Στήν Σαντορίνη
Why "Αθηνών" and not "της Αθήμας"?
by Mariusz Dziaczyński - Saturday, 27 January 2018, 06:09 PM
  When I was in Athens I noticed a strange (for me) description of some places like for example hospitals. "The hospital of Athens" was described as "Το νοσοκομέιο Αθηνών" instead of the expected by me "Το νοσοκομέιο της Αθήνας". If I'm not wrong, Athens in Greek is a singular feminine word "η Αθήωα" so why the Genitive form is plural rather than singular? The same effect I noticed when beeing in Χάνια (Χανιών instead of της Χάνιας). What's the reason for such an inflection?
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Re: Why "Αθηνών" and not "της Αθήμας"?
by Nick Savchenko - Sunday, 28 January 2018, 06:46 AM
  The ancient name of Athens was plural (Ἀθῆναι), so while the modern demotic nominative is singular (Αθήνα), sometimes the ancient forms can be still used.
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Re: Why "Αθηνών" and not "της Αθήνας"?
by Greg Brush - Monday, 6 August 2018, 10:32 PM
  This was all explained in "FYI: η Αθήνα" in the Discussion Forum for Lesson 26, the lesson which formally introduces the name η Αθήνα.

With the legal replacement of the polytonic ("many accents") writing system by the monotonic ("one accent") system in 1982, both breathing marks were eliminated, and words with a polytonic circumflex accent changed to the now-standard monotonic τόνος (΄). So polytonic nom.pl. Ἀθῆναι became Αθήναι, and gen.pl. Ἀθηνῶν became Αθηνών.

As for Χανιά [note stress], the name of the city is (neuter plural) τα Χανιά, gen.pl. των Χανιών. Don't assume that just because the name of a city or location ends in -α or -η that it is automatically a feminine noun -- while the vast majority are feminine, some are neuter plural. A few other examples in Greece like τα Χανιά are:
τα Ιωάννινα, των Ιωαννίνων (Ήπειρος - Epirus)
τα Γρεβενά, των Γρεβενών (Δυτική Μακεδονία - Western Macedonia)
τα Τρίκαλα, των Τρικάλων (Θεσσαλία - Thessaly)
τα Τέμπη, των Τεμπών (Θεσσαλία)
τα Ψαρά, των Ψαρών (Βόρειο Αιγαίο - North Aegean)
and two examples outside of Greece:
τα Σκόπια, των Σκοπίων (Skopje, FYROM)
τα Τίρανα, των Τιράνων (Tirana, Albania)

Regards,
Greg Brush

[originally posted Sunday, 28 January 2018, 05:56 PM]
Στήν Σαντορίνη
Re: Why "Αθηνών" and not "της Αθήνας"?
by Mariusz Dziaczyński - Tuesday, 30 January 2018, 03:52 PM
  Thank you for your explanations.

I'm now at the 75. lesson so I could forget the posts from the 26. lesson. smile Nevertheless, now I know what's going on with the Athens' plural genitive.

As to Χανιά, sorry for the mistake in the accent. Still I didn't know that it's τα Χανιά.

Thank you, Greg, for the additional remark about the "plural" cities. Asking any question here, we always can count on some additional interesting information from your side.


Best regards
Mariusz
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Re: Why "Αθηνών" and not "της Αθήμας"?
by Greg Brush - Friday, 9 February 2018, 11:19 AM
  By the way, in addition to older, formal (katharevousa) Αθηνών, you will also see Athens referred to as o Δήμος Αθηναίων, the Municipality of Athenians, from the noun ο δήμος (the legal term for an incorporated city) and the adjective Αθηναίος, -α, -ο, Athenian.