Greek Word Order Problem

Hey, I hope you don’t mind me asking this, but I’m learning Greek at the minute and have a problem. Whilst Greek seems to normally follow SVO (Subject, verb, order) structure like my native English, I’m struggling to understand the word order sometimes, such as in this sentence from the “who is she” course:

Πότε σταμάτησε να σας γράφει ο αδελφός σας;

It looks to me like that sentence goes Verb, Object, subject
So: «σταμάτησε», «σας» και «ο αδελφός σας»

The literal translation of that sentence in English looks to me like:

When stopped to you writing the brother of you?

So my question is would the following be correct as well:

Πότε ο αδελφός σας σταμάτησε γράφει να σας;

or does the first one seem better, and if so why is it if you know?

Thanks to anyone who responds! Σ´αγαπώ τον χώra σας!

My Greek girlfriend’s response: “Just go with the flow.”

My response as a Greek learner : in relative sentences the word order is a little more convoluted, closer to German than English: the να clause is followed by something like OVS. Meaning:

σταμάτησε να (Verb) requires a clause in OVS

σας γράφει = the object and verb

ο αδελφός σας = the subject

I wouldn’t sweat the word order questions just yet (“Just go with the flow”), and just learn to recognize subjects and objects, and accept whatever order they come in. First come comprehension and later comes being able to produce correctly formed sentences.

As for your other example of possible sentence order: no, your proposal is grammatically incorrect in Greek.

I hope that helps?

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Thanks, I’ve noticed you have a lot of experiance learning languages. For you is it something you start to recognise maybe once you get past the initial mass-input stage? Maybe when we’re more capable of just listening to content?

Best wishes.

Yes, absolutely. With more listening and reading, your brain gets used to letting go of the English word order and you start to “wait” to hear the subject of the sentence. Most other languages I’ve studied, being morphogically “richer” than English, are much more flexible with their word order, so paying attention to things like case endings becomes important.

But yes, with more practice you just start to pick up on things without needing to explicitly study them. Steve is right, the brain is pretty magical.

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From what I understand, their word order is a lot more fluid allowing for emphasis to be put on certain concepts like “πότε σταμάτησε”. I think like with our native English, a sheer amount of emphasis has to be put into input. Without being able to explain why, your reordering of words does feel grammatically off.

Courses like Pimsleur are helpful for grammar as well as Greek — Language Transfer !

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Thank you, that looks like a very useful resource. I will give it a try!