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Greek Grammar

Greek, like all of the older Indo-European languages, is highly inflected. For example nouns (including proper nouns) have five cases (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative and vocative), three genders (masculine, feminine and neuter), and three numbers (singular, dual and plural).
The gender is determined by the ending of the noun. DROmos (street) and Andras (man) are masculine; KARta (card) and teeMEE (price) are feminine; doMAtio (room) and ksenodoHEEo (hotel) are neuter.

Greek nouns decline (change form) according to case (nominative, accusative, genitive, and vocative) and number (singular and plural).

Verbs have four moods (indicative, imperative, subjunctive and optative), three voices (active, middle and passive), as well as three persons (first, second and third) and various other forms. Modern Greek is one of the few Indo-European languages that has retained a synthetic passive.

The second person singular is used to address friends, relatives and children. The second person plural is used when speaking to a group of friends, relatives or children, but it is also used as the formal singular form to express respect. To a stranger you would say, Milate Galeeka? (Do you speak French?), but when speaking to a friend, MiLAee GaleeKA?

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There are 24 letters in the Greek alphabet: 17 consonants and 7 vowels. It was adapted from the Phoenician alphabet approximately 3,000 years ago. Greek was the first alphabet to use letters for both consonants and vowel sounds: before that, only the consonants were written. Greek is currently written from left to right, although this wasn’t always the case. In the beginning, it could be written from right to left and even in alternating directions on each line!

Greek is a phonetic language for the most part: the letters are pronounced in a uniform way. This predictability is very helpful for the learner. Moreover, words of more than one syllable usually have an accent mark over the vowel in the syllable that receives the spoken stress-- another aid for a foreigner wondering how to pronounce the words.

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