Whats the difference between λες and πεις?

I had to correct your spelling there: πεις, not πες.

In the context you’ve given, both are subjunctives, following μη “don’t”. Λες is the present subjunctive, meaning it’s imperfective (continuous); πεις is the aorist subjunctive (perfective). So “don’t keep telling me” vs “don’t tell me” (once-off).

Why would the lyricist switch aspect in the verb? Variety: he gets to say the same thing in the chorus twice, but with a different rhyme:


Μεγάλα λόγια μη μου λες
όσα ακούω τα ξανάκουσα τόσες φορές
Μεγάλα λόγια μη μου πεις
μείνε και τίποτα μη μου υποσχεθείς

Don’t keep telling me big words.
What I’m hearing I’ve heard so many times before.
Don’t tell me big words.
Stay and promise me nothing.

What role does belly dancing play in Greek culture?

I’ve read Dimitris M Papadakis’ response, and I’m quite happy to vehemently disagree with him. And of course…

Many modern Greek citizens may, of course claim otherwise, but there ought to be a distinction between those who happen to be Greek citizens and those who have a Greek mind and adhere to a Greek, that is genuinely “hellenic”, worldview.

… the disagreement is all about whether Modern Greek identity can admit any “oriental” element at all, or whether all Greek popular culture should have impeccably classical credentials.

Not a Tsifteteli

Possibly a bit closer to a Tsifteteli

The dance is certainly an innovation in Greece, and appears to have been come about with rebetiko music. While there are some elements to rebetiko that were indigenous to Greece, the major impetus for it came with refugees from Asia Minor, and tsifteteli similarly reflects Asia Minor popular culture. The claims of Byzantine or Ancient Greek antecedents are pretty blatant stretching.

It’s fair to say that the tsifteteli is low culture; word association with tsifteteli will bring up skyladiko “dog pound”, the low rent brash bouzouki joints out of town.

In my book, that’s just fine. There’s a prudishness in Greek folk culture (folk song outside of Cyprus does not acknowledge women have bodies—except for during carnival, when they only acknowledge they have bodies). The self-consciously sensuous dancing of the tsifteteli is something I find a welcome antidote to it.

Yes, it’s a dance starlets use to show off:

But notice, the cool young male thing to the left is having just as good a time of it.

One of the oddities of tsifteteli is that, quite often, it’s women that end up dancing it with each other. Not necessarily because they’re flirting with each other; more like, there isn’t enough critical mass of men feeling unselfconscious enough to join them. Which in any case means there’s a little more going on than:

None whatsoever beyond entertainment and flirting or lusting over the female body in front of you.

… and, really, they said the same about waltzes.

If you could go back time to 500 years ago, with your current skill and career training, what kind of job would you do? List your current job or your major in college. Feel free to disregard gender or social status factor.

Well, Lyonel Perabo mon vieux, this is going to be an unimaginative answer, but thanks for asking.

  • University education: Bachelor of Electrical Engineering
    • Well, no electricity, so that’s irrelevant. Good, I hated engineering.
  • University education: Bachelor of Computer Science
    • … No computers either. And too much damn competition from all the other time travelling geeks.
  • University education: Masters in Cognitive Science
    • Dude, you can’t get a job with that now
  • University education: Doctorate in Linguistics

Well, let’s think about it. 1516, Crete and Cyprus were both under Venetian rule. They were colonial outposts, but the Renaissance was starting to make an impression there: there were Petrarchan sonnets in Cypriot, and literary societies in Crete. (The best of Cretan literature was still a century down the road.)

If I was a city dweller and/or Catholic, I’d have access to Renaissance learning. I’d probably write even worse Latin poetry than I write here to Michael Masiello, and I might get a gig in Venice. Aldus Manutius has just died, but I hear they’re still hiring Classical Greek proofreaders.

If I were a villager and Orthodox, there would be two paths for someone through book learning. The clergy would be one, and I think my chanting would be passable, as demonstrated here.

The other would be as a notary. I could have abysmal spelling in Greek, codeswitching with Italian for every third word. And five centuries down the road, some poor shmuck working in a digital library of Ancient and Mediaeval Greek would be tweaking their morphological analyser, to deal with the mess I’d bequeathed them.

I’m going to miss you, Manolis Varouchas.

Updated 2016-08-06 · Upvoted by

Lyonel Perabo, B.A. in History. M.A in related field (Folkloristics)