broken / aching body parts - translation?

Discussion in 'Ελληνικά (Greek)' started by alfie1888, Nov 3, 2012.

  1. alfie1888

    alfie1888 Senior Member

    Kent, England
    English - England
    I would just like to ask for some help when it comes to describing the pain someone feels in a limb or when someone breaks something on their body. I'm getting a bit confused studying two Romance languages and having Greek in my head and I'm not sure if I'm saying this right in Greek now:

    g) Al ginnasta olandese fanno male le dita (il dito) = Τα δάχτυλα του Ολλανδού γυμναστή πονάνε
    h) La cineasta belga si è rotta il braccio (il/la cineasta) = ΗΒέλγα / Βελγίδα κινηματογραφίστρια έσπασε το χέρι της

    [The Dutch gymnast's fingers hurt] [The Belgian film-maker broke her arm]

    This is from my grammar booklet for Italian - an exercise where I have to translate the sentences since they use irregular nouns in the plural and nouns which can be both masculine and feminine... but that's only background information ;-).

    Basically what I need to know is whether Greek works like the Romance languages in this case or like English? Can I have some examples if there are cases where there are exceptions or if both cases could be acceptable, please?
  2. Andrious Senior Member

    "Τα δάχτυλα του Ολλανδού γυμναστή πονάνε" and "Η Βελγίδα κινηματογραφίστρια έσπασε το χέρι της" are ok.
  3. Tassos

    Tassos Senior Member

    I'd say that there are three ways to express aching/broken parts of your body (talking about English and Greek here)
    1) The constructions
    a) "Έσπασα/Χτύπησα + μέρος του σώματος σε αιτιατική" ή
    b) "Χτύπησα + σε + μέρος του σώματος σε αιτιατική"
    (1a) can be directly translated to English
    Έσπασα τον αστράγαλό μου - I broke my ankle
    (2a) cannot (but anyway it's not so frequent)
    Χτύπησα στα πλευρά - I hit/hurt/broke my ribs/ribcage (without a preposition)
    (Here of course you are talking about WHAT you broke, not WHERE or HOW you broke it)

    2) The contruction
    Αδύνατος τύπος προσωπικής αντωνυμίας σε αιτ. ή γεν. + ρήμα πονάω στο τρίτο προσωπο + μέρος που σώματος σε
    ονομαστική + κτητική αντωνυμία
    It can come close to direct translation but there are some differences.
    In the "full" form it is: Με/Μου πονάει το κεφάλι μου - My head is hurting me
    Then in it's "elliptical" form you can have the variations:
    Πονάει το χέρι μου - My hand hurts/is hurting.
    Με/Μου πονάει το χέρι - My hand hurts/is hurting me
    Note how English can never omit the initial my, while Greek can omit either of the two pronouns, but never both of them.

    3) The composite words that include the word ache/πόνος
    The basic principle is the same but there is one difference: English always puts the ache in the end, Greek can put it in the end (κοιλόπονος, στομαχόπονος) but also in the beginning (πονοκέφαλος, πονόδοντος, πονόλαιμος). As for the words themselves Greek uses the five I just mentioned, as for English I am not sure (there are headache, bellyache, toothache, stomachache and ???)

    As for the Romance languages, I think you must ask in the respective forums.
    For Italian I am sure that (3) does not exist (at least as one word, they say mal di testa, mal di pancia), I think that (2) is not so frequent (mi duole exists, but I haven't heard it that much) while (1) always require reflexive verbs that use essere in the passato prossimo.
  4. alfie1888

    alfie1888 Senior Member

    Kent, England
    English - England
    Sore throat ;-). That one gets all the Erasmus students at my Uni! Hehe! In Italian, the equivalent of με/μου πονάει + body part is mi fa male + body part.

    By the way, in Greek which should I use? Με ή μου; Or does it not matter? And thank you so much, Tassos, for taking the time to write such a thorough explanation for me!
  5. Andrious Senior Member

    Most common use is "Πονάει το...μου", for example "Πονάει το χέρι/ πόδι/ κεφάλι/ μάτι/ νεφρό μου". You can also add "Με" in the beginning, so you´d have "Με πονάει το χέρι/ πόδι/ κεφάλι/ μάτι/ νεφρό μου". We don´t say "Μου πονάει το..." (maybe a few do say it but it´s quite rare). "Με πονάει το..." is used but I think not as usual as the first two ways of saying.
  6. Tassos

    Tassos Senior Member

    I agree that "Πονάει το χέρι μου" is the most common.
    I'd say that the version with one personal pronoun in the beginning, comes next (Με πονάει το κεφάλι/Μου πονάει το κέφαλι). To me, both are a very natural way of speaking and I've said them both, many times. I can't really distinguish which is more frequent. The main difference with the first version is that here we add a tad more emphasis to the pain described.
    Then comes Με πονάει το κεφάλι μου (almost as frequent).
    Finally there is Μου πονάει το χέρι μου. It's the least frequent of all, as the double μου gives it an almost "childish" air (to say the truth, I can easily picture a child saying something like that...)

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