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Παναγιώτης = Peter

Discussion in 'Ελληνικά (Greek)' started by modus.irrealis, Jul 27, 2009.

  1. modus.irrealis Senior Member

    English, Canada
    Growing up I've always thought the English equivalent of Παναγιώτης was Peter, as that's just the way things are done around here -- I've never met a Παναγιώτη who's not a Peter. But the other day I realized that there doesn't seem to be any reason for this, and I don't see why this wouldn't be one of those names that different people would choose different English names for, so I was wondering whether anybody knew why this association is so strong -- or perhaps it just seems that way to me and the association is not all that strong.
  2. shawnee

    shawnee Senior Member

    English - Australian
    An excellent point. The name Peter does pose legal problems in Greece where it is not recognised as synonymous with Panaghiotis. If I'm not mistaken it is regarded as an equivalent of Petros. However, the main thrust of your inquiry; how the connection between the Peter - Panaghiotis was made originally remains interesting to me also.
  3. Akritas Senior Member

    The answer is 'Phonetic Transcription'! Let me explain this further.
    When people have to give their name in another language or live in a country where they speak a language other than their mother tongue, they had to modify their names (one example is immigrants). There are two types of 'name translations' : Historic (or semantic) and phonetic. The first is when a name has a (normally historic) equivalent which means that this is how a christian/historic/ancient etc name has been translated in the specific country. The second is how a 'foreign' name is transcribed (spelled more or less) in the local language. Sometimes the two translations are identical. Sometimes however, people in order to make their life easier or because they want to integrate to their new environment or even due to the fact that 'they didn't know', they choose to change their name to the nearest phonetic equivalent. Here are a few examples.

    Name Historic Translation Phonetic Translation
    Πέτρος Peter Petros
    Γιάννης John Yiannis
    Παναγιώτης - Panagiotis
    Κώσταντίνος Constantine Constantinos (and not Gus!)

    And here are 2 of the biggest mistranslations of names:
    Δημήτρης is not Jimmy (comes from James)
    Βασίλης is not Billy (comes from William).
  4. cougr Senior Member

  5. Akritas Senior Member

    'Sometimes however, people in order to make their life easier or because they want to integrate to their new environment or even due to the fact that 'they didn't know', they choose to change their name to the nearest phonetic equivalent.'

    If you think about it, Peter is one of the most common names beginning with the letter 'P', hence the choice by many Greeks to use it. I know of a Greek-American whose name is 'Φώτης', however he is registered and known as 'Frank', obviously due to the letter 'F'. The opposite also happens. When a non-Greek is baptised, he/she is given a Greek christian name which is the nearest phonetic equivalent unless his/her name exists in Greek. Once again, I know someone whose name was Debbie and she was baptised 'Δέσποινα' (can you see the slight resemblance?).
    As I mentioned earlier, the vast majority of Greeks named Δημήτρης living abroad are known as Jimmy which comes from James. Furthermore, all the Greeks called Βασίλης choose Bill (from William).
    There is also a historic/traditional aspect. Let's not forget that the first wave of Greek immigration to the North America took place at the end of the 19th century/beginning of the 20th. At that time many immigrant were 'renamed' by the American authorities in order to make their names easier to pronounce and read. If therefore someone named Panagiotis was 'renamed' or chose himself the name 'Peter', it bacame some sort of 'tradition' that all Greeks named 'Panagiotis' to be called Peter.
    To this date, the vast majority (if not all) of Greeks living in Greece believe that Jimmy=Δημήτρης and Billy=Βασίλης due to the traditional 'renaming' which has taken place for decades.
  6. modus.irrealis Senior Member

    English, Canada
    I see why Peter could be an English equivalent, but I was wondering if there was a reason for it being the English equivalent. Like my own name has no English version but different people use different names in English. But I guess it could be something that became a tradition with the most common names, although it still seems odd that there don't seem to be competing traditions.
  7. Banayiodis New Member

    Hi there! Thank you for this thread and am so glad people are realising this very bad translation!

    I have no idea why they are doing this as in the bible Peter is Petros and in Aramaic Peter is Cephas which both mean "stone" john 1:42. Also Pierre means Peter and stone etc please read on my wiki page for this and also my name is Παναγιώτης. Panagiotis
    Panagiotis (Greek: Παναγιώτης), "Παν" (all) "αγιὡτης" (holy or saint), pronounced Banayiodis, is a common male Greek name with biblical roots. Like all Greek first names, they all have meanings from either mythology, nature or religion. Panagiotis derives from the Greek epithet of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, who is called the Panagia (All saint). The female version of Panagiotis is Panagiota (Παναγιὡτα) and both share the name day with Maria, Mario, Mary, Despoina and all their diminutives on the 15th August [1]. There are many diminutives of Panagiotis such as Panos, Panayis, Takis, Banico (Diminutive of Cyprus). There is no english equivalent for Panayiotis.

    Traditionally spelt as Panagiotis, there are modern and more phonetically correct ways so spell the name such as Banayiodis. Varients include Panayiotis, Panagiodis, Banayiotis, Panayiodis, Panagiwtis. The reason for this is because that some letters in Greek do not have exact equivalents to English. The Greek language is an ancient language to which is still used today, whether in the Orthodox church or has blended into the modern Greek language. The most common spelling which begins with a P, is not actually pronounced like pan, it is more like the B in best.

