The topic of infinitive verbs in Greek is one of the most confusing ones for native and non-native Greek speakers. If you translate the word “infinitive” from English to Greek, the result will be “το απαρέμφατο”. However, the use and purpose of “το απαρέμφατο” in Modern Greek is not the same as of the use and purpose of the “infinitive” in English.
The Greek infinitive verbs are rarely used on their own. Greek speakers use them in combination to particles (να/ θα) or the helping verb “έχω” (to have) to form different tenses and moods. For example, “εγώ τρώω” means “I eat”. In the future simple, the sentence transforms into “θα φάω” (I will eat). “Φάω” is the infinitive form of “τρώω”.
Unfortunately, you have to memorize the infinitive form of each verb. Sometimes the infinitive form is exactly the same as the first person singular of the Ενεστώτας (Present Tense), other times, these two forms of the verb have nothing in common. Here are some of the most common Greek verbs in the first person singular in Ενεστώτας (Present Tense) and in their infinitive form.
In Ancient Greece, they used the infinitive as a non-finite verb form. It is a non declinable nominal verb form equivalent to a noun, similar to the gerund in English. Sometimes, modern Greek speakers still use ancient Greek infinitive verbs, so it is important to know how to recognize them. The ancient Greek infinitive verbs end with “ειν”, for example: “το φιλοσοφεῖν” (to “philosophize”, to pursue knowledge).
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Is there a better way to immerse yourself in a language other than watching films and tv-series in that language? You can improve your Greek language skills with Greek-speaking films and tv-series. Helinika presents some Greek movies and tv-shows recommendations for its international community. Most movies and series episodes can be found online for free, even on YouTube. Comment down below if you want recommendations for Greek books and songs!
Greek TV-Series That Worth Your Time | Greek-Speaking Series
A story by Charis Romas and Anna Chatzisofia. It is a drama/ romantic/ period/ comedy tv-series which aired 10 years ago. Although it was filmed quite recently, it takes place in a fictional boarding school for girls the years before and during World War II. It covers different topics, such as love, self-sacrifice, friendship, young romance, parent-children relationships, teen pregnancies, and feminism in early 20th Century Greece. It has a very emotional ending, which will offer you one of the most bitter-sweet feelings you will ever get after finishing a series. You can watch it for free on YouTube.
A story by Leuteris Papapetrou. One of the most iconic ‘90s Greek tv-series is “Εγκλήματα” (Crimes). It is a dark comedy and a memorable character from this series is Soso Papadima – but I will not give too much information about her and spoil anything. You should watch the series yourself. It is also available for free on YouTube.
Δύο Ξένοι (Two Strangers)
A story by Alexandros Rigas and Dimitris Apostolou. “Δύο Ξένοι” is the typical ‘90s romantic comedy that features two people with completely different backgrounds and personalities who meet and fall in love. On one hand we have a bubbly yet uncultured morning show presenter and on the other hand a grumpy theater director and drama teacher. By watching this show, you will also be able to hear some of the most memorable lines from well-known ancient Greek tragedies. The series is also available here on YouTube.
Περί Ανέμων και Υδάτων (On Winds and Waters)
A story by Kakia Iyerinou. This tv-series aired in the early 2000s and it features some of the most well-known Greek actors and actresses. It is a romantic series and it takes place in the beautiful island of Corfu. The intro song is also by Mikis Theodorakis, one of the best contemporary Greek composers and lyricists. You can also watch it for free on YouTube!
Το Νησί (To Nisi/ The Island)
Based on Victoria Hislop’s book. “Το νησί” is a drama that premiered in 2010 but takes place in 1939, in a small village in the island of Crete. “Νησί” means “island” in Greece. However, the title refers to another tiny island: Spinalogga. A place that was inhabited by the unfortunate people who had fallen ill by a mysterious disease. I am not going to spoil anything, so if you are interested in learning more about the plot, which is based on true events, you can always watch the series. You won’t find it on YouTube but on other video platforms.
Greek Movies You Should Start Watching | Greek-Speaking Films
Ποτέ την Κυριακή (Never on Sunday)
Written and directed by Jules Dassin, starring Melina Merkouri. This ‘60s movie has a special place in my heart, since it features my hometown, Piraeus, which is the port of Athens, Greece. It follows Homer, an American classical scholar in search of happiness, and Ilya, a local woman who is considered immoral for sleeping with men in exchange for money. The movie won the Academy Award for Best Original Song (written by the legendary Manos Hadjidakis) and was nominated for countless more Academy Awards. Melina Merkouri, the leading actress, won “Best Actress” at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival. A movie that every person who learns Greek should watch at least once in their lifetime. And yes, you can find it here on YouTube with English subtitles.
