On this page we look at a common problem for translators, the linking of nouns..  The nouns are λύση and solution, and we consider expressions such as η λύση του προβλήματος, η λύση στο πρόβλημα, the solution of the problem, the solution to the problem.  In these cases, the relationship between the nouns is that of verb and object (I solve the problem, λύνω το πρόβλημα).


Investigating the ILSP corpus gives us the following possibilities:

(i) genitive case

 εάν μπορούσαμε να συμφωνήσουμε σε μια λύση αυτού του προβλήματος, δεν θα μου ήταν δυνα

    υπάρχει ένα αυξημένο ενδιαφέρον για τη λύση του Κυπριακού, χωρίς αυτό να σημαίνει ότι 

 ούτε βέβαια μπορεί να οδηγήσει σε ομαλή λύση του θέματος για το Παναθηναϊκό.

 Note that in these cases, the noun phrase containing the word λύση itself begins with a preposition.  Does this have any bearing on the choice of genitive for the following noun?


[note that this is not the only function of the genitive with λύση in Greek.  Another, equally common one, is to use the genitive for a statement of what the solution is: 

                         Υπάρχει, βεβαίως, και η λύση της πώλησης μετόχων του ΟΤΕ που κατέχει το κράτος

                                       υπάρχει και η λύση των ενοικιαζόμενων δωματίων]


(ii) with the preposition σε.  This seems to be obligatory in collocations with δίνω [δίνω λύση στο πρόβλημα], but also frequent with the verbs υπάρχει and βρίσκεται

                                απαίτηση για οριστική λύση στο πρόβλημα

                           Την  ανάγκη να δοθεί λύση στην εκκρεμότητα που έχει προκύψει

                                               Η μόνη λύση στα προβλήματα που αντιμετωπίζει η χώρα

                                 για να βρουν μια λύση στο άλυτο, ως τώρα, πρόβλημα της στάθμευσης


(iii) occasionally, with the preposition για.  This normally indicates the beneficiary of the solution, as in    

                                τη μοναδική αξιόπιστη λύση για τον φίλαθλο κόσμο της AEK


but can also represent the verb-object relationship:

                               Ψάχνοντας για μια λύση για το πρόβλημα του Αιγαίου

           μέσω διαλόγου να βρουν μια λύση γισ το κόστος της υγιείας

Notice too the possibility of a verb after για                                            

                                                        Μόνη λύση για να αποτραπεί η τραγωδία ήταν προσθαλάσσωση


In the Bank of English, there are approximately 5200 citations for solution to, and 915 for solution of, [which includes the chemical sense of solution = διάλυμα].    Other things being equal, on the grounds of relative frequency one might prefer solution to the problem as equivalent to the Greek λύση του προβλήματος as well as λύση στο πρόβλημα.  [Notice in English the very common use of to after other semantically related words such as answer, response, reply, key etc:  the answer to your question/the dilemma, in reply to your letter etc]


Here are some examples of both:     

         it is not regarded as a permanent solution of our security problem

      condemning recourse to war for the solution of international controversies


                                          provide a simple solution to an age-old problem

                       divorce has seemed the solution to unhappy marriages

                                                        a solution to the Cyprus problem

                      he warned them to find a solution to their differences in private


Although there is some overlap between these two patterns, to say divorce has seemed the solution of unhappy marriages does not seem possible. 


solution of can also introduce, as in Greek, a statement of what the solution consists of:

On the other hand they are too exposed to allow themselves the Costa Rican solution of doing without armies altogether.
                                                                             the much more efficient solution of higher petrol taxes


As in Greek, solution for usually indicates the beneficiary of the solution, but can also be found to denote the problem:   

         Perry said he brought with him no solution for the Kashmiri dispute