3A: Nouns: F1

This lesson focuses on nouns of the F1 category, a declension of feminine nouns. Nouns of this group come from the Ancient Greek 1st. declension. In the nominative singular, they can have two different endings, either or . Many female names are declined in the same way as these nouns, like Αθηνά and χώρα, or Νίκη and πηγή.

Compare how two nouns, χώρα and πηγή, decline in both Ancient Greek and Modern Greek. In Ancient Greek, they belong to the 1st. declension, and in Modern Greek, they belong to the F1 category.

χώρα (“town, village; country”)Ancient GreekModern Greek
Nominativeἡ χώρααἱ χῶραιη χώραοι χώρες
Genitiveτῆς χώραςτῶν χωρῶντης χώραςτων χωρών
Dativeτῇ χώρᾳταῖς χώραις
Accusativeτὴν χώραντὰς χώραςτη χώρατις χώρες
Vocative(ὦ) χώρα(ὦ) χῶραιχώραχώρες
πηγή (“source, spring”)Ancient GreekModern Greek
Nominativeἡ πηγήαἱ πηγαίη πηγήοι πηγές
Genitiveτῆς πηγῆςτῶν πηγῶντης πηγήςτων πηγών
Dativeτῇ πηγῇ ταῖς πηγαῖς
Accusativeτὴν πηγήντὰς πηγάςτην πηγήτις πηγές
Vocative(ὦ) πηγή(ὦ) πηγαίπηγήπηγές

There are a couple of simple differences to note. Once again, the dative case does not exist in Modern Greek, nor do iota subscript or the circumflex accent. The accusative singular no longer ends with -ν. The nominative plural ending is -ες, not -αι, as is the accusative plural instead of -άς.

Final -α

There is another important difference, too. In Ancient Greek, the final -α in the feminine nouns of the 1st. Declension would either be kept in all cases or changed into -η. This rule does not apply in Modern Greek. Take a look at the following table: the final -α remains in all cases in Modern Greek.

Ancient GreekModern Greek
Nominativeἡ θάλασσααἱ θάλασσαιη θάλασσαοι θάλασσες
Genitiveτῆς θαλάσσηςτῶν θαλασσῶντης θάλασσαςτων θαλασσών
Dativeτῇ θαλάσσῃταῖς θαλάσσαις
Accusativeτὴν θάλασσαντὰς θαλάσσαςτη θάλασσατις θάλασσες
Vocative(ὦ) θάλασσα(ὦ) θάλασσαιθάλασσαθάλασσες

Sometimes, however, the genitive changes into in words or phrases that follow a more ancient pattern. Some examples are λογαριασμός τραπέζης (“bank account”), or Λεωφόρος Βασιλίσσης Σοφίας (Avenue of Queen Sofia).

F1 Accent

Nouns in the F1 category which derive from the Ancient Greek 1st. declension keep their accent in the same syllable as the nominative, except in the genitive plural. In the genitive plural, the accent is dropped on the last syllable: οι θάλασσεςτων θαλασσών

Most F1 nouns in Modern Greek derive from the Ancient Greek 1st. declension. However, there are some F1 nouns which derive originally from the Ancient Greek 3rd declension. Feminine nouns in the Ancient Greek 3rd declension that have a consonant character (like ἐλπίς → ἐλπίδ-ος) change their group, and in Modern Greek they form the feminine as the F1 type in -α/-ες. For these nouns, the nominative form comes from their accusative singular in Ancient Greek. Consider the following examples:

Ancient Greek Nominative SingularAncient Greek Accusative SingularModern Greek Nominative Singular
ἡ πατρίς →τὴν πατρίδα →η πατρίδα (“homeland”)
ἡ ποιότης →τὴν ποιότητα →η ποιότητα (“quality”)
ἡ ταχύτης →τὴν ταχύτητα →η ταχύτητα (“speed”)
ἡ ἀκτίς →τὴν ακτῖνα →η ακτίνα (“ray”)
ἡ εἰκών →τὴν εἰκόνα →η εικόνα (“image”)
ἡ Ἑλλάς →τὴν Ἑλλάδα →η Ελλάδα (“Greece”)

In Modern Greek, nouns like these which derive from the Ancient Greek 3rd. declension keep their accent in the penultimate syllable in the genitive plural. One exception is the noun η γυναίκα (“woman”), which derives from the Ancient Greek 3rd. Declension, but it is stressed on the last syllable, των γυναικών

οι ελπίδες (“hope”) →των ελπίδων
οι εικόνες (“image”) →των εικόνων
οι μητέρες (“mother”) →των μητέρων

The following table presents the declension of this particular category of F1 group. 

Ancient GreekModern Greek
Nominativeἡ ἐλπίςαἱ ἐλπίδεςη ελπίδαοι ελπίδες
Genitiveτῆς ἐλπίδοςτῶν ἐλπίδωντης ελπίδαςτων ελπίδων
Dativeτῇ ἐλπίδιταῖς ἐλπίδαις
Accusativeτὴν ἐλπίδατὰς ἐλπίδαςτην ελπίδατις ελπίδες
Vocative(ὦ) ἐλπίς(ὦ) ἐλπίδεςελπίδαελπίδες