Guide to Greek Usage in Cataloging

 Personal Names

   Masculine names  

    Names ending in -s: -os, -es, -as:    Papadopoulos Kyriakidēs  Pappas
    Names ending in -oglou:  Kontzoglou
    Names ending in -ou: Alexiou

The Greek language is an inflected language which means words show their grammatical function in a sentence by their endings. In Greek there are four cases. For authority work, recognizing the endings of the first two cases should be enough: the Nominative (subject) ending and the Genitive (possessive ending). In Greek publications, the author's name is more often presented in the Genitive (possessive) form for both men and for women, which is to say, that for masculine surnames, -ou is the predominant form found on title pages. The most common endings for masculine names in Greek in the Nominative are -os, -es, and -as (it is said that all Greek male names always end in "s") ; these endings become -ou, -e and -a in the Genitive case. Masculine names ending in -oglou (a curious ending, direct from the Turkish) and -ou are the same in both the Nominative and Genitive form:

Nominative (Authoritative form)
Παπαδόπουλος = Papadopoulos
Παπαδόπουλου = Papadopoulou
Παππάς = Pappas
Παππά = Pappa
Κυριακίδης = Kyriakidēs
Κυριακίδου = Kyriakidou
Αλεξίου ; Παπαντωνίου ; Οικονόμου
Alexiou ; Papantōniou ; Oikonomou

Αλεξίου ; Παπαντωνίου ;Οικονόμου
Alexiou ; Papantōniou ; Oikonomou
Κοντζόγλου = Kontzoglou
Κοντζόγλου = Kontzoglou


   Feminine names

    Names do not normally end in "s"
    Names normally end in vowels or a dipthong

In Greece, a woman's last name is the genitive form of her father's surname or, when she marries, of her husband's surname; consequently, feminine names will not usually end in an "s" (there are exceptions). In the table below, you will notice the nominative form (the form you would establish) and the genitive form are exactly alike. The accent shift occuring in the surname Παπαδόπουλος (masculine nominative form) / Παπαδοπόυλου (feminine nominative form) is instructive but not represented in romanization.

Feminine names presented as initials and surname (for example, I. Alexiou), on the title page, can be particularly difficult. If no fuller form of the woman's first name is present, it is hard to determine what gender you are dealing with. As you know, the genitive ending of -ou, is often a legitimate form of a masculine surname. When confronted with this situation (lamentably occuring with regularity), you must search for information in your book which explicitly refers to gender or consult reference sources in search of a fuller version of the woman's first name.

Nominative (Authoritative form)
Παπαδοπούλου = Papadopoulou
Παππά = Pappa
Κυριακίδου = Kyriakidou
Αλεξίου = Alexiou
Κοντζόγλου = Kontzoglou

Summing up

For authority work for both male and female names, use the nominative case endings.

  • For men this would usually be a name ending in "s" (there are a few exceptions)
  • For women, this would usually be a name ending in a vowel or the -ou dipthong (there are a few exceptions)
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