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Say the colors in Greek Posted by on Apr 6, 2014 in Music, Vocabulary

Ήρθε η άνοιξη! (Irthe i anixi, spring is in the air) Spring is the season of colors and the Greek vocabulary is rich in adjectives and idioms related to colors (χρώματα, hromata).

by Rania

by Rania

The colors grammatically are adjectives, so they  have genders, singular and plural and cases, i.e. they are not invariable.

1. Form of colors

  • Some colors are invariable because they are non-Greek words:

Μπλε (ble, blue), ροζ (roz, pink), μωβ (mauve), μπεζ (beige), εκρού (ekrou, ecru), γκρι (gri, gery), τιρκουάζ  (turquoise), χακί (haki, khaki), καφέ (kafe, brown)

E.x. Η Σοφία φοράει μία μπλε φούστα (I Sophia foraei mi able fousta): Sophia is wearing a blue skirt.

 

  • In some standard expressions we use the colors in their older form:

Ερυθρός Σταυρός (eritrhos stavros): Red Cross

Κυανούς Σταυρός (kianous stavros): Blue Cross

Λευκός οίκος (lefkos oikos): White House

  • The other adjectives  end in:

 ος (masc.) –η (fem.) –ο (neuter)

Κόκκινος, κόκκινη, κόκκινο (kokkinos, kokkini, kokkino): red

Μαύρος, μαύρη, μαύρο (mavros, mavri, mavro): black

Άσπρος, άσπρη, άσπρο (aspros, aspri, aspro): white

Πράσινος, πράσινη, πράσινο (prasinos, prasini, prasino): green

Κίτρινος, κίτρινη, κίτρινο (kitrinos, kitrini, kitrino): yellow

ος (masc.) –α (fem.) –ο (neuter)

Γκρίζος, γκρίζα, γκρίζο (grizos, griza, grizo): grey

ος (masc.) –ια (fem.) –ο (neuter)

Γαλάζιος, γαλάζια, γαλάζιο (galazios, galazia, galazio): light blue

ής (masc.) –ιά (fem.) –ί (neuter)

Note that some cases are not commonly used.

Βυσσινής, βυσσινιά, βυσσινί (vissinis, vissinia, vissini): the color of the sour cherry

Σταχτής, σταχτιά, σταχτί (stahtis, stahtia, stahti): the color of the ash

Πορτοκαλής, πορτοκαλιά, πορτοκαλί (portokalis, portokalia, portokalia): orange

Καφετής, καφετιά, καφετί (kafetis, kagetia, kafeti): brown

Θαλασσής, θαλασσιά, θαλασσί (thalassis, thalassia, thalassi): ocean/sea  blue

 

2. Use of colors

Colors have the same gender, case and number as the noun they define. Usually, they are placed before it:

Έχω μία μαύρη γάτα. (Eho mia mavri gata):  I have a black cat.

Sometimes, they can be put after the moun:

Έχεις γάτα άσπρη ή μαύρη; (Eheis gata aspri i mavri): Do you have a black cat or a white cat?

If they define a specific noun they are always placed before it:

Βλέπεις τη μαύρη γάτα; (Vlepeis ti mavri gata): Do you see the black cat?

3. And some “colorful” expressions:

Κοκκινίζω από το θυμό μου (kokkinizo apo to thimo mou) : (literally) I turn red from (because of) anger

Κοκκινίζω από ντροπή (kokkinizo apo dropi) I turn red from shyness / embarassement

Μαυρίζωαπό το κακό μου (mavrizo apo to kako mou) I turn black from rage

Πρασινίζω από τη ζήλεια μου (prasinizo apo ti zilia mou) I turn green from jealousy

Ασπρίζω από το φόβο μου (asprizo apo to fovo mou) I turn white from fear

Κιτρινίζω από το φόβο μου (kitrinizo apo to bovo mou) I turn yellow from fear

And a song: Rosa Rosalia (the pink color) by Lena Platonos

Ρόζα Ροζαλία (το ροζ χρώμα) [Roza Rozalia to roz hroma]

 

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About the Author:Ourania

Ourania lives in Athens. She holds a degree in French Literature and a Master’s degree in Special Education for Children. Since 2008, she has been teaching Greek to foreigners.


Comments:

  1. lulz:

    how to say black unicorn ?

    • Ourania:

      @lulz Μαύρος μονόκερος (mavros monokeros).

  2. jule:

    how do you say orange the color versus orange the fruit, or are they the same? if i was to name our new office pet, an orange male Betta fish “Orange” [our university’s color], which version of orange would I use? portokalis, portokalia, portokalia?

    • Ourania:

      @jule The fruit is πορτοκάλι (the syllable κα is stressed) and the color is πορτοκαλί (the syllable λι is stressed). [portokAli vs portokalI].
      The fish is male so he should be called portokalis (the syllable lis is stressed)

      • jule:

        @Ourania oh my gosh! thank you SO much for the help and quick reply!! [stress on the word/syllable ‘SO’] 🙂

  3. Vasilis:

    Thanks for this! I’m Greek but lost much of my vocabulary due to family splitting up.


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