Archive for April, 2010

The Language of Animals

April 26, 2010

It’s 6AM, the sun is coming up and a sleepy cockerel slowly wakes up…and what does he say….HUUUUUNG FER HER!!!

Why?

Because that’s apparently what he says in China!

In Greece, the same cockerel would have said KOKORIKO, in Britain COCK A DOODLE DOO and in Sweden KUCKELIKU!!!

Animals might sound the same wherever we go in the world, but each native language describes it differently. Here is a short list of what animals say in English, Greek and Swedish:

CAT

Greek: niaou

English: meow

Swedish: mjau

DOG

Greek: gav

English: woff

Swedish: vov

PIG

Greek:  gri gri

English:  oink oink

Swedish:  noff noff

HORSE

Greek:  chlimintrizo

English:  neigh

Swedish:  gnagg

DONKEY

Greek:  iaa iaa

English:  hee haw

Swedish:  skri

CROW

Greek:  kra

English:  caw

Swedish:  krax

If you speak another language, please let me know what your animals say!

For more about Greek, Skiathos and our books, please go to http://www.skiathosbooks.com

“Posh” Greek

April 19, 2010

Have you ever wondered why Greeks sometimes say lefkό krasί and sometimes άspro krasi when ordering white wine? If yes, you are entering the world of ‘posh’ Greek …

Modern Greek is a natural development of ancient Greek that was spoken by the predecessors that lived here 2000 and more years ago. Although there are many similarities, there are also enough differences to make it extremely hard for a Greek anno 2010 to get by if he had a time machine to travel back to his great, great, great, great, great grandfathers.

Some ancient words have survived in everyday Modern Greek and we tend to use them when we are talking about certain special things, like wine, for example.

The Modern Greek word for white is άspro but the ancient one is lefkό and so, when ordering that liquid sent from the gods, we ask for lefko krasi… If we want red wine, we use the modern word kόkkino (red) but if you look at most Greek wine bottles, it says erythrόs oinos, erythros being ancient Greek for red and oinos (pronounced eeenos) ancient for wine.

The ancient word for blue is galάzios or galanόs, which is why the Greeks call their flag Galanόlefki….sounds nicer that bleaspri, doesn’t it?!? The White House is Washington could be called άspro spiti in Modern Greek but because it is a unique, official building, it is called Lefkόs Oikos (ancient for house).

There are tons of examples: the island Lefkada, Lefcas, is named after its white rocks and the Red Sea is called Erythrά Thάlassa.  A blue blooded person is called Galazoaimatos (aima is blood) and if you want to compliment someone on their blue eyes, say they are galάzia or galanά…it will be appreciated.

If you have questions about Greek or are interested in books about Skiathos and Greece, please visit: http://www.skiathosbooks.com

What are You Afraid of?

April 12, 2010

A phobia is the complete, often irrational, fear of all sorts of things…unlike “normal” fear that might make us shudder; phobias completely paralyze or make us absolutely hysterical.

The word for “fear” in Greek is fόvos, fobάme means “I am afraid” and fovismέnos is the “frightened” person. A fovία, however, is a “phobia”. There are literally hundreds of fobias around and most of them stem from the Greek language. Here is a list of some common ones, which will help you enrich your Greek vocabulary as you probably already know some of them:

Agoraphobia: fear of open spaces (agora means market as in shopping area)

Androphobia: fear of men (andras means man)

Arachnophobia: fear of spiders (arachne means spider)

Bibliophobia: fear of books (vivlio means book)

Cardiophobia: fear of the heart (kardia means heart)

Ceranophobia: fear of thunder (keravnos means thunder)

Claustrophobia: fear of enclosed spaces (kleisto means closed)

Demophobia: fear of crowds (demos means people)

Emetophobia: fear of vomiting (emetos means vomit)

Ergophobia: fear of work (ergo means work)

Gymnofobia: fear of nudity (gymnos means naked)

Hypnophobia: fear of sleeping (ypnos means sleep)

Ideophobia: fear of ideas (idea means idea)

Monophobia: fear of being alone (monos means alone)

Pharmacofobia: fear of medicine (farmako means medicine)

Thalassophobia: fear of the sea (thalassa means sea)

Xenophobia: fear of strangers (xenos means stranger in this context)

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