Our Everyday Greek

Me Lene Means They Call Me

By Dr. Dimitra Kamarinou

 

Λόγος is the Greek word that is probably most often used in English as a component of compound words. Ο λόγος means the verbal expression, the speech and the reason as well. In ancient Greek it additionally meant the logic, the rational thinking, implying the direct connection between talking, reasoning and rational thinking in the ancient Greek culture. In English λόγος occurs in three forms as a second compound of many words.

  1. –logy. In this case it indicates the science, the study of, the theory: archaeology, astrology, bacteriology, cosmology, dermatology, ecology, ethnology, geology, gynecology, meteorology, microbiology, morphology, neurology, philology, seismology, technology, theology, zoology. These are only a few of the English words that end in -logy. The first compound of these words is also a Greek word. If you know the meaning of the above words, then you know more Greek words than you think. Υou also know the Greek words analogy, apology, anthology, methodology, typology. (After the lessons on the Greek nouns a chapter will be dedicated to these words, so that you can quite easily enrich your Greek vocabulary).
  2. –logist. It indicates the specialist engaged in the study of something. Just add this ending instead of –logy in the above words and you name him: archaeologist, ethnologist etc.
  3. –logue. It indicates a form or a part of the speech: dialogue, monologue, epilogue.

As a first compound λόγος occurs in the word logo+therapy (=treatment). The logo, the graphic mark or symbol commonly used by commercial enterprises to promote their public recognition is an abbreviation of the Greek word logo+type <λόγος+τύπος (=imprint).

The word λόγος comes from the verb λέγω or λέω in spoken Greek, which means I say, I talk, I call, that is I express myself verbally. This is how this verb is conjugated:

 

Verb                                        Pronunciation                        Meaning

Εγώ λέ-ω                                 eYO LEo                               I say

Εσύ λε-ς                                  eSEE LES                             you say

Η μαμά λέ-ει                           EE maMA LEi                         mom says

Εμείς λέ-με                              eMEES LEme                        we say

Εσείς λέ-τε                              eSEES LEte                           you say

Η μαμά και ο μπαμπάς λέ-νε EE maMA ke o baBAS LEne  mom and dad say

 

Though its conjugation differs a little from the verbs we have already learned (κάνω, μένω) this verb is included in this unit because some common questions which will probably be addressed to you when introduced to a Greek person are:

Πώς σε λένε; (what do they call you?)

Πώς τον λένε τον μπαμπά σου; (what is your dad called?)

Πώς τη λένε τη μαμά σου; (what is your mom called?)

The exact translation would be: How do they call him, your daddy? How do they call her, your mom? In order to build the question, as well as the answer to this question, we use the third person plural, present tense of the verb λέω =λένε.

 

Greek word         Pronunciation            Meaning

ο λόγος               o LOyos                     speech, verbal expression, reason

πώς                     POS                          how

σε λένε                se LEne                     do they call you, they call you

τον λένε              ton LEne                    do they call him, they call him

τον μπαμπά σου ton baBA soo             your dad

την λένε              tin LEne                      do they call her, they call her

τη μαμά σου       ti mama soo                your mom

με λένε               me LEne                      they call me

μου                     moo                             my

The answer to the question “Πώς σε λένε;” is: Με λένε Δήμητρα.

If the question refers to another person and he is a man your answer should be: Τον μπαμπά μου τον λένε … For any male noun you build the answer the same way: Τον παππού μου τον λένε…, τον θείο μου τον λένε… If the question refers to a woman your answer should be: Τη μαμά μου τη λένε, τη γιαγιά μου τη λένε.

It’s not difficult to give the answer. Just put the word τον in front of and after the male noun and the word την before and after the female noun.

 

EXERCISE

Give the names of yourself and of the members of your family.

Πώς σε λένε;                                 Με λένε…

Πώς τον λένε τον μπαμπά σου;    Τον μπαμπά μου τον λένε…

Πώς τον λένε τον παππού σου;

Πώς τον λένε τον αδελφό σου;

Πώς τον λένε τον ξάδερφο σου;

Πώς τον λένε τον θείο σου;

Πώς τον λένε τον νονό σου;

 

Πώς τη λένε τη μαμά σου;             Τη μαμά μου τη λένε…

Πώς τη λένε τη γιαγιά σου;

Πώς τη λένε τη αδελφή σου;

Πώς τη λένε τη ξαδέλφη σου;

Πώς τη λένε τη θεία σου;

Πώς τη λένε τη νονά σου;

 

PRONUNCIATION KEY

i (idiom), ee (needle), e (energy), o (organism), oo (boot), y (yes). The capitalized syllables are accented.