    Incorrect translations of the name

    The most common incorrect translation of the name Panagiotis is Peter. The name Peter in Greek is Petros (Πἑτρος) which is a biblical name. It means Stone and the name Peter comes from the Aramaic word for stone "Cephas" or "Kefas". Kefas was originally Simon according to Matthew and Jesus named him as Peter, see the "Rock Dialogue"[2]Saint Peter. In other countries around the world Peter is known as Pierre (France) and Pedro (Spain) which all mean stone. Diminutives of the name such Petrina, Petra, Petroulla, Petraki, Piedra and the name Peter itself all have the name day of the 29th of June and not the 15th of August which is the name day for Panagiotis.

    People should stop Anglosizing names that are not or do not have an equivalent. In Greece we do not do this, for example If your name is John , we will spell it as Τζον with the exception we do not have a letter J. We do not neccaserrily call you Ιωάννης.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2013
  8. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    Greek Greece
    Hello Banayiodis and welcome to the forums!

    Well, to begin with, Παναγιώτης is not pronounced with a "B" in all of the Greek speaking world. In most places the P remains a P. Same goes for the "D". In most places the "T" is a "T" . So Banayiodis would only be a correct trascription for the pronunciation of certain regions of the Greek speaking world and the same goes for Panagiodis etc. Panagiwtis would not be acceptable in any circumstance. While in "greeklish" we use "w" because it looks a bit like omega, it cannot be used to transcribe it.

    As for the meaning of "Peter". No one said it's not the equivalent of Πέτρος.

    Lastly, I'm afraid the question of whether people should anglicize their names or not is of cultural and not linguistic and we cannot discuss it in this forum.
  9. Banayiodis New Member

    No Banayiodis is like a B. we not say a π like the word pot! That's just a dated theory. Also the τ is pronounced like an English d as in dust. The Greek alphabet doesn't have to have English equivalents. Correct is B and using a D instead of a T is totally phonetically correct. The Greek language is not English. I am a Greek and studied in Greece and have studied Ancient Greek at cambride.
    And yes it is pronounced with a B as in best.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2013
  10. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    Greek Greece
    And I'm Greek too, lived in Piraeus till I was 33, (that was 6 years ago), studied Φιλολογία at the University of Athens and, apart from many friends from around Greece whose name is Panagiotis, my one and only brother and my paternal granfather are both called Panagiotis. :) See, we've now both showed our credentials and that gets us nowhere really .
    So you are saying that there's no "p" sound in English that sounds like our Π? And we have to go all the way to "b"? And no equivalent "t" either? Or are you saying that it's actually pronounced Μπαναγιώντης?
  11. apmoy70 Senior Member

    Perhaps what confuses Banayiodis is that in English, both p & t are aspirated, while we pronounce them unaspirated?
  12. Αγγελος Senior Member

    Banayiodi, what you said about Greek π/τ is false and misleading to our non-Greek readers. What IS true is this: in English, word-initial p/t are ASPIRATED, i.e. followed by a slight puff of breath (it is believed that ancient Greek φ/θ were also pronounced that way), while in Greek (and in most European languages) they are unaspirated, as they are in English after an initial s- or a stressed vowel (as in 'spin' or 'supper'). It is therefore true that Greek π/τ are not exactly identical with English p/t (sounds are seldom precisely identical across languages), and that they share this characteristic (of being unaspirated) with English b/d. But aspiration is not significant in Greek (in other words, an English speaker who pronounces Πέτρος with an aspirated initial P will have an accent but will be perfectly understood, just as a Greek who will pronounce 'Peter' without aspirating the initial P will have an accent but will be perfectly understood), while voicing (the primary characteristic which distinguishes p from b in English and π from μπ in Greek) is significant in both languages. To be sure, lack of voice is often (but not always; compare 'supper' and 'rubber' or 'latter' and 'ladder', if you don't pronounce the last two words identically) accompanied by aspiration in English, just as voicing is often (but not always, not in μπαμπάς vs. παπάς) accompanied by prenasalisation in Greek; but the standard transilteration of π is definitely p. Παναγιώτης should be transliterated as Panagiotis (closer to the spelling) or Panayotis (closer to the pronunciation), period.
  13. Banayiodis New Member

  14. Banayiodis New Member

    ... Get Any non speaking Greek to pronounce Banayiodis and Panagiotis and they will pronounce Banayiodis beautifully.
    P is too strong. It's not PAN
    G is wrong. It's not GUN
    T is wrong. It's not Tissue
  15. Eltheza

    Eltheza Senior Member

    Worcestershire, UK
    English - England (Midlands)
    Hi Banayiodis:)!

    Presumably, a "non speaking Greek" (I'd prefer 'non-speaking') would be dumb and so wouldn't be pronouncing anything at all:rolleyes:!

    I'm a Greek-speaking Brit and taught English in Athens for 18 years. I taught a lot of students called Panayiotis and they didn't complain. Believe me, they would have done so if they didn't like it:D!
  16. Timothy1987 Junior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    English - Australia
    Living in Australia, the reality is that most Anglos would laugh at a name such as Παναγιώτης due to their own ignorance, so a name like Peter is chosen.
  17. deerdock Junior Member

    American English

    I think "Gus" is derived from the honorific title (i.e. Augustus) Constantinus received during his lifetime.

    I don't quite understand. I haven't encountered any Greeks who pronounce the "π" as a "b" or the "τ" as a "d". Perhaps you're referring to a particular dialect of Greek?
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2014

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