Learning Greek for Dummies – Lesson 2

This is a series of lessons that will teach you how to read and write in the Greek language. Each lesson contains a small section of what is considered to be the first mother-language of the world. The goal is to be able at the end of the series to easily read and speak Greek and even read ancient Greek texts from the original.

  • This Knol is part of the Learning Greek for Dummies collection.
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  • Learning Greek Tip: Use the daily Harmonia Philosophica Philosophy Wires to learn Greek! Each Philosophy Wire is written in both English and Greek (with the specific goal to convey the same exactly meaning), so by reading both you can have some very good learning guides on Greek language!!! Contact me for any help you might need!

Lesson 2 summary

In Lesson 2 we will keep using the same model we used in Lesson 1. We will see a new dialogue and attempt to analyze it.  The main goal is to learn how some verbs are used in various persons. Please do not forget to ask anything you want, either via email or via comments in this page.

Dialogue No. 2

This dialogue is a little more complicated than the previous one. The theme is about philosophy. The first speaker is Socrates and the second is one of his students. They talk about ethics. Socrates attempts to show that human can do good if he knows himself, while his student is an advocate of the idea that humans are inherently bad and will do anything to get what they want. [In brackets one can read the way the Greek words are pronounced, with Latin characters].

The dialogue goes like this:

– Δηλαδή Σωκράτη πιστεύεις στον άνθρωπο; [Diladi Sokrati pisteveis ston anthropo?]

– Ναι. Πιστεύω ότι ο άνθρωπος είναι καλός κατά βάση. [Nai. Pistevo oti o anthropos einai kalos kata vasi]

– Τότε πως εξηγείς όλα τα κακά που κάνει; [Tote pos eksigeis ola ta kaka pou kanei?]

– Φταίει το ότι δεν έχει γνωρίσει καλά τον εαυτό του. [Ftaiei to oti den ehei gnorisei kala ton eauto tou]

In English that same dialogue means:

– So Socrates, do you believe in man?

– Yes, I believe that human is good basically.

– Then how do you explain all the evil things he does?

– The problem is that he does not yet know himself.

In that dialogue, the student of Socrates starts by asking a question. He says.

Diladi   => So, (“Diladi” is used when you want to explain something)

Socrati   => Socrates,

pisteveis    => do you believe

ston       => in

anthropo?    => man? (meaning “human”)

The verb “pistevo” (believe) is used in various persons as follows: pistevo, pisteveis, pistevei, pistevoume, pistevete, pistevoun (in English: I believe, you believe, he believes, we believe, you believe, they believe).

Socrates then answers:

Nai                    => Yes.

Pistevo              => I believe

oti                     => that

o anthropos       => (the) human (the article “the” is not usually used in English)

einai                 => is

kalos                => good

kata vasi           => in his foundations

So Socrates answers that he believes humas is inherently good. Again the verb “pistevo” is used, but this time in the first person (Socrates says what he believes / pistevei).

The student again questions his teachers opinion.

Tote                => Then

pos                 => how

eksigeis          => do you explain

ola                  => all

ta kaka           => the bad (things)

pou                 => he

kanei?            => does?

The verb “eksigo” (Eng: explain), is used as follows:

eksigo     —> I explain

eksigeis  —> You explain

eksigei    —> He/She explains

So here we meet again with another verb used in the second person: eksigeis (Eng: explain). That verb is used in the same way the verb “pistevo” is used: eksigo, eksigeis, eksigei, eksigoume, eksigeite, eksigoun (English: I explain, you explain, he/she explains, we explain, you explain, they explain).Besides that, please be careful to read and start memorizing the various new words you encounter in the dialogues. For example the word “pos” (Eng: how) should be known to you by now…

And Socrates finally answers…

Ftaiei              => What is to be blaimed is

to                   => the (fact)

oti                  => that

den                => (he) does notehei               => havegnorisei          => metkala               => goodton eauto tou  => himselfTwo new verbs here: ehei (Eng: have) and gnorisei (Eng: meet).

Lesson Questions & Answers

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Author: skakos

Spiros Kakos is a thinker located in Greece. He has been Chief Editor of Harmonia Philosophica since its inception. In the past he has worked as a senior technical advisor for many years. In his free time he develops software solutions and contributes to the open source community. He has also worked as a phD researcher in the Advanced Materials sector related to the PCB industry. He likes reading and writting, not only philosophy but also in general. He believes that science and religion are two sides of the same coin and is profoundly interested in Religion and Science philosophy. His philosophical work is mainly concentrated on an effort to free thinking of "logic" and reconcile all philosophical opinions under the umbrella of the "One" that Parmenides - one of the first thinkers - visualized. The "Harmonia Philosophica" articles program is the tool that will accomplish that. Life's purpose is to be defeated by greater things. And the most important things in life are illogical. We must fight the dogmatic belief in "logic" if we are to stay humans... Credo quia absurdum!

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