Compound words

Compound words are very common in Modern Greek. They are combinations of two or more words. Compounds may belong to nouns, verbs or adverbs.

Kαλοπερνάνε κάθε καλοκαίρι στο νησί. Περνάνε μερόνυχτα ολόκληρα μέσα στην ψαρόβαρκα

The following tables illustrate the main combination types found in Greek compounds:

αυλή+ πόρτα = αυλόπορτα

ανοίγω+ κλείνω =ανοιγοκλείνω

ξανά+ λέω = ξαναλέω

στενός +μακρύς =στενόμακρος

προ +πέρσι = πρόπερσι

πολύ +κατοικία = πολυκατοικία

Between the two stems of a compound there appears a binding element (which is usually the vowel -ο-). There are however compounds formed by directly conjoining the two stems. βόρειος+ ανατολικός= βορειοανατολικός, λέξη+λόγος=λεξιλόγιο

Depending on the compound type, the compound stem often has different properties from the stem which originally served as its second member:
η βροχή > το πρωτοβρόχι (gender and declension pattern different) τρώω / έ-φαγ-α > χορτοφάγος (part of speech different)

The compound, which is formed, may have different declension pattern, gender or belong to different part of speech. One can also find new types of compounds, the members of which are not stems, but words. Such compounds can be formed by:

παιδί- θαύμα ταξίδι -αστραπή

You can also read: Spelling Tips

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