ΕΡΓΑ  and WORK (see also ΕΡΓΟ and ΕΡΓΑΣΙΑ, topic 16 )

Although these two words share the same origin from a few thousand years ago, they do not easily translate into each other, Greek and English having diverged considerably in the meantime.  On this page, we take our starting point as the plural form in Greek, as there are considerable differences between the meaning and use of the singular (to which we hope to return in future) and plural forms in both languages .

Here are the results of an investigation into 55 occurrences of έργα in the transcripts of the European parliamentary debates for 1996.  These may be original contributions by Greek speakers, or translations from other languages.  What we have here are then equivalences, or potential equivalences between English and Greek.  Of course this is not a representative corpus of the language as a whole, as the figures below make clear, but what it does show is the variety of equivalences that translators use. 

The occurrences break down into three principal groups as follows:

projects   24 In the EU context, not a surprising equivalence; notice how many other words in this list fall within the same semantic field.
infrastructure   3 In expression έργα υποδομής, which corresponds to both infrastructure and infrastructure works
work   2 να ολοκληρωθούν τα έργα δυο πυρηνικών σταθμών:
 to complete work on the two nuclear power stations
works 2 charitable works, water treatment works
undertakings   1 δημόσια έργα: public undertakings
pieces   1 pieces of infrastrucure
schemes   1  
operations 1 small-scale operations μικρά έργα
     
action 3 in contrast to λόγια
deeds 2 in contrast to λόγια
materially 1 in contrast to λόγια
(put into) practice 2 in contrast to λόγια
     
writings   1 αιώνια γραπτά έργα όπως του Σοφοκλή:
 the immortal writings of Sophocles
plays   1 όλα τα έργα του θηβαϊκού κύκλου: all his Theban plays
film 1 κινηματογραφικά έργα

 Compare these data with what a Greek - English dictionary gives you.  What do you notice?

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