Πολίτικη Κουζίνα (With a Touch of Spice)
Directed by Tassos Boulmetis. This 2003 movie will help you understand the culture of the Greeks who originate from the city of Constantinople, through its culinary history. It has won eight Greek State Film Awards, including the Award for Best Film, and it had a huge success in the cinemas. You can watch it on YouTube but at a very small price.
Directed by Pantelis Voulgaris. This 2004 history drama was supported by Martin Scorsese, has countless Greek State Film Awards and was nominated for Golden St. George at Moscow International Film Festival. It follows the story of a 1922 young woman who is sent to the United States on a boat to marry a man she has never met. She is among the 700 brides-to-be from Greece – all of them have tragic stories to tell. You can watch it for free on YouTube.
Αν (What If)
By Christoforos Papakaliatis. This 2012 movie will give you a tour of the most beautiful places in the city of Athens. It also briefly features some of the events that happened in Greece after the crisis of 2008. However, these events mostly act as the background to the main storyline, which has made other people love the film or hate it. It has won Best Sound in the Hellenic Film Academy Awards. You can watch it for free on YouTube.
Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. This 2009 Greek film was maybe the first one that fell under the what we (now) call “Weird Greek Wave Cinema” category. I don’t want to spoil anything from the plot, so I am only going to mention that it was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards and it won the Prix Un Certain Regard at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. It has also won countless other awards and prices in Greece and abroad, including the Feature Film Award at Montreal Festival of New Cinema. Unfortunately, you cannot watch the entire movie on YouTube but you can easily find it on other video platforms.
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Most of us know vampires from Hollywood and, of course, the 19th Century Gothic horror novel “Dracula” by Bram Stoker. They are blood-thirsty people (or creatures) of the night. They are called “the undead” and they are still very feared in the Balkans and in Eastern Europe. Vampires are often depicted as being pale, aristocratic, and charming. Sometimes, they resemble frightening monsters. They always seek blood but, in certain occasions, they consume people’s energy and are therefore called energy vampires. All of them fear the sunlight, garlic, and certain metals. +What if I told you that ancient Greeks believed in vampires as well?
The Modern Greek “Vrykolakas”
The modern Greek vampire is called “vrykolakas”. A vrykolakas is an undead creature that resembles a zombie (at least in the way they are portrayed in Hollywood movies). They drink blood but they have cravings for flesh as well. According to legend, these supernatural beings were once humans. These people either got excommunicated by the Orthodox Church or followed a sinful lifestyle. After their death, they turn into horrific creatures that leave their tombs at night and scare or even hunt the living.
The fear of the vrykolakas spread among Greeks when the latter encountered some Slavic groups in the Balkan region. In fact, as many of you might already know, vampires are very popular among the Slavs. In Greece, the fear of the vrykolakas soon faded away and most Greeks are aware of vampires thanks to Stoker’s “Dracula”. What most people do not know is that stories of vampire-like creatures are way older than the Irish writer’s book and the 17th-century folklore.
This belief seemed to have led some ancient Greek cities to take protective measures when burying their dead. Neolithic graves discovered in Choirokoitia in Cyprus indicate that people were trying to stop the dead from exiting their graves. They would place rocks on the dead bodies’ chests, making sure that they would not escape during the night. Similar burial sites were found in other places across Greece.
Apart from these findings, ancient Greek mythology includes many stories of undead creatures that targeted people – especially at night. Empusa and Lamia were two vampiric monsters in ancient Greek folklore. Their origins are not clear; some believed they were the angry ghosts of two dead women, while other said that they were demons.
Embusa and Lamia would take the forms of beautiful women to attract young, energetic men who wandered alone at night. With their charming beauty, they would lure them into dark alleys and fields. There, they would attack these men, drinking their blood and sometimes eating their flesh.
A similar legend is the one of Mormolyceia or Mormo. A female ghost who targeted babies and young children instead. During the Byzantine times, Mormo and Lamia were considered to be the same supernatural being. In fact, it is believed that the original story of Lamia described her as a ghost that targeted infants.
According to the legend, Lamia was a Libyan queen who (unsurprisingly) became Zeus’ lover. Hera, Zeus’ sister and wife, started to harass the woman by abducting and killing her children as soon as they were born. Lamia became so enraged that started targeting other people’s babies. Ancient Greek women would often mention Lamia when their children were misbehaving to make sure that they don’t sneak out of their beds at night. Similar stories were told in other ancient communities around the globe.
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