Courses, resources and discussion on Greek language.
If you know of a good link or course please post it.
Posts: 1945
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 9:57 pm
Location: Apokoronas


Postby SatCure » Sat Mar 13, 2010 11:09 pm

Why must I say "το ρουλεμάν ροδών" (the wheel bearing) and not "το ρουλεμάν ροδόυ" ?

Isn't "ροδών" dative case?

Is there a general rule for when dative is used instead of genitive?

Posts: 1599
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 4:54 pm

Postby Clio » Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:10 am

“ροδών" is genitive plural. Modern Greek talks about the bearing of the wheels rather than the bearing of the wheel.

Modern Greek doesn’t use a dative case as such, and never had an ablative, which makes life a lot easier for those of us who cut our teeth on Latin.

If you’re really into grammar, treat yourself to the definitive and comprehensive Greek Grammar by Holton Mackridge and Philippaki-Warburton. This explains, re the vestigial dative: “the dative case of ancient Greek, though long defunct in the living language, has left a few remants in the form of cliches or set phrases”. Examples: “τοις εκατόν» (per cent), λόγω (+ gen) (by reason of), βάσει (+ gen) (on the basis of)

They continue:

“Many of these dative constructions are found in prepositional phrases introduced by ancient prepositions such as “ev” – e.g. “εν μέρει” (in part). Some of these phrases are now written – and thought of – as a single word.

“Outside fixed expressions, the dative is not used productively in Greek, except very occasionally for jocular purposes”.


Posts: 1945
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 9:57 pm
Location: Apokoronas

Postby SatCure » Sun Mar 14, 2010 3:58 pm

Excellent explanation, thanks! It didn't occur to me that it was plural. :)

I can't say that I'm "into grammar" per se, but I like to understand at least the basics.

I have lots of books but half the battle is knowing what to look for!

(I learned German, French and Spanish instead of Latin.)

Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:34 am
Location: Kastelli-Kissamos

Ball bearings and co.

Postby PLUTO » Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:02 pm

Clio’s explanation is indeed absolutely correct and the details she gives about the expressions and other situations where the old dative is used are to be learned by heart.
Though it is true that local Greeks may say το ρουλεμάν ροδών, it is grammatically incorrect, as well as technically incorrect. Το ρουλεμάν ροδού is completely incorrect since the noun is η ρόδα which genitive is της ρόδας and not του ροδού!
Grammatically and technically correct would be: το ρουλεμάν τροχού or τα ρουλεμάν τροχού and that’s how you will find it, typing it on Alternatively you will find some results for το ρουλεμάν ρόδας but none for ροδών
Το ρουλεμάν ροδών means “the ball bearing of the wheels” which is illogical in this specific context and more so, considering that wheels have two ball bearings. Saying τα ρουλεμάν ροδών would be grammatically correct, but not technically.
The correct use of the word ρόδα is limited to some wheels like underneath a piece of furniture, … mechanical devices such as wheelchairs κάθισμα με ρόδες and a steering wheel on a boat (replacing the tiller) η ρόδα του τιμονιού.
Ο τροχός is more specifically used for vehicles, 2-, 3- and x-wheelers and for other wheel-like items. This specificity is well documented through the fact that composed words meaning “street police”, “caravan”, “wheeled vehicles”, “roller skates” are based on the word τροχός: ο/η τροχονόμος (ο τροχαίος, η τροχαία), το τροχόσπιτο, το τροχοφόρο, το τροχοπέδιλο.
Clio’s advice for a very good grammar is judicious. There will be a new edition in august 2011. It’s for advanced learners though as is the equally excellent grammar of Triantafillidis, Μικρή ελληνική γραμματική in English (2004) (15€) ( ... frasi.html )..
The overall best grammar is the one written by Χρήστος Κλαίρης and Γιώργος Μπαμπινιώτης, Γραμματική της νέας Ελληνικής (ISBN 9604420259), but it’s in Greek.
To use those one has to have a thorough knowledge of the language and of grammar in general. I always advice my students to build their own grammar based on the grammar and the tables given during the lessons, so that they can build them up gradually, which is less horrifying...
Good luck!

Return to “Learning Greek”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests