / -άω (colloquial)
He/She/It: -ά (standard) / -άει (colloquial)
We: -ούμε (standard) / -άμε (colloquial)
They: -ούν (standard) / -ούνε, -άνε (colloquial)

These two issues of familiar (εσύ) vs. formal (εσείς) address and of the "standard" vs "colloquial" endings of Type A end-stressed verbs will be covered in the Beginning portion of Learn Greek Online.

Greg Brush